ram pump

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Does anyone have plans on how to build an inexpensive ram pump? Thanks

-- Rebecca (rburden@mindspring.com), January 29, 2000


Not exactly plans, but some technical info for you when you DO find some plans.

http://forums.cosmoaccess.net/forum/survival/prep/library2/hydrpump.ht m

-- Jason (ajakal3@yahoo.com), January 30, 2000.

I don't know why it did this but it put a space at the end between the t & m...delete the space once you copy and paste it.

-- Jason (ajakal3@yahoo.com), January 30, 2000.

Jason, that site appears to be a good source of info.

Rebecca, I'd like to add another site, which has been manufacturing ram pumps for over 100 years. They will send you information which will help you decide if a ram will even work in your situation, and which will help you learn A LOT about the principles and applications of ram pumps.

I THOUGHT I was going to post a url, but can't find it, for some reason. Here's a snail mail addy and 800 phone number, though:

Rife Rams P.O Box 70, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18703, (800) RIFE RAM

Years ago, I designed, and had a friend build, a ram with a 3" drive pipe, and a 1 1/2" supply pipe. It operated off a five foot fall, using quite a bit of water to drive it (never measured it, but I guesstimated it would use about thirty gallons per minute when I was designing it. It delivered enough water (and I recall that this was just under five gallons per minute) to run a rainbird twenty-four hours a day, almost twenty feet higher than the ram, and it ran the rainbird at over twenty psi.

The ram used all standard plumbing parts, except the "clacker" valve had a washer made of a scrap of old conveyor belt from a lumber mill This was rubber, reinforced with nylon or something, just like a car tire, but flat, and about three eighths of an inch thick. This rubber never wore out after many many years of operation. Actually the only problems I had were a broken 3" PVC male adaptor where the 3" drive pipe connected to the ram (would not have been a problem if I had used 3" steel pipe instead of pvc) and a "spring" which was made out of 1/8" x 1 1/2" mild flat steel, which broke once or twice a year from the continuous flexing. If I do another one, I'll use spring steel, which SHOULD help. As it was, I just welded the steel; a bit of a nuisance, but no big deal, i guess.

Rebecca, do you know how much water you have available to drive the ram? And how much fall is available to drive it? And how high you need to lift the water?

I've searched fairly extensively for ram plans, and had very limited success. There was only one site which had any plans, and they were for a rather specific situation. I don't remeber the url, but they had something to do with supplying water to third world peoples.

There are plans for a pvc ram in a very old Mother Earth News I used to have, but to be honest, their own claims (which they called a "whopping" 300 gallons per day, or somesuch) were so pitiful that I can't recommend their plans. Also, be aware that even the professionally built rams have different materials and construction techniques for different drive heads. Generally, I believe the pvc ones aren't recommended for drive heads of more than fifteen feet, for instance. The rams develop VERY high pressures when the clacker valves slam shut, especially when the drive head is large.

All in all, I highly recommend rams, though, if you can get the right design. I used to love waking up in the middle of the night, hearing my rainbird singing away, knowing I was getting thousands of gallons of water each day with no electrical requirements, and only two moving parts. It's a machine which almost seems miraculously simple.

Rife Rams, by the way, sells pumps ranging from their strongest, made of cast iron, to cast aluminum, done to maybe even pvc.

Good luck!

If you need help, and want to send me the particulars, I'll be glad to share my knowledge with you and make recommendations as to size of ram.

Or if money is not an important consideration, just buy a Rife. They are really well manufactured.

-- jumpoff joe (jumpoff@echoweb.net), January 31, 2000.

Rebecca, I just remembered that I received some info from a company which makes an alternative to a hydraulic ram. They are in Australia.

I can't say whether it's better, worse, or whatnot, but it IS an alternative, which appears to perform the same basic function.


-- jumpoff joe (jumpoff@echoweb.net), January 31, 2000.

Joe, That is a great site. That pump is so different,yet it does exactly the same thing! By the way, here is the Rife URL


-- Jason (ajakal3@yahoo.com), February 04, 2000.

I just built a small ram pump that pumps water out of a small stream up approximately 20' to my vineyard drip irrigation system. It cost about $25 using PVC pipe. I'm still amazed at how well it works, as it only has about one foot of water "fall" to make it pump. The NC State website has the best description on how to design one.

-- Andy Zeman (aezeman@cs.com), February 13, 2001.

Check out the Home Power website (homepower.com) under "Files and Downloads" and "Downloads #2." They have several "homebrew" ram pumps and a review or two. Also Atlas Publications has a book that is pretty good for a pump built from iron plumbing parts. Their address is P.O. Box 265, Murphy NC 28906 and the book is about 9 bucks or so. It's worth it. Also the Univ. of Georgia Extension Service website has plans for a PVC pump, but I lost the URL. And there is:




and check the archives. Hope that is all typed correctly.

-- Martin Boraas (boraas@miliserv.ent), February 13, 2001.

Try this link. The university of Georgia developed this ram pump and clemson is distributing it.


-- Bart Dominick (Dominickwb@dot.state.sc.us), July 17, 2001.

I just recently bought A very old cast iron Rife ram pump, I purchesed it off A Local college that used to use it to supply their water many years ago. It is SO big that The salesman at Rife ram company said that they don't even make them anymore, but he did say that they could still get the parts for it, he said it was to be used for municipal water system and was overkill for what I needed, he said it has the capacity to pump water 500 feet high, Im in the process of restoring it. my advice would be to find an old cast iron ram somewhere in your neghborhood "maybe not as big" but they do have the smaller older ones. You never know you might luck up and find an old one rusting somewhere that the owners don't even know what it is.

Good luck

-- david saylor (dvdsaylor@yahoo.com), February 03, 2002.

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