Introduction: Portable Garden Pumps
With my raised garden beds over 200 feet from my home water sources, I needed a way to keep the beds well watered and the wicking reservoir full. Dragging hoses and using city water obviously is not a decent answer, especially when it comes time to re-roll the hoses and mow the lawn. Here is a decent, portable and waterproof answer that serves very well. The total cost is right at $100 using all new parts and assembly takes less than an hour. It's easy to move around at about 5 lbs and waterproof.
Step 1: Parts List
1 Rubbermaid Roughneck 10 gal plastic tote (Home Depot $8)
1 SP18 12v lawnmower battery (Home Depot $30)
2 15', 5/8" hose remnants (Home Depot $8 @)
1 Portable 200 GPH 12v marine pump (Harbor Freight $30)
1 Thunderbolt 1.5w solar charger (Harbor Freight $30)
1 12"x17 1/4" x 1/2" plywood scrap
2' quarter round (or other) scrap wood
4 #8 x 3/4" wood screws
Step 2: Assembled Unit Overview
Cut the plywood remnant to 12" x 17 1/4" to use as a base for the assembly. Mark the battery location on one end of the plywood, about 2 inches in from the end. Mark the location of the pump at the other end of the plywood with the terminals pointing toward the battery and the hose connections at the other end.
Glue and tack the quarter round in place as a frame to hold the battery, when the box is shifted. Screw the pump to the plywood in the marked location.
Step 3: Install the Hoses
Using a 3/4 wood boring bit, cut a hole in both sides of the plastic tote adjacent to the pump's inlet and outlet. Using a box cutter, make a 1/4" cut at the cardinal points of both holes, to allow the plastic to expand.
From the INSIDE of the box, force the male end of the hose remnants through the 3/4" holes and pull the hose through. The hole will close up around the hose forming a decent seal. Attach the female end of the hose to the fittings on the pump. Be sure to LABEL the inlet and outlet hoses, so you won't later confuse them!
Step 4: Install the Solar Charger Wires and Finish Up
Under the handle at the BATTERY END, within the built in indention of the tote, cut a cross about 1" in diameter. Force the connector of the solar charger through the cross you cut at the battery end of the box. Connect the solar charger to the battery using the battery clips supplied with the charger. Hang the charger in an area with a clear sky view, facing approximately west/ southwest. Connect the negative lead of the pump to the battery, leaving the positive lead free for now.
To use the system, just drop the inlet hose in a water barrel or clear stream (using a filter) and connect the positive pump lead to the positive battery post. You'll have a full strength hose instantly, wherever you want it.
You can certainly dress this up by replacing the battery clips with connectors and adding a waterproof on/off switch, but this works just fine.