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submitted 1 month ago by schmorpel to c/diy

A couple of years ago I built two ram pumps and installed them in the stream near my house. They pumped water for the garden for a few months during spring and summer. I'm okay with the fact that the pumps are just useful during part of the year, but didn't really like damming up the entire stream for my installation, seemed rude towards wildlife.

So this year I returned with a longer tube and just took the water from further upstream. I have only about 70cm head. I haven't really measured the height I'm getting, but it's more than the first year and enough for what I want to do.

My installation in the stream is very simple: fence post hammered/wedged into the stream bed, pump tied to it with wire. Everything wobbles a tiny bit. Might return and solidify that later, but I love it when stuff is so simple that I can just throw it into the stream and it works. After a while of pumping by hand it just runs. Variations in water height might stop it as it sits low in the water. Will report back tomorrow.

This is for a reservoir IBC and washing tank outside the kitchen. I'm thinking about adding a solar heating panel in there as well.

The image is of a smaller kid-sized pump that I want to turn into a demonstration model to take to markets and fairs.

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[-] poVoq 12 points 1 month ago

Please share some pictures of the actual pumps. Ram pumps are a fascinating topic. I always wanted to build one myself, but I don't have a suitable location where I live right now.

[-] tomatolung@lemmy.world 3 points 1 month ago

Agreed! Also where is this in the world?

[-] BearOfaTime@lemm.ee 2 points 1 month ago

Anywhere there's a stream, really.

Great for places that are off-grid. A friend's cabin uses one to fill the supply for a gravity fed filter

[-] tomatolung@lemmy.world 1 points 1 month ago

Yea, Planet Mechanics did a great show with one years ago.

I was wondering literally where this was, country and location.

[-] schmorpel 2 points 1 month ago

IBC for collection, I plan to set another on top

Pump in the water

Sorry, just those two for now. I'll need to gather courage before I wade into the stream again for a closeup, especially with my phone in hand. With the heat returned I also was busy installing the hose from IBC to garden to water the veggies. I'm still figuring out the connection between the two IBCs and mixing water coming from a heating panel, and waiting for a washing tank to arrive to go next to it. And then the summer heat and the corn field will dry the stream out in no time ... I hope this system runs till End of July at least, but to be honest I don't know. But even if I have this running only one month on 'stream energy' and 11 on electric it will be worth it.

I think ram pumps are lovely, they are so robust - it just took a couple of hours to get it back into the stream and back working (it also got a couple of hours of maintenance in the workshop, of tightening the connections again). This year it runs on a really slow frequency compared to year 1, and it seems to pump the water higher. I'd like to get some numbers one day, but it's hard to measure anything exactly around here with our installations. Only thing I know is they run so robustly. They find their rhythm and then they just go and go and go.

[-] poVoq 1 points 1 month ago

Indeed not so much to see on those pictures. I am a bit surprised that your ram-pump is inside the stream. Those I have seem previously were outside, but I guess you tried to maximize the head difference for the main flow?

[-] schmorpel 1 points 1 month ago

Exactly, I'm working with just 60cm head, which is on the lower end of it working at all. Maybe next year I add another 100 m of tube to reach a spot where the pump can sit outside the stream.

If you have been diving into ram pumps before, I'm curious if you have found any infos about one thing I haven't had time to research or experiment with: does the distance between the two valves make any difference in terms of efficiency?

[-] poVoq 1 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

I am by no means an expert on ram pumps, but I would guess no. The impulse valve and the air-chamber are the more likely places for optimisation.

I have really only had a look at them out of personal interest because they are relatively common in the area I worked during the disaster relief after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. To my knowledge the ones I have seen were based on the design found in this classic manual.

[-] schmorpel 1 points 1 month ago

Oh there's a lot of info in this that I didn't have, thanks for sharing!

I don't think anybody knows them around here. I showed mine to my neighbour and explained her that it doesn't use electricity or fuel and she looked quite impressed. The mountain areas here with water running from every hill are just ideal grounds for the rams. I'm still trying to figure out how they could be not just used for gardening, but wisely integrated into fire prevention. I know I can't just water an area indiscriminately with a ram pump - the pump works till July or August, grow lots of vegetation, which then dries out and is a fire hazard. But maybe something with restoring vegetation around old waterlines first, or storing the water in reservoirs. Ram pumps in combination with reservoirs make great energy harvest and storage as well.

[-] Tull_Pantera@lemmy.today 1 points 3 weeks ago
[-] schmorpel 1 points 2 weeks ago

I've looked into some models I can purchase, but haven't played with them. I like the rams because they are so low tech even a stupid like me can handle them, and the energy supply is direct. The one I've set up the other day (dumped into the river and tied to a stick) is still pumping.

I also love solar thermal, for the same reason. To me it just seems to make more sense to develop tech that doesn't transfer energy from one form into another a million times, because that is something pitifully underdeveloped in our electrical monoculture. That's why I keep building and advertising the rams.

For my daily life micro hydro power would be a useful addition, really want to get into that when I have time.

[-] Tull_Pantera@lemmy.today 1 points 2 weeks ago

Something relatively simple to carry out into the woods and install next to a year-round stream (or drop in - https://blue-freedom.net/hydro/portable/ , etc) is remarkably civilizing. The market is full of plastic, representational junk gimmicks, but portable micro-hydro works nicely when the air is still and the sun is obscured. Covering generation at least four ways would be nice ( https://gearjunkie.com/camper-rv/off-grid-ecocapsule looks adorable)

[-] schmorpel 1 points 2 weeks ago

Hmm I would personally categorize both the portable hydro as well as the capsule as junk gimmicks. I would want something reliable and farm-worthy for permanent use.

[-] Tull_Pantera@lemmy.today 1 points 2 weeks ago

I agree. They catch my attention as toys, and they still suggest to me that the technology represented is moving in a successful direction, however much bloat there may be while dabblers try to make a buck peddling representational items alluding to tech instead of quality durable tech. I'm just as much wanting something reliable for permanent use, and that requires the simplicity and repairability of basic systems. At the same time, being able to travel through the landscape is just as critical, from my perspective. We're animals made to travel seasonally through our habitat in a territory, and to assist nature in creating abundance, by not overtaxing our environment and by augmenting what nature does.

In my current situation the only flowing water is surface precipitation and fairly regular low-volume underground flow. Is there an option to use ram pumps in a subsurface engineered catchment and flow system? The sump pump runs regularly and the basement is always wet. Have you seen any ram pump systems in smaller-scale built environments? Even the amount of water which flows off the roof and through the gutters here makes it clear that there's some capture potential, and I've seen generative systems for installation in suburban and city sewer and drainage systems...

this post was submitted on 11 Apr 2024
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