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My solar deep well pumping system

 
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I made a video of my deep well water pumping system. Enjoy!


 
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Eric. Wow, that's a nice deep well! Why did you go almost 300 ft beyond the water level. Sounds expensive. But good water is priceless. Good idea to measure the water level. Those SQ Flex pumps sound really good design. Thanks for the video.
 
Eric Hammond
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Hey Jeremy, It's common practice for the well drillers around here to drill until 30 gpm is reached. A lot of off the shelf 240v A.C. pumps are 25 gallons per minute and it works good for that. If I were to sell out or pass away, they next people to own the property would most likely not be as crazy as I am haha.  The well was quite expensive. There is 80 feet of steel casing grouted in the bedrock to prevent and shallow waters from contaminating the deep aquifer. That combined with drilling made for about a 5000 dollar hole.  Funny thing is I never experimented with rain water catchment until AFTER the well was drilled. When I had the hand pump and realized how much work it was to pump water by hand for all the animals, i started catching rainwater. I had no idea how much water was just falling out of the sky.  I have a shed that's about 12 ft by 8 ft on one side of the roof, in one inch of rain I could catch over 100 gallons of water, pretty amazing.....well my shop is 40 ft by 50 ft and I estimate in 1 inch of rain I could catch 5000 gallons of water. It rains 43 inches a year here. With a couple large storage tanks I could satisfy my entire water supply with rain water.  Live and learn.

The state of missouri doesnt recommend drinking the shallow waters that you hit at less then 80 feet because it could be contaminated.  There is an old man around the corner from me that is 97 and still getting around great, he dug his well by hand in the 1950s. His wife would lower him down in the hole and would hoist the dirt and him back up. When he hit rock, at that time you could buy dynamite at the hardware store. He dug until water was pouring in faster then you could dig.  He cased the well by stacking concrete culverts end on end to the top of the hole.  If anyone but him drinks that water, it does make you feel kind of ill. But, I reckon it's nothing that your body can't get used to, and doesn't seem to affect the longevity of your life. He still drives and fixes clocks for people.  His wife just recently died. She was up the in age too.
 
Jeremy Baker
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Eric, That's interesting. Nice work. Trick water system. One can't help wonder what one is drinking no matter the source. Id love to try some of that deep water if you can beam some over. The old timer neighbor sounds great. Men of steel eh. Better than Men of Arsenic haha. Here the basic water test is free but the one that tests for heavy metals, chemicals, etc costs. Something affected me on my old farm. I don't know what. Could have been black mold. The shallow well. Chemicals. Excess iron. Or a combination. I sweated it out at last.
That is impressive rain catchment figures. I'd use it for irrigation, toilet, and ponds and well water for domestic. Too much bird poop for my germaphobe sens abilities. Also roofs are covered in stuff from air pollution.
  I could see getting a bigger tank for the well water and a big one for rain water. Hey, have you considered a 'natural swimming pond'? I built one and it was my favorite project on my permaculture site. Do you have any clay on the land? How does it drain? Enjoy
 
pollinator
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Hi Eric,  Great job on the video. Very informative!
A few questions:
In our campground we have an ac well pump that is run by a generator. It fills 2, 150 gallon tanks. That water is then used by a small bathroom house that has 2 showers 2 flush toilets and 2 vanity sinks. The height of the tanks are only about 5-6 feet above the height of the bathroom house so no help from gravity to produce any measurable pressure. Our pressure instead is supplied by a dc 12v shurflo pump used in RV's. Every time we turn on the water though, the pump has to kick on which ends up being a lot of on/off cycles and has burnt out the switch several times now.
My question is: 1) if I were to add a pressure tank (about the size of the one you have in the video), would the shurflo pump be able to pressurize the tank to help minimize the on/off cycling?
As you probably know, the shurflo pump has an adjustment screw to increase/decrease the pressure sensitivity but I'm not sure if this would be enough to control the pressure tank properly?

A few more details: We originally had 2, 3000 gallon tanks on a hill which provided enough pressure to run our bathroom house. The well is no longer producing near as much water anymore and it takes forever to get the water pumped way up there and having to listen to the generator for like 6 hours a day, we came up with the shurflo solution described above.
Perhaps one day when the ac pump dies, we'll replace it with an AC/DC pump like the one you have but for now just trying to get by until that day comes.  
Any help would be appreciated.
 
pollinator
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Gerry Parent wrote:Hi Eric,  Great job on the video. Very informative!
A few questions:
In our campground we have an ac well pump that is run by a generator. It fills 2, 150 gallon tanks. That water is then used by a small bathroom house that has 2 showers 2 flush toilets and 2 vanity sinks. The height of the tanks are only about 5-6 feet above the height of the bathroom house so no help from gravity to produce any measurable pressure. Our pressure instead is supplied by a dc 12v shurflo pump used in RV's. Every time we turn on the water though, the pump has to kick on which ends up being a lot of on/off cycles and has burnt out the switch several times now.
My question is: 1) if I were to add a pressure tank (about the size of the one you have in the video), would the shurflo pump be able to pressurize the tank to help minimize the on/off cycling?
As you probably know, the shurflo pump has an adjustment screw to increase/decrease the pressure sensitivity but I'm not sure if this would be enough to control the pressure tank properly?

A few more details: We originally had 2, 3000 gallon tanks on a hill which provided enough pressure to run our bathroom house. The well is no longer producing near as much water anymore and it takes forever to get the water pumped way up there and having to listen to the generator for like 6 hours a day, we came up with the shurflo solution described above.
Perhaps one day when the ac pump dies, we'll replace it with an AC/DC pump like the one you have but for now just trying to get by until that day comes.  
Any help would be appreciated.


hi Gerry, in case Eric doesn't answer you we ran our house using a system similar to what you describe for 4 years. Adding a 5 gallon pressure tank inline with the shurflo will reduce the frequent start stops that burn out the switch. Usually it's the slow flow of the toilet or a slow tap that does it as the pump catches up too fast and cycles continuously. Adjust the pressure on the tank to be more in line to the pressure of the pump though as it's usually lower then your typical jet pump.
Cheers,  David
 
Gerry Parent
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Thank you for your quick response David. I forgot to mention that we also have a reverse osmosis unit hooked up which like the toilet, also causes the cycling and wearing out the switch faster. I have since adjusted the pumps pressure adjuster so it either stays on or goes off under low flow conditions.

"Adjust the pressure on the tank to be more in line to the pressure of the pump though as it's usually lower then your typical jet pump."
Do you mean to adjust the pressure of the tank by the air valve at the top? I think they are factory set at about 28 psi.
This is not a jet pump. Here is the link shurflo pump
Shutoff 55 psi, start 40 psi. What would I have to set the air in the tank to equal the pumps output?
 
David Baillie
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Gerry Parent wrote:Thank you for your quick response David. I forgot to mention that we also have a reverse osmosis unit hooked up which like the toilet, also causes the cycling and wearing out the switch faster. I have since adjusted the pumps pressure adjuster so it either stays on or goes off under low flow conditions.

"Adjust the pressure on the tank to be more in line to the pressure of the pump though as it's usually lower then your typical jet pump."
Do you mean to adjust the pressure of the tank by the air valve at the top? I think they are factory set at about 28 psi.
This is not a jet pump. Here is the link shurflo pump
Shutoff 55 psi, start 40 psi. What would I have to set the air in the tank to equal the pumps output?

for a pressure tank you want the pressure in the tank when it is empty of water to be roughly equal to the pressure it takes to turn on the pump. That way as the tank empties and the pump turns on there is no significant pressure change in the water coming out of the taps. I mentioned jet pumps only because its turn on turn off pressure is usually higher then a shurflo and the tank you will buy will be factory charged to match its pressure so you will have to adjust it down. For us what killed our pump was a ceramic filter on the kitchen sink... similar flows to the RO unit...
Cheers,  David
 
Gerry Parent
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Thanks again David. Probably going to get that hooked up real soon. I'll let you know how it goes.  :)
 
Eric Hammond
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Gerry Parent wrote:Hi Eric,  Great job on the video. Very informative!
A few questions:
In our campground we have an ac well pump that is run by a generator. It fills 2, 150 gallon tanks. That water is then used by a small bathroom house that has 2 showers 2 flush toilets and 2 vanity sinks. The height of the tanks are only about 5-6 feet above the height of the bathroom house so no help from gravity to produce any measurable pressure. Our pressure instead is supplied by a dc 12v shurflo pump used in RV's. Every time we turn on the water though, the pump has to kick on which ends up being a lot of on/off cycles and has burnt out the switch several times now.
My question is: 1) if I were to add a pressure tank (about the size of the one you have in the video), would the shurflo pump be able to pressurize the tank to help minimize the on/off cycling?
As you probably know, the shurflo pump has an adjustment screw to increase/decrease the pressure sensitivity but I'm not sure if this would be enough to control the pressure tank properly?

A few more details: We originally had 2, 3000 gallon tanks on a hill which provided enough pressure to run our bathroom house. The well is no longer producing near as much water anymore and it takes forever to get the water pumped way up there and having to listen to the generator for like 6 hours a day, we came up with the shurflo solution described above.
Perhaps one day when the ac pump dies, we'll replace it with an AC/DC pump like the one you have but for now just trying to get by until that day comes.  
Any help would be appreciated.



Hey Gerry, great questions.

The addition of a pressure tank does reduce the cycling of the pump for sure.  Several hand washings and toilet flushes before the pump will kick on.  As David previously stated, there is no adjustment of the pressure switch on the shurflo pump to make it work, the adjustment is done on the pressure tank Schrader valve located at the top, its the same fitting as a tire on a car.  The adjustment is super simple.  You need a pressure gauge installed to monitor water pressure.  Turn the pump on and pressurize the whole system until it turns off, then crack open a faucet and monitor the pressure gauge until the pump kicks on.  Say 30 psi is when the pump kicks back in.  Turn the pump off, open a faucet to relieve all water pressure and then set the air pressure in the pressure tank to two psi below the kick on pressure, 28 psi in our example.  Done. Turn system back on and use it.

My shurflo pump failed maybe a 1.25 years in?  Pressure switch as well, it started to develop a slight leak and got into the contacts and corroded them, that lead to heat and high resistance until ultimately switch failure.  Honestly, while the shurflo pump did work, really it kind of sucked for that purpose and I wouldn't recommend them at this point other then some very special applications.  In my case the 20 gallon pressure tank did not provide very long contact life.  I think the best bet to try would be the largest pressure tank you could find, 80 gallons ish.  That would drastically reduce cycle time, but I would suspect the pressure switch would still fail, I think its just a poor made part with all the current of the motor running through it, and ever changing battery voltage causing that current to spike to high levels and burn up the contacts.

I never gave it any consideration until this point of you asking your question but it might be worth cutting the wires to the shurflo motor and pressure switch and wiring the pressure switch to the control side of a an automotive 30 amp relay, and run the motor off the switched side of the relay.  It seems redundant, but I bet the pressure switch would be significantly improved by not running a large load through the contacts.  It's doubtful the automotive relay would ever go bad, but it if did, it would just be 10 bucks or so.

I hated the noise on my pump.  I don't know how many gpm your pump is, mine wasn't much.  With a large tank you will have to put up with a long pump time.

I guess the more I type and ramble and think, in your position I would put in a pressure tank and try an automotive relay.  Hell I would try a 20 gallon first just because I'm pretty sure the relay idea would fix it.  I'm actually getting excited right now thinking about it.  I have never examined the idea of wiring it to an external pressure switch like they use for regular well pumps, but that might be worth some exploration.

I abandoned my shur flo pump when it failed for the cheapest 120v well pump I could buy on amazon with a regular square D pressure switch, MASSIVE UPGRADE  I have incredible water pressure now and the pump is super quiet.
 
Eric Hammond
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This is sort of what I was thinking





Edit.....
Scratch that idea, I'm sure the pressure switch is normally closed and the above diagram will not work

Edit.....again,

I think it will work.  Looking at my post after I made it I was concerned I made a mistake thinking if the switch was normally closed, then battery drain could occur through the relay coil and keep the pump running, but as long as pressure is achieved, the pressure switch will open, so it should kill power to the relay coil.......the schematic SHOULD work.  The switch is BOTH a normally open AND normally closed, it's resting position is dictated by water pressure of course.....DOH!  The diagram simply represents pump not running, pressure achieved.
 
Gerry Parent
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Hi Eric,   Very detailed response. Thank you.

This whole thing started when our shurflo pump was beginning to not always kick on. Wiggling the wire that goes to the pump switch made it work but then stopped again. This indicated to me that the switch was going bad. I took the switch out and found out it was just a micro switch. Years back I remember pulling a bunch of those from an old microwave to make a homemade spot welder so I cannabolized our microwave which we don't use too often - especially now :(  -to grab one. Turns out it was a NO (Normally Open) switch so it didn't work directly as the pump had a NC (Normally Closed) switch. I had to dig deeper so I ripped open both switches and switched the innards to get much better contacts. Hooray! It now works!  However, I ordered replacement switches from Amazon just the other day to have spares on hand.
shurflo pump micro switches

I agree with your assessment of the switch getting too much juice and burning them out prematurely.  I like your idea of the automotive relay but for right now, I just want to get the pressure tank up and running first before going that route. Besides, I have a set of 4 switches coming soon so I'm still covered.  

So now we're back with water but still need to take care of the cycling issue. Found a 40 gallon pressure tank in the garage today and its set at 28psi. One I get a few more fittings at the store I will hook it up and follow your instructions to match it to the pump.

I recently installed an 80 gallon in our house system and like it very much. Gonna try the 40 gallon first before going that big for now.

Our pump is 3 gpm and is installed in our pump house which is away from the shower house so noise is not an issue, but I do agree, its kinda annoying if your close to it.

Our pump house has no electricity except for a generator which runs our well to fill the tanks I mentioned in my earlier post so no chances of upgrading to a 120v pump like you did.
 
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Perhaps it's possible to locate the pump in a spot that has some sound proofing too, so it's not so loud when it runs? Like if you had an attached root cellar space so there's at least a thick door or some earth between the pump and any ears?
 
Gerry Parent
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Mark Tudor wrote:Perhaps it's possible to locate the pump in a spot that has some sound proofing too, so it's not so loud when it runs? Like if you had an attached root cellar space so there's at least a thick door or some earth between the pump and any ears?



Our pump is located in a separate pump house made of 1 foot thick rock so no worries with the sound. May need to reconsider if it was to be installed in our shower house.
 
David Baillie
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Gerry Parent wrote:

Mark Tudor wrote:Perhaps it's possible to locate the pump in a spot that has some sound proofing too, so it's not so loud when it runs? Like if you had an attached root cellar space so there's at least a thick door or some earth between the pump and any ears?



Our pump is located in a separate pump house made of 1 foot thick rock so no worries with the sound. May need to reconsider if it was to be installed in our shower house.


Old school solar dc only houses often have a regular pressure switch like you see on ac deep well pumps hooked up to an automotive relay then to the dc pump. Running the small current signal amperage they would last forever.
 
Gerry Parent
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Looking at Eric's diagram:

1) What is the "original pressure switch"? Right now there is no pressure switch so does this mean I need to obtain one like what David said "a regular pressure switch like you see on ac deep well pumps"?

 
David Baillie
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Gerry Parent wrote:Looking at Eric's diagram:

1) What is the "original pressure switch"? Right now there is no pressure switch so does this mean I need to obtain one like what David said "a regular pressure switch like you see on ac deep well pumps"?

if you wanted to bypass the shurflo built in pressure switch yes. But I think he was talking about using g the built in pressure switch and using the relay so it doesn't have to drive so much current.
 
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I have a couple of thoughts.  (May or may not be good ones, so take it for what it's worth.)

The first is, your building looks fairly tall and I think I even spotted a staircase up to a loft.  Would it be possible to reinforce that floor and raise up the tank to eliminate the need for the second pump altogether?

Second, I don't know how much of a necessity filling the pond is in your particular situation, but when the tank is full you could use a DPDT relay to switch the power on over to your main solar electric system.  (Better to have the watts going into batteries than into a hole in the ground.)  

 
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Has anyone tried using airlift pumps? I am a fan of AIRLIFT PUMPS. Now I am using them to move water up and around wherever I can, best for aquaponics or hydroponics, as living things need both air and water at the same time. And I prefer to moving water slowly with low pressure (i.e. DripGrow) rather than fast with high pressure (traditional irrigation). That is why I set up a website called AirliftDripGrow.com (Chinese) and DripGrowTower.com (English).
 
Eric Hammond
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Gerry Parent wrote:Looking at Eric's diagram:

1) What is the "original pressure switch"? Right now there is no pressure switch so does this mean I need to obtain one like what David said "a regular pressure switch like you see on ac deep well pumps"?



Hey Gerry, by original pressure switch, I mean, the one that is currently on the shurflo pump, no external extra pressure switch required.

I looked at the micro switch link you bought and thought to my self there is no way that would work, so I went and took apart my old shurflo pump again because I couldn't remember what it looked like and my pressure switch is identical to the one in the link you provided.  

If you look at the switch, its rated for 15 amps at 125 or 250 VAC

But if the voltage is DC like coming out of a battery, only .3 of an amp at 250 or .6 of an amp and 125 VDC.....following this same linear pattern, at 12.5 volts DC, that switch could only withstand 6 amps.   This is due to the fact of the arc that is created when the switch opens.  The arc is hard to extinguish in DC because the voltage potential does not cross zero and extinguish the arc like it does in AC voltage 60 times per second(60 hertz)

Looking at my shurflo pump, its 24 volt and rated at 3.5 amps, but the 12 volt pumps I researched are 7.5 amps.  The life of this switch in this application cannot be long.

It is of my opinion that the only way to increase the life of the switch is to try wiring up a relay as suggested.  The relay will only need to be a 4 pin relay and I would use a 15 amp - 20 amp relay

Let me know how the experiment works.
 
Eric Hammond
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K Eilander wrote:I have a couple of thoughts.  (May or may not be good ones, so take it for what it's worth.)

The first is, your building looks fairly tall and I think I even spotted a staircase up to a loft.  Would it be possible to reinforce that floor and raise up the tank to eliminate the need for the second pump altogether?

Second, I don't know how much of a necessity filling the pond is in your particular situation, but when the tank is full you could use a DPDT relay to switch the power on over to your main solar electric system.  (Better to have the watts going into batteries than into a hole in the ground.)  



You gain approximately .5 a psi per foot of elevation from gravity, I'm not really picky but for me I would consider 30 PSI the minimum of water pressure need for a satisfying shower or faucet operation.....you would need a water tower a minimum of 60 feet.  45+ psi is ideal  so a 90 foot tower would be best, while this could be done and incorporate wind generators etc on the tower, I lack the funds and time to complete such a project currently, and there would be some hurdles in my climate to overcome like preventing freezing in the winter of the tank and pipes.

As far as diverting the power.  My Charge controller for the solar system for the house can only support 150 V DC, and the well pump panels are wired to 200 V DC.    I'm very close to implementing a geothermal water solution to heat and cool the building, so pumping water all day is a good thing :)
 
Gerry Parent
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Eric Hammond wrote:
It is of my opinion that the only way to increase the life of the switch is to try wiring up a relay as suggested.  The relay will only need to be a 4 pin relay and I would use a 15 amp - 20 amp relay



Going into town tomorrow and so I did a quick search for 15 -20amp relays. Almost everything is 30+amp. Will look again tonight when I have more time.
 
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I doubt it would be a problem if the relay is over-rated, since the amount of current will not exceed the max.
 
Gerry Parent
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Eric,   One more question on your diagram. If you could dumb it down for me a bit further as I'm just learning about relays.... When the original pressure switch closes, it sends +positive current from battery through the relay coil and then connects to the - negative line. Not sure why this is so?  
 
Phil Gardener
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Not to short circuit Eric's answer :>), but the relay circuit now serves to turn on/off the pump circuit.  

Because the low amperage relay circuit is now switching the higher amperage pump circuit, it takes the beating rather than the expensive pressure switch.  Generally, relays are low cost and socket installed to be quickly replaceable.  

If you look under the hood of your car, you will find DC relays in the fuse box that control things that draw large current like your fan motors, AC compressor, etc.  If one burns out, it is quickly pulled and replaced (as a readily available, off the shelf component) for a few dollars.
 
Gerry Parent
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Hi Phil,   OK I am understanding what the relay does and why its important, but I'm a bit confused at how a positive hot line is hooking up to a negative line without short circuiting? In other words, once the original pressure switch closes, it continues the current to the coil in the relay then hooks up to the negative. What am I seeing incorrectly?
 
Eric Hammond
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Hey again Gerry.  I think I understand your question.  Your seeing it as a short circuit and blowing the fuse.  Let me describe the function of a relay for you.  They are a wonderful device to be able to control a very large current draw with a really small one.

It operates off the principle of electromagnetism.  The wire from the original pressure switch leads to a coil of wire in the relay, and the other end of that coil of wire goes to ground, so the coil of wire becomes the load of the circuit when it is energized, just like a light bulb.  The coil is a bunch of fine stranded wire wrapped around an iron core that makes a very strong electromagnet.  The contacts inside of the relay that control the pump motor, are attached to a ferrous metal strip, so they can be controlled by the magnetism.

Here's some pictures to break it down further.

When you go to the parts store, look for something like this, its a 30 amp relay that comes with a plug, they sell them around the accessory aisle so people can wire up fog lights etc to their vehicles.





Take note of the wiring diagram printed on the side of the relay, these numbers are universal to all relays, I don't know why they didn't choose the numbers 1-5, but they didn't. All relays are labeled this way.



The bottom of the relay should be labeled



and a lot of times the connector is too



Lets look back at our wiring diagram



The power wire from the output of the pressure switch will run to pin 85, this is the input to the coil of wire that will make an electromagnet



Pin 86 will be connected to ground of the battery.



That completes the wiring for the control side of the relay.  Now whenever the pressure switch sees low pressure, the Original pressure switch will close, power will flow to pin 85 and the relay will come on and make a click sound.

For all purposes of the relay, the polarity of those two pins is irrelevant.  You can hook the wires to either side.  It does change which end of the magnet is a south pole or a north pole, but in a relay, that doesn't matter.

As far as the LOAD side of a relay, lets look at the wiring diagram.

The wiring diagram shows the relay at rest position, this pin 30 is where we will attach our fused power



You'll see at rest that pin runs down to 87a to provide power to that pin while the relay is turned OFF....in our application this pin is NOT USED, you will use it for some specialized applications, where turning on the relay removes power



The pin we are going to use is 87, power to the shurflo pump motor will be wired to 87, when the relay is turned on the electromagnet pulls the contact away from 87a and attaches it to pin 87



After that, its done.

Heres a look inside that relay showing the coil of wire and I'm pointing at the contacts. If you look closely you see they are always engaged to pin 87a and when the magnet comes on, they move to 87










 
pollinator
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I love the sound of that pump, sounds like a great pump because you have so many ways to run it.

I do much the same, I fill 1000  gal tanks with my cheap chinese pump, I have 140 foot well but a 32 foot static level, my pump runs off 110 V   which I run via a solar battery bank.    It pulls right at 950 watts of power but it fills  my 1000 gal tank in 50 min.    So good to have a solar powered setup and if that fails you can run off gen, I know what you are saying.


Thank you for sharing your setup!
 
Gerry Parent
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Eric that was awesome!!! Thank you so much! Gerry
 
Eric Hammond
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Mart Hale wrote:I love the sound of that pump, sounds like a great pump because you have so many ways to run it.

I do much the same, I fill 1000  gal tanks with my cheap chinese pump, I have 140 foot well but a 32 foot static level, my pump runs off 110 V   which I run via a solar battery bank.    It pulls right at 950 watts of power but it fills  my 1000 gal tank in 50 min.    So good to have a solar powered setup and if that fails you can run off gen, I know what you are saying.


Thank you for sharing your setup!



I don't want to be known as that wierd prepper guy, but I am paranoid about water! I want to have as many options as i can get, because I still remember all to well when I didnt have any water source. I will not live like that again!
 
Eric Hammond
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Gerry Parent wrote:Eric that was awesome!!! Thank you so much! Gerry



I appreciate you giving me the lead on those micro switches, shurflo doesn't sell them that way and for the 30 bucks they wanted for a pressure switch, I just never got around to fixing it.  I have another project I need that pump for, I had a 100 gallon pressure tank given to me and would like to build little fire wagon trailer in case I do a little burning or maybe water some remote plants.



I truly think using a relay to control the motor would have to extend the life of the micro switch substantially.
 
Gerry Parent
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Hi again,   Today I was able to install the in-line fuse and the relay following Eric's awesome schematic. Hoooray ! It works!  Sure am glad though its located in the pump house so not only do I not have to listen to the pump, but also the "click" that the relay makes. No complaints, just a fact. Also nice to know that the relay is much easier to replace than the switch.
I'm one part short of hooking up the pressure tank. Hopefully soon....
 
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I just spent 11 Grand on my well it goes down 280 feet uses a 220 AC pump however as I do have off-grid power running on a 5kw lithium battery though it can do the 220 pump I don't like pushing it to the max every time I need to wash my hands so my power saving solution was simple I use an RV water tank that I happen to have with its own 12 volt pump I simply kick on the well water once or twice a week fill the tank and then run on 12 volt from there all I need to do is flip a couple of valves and push a button  

I do have four 330 gallon reservoirs I intend to use as a backup rain collection system and to experiment with a gravity feed system in the future but I have not gotten there yet
 
Gerry Parent
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Eric Hammond wrote:
Let me know how the experiment works.


Installed the pressure tank today. So far so good. Pump turns on at 28psi and off at around 48psi (even though the manual for the pump says shutoff is 55psi...hmmmm...)

Ryan.... Gravity fed to me is the way to go if you can so there is no fiddling with more stuff that can go wrong but sounds like your good to go for now. Thanks for sharing.
 
David Baillie
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It's always nice when so.eone posts how the project worked out... thanks
 
Eric Hammond
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Gerry Parent wrote:

Eric Hammond wrote:
Let me know how the experiment works.


Installed the pressure tank today. So far so good. Pump turns on at 28psi and off at around 48psi (even though the manual for the pump says shutoff is 55psi...hmmmm...)

Ryan.... Gravity fed to me is the way to go if you can so there is no fiddling with more stuff that can go wrong but sounds like your good to go for now. Thanks for sharing.



Thanks for the update.  I think you'll have a pretty robust system now.  My psi turn off was lower then the pump manual said also.  I was satisfied with the pressure for showers though so I didn't do anything about it.  If your satisfied with the feel of the shower I would leave it, otherwise, now is when you can start playing with that screw on the bottom to adjust the pressures.  Keep in mind if you do, the low pressure turn on will change also and you may have to change the pressure tank pressure again to match.


 
Gerry Parent
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Eric Hammond wrote:
Thanks for the update.  I think you'll have a pretty robust system now.  My psi turn off was lower then the pump manual said also.  I was satisfied with the pressure for showers though so I didn't do anything about it.  If your satisfied with the feel of the shower I would leave it, otherwise, now is when you can start playing with that screw on the bottom to adjust the pressures.  Keep in mind if you do, the low pressure turn on will change also and you may have to change the pressure tank pressure again to match.



Thank you David and Eric for all your help and support!
I am satisfied with the pressure I'm getting so playing with the adjustment screw will be more of an exercise in curiosity than anything.
 
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K Eilander wrote:I have a couple of thoughts.  (May or may not be good ones, so take it for what it's worth.)

The first is, your building looks fairly tall and I think I even spotted a staircase up to a loft.  Would it be possible to reinforce that floor and raise up the tank to eliminate the need for the second pump altogether?

Second, I don't know how much of a necessity filling the pond is in your particular situation, but when the tank is full you could use a DPDT relay to switch the power on over to your main solar electric system.  (Better to have the watts going into batteries than into a hole in the ground.)  



Hi K,

Even if you could get the water tank up so that the base of it was 20 feet above the highest usage point in the house, you will only havae 10PSI.  That makes for pretty lousy showers.  Also you would need to use much larger pipe than you do with 30 to 50 PSI water.

As for your relay idea, you would need a level sensor to turn active your relay and as it is a single pole DC power source you only need to switch the hot side from the pump to the battery bank.  However, depending on the design and output voltage of your main solar array, you may need another charge controller to hook the power into.  An alternative idea would be to add a second water heater in front of the primary water heater and dump the excess power into preheating the water thus increasing the amount of hot water in your system and reducing the amount of electricity used by the primary water heater.
 
Ralph Kettell
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Phil Gardener wrote:I doubt it would be a problem if the relay is over-rated, since the amount of current will not exceed the max.



To Phil and Gerry (re. relays),

30A relays are fine, 100A would work fine but would be a bit bulky.  The only issue is that many relays are only rated for AC or they have a reduced rating for DC.  As Eric explained in his video AC automatically breaks the circuit 60 times per second.  DC never breaks and so the relay needs to be designed in such a way to insure that the current is quenched.  This needs to be done in such a way that does not degrade the life of the relay contacts.  Arcing can be a nasty problem especially if it is repetitive.

Eric if you have any electrical problems or questions, PM me.  I  am a PE with an MS in Electrical Engineering and 40 years of experience.

Sincerely,

Ralph
 
Ralph Kettell
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Hi Eric,

That was a good explanation to Gerry in your 10:19 post on 1/19 of what  a relay is and how it operates.  I had done my other two posts as I went down thru the thread.  I hope you don't think I was being a know it all as I had not gotten through all of the questions and answers when I posted.  You also did a bang up job explaining what you did in your water video.  I have a slighlty different setup but have a good bit larger storage system than you do with a more conventional pump system but running off my house solar system.  I am a bit south of you in NW Arkansas.

Sincerely,

Ralph
 
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