Newbie needs help with small solar water pump

2 Posts
May 13, 2010 02:58 pm
Newbie needs help with small solar water pump

I have a stream near my pasture. I want to pump water from it at a constant trickle/stream to a water trough about 20 feet away. It's slightly uphill, so the end of the hose will be about 2 feet above the level of the pump in the stream.
I would love to be able to buy an Aquajet Solar Fountain Kit (like from Silicon Solar), but I don't know if it would work because I need to add a hose onto the end instead of just letting it spray straight up in the air.
The total amount of water to be pumped in 24 hours can be as little as 30 gallons and still be vialble for me.
Please feel free to suggest a kit, or if not a kit, then use plain words to describe what I would need, because I get confused easily with electricity terms.
Thanks in advance!
351 Posts
May 13, 2010 04:43 pm
Re: Newbie needs help with small solar water pump

The Aquajet will NOT work for you, it only has a 1.5 foot lift (or head) capacity. So, you need to look at something larger.

The waterfall fountain kit has a lift of 4 feet, so it should work for your purpose.  Although they list the pump at 40 gallons an hour (gph), I would expect less than that.

It is common to list the gph at a low head.  It drops off with increased height and with longer tubing runs.  I would buy a 1/2 to 3/8 reducer and 1/2 tubing to extend the 3/8 tubing that is supplied.

You should also look at creating some type of overflow outlet for your trough and either return it to the stream, or pipe it some distance away from the trough before letting it flow out in the pasture.  Otherwise it may get real muddy around the trough.

I assume you have animals. Have you given any consideration to mounting the panel out of their reach and still having it in the sun without it being shaded ?  The supplied cord is 10 feet.


2 Posts
May 13, 2010 06:04 pm
Re: Newbie needs help with small solar water pump

Thanks for the fast reply. Yes, the panel will be mounted on the fence. The fence is halfway between the trough and the stream (10' either direction).
I have a return mini-trench that leads back to the stream for overflow.
Yes, I think I will have to do some branch trimming to improve the sunlight in that area.
If I understand correctly, the flow would be less than 40 gph because of the length of the hose, right? Which is okay for me, but will it overwork the pump motor?
351 Posts
May 14, 2010 03:08 am
Re: Newbie needs help with small solar water pump

The flow reduction is based on a couple of things.  The first is the height you are pumping. If the pump is pumping 40gph at 1 foot, it will do less at two, less at 3 and less at 4. In this case 4 feet is the Mfgs upper limit.

The second source of flow reduction is the pressure drop in the pipe or tubing.  Every foot adds to it, as do the different fittings. What that drop is, is affected by the length, the diameter, and how much water you are attempting to move through it. You can think of it as being similar to friction. 

Trying to move 40gph through the small tubing would be like having to pump the water an extra 15 inches higher.  By upsizing the tubing, the extra work is equivalent to about 3.5 inches.  So, we are saving almost a foot of pumping.

That one foot may be come important if your heights are slightly off.

If the Mfg is comfortable with the pump working many hours a day at a 4 foot lift, and we stay below that height (real height plus height equivalent losses), I wouldn’t worry about the motor. 

The thing that will kill it is if it becomes plugged with debris and cavitates or runs dry for long periods.  What are you planning to protect against that in the stream ?


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