Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Water Ram

Yesterday I built a water ram. If you are not familiar with the concept, a water ram is a pretty cool device. It pumps water uphill using the force of gravity to make the pump run. No electricity or gas or any other power required. I followed a design by MrTeslonian on youtube and was far too lazy to do any of the math myself, just using his work and copying it.

A water ram is made from pretty basic pipe fittings which most people will say you can find at any hardware store. This is probably true unless you live in a remote small town like me and actually have to find a bunch of them on Amazon.  Above you can see the pvc pressure chamber as the fittings go from a three inch pipe down to a one inch to screw onto the rest of the ram which is all one inch fittings.

This is not a full tutorial on how to build one, lots of people have already made those if you are interested. But you can see the basic setup. A one inch intake at the bottom right, the two swinging check valves facing in opposite directions, the open top where the above pressure chamber will attach, and the 1/2 inch output connection.

Once I put everything together and got a good tight seal on all the connections, a friend built me this cool platform and stabilizing frame so I can set my pump anywhere without it falling over. 

I was pretty sure it would work, but never having built something like this myself, I could not wait to find out for sure! So we rigged up a 6 foot fall of water coming into the pump with some pvc, a ladder, and a garden hose (indoors because it was snowing outside all day yesterday) and a 1/2 inch output that we strung up to about 14 feet in hight.  Rigging up the test took more than twice as long as assembling the actual pump.

And it worked! Below you can see the water pumping though and the excess running down the floor drain. Once this is sitting beside the creek below my house, it will simply drain the excess water right back into the creek. A water ram only pumps about 10% of the water that comes into it up hill, but since if runs 24/7 with no external power, that becomes a lot of water!

Here's the stream flowing out of our little rigged up output hose. It will need to push a bigger head than this test to get to my garden, but it's looking like that will be no problem with the volume of the stream coming out here. 

Now we just have to get an intake pipe set up in the creek. This may have to wait just a bit thanks to all the creeks in the area being close to max flood stage with spring runoff at the moment. Below is a short video clip of it running during our test.

I will update you all once this baby is settled into it's home and actually working. But still, I feel a little giddy that I was able to put together something that will pump water.