Ram Water Pumps

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I have built a ram water pump based on plans in an old Mother Earth News and some other research material I have. I am having a lot of problems getting it to work. The problems is in the area where the water comes down the pipe to the waste-water shut off valve which is just before the 3-inch tube that is the air chamber. The waste valve either sticks in the open position or the closed position. The water site is a year-round spring that produces approximately 15 gallons per minute. I can't figure out why it keeps sticking. Anybody got any ideas? I really need this pump to work as I've already invested about $200.00 in it and solar pumps are cost prohibitive for me (lowest estimate I've gotten so far is $700.) My garden is approximately 7 feet above the creek where the spring empties into and approximately 100 feet horizontally up a small slope and I need to get the water from the creek into the garden without having to haul 5 gallon buckets up the 7-foot rise. Any assistance would be really helpful. Thanks.

-- Na'yan Hamill (nayanhamil@yahoo.com), December 16, 2000


I have a friend who would say your first problem was building anything out of plans in TMEN. Their design testing was to print the plans and then to see if they worked or not.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), December 16, 2000.

Try VITA.org ---- Volunteers In Technical Assistance

I'm pretty sure they have plans at their site for a ram pump

-- john (natlivent@pcpros.net), December 16, 2000.

You might try: Hydraulic Ram Pumps, Atlas Publications, P.O. Box 265, Murphy, NC, 28906. Price: $8.95.

This is a small book on building ram pumps. I have not yet built one, although it is in the que. It appears reasonable and makes sense. The only other alternative I have found cost in excess of $500-$1000. If anyone has another alternative, I would be very happy to hear of it.

Take Care, Marty

-- Marty Boraas (boraas@miliserv.net), December 17, 2000.

Hi, first off I'd consider buying a book from Amazon.com. Here is the info from teh web page that got me to the link.

Title: Hydraulic Ram Pumps Type: Book Description: Hydraulic Ram Pumps: a Guide to Ram Pump Water Supply Systems

Step by step instructions on designing, installing and operating water supply systems based on hydraulic ram pumps. Author: Jeffrey, Thomas, Smith and Glover Published Date: 28-11-98 Category: Water Detail Url: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1853391727/globalecovillage/

Buy it at: Amazon.com

Secondly, we are in the process of building several types for poor camps and villages in the north of Thailand. As an engineer I've read up on all the equations. Quite simply - you don't need most unless you make a high performance version. Basically 2:1 ratio or mor for the feed pipe to discharge pipe. Secondly, use about a 1/2 inch discharge line for a garden (unless it is huge)and a 2 inch feed pipe. Make the pipe long enough to get a good amount of water volume flowing in the pipe - if it is too short - the hammer wave will be lost out the back end (so to speak) before it has maximum impact in getting water out the escape valve. 3rd, be careful in the choice of check valves. Don't chinze out here. Buy a decent 2 inch (or even 3 inch if you want to really go with it) hinged flap valve - mounted so the hinge is closer to the ground and the flap has to close upright. Make sure you also install the flap valve (check valve) backwards - you want the increasing flow of water to close it, not open it - gravity will do that part. 4th consider a similar check valve mounted in the right direction (normal use for the valve). Good rubber seating is needed to keep the water on the discharge side. 5th have a decent size air pipe to build a bit of dampening pressure to keep the pipe work from bursting. 6th - use ridgid materials. Flexible stuff wastes valuable energy in expansion - you don't want that. lastly - check out some of the web pages on this stuff. Go to google search engine adn type in 'ram pumps' in quotes adn click away. You'll get it in no time. We are using a 3 ft drop and with a few tweaks are getting water up 20 meters. I cannot take credit for the design. My friends idea - I only consult on some engineering aspects of the water system that is needed.

Press on... Tacoma

-- Tacoma (usf@loxinfo.co.th), February 06, 2001.


I disagree with the engineer. It's not as complicated as some try to make it, but there are various things that you need to consider. The main things are the available flow and the available fall, or head. Then, the supply pipe needs to be designed around the available flow, and the discharge pipe needs to be designed around the amount of water the ram will deliver, considering the available flow and head.

For a very good, and complete, explanation, look for Rife Ram (may be called Rife Manufacturing now) on the interenet. They will send you all the information in a very readable form.


-- jumpoffjoe (jumpoff@echoweeb.net), February 06, 2001.

I hope that You have already solved the problem, but just in case----- ----I too built a pump from Mother Earth. My waste valve was constructed from a Galvanized bushing, a couple of bolts, washers and 1-1/4 inch flat bar. I realized after a few minutes of having a stuck open or closed valve that the opening should only be about 1/16 inch and adjusting the spring tension solved the problem. Also the supply pipe should be about 5 times the fall from supply, and adjustments will have to be made once the delivery pipe is full. I have since made a new waste valve using a 2x1 inch Galvanized bushing, PVC fittings, a threaded Brass rod, springs, and a piece of brass tubing. Much more adjustable. Based on an article in an old Popular Mechanics or Popular Science. If I can be of anymore assistance just Write

-- Wayne Quarles (Outalot@aol.com), April 09, 2001.

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