I first came across these pumps when I visited a farm in Guatemala in the 1980s. There was no electricity there, and they used a very old Rife ram pump for their household water. It was worn out and unreliable, but still functional. I repaired and modified it many times, and started making changes and improvements. Eventually I came up with my own design, and when the Internet came along, started selling them on eBay with a partner. They were reasonably popular, so we made several batches, each batch with some improvements. We are now on our third batch of 100. You can see them here:
You should look at the eBay listing, as it has a number of links and installation tips.
The purpose of this thread is to have a place for people interested in these pumps to ask questions and share experiences. Every situation is different, so I am interested in getting feedback on results in as many installations as possible. It may happen that one user is near another and so they can help each other out with tips and questions.
Bob Borst of Borst Engineering came up with a very good online calculator which has been quite accurate in predicting the performance of these pumps in various situations. You can see it here:
or in the eBay listing. The calculator instructions are here:
You can see his site here:
He also has hydroelectric and hydronic heating resourses which are quite useful..
If you are interested in buying one of these rams, you can do it through eBay, or directly from Bryon Kass (email@example.com). We can give $15 off the eBay price for direct sales, since we avoid the eBay fees.
If you want to copy all or part of the design and make your own ram, go ahead, no problem. If you come up with any improvements, we would be interested in hearing about them. There are usually a few other sellers offering rams or plans on eBay, so it is worthwhile to look at their pumps for more information and ideas.
We are very interested in getting data on the results of various installations (fall, output flow, pump height, clack valve frequency, drive pipe length and diameter, etc) to verify and refine the calculator performance.
For technical questions you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is still installed but I converted to a submersible electric pump on a timer.
I thought the unit was well conceived and well made with good supporting information,
My childhood memories are from a location in Australia known for its windmills (as we called them). Groundwater was plentiful. They are a rare sight now. Graziers also used them for stock watering. Most of these have been replaced by solar pumps.
No action in the pump. I have to prime it somehow, but I can't push the plastic ball in the waste valve down, it is frozen in place and I don't want to break it. I tried last summer and it wouldn't budget with both thumbs pushing down until it hurt. No movement at all.
The expansion tank seems fine, the glass cage with the ball and gasket seem fine. Where would I push down, on the plastic in the hole in the circular flanged piece that will act as the clack valve? How hard do you push? I might need a hammer.
The drive pipe is about 8' of steel 2 inch diameter pipe screwed onto the threaded intake hole. It is not leaking that I can tell. The intake is not blocked with debris or sandy mud or leaves. The stream has a fairly good amount of moving water, but not fast and the drop is probably at least 4-5 feet from the waterfall culvert as it drains from the pond on the other side of the road. There is no delivery hose attached because I can't start the pump.
Sometimes the ball would hold up against the rubber with a trickle of water coming out of the top hole. Finger pressure was enough to force the ball down to start the flow in the drive pipe and the pump cycle.
I suggest you remove the flanged plate, lift out the thick rubber and check the clearance of the ball. It sems to me that the ball supporting frame is too high.
Hope this helps.
I don't know how to prime the bloody thing because the instructions, while excellent, don't have a "this is how you prime the thing" section.
It makes sense you would push down the waste valve over and over and the water hammer effect would build up and spew water out of the waste valve. I think this thing will be terrific once I get it running reliably. Probably won't need maintenance the rest of my life.
I appreciate all the help I can get!
P.S. To get it to start to function you will need a valve to shut off the flow coming out of the tee off of the pressure tank above the secondary check valve and the delivery pipe will help alot to have it keep running but once the pressuer is built up from the valve being shut and the pump running you can open it a little and get a stream coming out and as long as less is coming out than the pump is pressurizing each cycle it will keep running even without the pipe but thats not very useful heh.
I am going to the hardware store to get my driveline up to 100'. I'm going with steel for 2 reasons. While much more $, it is better camoflauged to avoid neighbor attention AND the steel I think won't leach into my water supply like PVC. It is also very sturdy.
I need some kind of on/off to go on the upright delivery tee. I will measure the OD of my delivery tee outlet with a micrometer or caliper. Then with all my gear, I will go down to the water and get muddy!
Stay tuned! If I get this running I will post some fun pics.
Also your ten foot section in the picture does not appear to have a difference in head from one end to the other. It looks like its sitting in a level area of water all the way accross. You will need at least a foot of difference in head for it to do anything at all.
Did you adjust the glass ball basket height with a wrench and a thin rod to twist the bolt on the bottom with?
I'd like to fabricate some pumps like this. I wonder how expensive it would be to make them entirely stainless?
I'm sad that Harry Landis died in a plane crash on a trip to Guatemala where he originally came up with this design. I actually had email correspondence with him while he was on that trip maybe just a few days prior.
I had lost the small screw and ball bearing out of the snifter valve so don't unscrew that small hex machine screw out of the brass air inlet valve. I did a little to try and get more air in and it was loose and came out while I was absent. The screw has a special plastic cylinder at the tip that stops the bb from going all the way toward the screw allowing the air to pass. so its a hard part to replace unless you start fabricating specialized tiny pieces.
I'm going to try to find a picture of my assembly on my phone and post it.
That's a very generous offer of the pump although I would much rather see you get it working because it really is worth the work to get it going.,
Honestly though, I have no idea when I would make it out there just to pick that up.
I know a family that is on a steep creek and they would really benifit from one of these and i think that they are not even for sale anymore.
Could you not ship the pump without the pipe attatched and without the pressure tank, the way that you received it originally?
If you really cannot put it into use I would be happy to compensate you for the shipping and whatever you thought was fair.
I'm in Oregon.
Thanks, I hope you get it working.
Here is some info on ram pumps:
They're expensive, and with the thin monetary margins many family farms have, it's a challenge--but if the public financed one for a farmer and then got repaid by the electricity saved (one famer said it paid for itself in one year), then the further savings could be paid forward to fund one for the next farmer, and so on.
Does anyone know of a farmer who could use one of these? does anyone know how to set up a gofundme campaign that would work this way? is it legal to have the money repaid to people?
There are prefab ones sold for a fraction of that or can build one yourself with a very limited amount of plumbing parts from local hardware store.
Jeffrey Dustin wrote:I bought one of these ram pumps a while back and have yet to get a drop out of the delivery line. I've been trying to contact Mr. Landis with no luck. Very frustrating. The darn thing is in my stream and just sitting there. I can't get the ball valve glass ball to do anything. I need some help.
We worked with Harry Landis for many years on the design of the Landis Hydram. Harry died about two years ago. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding the Landis Hydram or about specific site installation issues. We are now manufacturing and selling the Landis Hydram directly from our Rogue River Oregon shop. We can be contacted directly by using the Contact tab on our website:
Here is more information regarding Harry Landis:
Here is our hydram performance calculator with considerable information about hydrams in the associated instructions:
Jeffery, it sounds like you either didn't receive or you didn't read the hydram installation instructions. Jesse's response to you sounds correct...thanks Jesse. You first need to adjust the glass ball cage height before starting the hydram. You also need to have back-pressure in the delivery line to keep the pump operating. Hydrams are very simple devices, but the physics that allows them to operate is extremely complex. So you do have to satisfy all the hydram operating constraints (primarily Fall, Lift, drive line diameter/length, delivery line diameter/length and operating frequency) to achieve effective and reliable hydram operation. We have many Landis Hydrams that have been in continuous operation for over 25 years without any maintenance at all.