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    • CommentAuthorgreenman
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2008
     
    I have a largish vegetable plot, and have recently put in new surface water drainage for the house, directing the water into a ditch nearby. I have a series of water butts in the vegetable patch which can all be kept at the same level using syphons, so I only need to supply water to one of them. The water in the ditch is much lower than the water buts and so I want to rig up a mechanism to raise it up to the required level. There are a numnber of approaches I could take, but I want something that is low maintenance, preferably something I could make myself, something that doesn't need to be plugged into the mains, and that will only try to pump when there is water there to be pumped.

    I had idly wondered if I could rig up something water powered (bearing in mind that the only water in the ditch is what runs off my roof about 30m away, and therefore not likely to generate much power) - perhaps a screw thread in an angled pipe to feed a small header tank at the right height for the butts.

    Anyone know of a design that might do the job please?
    • CommentAuthorjoe.e
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2008
     
    How about a little electric pump and a float switch, self-powered off a little solar panel? How high does the water need to be pumped above its storage level, if you see what I mean?
    • CommentAuthorgreenman
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2008
     
    I'd need to raise it about a couple of metres I think. I did consider a solar powered pump, but wasn't sure how practical that was - are small pvs 12V? Are there any compatible water pumps? The non-pump electrics would have to be sufficiently moisture sealed, and presumably you'd need a battery as well (otherwise it wouldn't pump at night).

    I know it's a bit Heath Robinson, but I still wonder it there's an entirely mechanical solution...
    • CommentAuthorPaul_B
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2008
     
    I'd look at pumps for the RV / caravan market. They will run at 12v and not draw much power so would ideally run from a solar panel direct or from a deep-cycle battery that is charged by a solar panel. I'm look at something like this to power an irrigation system and move water from collection to front of the house. So for example the Posiflo 3000 series (no recommendation just using as exmaple as they are British and have tech docs) is self-priming, will run dry, running at 1Bar(equivalent to 30ft head of water), runs at 12v and draws 4amps with a flow of 8Litres / min
    • CommentAuthorgreenman
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2008
     
    Sounds like a good approach. Have you any possible PV panels in mind? What about filtering the water?
    • CommentAuthorjoe.e
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2008
     
    Or have a look at some boat products. Owners of old wooden boats routinely fit little electric pumps down in the bilge, with float switches that automatically switch them on when the water reaches a certain depth. If you had one of those hooked straight up to a solar panel it would only run in the daytime, but that wouldn't matter much in the context.
    Is the existing house guttering high enough for the water to run straight down to the veg patch? You could put a water butt up on legs and fit a tap up to the top of the butt, up just below the gutter. Then run a hose down and leave the tap on, so that it forms an overflow. If the heights and distances are right that would be a very simple solution.
    • CommentAuthorgreenman
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2008
     
    I could do that (run water into a butt near the house and then a hose to the vegetable patch), but as I've just expended a huge amount of effort putting in the drains to take the water away from the house, the idea doesn't appeal, even though it would be simple. There will still be water butts by the house, and any one of them could be used for the purpose you describe, but it would mean having a hose pipe running a considerable distance, including over paths where aging relatives would be sure to trip over them, cars would drive over them, etc.

    I like the solar powered marine pump idea though. I expect it would work out quite expensive (all things marine tend to be I understand)?
  1.  
    The Renaissance architect who revived old Roman hydraulic engineering techniques to create Cardinal d'Este's Tivoli Gardens is your man. I'm not sure how it was done but I believe water was made to go uphill just using more water (and air). It would give the veg patch an astonishing makeover for sure.
    • CommentAuthorgreenman
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2008
     
    I like your thinking - perhaps an ornamental fountain that doubles as a sprinkler?

    On a more serious note, I believe that the ifrst house in the country to have electricity used a small hydroelectric plant. Water power was also used to drive a pump on exactly your principle - a large mass of water falling a small distance used to pump a smaller volume of water half way up a hillside. On a drastically smaller scale, I had hoped to do the same.
    • CommentAuthorPaul_B
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2008
     
    I think what you are refferring to is a hydraulic ram pump or impulse pump? It was featured on a television programme for a farm or green makeover but no idea what the programme was called.
    principle is like you say to use a large volume of water with a fall to lift a much smaller quantity of water. Bit like shutting off a large volume of water quickly you sudeenly create a high pressure but low volume. Here's something I found on Google, http://www.thefarm.org/charities/i4at/lib2/hydrpump.htm
  2.  
    Excellent and very much 'in keeping' with veg plot design ie doable from reused bits and bobs + hours of fun getting it to work. I see the 'weir' having a dual use dunking watering cans instead of waiting for them to fill from the water butt taps.
    • CommentAuthorjoe.e
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2008
     
    Posted By: greenmanI could do that (run water into a butt near the house and then a hose to the vegetable patch), but as I've just expended a huge amount of effort putting in the drains to take the water away from the house, the idea doesn't appeal, even though it would be simple. There will still be water butts by the house, and any one of them could be used for the purpose you describe, but it would mean having a hose pipe running a considerable distance, including over paths where aging relatives would be sure to trip over them, cars would drive over them, etc.

    I like the solar powered marine pump idea though. I expect it would work out quite expensive (all things marine tend to be I understand)?

    Not sure about prices for pumps - have a look at the Plastimo website, they do all that sort of stuff. But if the water starts off high enough, then you do seem to be making work for yourself by not finding some way to run some of it straight down to the veg, rather than letting it run down lower then pumping it back up again.
    • CommentAuthorgreenman
    • CommentTimeJun 26th 2008
     
    Yes Joe, I can't deny it - I'll probably end up running a hose pipe down the inside of the new drains I've put in so that it's protected and out of site. I still like the idea of a pump though, and will look into everyone's suggestions (thanks Paul_B)
    • CommentAuthorPaul_B
    • CommentTimeJun 26th 2008
     
    Let us know how you get on
    • CommentAuthordickster
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2008
     
    Greenman.

    Take a look at spiral water wheel pump on youtube. Fantastic.
    • CommentAuthorgreenman
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2008
     
    Thanks dickster - will do
  3.  
    Is it the technoprat one in the banana plantation we are supposed to be looking at?
  4.  
    More aesthetically pleasing is the perpetual motion machine by mark19520 on youtube - and his hostas look in very good nick too.
    • CommentAuthorgreenman
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2008
     
    I suppose it's (the banana plantation one) really just a modified form of the archimedes screw, which is what I had envisaged would possibly work for my application.

    I was thinking I could put a suitable screw inside a plastic 30mm waste pipe, tilt it at an angle so that the pitch of the thread prevents the water running back, and then using the flow of the water to drive it. It would only run when rain water flows, but then there would be no point in it running the rest of the time! The main difficulty is how to source or make the screw...

    Another aproach (and probably more effective) would be to put the thread on the inside of the pipe, and to rotate the pipe instead. This would have the advantages of there being fewer moving parts, and not having to engineer the screw to fine tolerances to create an adequate seal. Again though, making the screw thread would be tricky, and attaching it to the tube too for that matter...

    Any suggestions anyone?
    • CommentAuthordickster
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2008
     
    HI Greenman and Mrswhitecat,

    Suspect there's just a hint of disbelief out there.

    The spiral water pump works, you just need a hose, a rotating joint and a flow of water. Seriously. Do some searching on Google etc.

    Or not.
    • CommentAuthorStuartB
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2008
     
    Thinking outside the box a little - why don't you just erect a small shed near your water butts and use the run off from that?
    • CommentAuthorgreenman
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2008
     
    Dickster - no disbelief - honest - I just don't have anything like enough flow of water to make such a pump turn.

    StuartB - the water demands of our vegetable patch are more than could be met by the run-off from a small shed, (assuming there waas room for one). There are a couple of outbuildings a little further away that could be used, but I would have to trench a pipe under the drive, and I'm trying to avoid that if I can (though it may still come to that).

    Thanks for the suggestion though.
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