water ram pump plans

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I thought I would post these sites for those who wish to build a water ram pump to pump water from ponds and streams to their gardens or livestock. These plans were developed at the University of Georgia and distributed by clemson.

http://www.lifewater.org/wfw/rws4/rws4d5.htm http://www.artrans.com/rmsg/water/moving.htm http://virtual.clemson.edu/groups/irrig/Equip/ram.htm

Good Luck, Bart

-- Bart Dominick (Dominickwb@dot.state.sc.us), July 27, 2001


Thanks Bart!

I liked this one the best and some great details A home made ram pump

If any one comes across plans to make a pump work on a few inches of drop please email me the link AND post it here. I sent away for some plans but the fella got sick and never heard from him again. :(

-- (perry@ofuzzy1.com), July 27, 2001.

Thanks for posting this, Bart. Ram pumps are way cool! I built one almost twenty years ago, all out of steel pipe. Three inch drive pipe, 6"x24" air chamber. It worked for years, and still would, only i no longer have a water source, having moved up the mountain.

I'd personally advise against using pvc in any but very low head sites, as the ram pump is basically a controlled water hammer kind of a thing. The pressures when the clacker valve slams shut can be extremely high, if the operating head is significant.

Perry, this plan is very interesting. I've never seen a swing check valve used as a clacker before. It looks like it might work, although the adjustment range looks a bit limited, depending on the individual situation. On the other hand, the one I made, which had a 1/8"x2" mild steel "spring" which controlled the clacker valve's opening frequency, kept breaking. About once a year I had to reweld it. I should have either made it out of a pair of old car springs, or had a blacksmith make one out of spring steel.

Another caveat: my supply pipe was 3" pvc, and also about once per year the male adaptor where the pvc attached into a three inch steel pipe nipple at the pump inlet, would break. This was because the ram would give a bit of a jump each time the valve slammed shut, and this repeated torque on the male adaptor did it in after many thousands of cycles. If you can afford steel drive pipe, this would not likely happen. I could not, at the time.

I think the idea of using an inner tube inside the air chamber is a very creative one. Cool. I did not do so, but I made mine to be self -charging. I did this by putting the spring check valve (part 5) right under the air chamber (part 15) (That would actually be right below the bushing, part 13, the way they have it drawn), instead of where they have it in the diagram. Right below the spring check valve I drilled a tiny hole. Each time the clacker valve slammed shut, a tiny amount of water would squirt out through this hole, which would be wasted, but right afterwards, when the spring check valve shut, a bit of air would be introduced into the riser pipe below the air tank, which would then be pushed up into the air tank on the next stroke. My delivery pipe also came out of the bottom of the side of the air tank, rather than like it is in the picture. I think I actually like the idea of the tube better, other than mine was fool proof, and didn't rely on having a leak free tube inside the air tank.

My ram worked off of a fall of approximately five feet. It raised the water about fifteen feet to where it was used, and still had about 23 psi at that point with a rain bird running. I used to love waking up at night and hearing the rainbird going, knowing that all that water was being delivered without any electrical consumption, by a miraculous pump which was invented in I think the nineteenth century? It's like magic. Two moving parts!

As far as a ram working on a few inches of drop, there is a rule of thumb which says you need at least eighteen inches of fall. It's recommended that if you have less, you build a small dam to raise the amount of fall. But if you can't do that, for whatever reason, rules are made to be broken. I know of no absolute miinimum head.

However, realize that the amount of water delivered is inversely proportional to the ratio of the height you raise it and the fall available to power it. Also, there is a limit to how high a ram will lift: basically you're not likely to lift water more than ten times the fall coming into the ram. So if you only have 18" of fall, you will not be able to raise the water much over fifteen feet, for instance. A very small fall will hence result in a very small lift.

Good luck!


-- jumpoff joe (jumpoff@ecoweb.net), July 28, 2001.

One other thing. If you opt to use this tube inside the air tank method, I'd recommend that you drill the top, or side of the air tank to accept a bolt down type of valve stem for the tube. You know the type; they're brass, and have a nut which tightens the valve down against the rim of the wheel, normally, or against the top of the air tank, in this application. That way you can avoid having to cut the air tank in half, as the author suggests. I'll almost guarantee you'll need to eventually pump the tube up some. Also, this would enable you to experiment around with different air pressures to maximize performance, without even stopping the ram.

I also wonder why they had so much trouble with leakage with a screw in plug and female adaptor. I have never had this type of problem, and I've done thousands of plumbing jobs. Maybe thay had a bad fitting?


-- jumpoff joe (jumpoff@ecoweb.net), July 28, 2001.

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