what is best 12v water pump with solar panel unit

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Got to get water from my well 125 ft.Without electricity deadmeat. Someone was telling me bout a 12v pump no batteries needed,just solar panel.Anyone have experience what is best brand.Anyone try lehmans bucket you drop down it fills up,you pull up,125ft I d'ont know.Ideas please.Thanks

-- a (a@a.c), September 22, 1999


We use one made by shurflow- check with Real Goods- they carry several models-

-- farmer (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), September 22, 1999.

not solar but might help.....


-- Richard (mrhydde@hotmail.com), September 23, 1999.

I live without electricity too. I did a research for myself and the best is For 210 feet you need the SDS-D-228. It is the only one for deep wells below 115 feet. Guarantee for pump is 2 years. http://www.windsun.com

-- Nasseri (ibmcc@colba.net), September 23, 1999.

I disagree with Nasseri; there are many solar pumps which will pump from WAY deeper than 115 ft. Look at mrsolar.com, realgoods.com, and especially dankoffsolar.com. There are lots of choices there. Do a search for McDonald pumps (A.Y. McDonald Mfg. Co. They have a fantastic procucts catalog they'll send you for free.

One really interesting, fairly recent inovation was made by Grunfos (grundfos.com). They make a three phase, variable voltage AC pump, which works off a control box which monitors the amount of DC power being produced (variable throughout the day, year, and weather condition), and adjusts the voltage and frequency to maximize efficiency.

The most efficient pumps, in terms of water delivered per kilowatt hour used, remains a DC pump, unless there is an AC pump I'm not familiar with.

There are several types of pumps available they are mostly of two types: centrifugal or positive displacement. The centrifugals (and this includes the standard submersible AC pumps, although they are typically not called centrifugal), when powered by AC motors, are only at peak efficiency at full sunlight; if the sun is weak, and the panels are only generating 1/2 power, the pump will only produce 1/4 of the water.

The positive displacement pumps, on the other hand, maintain the same efficiency regardless of the power being delivered by the panels. At half the power, they deliver half the water. On the other hand, they require a Linear Current Booster (LCB) to operated directly from a solar panel. The LCB adds about $100-400 or more to the system cost. The main type of positive displacement pumps include piston pumps, rotary vane pumps, and diaphram pumps. The Shurflow, referred to above, is a diaphram pump.

Each type of pump has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the rotary vane, such as Dankoff's "Slow Pump", is highly efficient, but can't handle dirty water, and is not submersible; I don't believe there are any submersible rotary vane pumps (why did I mention them?)

There is a submersible piston pump, the Sunrise. It's very efficient, but very expensive. The diaphram pump, which is very efficient and economical, has the disadvantage that you have to replace the diaphram every one to four years. This is not a big job, relatively speaking, but does require removing pump from the well, which many people tend to postpone until the diaphram fails. If this happens, the pump motor is destroyed.

I'm about to buy a shurflow SURFACE PUMP, myself, as my static level is very near the surface. Generally speaking (for anyone who doesn't have a deep well like a does, surface pumps are a good deal cheaper than submersibles.

OH! For a and others with wells in the deep, but not extremely deep static level range, McDonald Mfg. Co. makes a solar powered jet pump. This has the advantage that the pump is on the surface, but due to a magical kind of trick that is pulled against the laws of physics (not really, but it seems like it), the pump is able to draw water from deeper than the 25 or so foot maximum of most surface pumps. It does this by pumping water DOWN the well, through a "jet", located deep in the well, and back up again. The "jet" pushes a bit extra water trough the return pipe, which is pumped by the pump to your storage tank. In other words, there is a kind of a continuous loop circulating from the pump down to the jet and back to the pump. The pump "steals" a small portion of this, and mother nature and the laws of physics don't seem to notice. :)

You need to do a bit of research to see which type of pump you need; there are too many variables (how much you want to spend, how many gallons per day you want (and how many you are willing to get by with), depth of well, production of well, pressure needed at well head, etc.

Several sources, such as those I mentioned above, have work sheets which you can fill out, which will enable them to make recommendations.

If I had unlimited funds, I'd get a Solar Force Piston Pump (non submersible (this pump can also be operated by hand, by a gas motor, by a bike pedal setup, or by hydraulic power), but since I don't, I'm probably going to get a Shurflo. Shurflo is cheap, and like I said, it's reliable if you don't procrastinate on maintenance.

Good luck, and please let us know what you come up with!


-- Al K. Lloyd (all@ready.now), September 23, 1999.

If you use emergency bucket to withdraw water from well will be very heavy at 25-125 feet I tried and it is hard.

I did not buy sds-d228 because of you have to buy the kid or wire of 12 volts which will be the same price of the pump. the pump is around 579 plus installation around 1000 US and and you need a good source of charging batteries too. I stopped because of expense and emp (ELECTRO MAGNETIC PULSES) in case of fall out so I went for Awassa hand pump which you have to build it yourself and the spring cost around 400 $ Canadian. where do you live ?

-- Nasseri (ibmcc@colba.net), September 23, 1999.

Nasseri, unless you need the batteries for another reason (like for storing electricity for lights, etc. I don't recommend even using batteries for a pump. The batteries are expensive, dirty, and caustic. In addition, they are inefficient, typically losing at least 15% of the power your panels generate.

There is no such thing as 12 volt wire. While it is true that any motor uses more amps if the voltage is lower, as is the case for a 12 volt pump, the wire costs should not be great, assuming you can locate your panels fairly close to the well. If there is a long distance involved, many solar pumps are available in higher voltages, both DC and AC. Don't give up on this because of wire costs.

On the other hand, any solar pump is going to cost you a bunch of money, mostly because of the cost of the solar panels. For this reason, you might want to consider getting a smaller size pump, if you want to limit the money you spend. Smaller pumps are cheaper, and the panels to run them will be MUCH cheaper.


BTW, if you do opt to go manual, Dempster Pumps, in Beatrice, Nebraska, has some deep well pumps which work extremely well. I have one I used to use before I had the grid in my neighborhood. Still not cheap, though.

-- Al K. Lloyd (all@ready.now), September 23, 1999.

Al K. Lloyd, you are great but I live in north of montreal-Canada and we do not have much sun in a year only snow. I can not go on solar energy.

-- Nasseri (ibmcc@colba.net), September 23, 1999.

Thanks, Nasseri.

So get your hand pump going. By the way, you can melt snow on your wood stove, and probably get pretty good drinking water. Might be a lot cheaper and easier than pumping it up by hand.

Before I put a pump jack and gasoline motor on my deep well hand pump (the one from Dempster), I had to pump fifty good, hard strokes to get the water to the surface from about ninety feet down, then fifty more for each five gallon bucket full. My right arm got so big I was listing to starboard.


-- Al K. Lloyd (all@ready.now), September 23, 1999.

Nasseri- we live not far south of you- and have solar. You would be suprised how much sun you really do get- just keep the snow brushed off the panels- a must!!

-- farmer (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), September 24, 1999.

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