~ World's Greenest WATER PUMP ~

Hydraulic Ram Pumps are very old technology that pump water using gravity and 2 valves to generate a repeating water hammer effect. The "hammer" pounds a little of the drive water into a pressure tank then up the delivery hose for your use. Why is it green? Because it's simple, reliable, pumps water without any engine, fuel or electricity or muscle power and can be made from mostly recycled materials.

The one I built has a few novelties that make it more reliable, cheaper and easier to operate than most of the plans you find on the Internet. It developed a steady 28psi pressure at the pump and delivered about 1,000 gallons per day where we wanted it.

last season, it hammered over 145,600 gallons of pond water up a steep hill to our garden over 700 feet away and over 100 feet higher than the pond! In the process, it saved us over 485 liters of diesel fuel we would have normally used to drive our diesel tractor to pump and tow the water around our farm.

The pump was built for about $50 worth of plumbing parts and a bunch of stuff that I had sitting in my scrap pile.

What's the secret? A strong gate valve - period.

Please have a look and enjoy the instructable and don't forget to rate it.

Please let me know if I can make it better or easier to follow somehow, and I will be happy to answer any questions that you have so post away!!

Paso 1: Get started!

Parts list.

You may want to print this picture to refer to later as an assembly guide.

Post a comment
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eltigre dice: Mar 22, 2014. 12:44 PM

Hi Boraan,

If you feed a 2" ram pump with a 4 meter vertical drop, you should have good luck driving it with a 20 L/m solar pump. Just hook the solar 1" outflow directly into the ram pump 2 " feed pipe. You can adjust the speed of the ram pump cycle to make sure you have enough drive water in the ram pump feed pipe. If it is adjusted to just barely spill over the top of the ram pump feed pipe, you will never have your ram pump stop due to lack of feed water.

Your trouble will be that the solar pump will stop feeding at night, then you will have to start the whole system again each morning. This design of ram pump is not self starting. To start it, you will require a long, light weight rod attached to the ram pump top valve so that you can push it down several times to prime the cycle. This will be annoying to you. You may be better off with a small self priming high lift gear pump attached to a simple water wheel driven by your solar pump outflow. Alternately, you can try to get a high lift low voltage pump that is directly driven by your solar cells and eliminate the double pump setup you are envisioning.

Or just get a low voltage compressor driven from your solar cells (or use an inverter to make high voltage) and run an airline down to a bubble pump. That way all your mechanism is above ground with no moving parts in the water or well. much easier to service everything. Ram pumps are easiest to operate and service when you can keep them at ground level and they have a continuous flow of feed water.

Or build a teeter totter with a piston pump on long rods over the well. Then the kids can play all day and pump water at the same time.

Boraan+ dice: Mar 22, 2014. 5:26 AM
Thank you for the suggestions,ElTigre. I plan to do as you say and hang the ram over the floating bilge pump. But do you think I should connect directly to the Ram or install a tank to feed the ram? The bilge output is inch. The waste water I want to run through an airlift pump allowing some of it to be pushed up by the air in the waste water.
Boraan+ dice: Mar 22, 2014. 5:26 AM
Thank you for the suggestions,ElTigre. I plan to do as you say and hang the ram over the floating bilge pump. But do you think I should connect directly to the Ram or install a tank to feed the ram? The bilge output is inch. The waste water I want to run through an airlift pump allowing some of it to be pushed up by the air in the waste water.
eltigre dice: Mar 14, 2014. 7:05 AM

Hi Boraan, Actually I think you could use your low lift solar pump to feed a ram pump that would move water much higher. You could suspend the ram pump above the water line of the well and fill its feed pipe with the solar pump output. The ram pump exhaust would go right back into the well and the ram pump output could be delivered to a much higher level than the solar by itself. You could fill barrels at the top of the well overnight or run a gravity feed system of pipes from the well to where the water is needed. You might be able to run 2 ram pumps from that much feed water. worth a try. Another maybe easier idea is to use your solar pump to turn a small water wheel that directly drives a piston or gear pump that will pump water above the ground level. You can also use the solar cells to make compressed air which in turn runs a bubble pump. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95LVVe7OpRM or use a windmill pump

eltigre dice: Jun 4, 2013. 9:46 AM
You could use high pressure pvc. My experiments with plastic did not go well because the constant pressure surges caused the abs fittings to burst after a few weeks. maybe if you are using a small diameter pipe like under 2" it will work for you. There are many designs on the web that show plastic pump bodies. I never had a problem with bursting after I built the pump body out of steel fittings.

You can definitely run the outflow back to the pond surface for agitation purposes. If the outflow is directed through a smaller diameter nozzle, it will spray quite far. I got at least 20 feet out of a 0.25" nozzle. You may get even farther out of a smaller diameter nozzle.
fr0ggy dice: Jun 3, 2013. 10:53 AM
so, as long the river (water) level is above the feeding pipe (and i keep the 5:1 ratio), is ok ? pipe will always be full of water.
fr0ggy dice: Jun 3, 2013. 7:27 AM
hello, i have a question about the feeding pipe.
the 2'' is a constant, or depends of the ... debit of water ?
like if i have a like slow river, is ok to use 2'' pipe ?
eltigre dice: Jun 3, 2013. 8:29 AM
You can use whatever feeding pipe you like, as long as you have enough water flow to keep it full. I used a 2" pipe because my pump body was 2" so it was easy to connect them together. If you have too little feed water flow or too small a feeding pipe, the pump will cycle very slowly or not at all. The pump may also cycle very quickly but not build up any outflow pressure.
fr0ggy dice: Jun 3, 2013. 10:53 AM
so, as long the river (water) level is above the feeding pipe (and i keep the 5:1 ratio), is ok ? pipe will always be full of water.
eltigre dice: Jun 4, 2013. 9:45 AM
Yes, as long as you can keep a full feed pipe you should be fine. If any air gets into the feed pipe it may stop your pump. You may like a 5.5:1 length to height ratio better. My pump works ok with 5:1 but all the Info I have seen says 5.5:1 is optimum.
Diddi+Ingi dice: Abr 27, 2013. 5:17 AM
One question... with the pressure that the hammer builds up, how far upstream can you pump the water, using a regular garden hose? How far above the level of the original pond f.x.?
eltigre dice: Abr 29, 2013. 8:07 AM
this pump has about 700 feet of 3/4 inch flexible plastic pvc water pipe attached to it and the delivery point is about 110 feet above the pump.

Garden hose is about the same diameter but more flexible so it may not deliver as much as the flexible walls will absorb some pressure. the shorter the delivery hose, the more water you will have at the end of the hose. The larger the diameter of the delivery hose, the less it will pump because it will have to push a large weight of water through the hose. There is a happy medium so you may have to experiment. You may want to use more rigid hose, like water line pvc, even up to 1 inch diameter and put a garden hose connector on the end of it where you want to use the water. that worked for me when I added another 50 feet of hose on the end of my delivery pipe to drip water the garden. A soaker hose at the end worked well to drip water onto the garden for hours.
paul.bobby dice: Mar 18, 2013. 2:41 PM
we are missionaries in Nicaragua. We want to install one of these water pumps on a small island. The island is surrounded by a huge lake.
The question that we have is; can install the pump underwater and use the water pressure to power the pump?
We need to go 100' up and 300' inland.
Has anyone done this? Do you have any plans for this? Can you help us?


eltigre dice: Mar 26, 2013. 5:20 PM
If part of the island is lower than the surface of the lake you might be able to make it work. These pumps need a head of water to operate. If you do not have the height of water it won't pump. All it takes is a small stream flowing from the island to the lake and you could make it work. Otherwise, you are better off with a wind or solar powered pump. If there is a steady current in the lake you could also try a sling pump.
Boraan+ dice: Mar 14, 2014. 2:37 AM
I know zilch about pumps. But as a volunteer in Cambodia, I have been trying to learn. Poor farmers need water in the dry season. Where we are there are no streams to work with. But I have installes solar driven 12V bilge pumps to deliver water up 5 Meters with a flow of 20 liters/minute. Can this be used to drive a ram pump ina 30 Meter dug well? If it can many people will benefit from the water. Any thoughts?
nopenopenotme dice: Sep 27, 2013. 9:07 AM
Place the pump in the bottom of the water, deepest accessible part. Get a ring float and tie the feeder pipe (with an inlet filter) just enough below the float to keep it submerged at all times. let the vertical pressure of the feeder pipe run the pump. Incidentally, you will probably need a relief/exhaust pipe as well. Use a larger diameter feeder pipe than the relief pipe so that the pump can generate pressure.

Also, FYI, I have seen these as closed loops, which do not emit water at the pump but capture both sides of the pressure to enhance the pump capabilities. I don't remember where I saw it but some googling should get you going in the right direction. Same premiss however, floating feeder pipe.
LisaFM dice: Feb 25, 2013. 9:08 AM
I think you should get the instructable of the year award! the way you presented this is humorous, intelligent and witty and I can't wait to try to make one! Thank you so much!
Stefanovski dice: Ene 27, 2013. 5:34 PM
can some one make and dscribe in detail this
eltigre dice: Ene 23, 2013. 11:44 AM
You could use high pressure pvc. My experiments with plastic did not go well because the constant pressure surges caused the abs fittings to burst after a few weeks. maybe if you are using a small diameter pipe like under 2" it will work for you. There are many designs on the web that show plastic pump bodies. I never had a problem with bursting after I built the pump body out of steel fittings.

You can definitely run the outflow back to the pond surface for agitation purposes. If the outflow is directed through a smaller diameter nozzle, it will spray quite far. I got at least 20 feet out of a 0.25" nozzle. You may get even farther out of a smaller diameter nozzle.
ewolvin dice: Ene 23, 2013. 3:41 AM
Could I also use pvc in stead of steel and also use it back to the pond using an Ariel sprinkler to agitate the pond itself ?
el_frenchy dice: Jul 15, 2012. 1:25 AM
For those who wants to know more about this type of pump : http://www.walton.fr/hydraulic-ram.html
They are well known in France, they have been invented by Mr de Montgolfier (who also invented the hot air balloon by the way) so you may test your french at :

another link http://energies-nouvelles-entreprises.pagesperso-orange.fr/ch12-71.htm

Once the company was for sale, I don't know if still on sale ? There is a enormous potential but need communication efforts
Stefanovski dice: Ene 27, 2013. 5:40 PM
it was invented by the one muslim scholar, don't forget origion of EU culture/renesanse and enginering are copy of muslims culture, science and engeniring. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtgkcz87XbA
neorush dice: Jun 21, 2012. 10:36 AM
I have a large 4" ramp pump (~50 GPM) based on a swing check valve instead of modifying foot valves that works awesome as I have welded the proper weight to the back of the valve and it is very reliable. My problem is that the outlet spring check valve is only good for about 30 days of operation before the spring gets fatigued and breaks. Your design simply says "check valve" I'm assuming this is a spring check valve? Or does this some somehow work with a swing check valve?
eltigre dice: Jun 23, 2012. 5:22 PM
Hi Neo,

I am currently using a brass spring type check valve bought at a hardware store but there is no reason a more reliable type of check valve could not be used.

Also, in my design it is important to orient the check valve upright and level so that gravity assists its operation and you reduce side pressure on the valve seat and stem to avoid premature wear. My check valve has operated reliably for over 3 years with no maintenance. You are pushing lots more gallons through at likely higher pressure than me so that may account for the fast failure.

Maybe if you compress the valve spring and measure the tension in "PSI" then replace the spring with an equal weight of metal on the valve stem you might get away without a spring if you orient your valve to operate vertically, i.e. build a gravity powered spring.

I also experimented with neodymium magnets held in repulsion to replace the spring on the gate valve with some success before I moved to a weight operated valve. You might try that on the check valve and then you would have a permanent spring setup. Also there are plenty of home made check valve designs on the net if you search around a bit. Anytime you can avoid use of springs in these pumps you will increase reliability.
neorush dice: Jun 25, 2012. 8:57 AM
I ordered another 4" brass swing check valve (suckers aren't cheap but found one on ebay) to try and use as the outlet valve to eliminate any springs. I had the same thoughts you do, where you can orient the swing of the valve vertically so that gravity provides the "spring" tension. I figured I may need to weld additional weight to the back of the valve to add more tension. I'll try and remember to post back on how it goes, as this would really create a virtually maintenance free pump if it works. Thanks for the thoughts.
mohannad91 dice: May 15, 2012. 10:25 AM
harry88 dice: May 14, 2012. 8:05 PM
I crunched the numbers and it comes out aproximantley at 1 gallon per minute how would you increase that?
eltigre dice: May 15, 2012. 6:49 AM
You can fine tune the pump for optimal output by adjusting the cycle rate per minute, the closure speed of the check valve, etc.

You can use a physically bigger pump 3" or 4" or 6" etc.

You can use multiple pumps if you have enough feed water capacity.

You can shorten the delivery pipe by running it high enough to transfer the flow to an open aquaduct that can ultimately deliver the water to its destination (reduce delivery pipe pressure)

1 gal/min seems trivial until you consider that these pumps run 24/7, in this case providing over 10,000 gal each week. Put another way, it will fill up your average size swimming pool every 2 weeks.
Nelki dice: May 8, 2012. 12:17 PM
Sorry but can you describe this sentence more colorfall I just can't understand them :,,To run it, you need about 5' of feed water pipe for every 1' of fall below your pond or creek. I have 10' of fall and 50' of feed pipe supplying 3 gallons/min. (A little longer would be better say 5.5:1) "
Thanks in advance.
Nelki dice: May 8, 2012. 12:17 PM
Sorry but can you describe this sentence more colorfall I just can't understand them :,,To run it, you need about 5' of feed water pipe for every 1' of fall below your pond or creek. I have 10' of fall and 50' of feed pipe supplying 3 gallons/min. (A little longer would be better say 5.5:1) " Thanks in advance.
eltigre dice: May 8, 2012. 4:37 PM
You must install a pipe to feed water from your pond down to your pump to make the pump operate. The length of this pipe should be about 5'6" for every 1 foot of vertical height your pump sits below the pond surface. (1.68 meters length of feed water pipe for every 0.3 meters vertical height difference from pond surface to pump location.) e.g. if your pump is 10' below the pond surface you should have a feed pipe 55' long. If your pump is 5 feet below pond surface then the drive pipe is 27.5' long.

_________5.5"________ pond surface elevation
I }
I } 1'
pump location

Your feed water pipe does not have to be straight. it can follow the contours of the ground from the pond down to the pump. The feed water pipe should be rigid like metal if possible. I used heavy wall ABS plastic because it was much cheaper than metal pipe and it seems to work ok but metal is reported by some to increase pump efficiency.
Nelki dice: May 9, 2012. 12:38 PM
Thank you :)
perah1234 dice: Abr 15, 2012. 4:02 AM
I will go back to the first discussion on using the exhaust water.
The discussion was interesting but it has gone to nowere . And why - because we have forgotten that the ramp pump is usung difference in water levels to pump water up the hill . Produsind energy is another story and tryung to use the exghaust energy un this case is absurd. Every gain can be accomplished
only by investing some time/labour and ingenuity and utilising the exaust water of ramp pump will NOT pay the effort. You have enought water to use its energy if you need energy. The ram pump is pumping. Generatirs are generating. And in is fulish to look for "perpetum mobile" arround the ramp pump. It is onli a pump.

For all spelling axperts , english is not my mother tongue.
Regards perah123
retseimwerd dice: Sep 9, 2011. 7:49 AM
can this pump be miniaturized, sort of scaled down for recirculating water between two water holding tanks?
eltigre dice: Sep 9, 2011. 11:05 AM
Yes, but there will be a limit to minimum size. The main valve must be made heavy enough to open reliably and not so heavy that it won't close from exhaust water friction pressure.
elconejito dice: Abr 15, 2011. 10:19 AM
Hey, El Tigre, Great instructions! Are you still around to help us through this if we get stuck building it? We are working in Mexico and my husband is spanish, but with your instructions, I think we can figure it out to get water from our little spring up to our house sight in these steep moutains. Thanks for your post! Esposa de El Conejo, Katrina
eltigre dice: Abr 15, 2011. 1:19 PM
I'm still here. In fact, I just installed my pump again for this season and it's working stronger than ever. No maintenance was needed on any of the parts. Last summer it pumped over 247,000 gallons up our hill over 110' high and over 700' away from the pump.
Most of the pump components are made of ABS plastic pipe except the 2" T and the elbow up to the pressure tank as I found these tend to crack under the constant pressure unless they are metal. The tank is made from a piece of 4" ABS pipe about 24 inches long with a screw on clean-out fitting on the top and has a bicycle inner tube inside it. This year I drilled a hole in the side and pushed the tube valve stem through to the outside. Now I can pump up the inner tube whenever I need to without stopping the pump this seems to be needed about every 2 months with my old leaky inner tube.

Good luck with your build.
Divet dice: Ago 19, 2010. 3:18 PM
Are there any designs for a pump that will work in a deep pond? I wonder if you could build a housing by capping a large abs pipe and sinking it vertically in a pond. If the pump was at the bottom of the housing with a water intake, would the pressure be enough to drive it and force the water from the check and gate valves out through hoses?
eltigre dice: Ago 19, 2010. 6:52 PM
This type of pump won't work in a well. It needs a height differential between drive water input to exhaust output. I see what you are trying to do with your sealed pipe idea but unless your exhaust hoses ran out of the well to a point lower than the feed water height, and set up a syphon effect, there would not be enough pressure to make the exhaust water clear out and everything would stop moving. Gravity has a few rules we haven't been able to figure out how to break yet...
cascarabia38 dice: May 31, 2010. 4:38 AM
Could this be used to lift water from a well of say 9 meters deep? I wonder if you set a 55 gal. drum on a tower & started the pump, having some of the discharge running back into the drum, if it would  create enough suction to lift? Has anyone tried this? 
eltigre dice: May 31, 2010. 5:44 AM
This pump moves a portion of the drive water so you would need to release more water than you could pump.  Bottom line is that it wouldn't work well for the set up you envision.  You would be better to go with a wind or solar powered pump to extract well water. 
Alerick dice: May 28, 2010. 7:31 AM
I have a project where I want to circulate water from the bottom of a fifty gallon drum back to the top. If the drum was filled to the top with water, could I rig up the pump to recirculate? would I see any pressure at the top?
eltigre dice: May 28, 2010. 8:22 AM
These pumps use water moving through a pipe as their "fuel". So you could circulate some of your barrel water back to the top of the barrel but the barrel  would soon run out unless you had a continuous water source going in to replenish it.

I would recommend a solar or wind powered pump for your application.
laketango dice: Abr 21, 2010. 7:13 AM
what a fantastic concept, very very smart, well done!
We are trying to farm on the banks of Lake Tanganyika and our solar pump is not coping, so this would be ideal.  Love this idea, need to know 3 things please:
1. you mentioned details on the gate valve but I can't see any
2. i don't understand how the check valve is connected to the pressure tank, does the cap move within the 1.5' pipe, then reduced to fit into the tank??
3. does the pump have to be below the water line to operate, i.e. water is forced into the inlet pipe by gravity?.
eltigre dice: Abr 21, 2010. 8:21 AM
Please look at step 2 above for gate valve details
Please have a look at step 1 above to see how it is all connected together.  I think you are asking 'How is the GATE valve connected to the pressure tank" and it is not connected.  The check valve is connected just below the pressure tank, please review step 1 above for details.
The pump does need to be below the water line to operate.  You will need at least 5 feet of fall to make gravity operate the pump. 
yendis dice: Abr 6, 2010. 2:35 AM
hi there! i love this idea! yet, i would REALLY appreciate more detailed instructions and photos. I live on a farm in South Africa. please email me at info@hobhouse.co.za Kind regards
eltigre dice: Abr 6, 2010. 6:16 PM
Hey Yendis,   It's all pretty much included in the steps above.  If you decide to build this one, I will help you through it if you get stuck.  Is there anything specific you need to know right now?
yendis dice: Abr 7, 2010. 12:31 AM
what is the weight of the valve's moving parts? With this model you made, how much slope do you have, and aslo, what head do you get?
eltigre dice: Abr 7, 2010. 6:32 AM
The valve stem assembly weighs about 1 lb  and can be adjusted by adding or removing weights on the bottom side. I have found that about 6 oz. of weight on the bottom works well.  If the valve assembly is too light it will not fall open if too heavy it will not close.  You will have to try it to find the sweet spot on your particular installation. 

My installation has about 12 feet fall from my pond surface to the pump and the feed water pipe is about 50 feet long to cover that distance a little longer feed water pipe would be better say a 5:1 ratio so 60 feet would be best in my case.  

This pump delivers about 1,000 gallons per day through a 700 foot long plastic pipe of 3/4 inch diameter. The delivery site is 110 feet above the pump. It will pump higher, but the delivery rate decreases with height.
wgrube dice: Abr 2, 2010. 10:19 PM
I've seen a ram pump design with a plastic bottle (pet) as a pressure chamber, it works fine! Just to add an idea for those who are interested... By the way, it is a "green" concept since it don't use man-made energy and don't pollutes the environment. If it is built at a natural waterfall, the spilled water returns to its natural course.
asafche dice: Abr 3, 2010. 12:37 AM
wait ten years and you'll have water supply problems (shortage or floods) too.
and you do use man-made energy cause the energy that uses for building-up pressure is man-made fossil fuel energy. the pressure in the pipes is probably government energy... 
wgrube dice: Abr 3, 2010. 5:48 AM
Such a pump is intended to be used with natural water resources, a creek for example, but you'll need at least 2m height difference from where you collect the water and the pump...
danielwhw dice: Oct 17, 2011. 4 PM
Where are you getting fossil fuel use, or government energy from on this?

this only uses pressure from falling water.
asafche dice: Ene 29, 2010. 2:39 PM
not so green as you can think... the pump actually takes the pressure from, let say "x" of the water, spill that "x" right there, and with that pressure it deliver the "1-x" of the water up for some distance. if you have infinite water, that could be o.k., or if you'd like to irrigate something right were the pump is - but if you short on water- that vary bad for you...

like someone said in one of the first comments - you can escape the second law of thermo that say, basically that energy value in total is always decreasing. think about that. you'll find that it is absolutely true, within every system in nature. so how we humans have so much pretension that we think that we will do better where nature had failed...?
cabin_boy dice: Abr 2, 2010. 7:02 PM
I have some questions.  What size fire extinguisher is best?  Does size affect flow of water over distance?  What size bicycle inner tube should be used?  How noisy is this unit?  How does the fire extinguisher attach to the rest of the unit?  Does it run all the time or can I stop and start it at will? 

It looks like just the thing i need but I may need to get help building one and I need to be able to thoroughly explain the design.  Thanks.
eltigre dice: Abr 6, 2010. 6:53 PM
Tank Size will not affect flow unless you use too small a tank. Valve size and cycle frequency will affect output the most.  The extinguisher has a threaded port where the handle just screws in and I got a pipe adapter to match it and connect it to the pump. You can use any vessel of a gallon or more in size and capable of holding about 50psi pressure. For this year's pump,  I am using a vessel made from a piece of abs plastic pipe 2 feet long by 4 inches with a screw cap on one end and glued on reducing adapters to fit it to the check valve.  I would like to try the PET plastic bottle idea to see how long it will last. They are really tough and can hold over 100psi. so that might eliminate the need for an inner tube inside and will let you see the water flow.  The bicycle inner tube inside is the smallest one I could find, about a 12 inch I would guess, just pump it up to about 5 psi and stuff it in to the tank. be careful to keep the metal valve stem pointing away from the tube as much as possible so it will not wear through the rubber during repeated compressions.

The unit is not too noisy (click on the youtube video above to hear it run). It will be much quieter if you use a plastic piece for a top adjuster cap instead of metal. The one I made from plastic can't be heard from about 50 feet away.  You can stop it anytime you like by just holding the valve in the up position, I leave mine running all the time and run 2 frog fountains and a bamboo deer scare fountain when I don't need  the water for garden irrigation.   There are many design explanations available on the net if you need to explain it along with my video and the still images in step 4 above showing exactly how a cycle works.  As for building this one, just print the pictures and a plumbing shop will be able to get all the parts for you from that, except for the valve stem assembly. Let us know how you make out... ;)
wilmadan dice: Abr 19, 2010. 5:31 AM
i have come up to a solution by putting a diaphram with a  spring  to help in pumping the water. make a hole on top of the tank to install the diaphram.tightly fit the nuts to air tight the tank.
eltigre dice: Abr 19, 2010. 6:55 AM
Can you explain your idea a bit more or post a drawing, I am not understanding how your solution works. Is it designed to replace the inner tube inside the pressure tank?
wtp1981 dice: Sep 16, 2009. 3:19 PM
Cool to see more ram pumps on the Internet. My brother has one, as far as I know the biggest in Europe. He lives in France in the middle of nowhere. I don't know the facts about his pump, but he waters his land and uses the water to drink. I will upload some pictures soon, I'm go to France in November. P.S. he has a Watermill standing next to it, made from an old washing machine. Generates enough power for his house. Cool Instructable!
eltigre dice: Sep 16, 2009. 5:58 PM
thx for the comments. Looking forward to seeing your pics. Don't forget to show us some pics of your brother's generator as well, sounds like an interesting rig...
below are the stats on my pump operations this year so far...

184545 gallons delivered 110' above pump =
1,540,398 pounds delivered or
10,269 # of humans lifted 110' weight avg. 150 ea. or
5.13 # train locomotives lifted 110'

$939.00 costs saved for me this year vs. diesel pumping and hauling

yeah, these things really can do some valuable work for you!
ALASTAIR+SMITH+SA dice: Ago 30, 2009. 11:58 AM
Great pump.will definately be making one of them.i will let you know how it goes.we rely on water for farming,and with the price of fuel and electricity in South Africa we need to find ways of saving our planet.every bit counts!!!!
eltigre dice: Ago 31, 2009. 6:13 AM
Thanks Alastair,

I gave this pump to a friend of mine for his horse farm and I built another one with a plastic pipe for a pressure tank. The pipe has a threaded clean out cap on top for easy access to the bicycle tube bladder inside and that works great. The pump works just as well and I have only stopped it once or twice this season to check on it. Over 158,000 gallons pumped so far and my energy cost is $0.00 nice. Good luck building one.
schicanoloco dice: May 21, 2009. 8:05 AM
Great Pump! I Had to Comment about the discussions on this... First of all if you are trying to harness the energy from the water that has already been expelled from the device then you you will not subtract from what you already have exerted in the water getting there. Gravity ( a constant) is doing much of the work. The exhaust water us fair game for turbine use.. You people are getting confused - assuming the pump is doing some work ( pumping) in the traditional pump sense. This is a Gravity Pump , where gravity is a constant and gravity cant be impeded like other engines , the exhaust water is the kinetic energy release trying to keep up with the constant gravity! Ok OK Finally my main Point if you want to generate power then funnel the exhaust water into another hose and run it downhill into another one of these to pressurize the water and then into a micro-hydro generator! I will try this some day!
jackson42 dice: May 13, 2009. 1:58 PM
needless to say, you need some form of flowing water, and/or head to operate the pump. ...jm.
danlab dice: Abr 25, 2009. 5:15 PM
Wow, I've been looking to make one of these for a while and this is certainly the best and most creative ram pump I've found.
nabo00o dice: Abr 22, 2009. 5:09 AM
Might I add a suggestion to improve this machine's efficiency? First, since you know this system pretty well by now, is there any way that you could make a directed beam of water go up, instead of going outward in all directions? The reason for doing this would be to maximize the highest ground this waste water could stay at. If you could get it high enough up, you would only have needed a small percentage of the power from your water output in order to pump the waste its last inches up to the source again. Btw, you might recognize me ;D
eltigre dice: Abr 23, 2009. 8:56 AM
Hi Nabo00o, It is possible to direct the exhaust water upwards slightly, but you can not have excessive back pressure on the gate valve exhaust or the valve will slow down or stop. You can build another pump and install it downhill of the first one to use the exhaust water in series. In fact, if you have enough height you can put many of these pumps in series which would boost the total system efficiency quite a lot. The only limitation would be the available height and overall distance from the water source. This setup might be valuable if you have limited drive water flow and you needed every bit of it to produce delivery water. Of course, if you have sufficient source water, you can just add more or bigger ram pumps. It might be a very interesting experiment to couple the exhaust water of this pump to a Milkovic pendulum device and use that to power a piston pump. I think the overall pumping efficiency would increase tremendously. Actually, you now have me thinking that I would like to design and build a Milkovic piston pump and power the pendulum with a simple water jet, leaving my pump out of the equation altogether. If the Milkovic pump tests are accurate, pumping efficiency would be increased about 500% over my ram pump design with about the same drive water use! The mechanical complexity of the Milkovic system is not out of reach of the average back yard inventor.
nabo00o dice: Abr 23, 2009. 10:06 AM
I like your thinking ; ) Btw, when you say excessive back pressure, or just positive pressure, you mean if there was a volume of water being lifted up and pushing its weight against the valve? Well, there wouldn't exist any back pressure if you instead of a pipe, made a thin end pointing up, which increased the waters velocity. At least you wouldn't have any water pushing down then if it was something like a garden hose to shot up the water straight up. And I really like your idea of pumping water with the Milkovic pendulum, its almost like it was made to do just that! And about the efficiency, it doesn't need to be 12 times as much, that was just based on his calculations from a specific model, or rather the way he had "tuned" it. You can easily go many times higher and also many times lower, it only depends on how much you allow the pendulum's axis to move. If it were still there would only be losses due to air resistance + friction in the bearings. So, if your gonna build this machine, try to make it a little bit big. At least make the pendulum weight a little, that way you can receive more power for each turn but without loosing to much in the pendulum it self. Good Luck :D
GordieGii dice: Mar 29, 2009. 9:41 AM
Hey, could this hammer effect be converted into a pile driver? Just thinking out loud... Gordie.
eltigre dice: Mar 29, 2009. 5:10 PM
Not likely using the effect directly. It would be quite possible to accumulate the weight of pumped water and use that some how. E.g. use the pump to fill reinforced thick bottom buckets then slide them down a long wire repeatedly. Not very practical but loads of fun... just wear your raincoat and a very good hard hat!
Alerick dice: Mar 25, 2009. 12:38 PM
i am very interested in building a pump. My girlfriend is an archeologist and they use a gas pump to pump water from the creek to their washing station. I hope to build one for future use. Could this pumpbe attached to a small water turbine to generate electricity?
eltigre dice: Mar 25, 2009. 3:08 PM
It likely can be. I have not done so with this pump but other people with experience say it can be done... "Ram pumps can drive a close-connected pelton wheel generator - plan it for a 45 psi operating pressure." CrispinPemberton-Pigott, comment Feb 26, 2009.
fuzvulf dice: Mar 6, 2009. 6:32 PM
Awe inspiring instructable plus you are a freaking genius. Using the bicycle tube inside the tank so you don't have to mess with snifter holes to allow air in to return the pressure is pure genius. My hat is off to you and by all means I hope you win the laser cutter. Fuzzy
eltigre dice: Mar 7, 2009. 7:30 AM
thanks man, The old saying "necessity is the mother of invention" applies around here. The only twist I put on it was that the solution had to involve recycled materials and as little energy cost as possible.
Yeasayer dice: Mar 6, 2009. 8:42 AM
You have demonstrated in the most positive way how the Ram Pump can be a true asset to a farm or any remote housing site. A simple thing to build with pipe fittings, a wrench and and a drill. One of your posts stands out in my memory as the exact statement I would use. (Your statement) These pumps are extremely efficient. They use not one drop of fuel and not one watt of electricity and no human or animal power to pump thousands of gallons. They have no operating emmissions and a very small environmental footprint... You can't get any more efficient than that and you can't get any greener than that. My cost to run this pump is $0.00/gallon! (end statement) As we agreed by PM mail I am posting this notated drawing as a guide to how it works.
Yeasayer dice: Mar 4, 2009. 8:07 PM
You have demonstrated in the most positive way how the Ram Pump can be a true asset to a farm or any remote housing site. A simple thing to build with pipe fittings, a wrench and and a drill. One of your posts stands out in my memory as the exact statement I would use. (Your statement) These pumps are extremely efficient. They use not one drop of fuel and not one watt of electricity and no human or animal power to pump thousands of gallons. They have no operating emmissions and a very small environmental footprint... You can't get any more efficient than that and you can't get any greener than that. My cost to run this pump is $0.00/gallon! (end statement) As we agreed by PM mail I am posting this notated drawing as a guide to how it works.
eltigre dice: Mar 5, 2009. 7:06 AM
Nice operational graphic and description, thank you. Also a good graphic of a looped spring gate valve controller but I must say I prefer springless valve designs after experimenting with various spring contraptions for months. (Including an opposing magnet design that did work surprisingly well until it's nylon holder wore out. It was a virtual spring and the best magnetic levitation device I ever put into real use! Maybe I need to post another I'ble on how to make a magnetic springs!)
Yeasayer dice: Mar 5, 2009. 3:17 PM
I appreciate the compliment , The looped spring does have its problems, difficult to adjust properly for continuous operation. I finally latched on to a theory that could explain this, or maybe not but I believe the ambient temperature changes the tension on the spring, something similar to a choke stove on a carburetor. Your approach to building a gate valve is a lesson in durability. Your magnetic spring would make a good door closer, The tube shaped speaker magnets comes to mind Easy to bolt on with stainless or aluminum bolts. Thanks for sharing.
eltigre dice: Mar 6, 2009. 6:32 AM
I had two main problems with springs, wear and dislocation. These pumps build up a lot of cycles, easily over a million per week. So, if a standard spring is rated for 10 million cycles, it is worn out in less than 10 weeks. Unless the springs are stainless, they rust through quickly as well. The second problem is that the gate valve moves a lot and can even rotate completely over time until it seats in to it's normal operating position. This tends to dislocate the springs reducing their effectiveness. Springs also have to move and they can bind or snag on valve stems or bolt heads or nuts etc. and again stop working. On the other hand, gravity is usually very reliable so a weighted valve stem combined with a centering mechanism makes for a very simple, reliable gate valve. The valve you see above had well over 40 million cycles on it when I took it apart to photograph. It is showing no noticeable wear on any component, just some coating in iron oxide as we have excessive iron in our water here.
cornflaker dice: Mar 4, 2009. 12:12 AM
Would it be possible to use lots of these in a large tank and use the flowing water to drive a generator? Free power then - even if the river stops flowing in a drought (as long as the water doesn't evaporate)
eltigre dice: Mar 4, 2009. 5:17 AM
I suppose you could could do that. These pumps can push water a long distance. Again, the geographic variables at the site will decide if this type of pump is the best solution.
btop dice: Mar 2, 2009. 1:30 PM
Damn! You beat me to it. Ram pumps are a good green pump, but lack in efficiency.
eltigre dice: Mar 2, 2009. 2:08 PM
I beg to differ... These pumps are extremely efficient. They use not one drop of fuel and not one watt of electricity and no human or animal power to pump thousands of gallons. They have no operating emmissions and a very small environmental footprint... You can't get any more efficient than that and you can't get any greener than that. My cost to run this pump is $0.00/gallon! Another benefit, university professors will stand and look at it for hours while trying to explain to you why it won't work... (You can just smile and sip your beer and nod like you agree with them, great fun)
rr52 dice: Mar 3, 2009. 12:48 PM
They are efficient yes but blow excess water all over so they can only be used outside right? You mentioned a pipe that could possibly be attached to channel the wasted water. Where would that be attached to contain any overflow and direct the wasted water elsewhere?
eltigre dice: Mar 3, 2009. 4:56 PM
I have seen some installations inside buildings and pump sheds. Usually these have provisions for the exhaust water to flow out a sump and return to the river that powers the pump lower downstream. Mostly these pumps are best suited to outdoor use. To channel the exhaust water, just solder on a couple of hose fittings to the exhaust ports and run a drain hose to discharge wherever it's convenient for you. Oversize it so there is minimal backpressure on the valve. In the case of my pump in the video, I dug a short drinage channel around the pump and down to a nearby stream about 5 ft' away and filled the area with gravel. I directed the exhaust water downwards simply by drilling a hole in a recycled butter tub and sliding it over the valve so the exhaust water blows downward onto the gravel then drains away. This works very well and the entire area stays dry enough for visitors in street shoes.
fuzvulf dice: Mar 6, 2009. 7:05 PM
You have to have moving water to run it in the first place. You put it back into the stream. In my great grandfather's installation two ram pumps filled one cistern which was on a hill above his dairy barn. once that was full it spilled over into other cisterns which he used to water the crops on the other side of the mountain. In that day normal pumps could not pump water the 140 or so feet over the top of the hill to the back side of his property but the ram pumps could. They both sat in round meadow creek in patrick county virginia until washed away by a fallen tree in a flood. They were large commercial models and looked like something out of Jules Verne. He had even made an artificial spring branch which ran down the middle of his orchard for when all of the back cisterns were full. Efficiency and convenience are two different things. Many times we have thrown green by the wayside for something more convenient.
fuzvulf dice: Mar 6, 2009. 6:56 PM
????? They use flowing water to pump water without burning fuel and what water they don't use just starts flowing again with a little hiccup in it's momentum. Cities have used these. There is a low flow version of this which uses floats to pump water instead of the momentum of the water. which supposedly violates rules of how much work can be done with only 3 feet of head, but then again it was only a few years ago "scientists" were saying that mumble bees shouldn't be able to fly.
horape dice: Mar 1, 2009. 11:41 AM
In the diagram there is a 2" to 1.5" reduction T, but that connects to a 2" to 1.5" reducer on the gate valve. Should it be a 2" T without reduction?
eltigre dice: Mar 2, 2009. 6:36 AM
I was attempting to save you the cost of the reducer. You can either use a full 2" T plus a reducer on the output side to get you down to 1.5" so you can connect to your check valve or you can eliminate the reducer by getting a reducing T that outputs to 1.5" Basically, you just have to connect the plumbing together. My pump is a bit less elegant because I used some odd size stuff I had on hand and then bought various reduces and connectors to make it all fit. Sharp eyes you have there...
horape dice: Mar 3, 2009. 4:40 AM
Excuse me if I'm being dense, but if you put a reducer T, where does the hockey puck gets into? Doesn't it must be on the 2" section so it goes up and closes the valve against the reducer? Thanks.
eltigre dice: Mar 3, 2009. 6:28 AM
Hey Horape, Here is a diagram that may help explain it. The pump I built shows a lot of unnecessary connectors because I used recycled and salvaged plumbing parts I had on hand, If you build one, you can make the connections with fewer parts than you see on mine.
CrispinPemberton-Pigott dice: Mar 3, 2009. 6:23 PM
Dear Horape and El Tigre RE the drawing from El Tigre If you reverse the position of the two valves so the delivery valve is where the waste valve is now on the Tee, you will pick up at least 3% in system efficiency for free. This is because the amount of dead water between the flow and the delivery valve, which has to be restarted on each stroke, is less in volume. If you can use a shorter valve, the mass is again reduced. The snifter valve needs to be at least 1 to 1-1/2 inches above the top surface of the waste valve so be careful on that score. The air chamber on that design should be completely full of air, no water at all. If you have a 2 inch drive pipe, the pump body should be one pipe size larger (2-1/2 inch). The waste and deliver valves should also be bigger so the hole through them is about the same size as the drive pipe. If you place a bolt on an angle into the delivery valve to limit the travel, it will last longer and pump more water. The correct setting will be found experimentally, about 1/2 open is a good start. In summation, use a 2-1/2 inch delivery valve blocked so it can only open 1/2 way. Filing the very sharp edge off the opening will increase the water volume a bit but only take off a small amount as it is also the seating surface. Regards Crispin
eltigre dice: Mar 4, 2009. 5:25 AM
Thanks again Crispin, That is some good info you don't seem to find anywhere else.
kleinjahr dice: Feb 28, 2009. 7:47 AM
Nice build, especially like your valve design. If you don't mind, might I suggest? To allow reinflation of the inner tube, drill a hole in the fire extinguisher and epoxy the air valve in it. You might also pipe the waste water /overflow downstream, same size or larger as the intake( reduces back pressure). This would allow the use of a small water wheel for power generation. The greater the drop and volume, the better. Another possibility is to run your discharge pipe to a water tower, keeping the run below an angle of 15 degrees from horizontal. This will give you a gravity fed system downstream of the tower, which can also be used for a water wheel. You might like to check out the "PM Shopnotes 1905 -1930" or "Boy Mechanic" reprint series from Lee valley. Some good stuff there.
eltigre dice: Feb 28, 2009. 8:30 AM
Thanks for the ideas, I had thought of just installing a bicycle inflater valve directly into the fire extinguisher and once a month or so simply pump a few PSI of air into it with a bicycle pump. The standard snifter valve design is pretty simple to build and solves the problem. That is likely the best solution and eliminates the inner tube. I have a few ideas to improve on that valve so it doesn't waste any pressure during the operating cycle and I may try them out this summer. Crispin's advice on making a removable snifter valve out of a brass bolt is excellent, as you can use the threaded hole in the check valve for experimenting by threading your various snifter valve test devices into that without having to dismantle the pump each time. You can also service your conventional snifter valve without dismantling the pump as well, just screw a solid bolt into the threaded hole while you work on the valve and the pump can continue operating, nice.
CrispinPemberton-Pigott dice: Feb 26, 2009. 10:24 PM
Dear Friends

I have been making ram pumps for more than 25 years and there are some basic rules that will help you a lot. The terms are described first. Please keep your designs within the ranges given.

Drive pipe - the pipe people are mentioning that should be steel. Agreed.
Driving head - the vertical distance the water drops between the water level in the sump and the waste water outlet on the pump.
Driven Head - the vertical distance pumped from the pump to the outlet, usually a tank or pond though I have also run sprinklers directly.
Drive pipe length - obviously the length of the steel pipe.
Slope - the slope of the drive pipe from the sump to the pump.
L/D ratio - the ratio of the Length to the Diameter of the drive pipe.
Waste valve - lets water run onto the ground while the water in the drive pipe accelerates
Deliver valve - captures the hydraulic shock wave
Air chamber / hydraulic accumulator - cushions the capture / shock wave.

There should be no positive pressure on the inlet of the drive pipe or it will stall all the time. Build a sump of some kind, even if is just a vertical vented pipe. The drive pipe must be steel.

The drive pipe must be between 5 and 12 times longer than the vertical fall of water from the sump. No cheating on this one if you want efficiency.

The L/D ratio should be 500:1 with a lower limit of 125 (important) and an upper limit of 1000 to 1500 (not so critical).

The area of the waste valve hole should not be less than 80% of the drive pipe's cross-sectional area.

The total area of the deliver valve holes should not be less than 90% of the drive pipe area, preferable 105% or more. In general the delivery valve area is the greatest mistake made by home builders of ram pumps. Most make their designs are far too small in area (see the ITDG pump for an example of this) and the consequent losses are huge - as much as 80% of what should have been pumped in the case of the ITDG pump.

The snifter valve (small hole) should be removable - a brass bolt is good. Counterbore the hole so the wall that is perforated by a 1mm drill is very thin - not more than 1.5mm. Be careful if you are trying to do this using hand drill. Measure three times, drill once.

The air chamber volume should be 50 times the quantity of water pumped per stroke. It can be plastic as indicated in some pumps.

Keep the outlet from the air chamber as low as possible to the top of the deliver valve. Dead water above the delivery valve has to be moved for each stroke.

The looped over flat bar type of valve is the most efficient though I do not use that type myself. They are finicky to adjust but can be very nice. ANY brass flap valve (check valve/non-return valve) that is hinged on one side is going to have a very short working life. They soon leak on the hinge side because of dirt getting crushed in that area. The poppet type valve is not difficult to machine and should be cushioned against a hard rubber or polyurethane sheet (gasket). It should last 5 million cycles.

The system efficiency of a low pressure system (2 bars/30 psi) of a good pump like those at www.newdawnengineering.com (see Products/Pumps/Ram Pumps) is in the 85% region. As the pressure increases the efficiency drops to about 40% at 14 bars (205 psi). Metal deliver valves probably won't work at that pressure. It should be polyurethane on brass or bronze.

The speed of the water in the drive pipe must be over 1 meter per second at the time the waste valve closes to generate 10 bars of lift (147 psi). This pressure can be generated by a fall of 7 feet though the delivered quantity will not be much.

For a rule of thumb you can deliver 60% of driving head divided by the delivered head times the number of liters or gallons in a given time period.

For example:

Driving head h = 5 meters
Driven head H =50 meters
QL (Quantity of water) = 1 liter per second = 86400 liters per day into the drive pipe

Therefore the quantity pumped by a well made pump following the above rules = 60% x 5/50 x 86400 = 5184 liters per day.

I have made 6 inch pumps (the drive pipe size) that can deliver 170,000 liters per day to a head of 25 meters. (45,000 US Gal to 82 ft). Low pressure pumps can run for ten years without needing any spare parts.

The length of the delivery line is usually irrelevant. The output is so low and continuous that a 25mm line is often too big. The speed of the flow should not exceed 2 feet per second, preferably about 1 f/s is fine.

The pump body should be cast into concrete if it is a permanent installation. Make in a way that all the parts can be unbolted or unscrewed. The base must be solid. Big pumps need a couple of tons of rock and cement because they shake the ground.

Ram pumps can drive a close-connected pelton wheel generator - plan it for a 45 psi operating pressure.

Have fun getting wet!
eltigre dice: Feb 27, 2009. 6:42 AM
Crispin, Thank you for sharing your deep knowledge. It is a rare privilege to learn from a generous teacher. I am printing your comment to save as a reference when I install my pump again this summer and I will use the info you provided to try and increase my pump efficiency. I wish I would have had this kind of info while I was building and testing my pump as it would have saved me a lot of travel time up the hill to my shop to make changes and incremental improvements through trial and error... p.s. I did have fun getting wet... so I eventually installed a butter tub to direct the exhaust water downward instead of onto my pants... Thanks again and hats off to the master...
CrispinPemberton-Pigott dice: Feb 27, 2009. 8:47 AM
Dear El Tigre

Have a look at http://www.newdawnengineering.com/website/pumps/ram/ to see the examples there. The bottom photo is an example of students having fun with a ram pump! That 3 inch pump has a driving head of 50 feet which is unusually high. The delivered head is 180 feet.

The next picture up is the 6 inch one described, installed near Gelukstad in South Africa. It is almost completely buried in concrete. That is a 100 foot 6" pipe feeding it.

Have a close look at the pairs of little 1/4 inch 1/4-turn ball valves mounted on the side of the air chamber. These should be part of any pump because some can always go wrong with the snifter. If the air chamber gets waterlogged, stop the pump and open the two valves to drain the chamber. One should be close to the bottom. Install them on the downstream side to prevent damage from floating logs during a storm.

The 4 inch pump in the top photo can deliver 2.8 million US Gal per year though they do not run it that much. In exchange for a 25% reduction in flow, they run two low pressure sprinklers directly off the pump in a garden about 400 yards away.

Although not advertised, New Dawn Engineering will sell delivery and waste valves you can bolt onto a ram pump body you make yourself. The delivery valves are the most important part of a pump. Theirs are machined from manganese bronze castings for resilience from pounding and of course, sand.

There should always be a non-return valve (check valve) on the deliver line to prevent the pumping main being drained every time you have to bleed the water out of the air chamber. A gate valve will do but kids will play with it if they can. Take off the handle and tighten the gland.

In rare circumstances people have found that then tuning the pump down to use less water (shortening the stroke and increasing the frequency) it is advantageous to throttle the output with a gate valve. This increases the internal pressure and gives more kick to keep the waste valve from stalling. It is more common however that stalling is caused by positive pressure on the inlet pipe.

Bill+Fraser dice: Feb 26, 2009. 4:20 PM
Wow cant wait to try and build it, will keep you informed.
eltigre dice: Feb 26, 2009. 4:32 PM
Excellent, I'm glad you were inspired... Maybe I will use it this summer to fill my basement with water to keep my house warm all next winter... hmm, maybe I better check with my wife first before I plug the floor drains...
JonoH dice: Feb 26, 2009. 11:30 AM
Only question I have is how much water do you lose? The picture shows a fair amount spraying around. We use an electric pump to get water out of the rain water tank, and the pressure in the tank would (normally) provide a fair amount of impetus to get the pump moving. However, water is in limited supply here (South Australia), so no leaks is a deal-breaker.
eltigre dice: Feb 26, 2009. 11:56 AM
We don't really lose any water at all as the drive water you see spraying is excess spring water flowing out of our trout pond. In our location in Canada we are blessed with many natural springs but sadly they mostly flow unused into local rivers. People seem to prefer paying the electricity company to pump water from deep underground. Even more sadly, the electricity is generated mostly in coal fired power plants... This pump design is best suited to locations that have lots of water and a height differential. This is not a design that is suitable for locations that can't access available drive water from a pond, stream or lake. Similar to water wheels, they can only be used in favourable locations.
rr52 dice: Mar 3, 2009. 2:06 PM
How about water fed from a drain?
eltigre dice: Mar 3, 2009. 5:03 PM
Any water supply will work for this pump provided it is continuous. The drive pipe must be full or nearly full to keep the pump running steadily. The water must also be clean enough that contaminates like sticks, weeds, grass fish etc. do not plug the valve. My pump feed pipe has a screen on it to prevent weed and fish from entering the valve.
NastySpill dice: Feb 26, 2009. 1:40 PM
I'm in Aus too. These are really only suitable for flowing water that is 'lost' anyway, like springs, streams, rivers.. The pumps about out 10-20% of what passes through - thats the price you pay for a free power pump.
pekar dice: Feb 26, 2009. 8:44 AM
Nice work, especially on the DIY gate valve! I built a few ram pumps a few years back, using a brass swing check valve for the gate valve. Mine have all been for low head installations, I've had success with as little as 2 1/2 feet of head. I'd love to see a better closeup picture of the assembled gate valve. I highly recommend using some steel pipe for the last 20'+ of drive pipe. efficiency will improve greatly, and I think the ABS could fail eventually. a note to anyone wanting to build this cheaply. All the low pressure parts can be substituted with PVC, except the check valve. The fire extinguisher can be replaced with 4" PVC, capped on one end, and reduced on the other. Drive pipe can be smaller, I used recycled 1 1/4" steel well pipe as a drive pipe, driving a 1 1/4" pump.
eltigre dice: Feb 26, 2009. 10:58 AM
I originally built the plumbing parts out of ABS, but the pressure spikes caused the T to split after about 2 weeks operation. Maybe PVC is stronger but I went directly to galvanized metal and have had no trouble since. You are likely correct about the steel drive water pipe, but it is much more expensive than the ABS which has worked well for me.
pekar dice: Feb 26, 2009. 6:31 PM
Here's a pic of mine. It's configured in a linear fashion, output is to the right.
eltigre dice: Feb 26, 2009. 6:40 PM
Nice, Do you use a snifter valve or a bladder in the pressure tank?
pekar dice: Feb 26, 2009. 8:09 PM
a bladder.
silver912targa dice: Feb 26, 2009. 5:35 AM
I think it's also called Bellier pump. I have a pdf on how to make these very simple pumps. If anyone is interested, please let me know I'll send it to you via email. Michel michelpeys@gmail.com
xcoastie dice: Feb 24, 2009. 8:36 PM
Great idea, although it took me awhile to figure out what was going on. This site has a good picture of a pump similar to yours in action and may help others get the "big picture." The pumps they sell are very expensive.

eltigre dice: Feb 25, 2009. 6:53 AM
Thanks for the reference site, yes, their commercial pumps are expensive, over 500$ plus shipping for a 2" model like the one I built. The main reason I decided to build my own is because the really nice ones manufactured in England would have cost me over $1,000 to buy and ship to Canada and I really don't like the idea of burning all that diesel fuel to pump my water and my water soure location is far enough from electrical to really run the cost of that up high as well. AND, I just like to tinker stuff together and get some use out of it. ;)
tom311571 dice: Oct 23, 2009. 5 PM
You said your source was your pond. Was it naturally higher than the pump? Could you do this when your source is not higher? Need to push water 300'. Thanks!!
eltigre dice: Oct 23, 2009. 5:54 PM
My pond is about 10' above the pump location.  Reliable sources seem to agree that at least 3' of height is required to operate these kind of pumps.  I don't think this design can operate without a height differential.  I did see a very old patent that seemed to show a ram pump design that could work in a pit.  You can have a fairly long drive water pipe to get your height differential, just run a long pipe from your stream or pond far enough downstream to get the fall you need or throw a log across the stream and dam it up a foot or 2.

You say you need to move water 300'? if that is up a 300' grade you will have pretty slow flow rates, but 300' of pipe length is no problem.  This pump pushes water up 110' height and about 700' of 3/4" pipe total distance.
SinAmos dice: Feb 24, 2009. 2:49 PM
Why so much water loss?
eltigre dice: Feb 24, 2009. 4:29 PM
The water you see driving the pump is the "fuel" required to pump the delivery water up the hill and far away. In the case of this pump, it is moving over 1000 gallons per day over 100 higher than the pump and over 700' of delivery pipe away. Don't think of it as water loss as it would normally just flow out the pond drain and run off into the bush anyway to join a small steam below. So no real "loss" in the ordinary sense and no fuel cost either to operate this pump. Very Green no?
warossignol dice: Feb 24, 2009. 1:19 PM
I read about the use of these pumps in a Mother Earth Article some years back. They would construct these pumps on the banks of fast running streams, bury the valve in concrete so it would not move. These ram pumps were used by the logging companies to power their log flumes. It was told that you could hear the valves clap shut for miles away.
eltigre dice: Feb 24, 2009. 4:34 PM
thankfully my valve is not that noisy, but you can just hear it like the sound of a heartbeat up to 1,000 feet away. If you use a piece of plastic for the top adjuster cap you will reduce the noise almost to nothing. I originally used an ABS plumbing cap as the adjuster cap which was quite quiet, but it wore through after a few months so I replaced it with the aluminum cap. These pumps build up a lot of cycles quickly, in fact about 216,000 cycles every day!!!
Foo_Plinger dice: Feb 23, 2009. 1:23 PM
What is the shortest amount of feed pipe, and how far above the assembly does it have to be? Also, are there optimal mixes of diameter pipe, such as 1.5 inch feeder to .5 output, or should they be equal? Lastly, the fire-extinguisher pressure tank....Is there anything you could think of easily available that would substitute?
eltigre dice: Feb 23, 2009. 4:44 PM
From my research, the shortest feed pipe should be in a 5:1 ratio and the minimum fall should be about 3' so that means you might be able to get away with a min 15' feed pipe. There does not seem to be an optimal feed to output pipe size ratio. I would not recommend too large an output pipe, especially if the delivery site is much higher than the pump as the weight of water in a large long pipe might be hard for the pump to overcome. Conversely, too small a delivery pipe will generate a lot of friction that must be overcome with higher pressure. My experiments with this gate valve size indicate that anything 0.5 to 1" delivery pipe will work adequately. I chose low pressure 0.75 pvc coiled pipe as it is cheap easy to connect, comes in 100'rolls and available at any hardware store. The feed water pipe should be large enough to supply enough water so that the pump does not slow down and ultimately stop. My unit consumes about 3-4gpm Pressure tanks are all over the place if you look around... old propane tanks, a length of old 6" pipe with end caps on it etc. anything with a capacity of a couple of gallons should work. I'm thinking I might try a clear plastic pipe section next time so that I can see when my pressure tank air buble is gone. I will also install a bicycle valve in the air tank so I can just pump in a new bubble when needed and not even have to shut off the pump. There is a method of constructing a simple air snifter valve that injects an air bubble into the tank on each cycle so you would not need the inner tube inside but I was too lazy to build it. I imagine a few air filled rubber balls inside, like squash or racket balls or handballs might work well and would not be prone to leaking air like my old inner tube. An air bubble in the pressure tank is necessary or the delivery flow rate is greatly reduced, almost to nothing as the pump must work very hard against the back pressure in the delivery lines.
zmarlow dice: Feb 23, 2009. 12:31 PM
Is this design proportionally mod'able? As in, all things being proportional, would it be possible to make a smaller version of this which pumped at a lower rate without increasing waste water? I'm thinking of applications for this design for situations where the feeding body is much smaller.
eltigre dice: Feb 23, 2009. 4:54 PM
My research indicates that you can go very small with it and somewhat larger, up to about 6" valve size. There comes a point when material costs for large valves exceed the cost of multiple smaller units. I.E. it may be more cost and operationally efficient to have four 2" valves feeding a single pressure tank than one 8" valve feeding the same tank. Additionally, with multiple gate valves, you can use the same feed water pipe and split it to power the valves at the pump location. Therefore, if you have a single valve failure, you will continue to pump with the other valves and still have some output. After a certain size, electric/fossil fuel conventional pumps become more cost effective. Other advantages of this stype pump are it's simplicity and hence serviceability in low tech, low skill, low power/fuel, scarce hardware locations. You may be surprized at how small my feed pond actually is! (Oval shaped 50' x 20' spring fed)
nolte919 dice: Feb 23, 2009. 10:45 AM
So if you use the adjuster cap to shorten the length of the threaded rod the hockey puck will have less room between it and its seat? So it will close with less feed water velocity therefore cycling more frequently creating less pressure but possibly higher output flow rates? And conversely, it you lengthen the threaded rod the hockey puck will have a greater distance between itself and its seat. So the feed water will have to be moving faster before it slams closed thereby cycling less frequently but creating higher output pressure? Am I anywhere close to on the right track?
eltigre dice: Feb 23, 2009. 5:05 PM
Very close to the right track, except that too fast a cycle rate results in no delivery flow possibly because the heck valve does not have sufficient time to cycle before the system pressure equalizes. The only other thing that affects the cycle is the weight of the valve asssembly. If you lengthen the stroke beyond a certain point, the valve will stay open and if the valve assembly is not heavy enough, it will snap shut too quickly no matter how much valve seat gap you dial in. Therefore, the weight on the bottom is a critical variable that needs to be adjusted until you get the optimum power band which you then fine tune with the adjuster cap on the top. The weight on the bottom also helps to steady, center and balance the valve stem operation as well. Other foot vlave conversion plans call for the weights to be added on the top of the valve stem but I believe this to be inferior (ever tried to balance an anvil on the top of a broomstick? Well, let me tell you from experience, that it's much easier to hold the top of the broomstick and hang the anvil from the bottom, I guess gravity likes it that way better)
californiasian dice: Feb 23, 2009. 5:15 AM
Is there any way for you to use non-PVC materials for the delivery pipe?
eltigre dice: Feb 23, 2009. 6:15 AM
Sure, You can use any kind of rigid pipe. The more rigid the better, so steel or galvanized or copper would be fine. Even bamboo or other wood. I use ABS because it was low cost and fairly stiff compared to other materials. You could look for some scrap aluminum irrigation pipes or scrap steel pipe from the junk yard to keep cost down. The size is not important as long as you can deliver enough feed water to the pump. Too little feed water and your pump runs slow or stops. You can't have too much feed water as the feed pipe will just stay full. I fill my 2" feed pipe with an 1.5" siphon hose out of my spring fed pond. Siphon feeds are not really recommended, but this is a protection for my trout because if the pond ever drains lower than the siphon inlet, the siphon will just quit and my trout will have some water still covering them. A soft sided pipe will reduce your pumping efficiency as the "hammer" will push out the sides of the feed pipe instead of pushing the delivery water past the check valve. It must be a pipe not a trough or trench or you will lose your "hammer" again. The pipe does not have to be in a straight line from the feed source. It could even be a spiral. Just try to to make the feed pipe out of something rigid.
eltigre dice: Feb 23, 2009. 7:19 AM
Sorry, I misread your question substituting "feed" pipe for "delivery" pipe in my head. (Strong like bull, smart like tree...) You can use anything you like for the delivery pipe, copper, rubber garden hose, steel etc. It does not have to be rigid for the delivery pipe. I used the 100' PVC rolls of pipe as they are cheap and easy to join and uncoil through the bush etc.
Fred82664 dice: Feb 22, 2009. 12:52 AM
COOL! ,would be useful for moving water around above ground. How well can it bring water up from the ground say like a well pump?
eltigre dice: Feb 22, 2009. 7:14 AM
Not too practical for below ground pumping. Might work if you had a fairly shallow underground spring and you were able to dig a pit a little further downhill to capture some height differential.
rimar2000 dice: Feb 21, 2009. 6:15 PM
This is incredible. If I don't see it working, I don't believe it. Why it can not be considered perpetual motion?
brian250 dice: Feb 21, 2009. 8:46 PM
I just made a rampump similar out of pvc fittings and two valves.I put a 1" pipleline up river to get water to my property but my neighbour had none and was was too high up so i made the ram and connected it up and now he has continuous water running and when his tanks are full it diverts to a dam to top up then overflows back through my property and onto the river from where it came.
eltigre dice: Feb 22, 2009. 7:21 AM
Sweet! I originally built one from ABS plastic fittings but the pressure it developed burst the gate valve "T" fitting after about 2 weeks. I went to metal fittings after that and no problems. Good on you for sharing the water. I wish more people were as generous with resources, time and technology.
eltigre dice: Feb 22, 2009. 7:17 AM
You do need a water source, so if that dries up then no more motion. Valves do wear out, plug up etc. over time as well. That said, it does run for very long periods unattended. In my climate, I only stop it to avoid freezing in winter. I might be able to insulate a box around it to avoid that, but we don't need the water in winter.
Learndy dice: Feb 21, 2009. 2 PM
If you want a short ans easily understandable explanation of ram pumps have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ram_pump
Airspace V - international hangar flying!
http://www.airspace-v.com/ggadgets for tools & toys
Granny_Leah2 dice: Feb 21, 2009. 9:55 AM
Yes, please do make an instructable on the water wagons. This is so very interesting. I love to use scrap and make useful things out of it.
gfry dice: Feb 21, 2009. 7:01 AM
Dynamite! I don't know where I've been the last 45 years, but I don't think I have ever come across a ram pump. If this thing pushes that much water you could tinker with it further and get it pushing a geared pelton wheel (or a flywheel of some kind)...get the thing making electricity for you at the same time.
eltigre dice: Feb 21, 2009. 8:51 AM
I have certainly thought about that. The exhaust water has enough force to drive a small turbine for sure. The valve stem force is considerable as well, so attaching a magnet directly to the top of the valve stem and dropping a coil around it leading to a bridge rectifier should produce measureable amounts of power as well. (Might be enough to run a couple led lights for around my pond) My calculations show that it is delivering water at an equivalent electrical rate of about 17 watts of power. Not bad at all considering it's absolutely cost fee to operate!
Ohnanka dice: Feb 26, 2009. 6:24 AM
wow, this is awesome! Not super technically-minded, but I'd like to built one of these at my mates farm. If you really think you could get upto 17-watts of power, you could surely run an mp3 player and charge your phone with it too! (this would be ideal for my mate, who has no power except by bio-diesel generator, and no landline, but does have a mobile)
eltigre dice: Feb 26, 2009. 6:41 AM
It will move a lot of water for you. Especially if you don't have to pump it as high or as far. If you filled up a few large tanks or many barrels or made a small pond at the top of your hill, this pump will fill it over time and you can then use that to drive a turbine to fast charge some batteries. or you can try a small generator on the exhaust water for some trickle charging of a battery. Might work if you charge it up all night and use it a few hours in the day. Let me know what you come up with.
gfry dice: Mar 2, 2009. 2:48 PM
Ok, forget the standard pelton wheel idea...you're right, too much back pressure. However, if the exhaust water was directed it could be focused on an "open pelton" (without creating any back pressure) which is in turn directly attached to a heavy flywheel...maybe 3 or 4 used truck break rotors. The flywheel would reach a steady rpm, and it could easily turn an automotive alternator. It's rotation could be stepped up with a pulley and belt combination. If I am not mistaken, you could get a lot more than 17 watts out of it.
frollard dice: Mar 2, 2009. 4:15 PM
You'd think so, but its based on flow rate, and height.

The 15-17 watts we calculated is x water at y height with earth gravity
Potential energy = mgh, mass times gravity constant, times height.

Thats maximum power INCLUDED in the falling water, no matter what design you can only hope to extract a portion of that wattage.
eltigre dice: Mar 2, 2009. 4:56 PM
Hey Gfry, I think a substantial flywheel is a necessity to harvest this pulsed power coming out of the valve. Spin it up and let the water pulse continue to keep it rotating at speed. Alternators however usually require over 1,000 rpm to generate anything useful and they do drag a lot, plus you will have significant losses from belt step up transmissions etc. On the other hand, I have a variety of brushless DC motors that act directly as generators when driven. (My radiator cooling fan motor will put out 5 amps @ 14v) Perhaps a combination paddle wheel/flywheel direct driving a brushless dc motor might be a simple demonstration apparatus. I have also had some success driving multipole stepper motors at low speed. (Each pole has to be isolated with a diode) good voltage at very low drive power but their amperage output is not very high. Old printers and 5.25 floppy disks have nice small stepper motors to experiment with. Salvage away...
gfry dice: Mar 2, 2009. 9:03 PM
I agree, the automotive alternator is probably a bust due to the required RPM but there are low RPM DIY alternators that are pretty efficient. http://www.otherpower.com/wardalt.html The Brushless DC Motors are certainly another way to suck some juice out of this thing as well. Key to the whole thing is the rotor. Instead of tying it directly to the shaft so it is spinning at the same rate as the pelton, it could be tied in with with a pulley and belt assembly and be "geared" up to a much larger rotational speed.

Now lets get really freaky. Joseph Newman suggests that there is an odd set of principles involved in the output potentials of rotating bodies. (Wiki the name) I hate to use him as a reference, but regardless of the man's eccentricities, there seems to be something to what he is talking about.

Wow, I hope I haven't lost all credibility at this point. His premise suggests that energy into a system can be significantly less than the rotational energy out. And, yes there may be ducks flying overhead right now making lots of noise but the only way to definitively prove or disprove the point would be to try it out. So, based on his theories, regardless of the flow rate and height, more energy output may be possible than the 17 watts due to the introduction of a large rotating "body" into the system.
eltigre dice: Mar 3, 2009. 5:24 PM
Hey Gfry, I do experiment with pulsed coil devices. (A laser cutter would sure help to prototype those things, hint hint, I have spent a lot of hours at my lathe and milling machine to tinker those things together) They do have some very interesting properties and I'm not ready to give up on them yet, but I think the best way to go with the pump co-generation would be a more conventional hydo-electric install. The exhaust water appears to me to have sufficient velocity on exit to drive a small wheel, say 12-18" diameter at sufficient rpm to get some useful wattage.
gfry dice: Mar 3, 2009. 7:25 PM
Hi eltigre: I worked on a Rotational Battery study a decade ago, and still find the whole subject fascinating. The direction was to miniaturize the rotor and get the rpms up to 125000 to 175000. My preference would be to decrease the rpms, and increase the mass of the rotor. But it's a little on the dangerous side working with a 300 or 400 lb rotor spinning at 1000 to 1200 rpm... The energy in the moving exhaust water is wasted as it hits the ground. If that energy is "stored" as rotational energy in a rotor it must be additive especially if you can gear up the speed of the rotor. At the end of the day though, you are probably right...a conventional set up should produce a solid output. Let's hear it for convention! Woo Hoo.
mje dice: Feb 26, 2009. 7:37 AM
Don't forget the Second Law of Thermodynamics- you can't get something for nothing. If you try to extract power from the exhaust, you'll increase the back pressure on the pump- and it will stop working. The work done in lifting the water has to come from somewhere, after all, and in this case it comes from the energy you gained in the water that fell and was not pumped back uphill. Try to extract energy from that water, and there's naught left to left the rest.
eltigre dice: Feb 26, 2009. 8:24 AM
True enough, but in this case, there is plenty of energy left over in the exhaust. Since we have increased the velocity of the exhaust water by forcing the weight of a 55' long 2" column of water through 2 x 0.75" ports, we increase the pressure considerably. In fact, enough to throw the weight of the valve (about 1 lb. total) upwards against gravity at an accereration of about 1.5"/second. I agree you can not load it up to the point where it will stop the valve or slow it excessively, but there is still lots of power left over here to capture some secondary energy. One approach would be to reduce the weight of the valve ballast and substitute the weight of some neodymium magnets instead. Then install a coil around those magnets and the cyclical motion of the valve will generate electrical power when it operates, with no loss of water pumping power. What do you think? Want to help me design the system??
mje dice: Feb 26, 2009. 10:27 AM
Thermodynamics still applies ;-) If you turn the valve into a generator, you're taking energy away from the pump. You can't take energy out without getting it from somewhere.
eltigre dice: Feb 26, 2009. 11:20 AM
Agreed, but I think the energy we want to capture is waste energy.

e.g.. you get free heat in your car in the winter from the waste heat generated by your engine. In the case of this pump, most of the available power is blown by the valve unused, So, if we installed a little Pelton wheel generator externally, the exhaust water might be used to drive it after it exits the valve body and therefore should not affect the efficiency of the water pumping operation. Like a jet engine afterburner, except we are already dumping our "fuel" , the exhaust pressure, so we don't have to add any more fuel to the equation. Maybe regenerative braking is a better example, or better yet... cogeneration, just like my geothermal heating system provides me with free hot water from the waste heat it tries to get rid of during it's operating cycle.

mje dice: Feb 26, 2009. 12:13 PM
Well, you're certainly welcome to experiment! But I think you'll find very little energy can be extracted from the exhaust. The car analogy only works because you're dealing with an inefficient system to begin with. But- surprise of surprises- turning on the heater in your car uses gas!
eltigre dice: Feb 26, 2009. 2:03 PM
I agree, but only so much gas as required to push the additional load on the alternator consumed by running the electric fan, very little really. All the heat is extracted from the cooling water system that must operate regardless. (Unless you own an old style VW beetle with an air cooled engine. Mine used to have an auxiliary gas heater in it and that thing did burn gas directly, just like a little furnace!!) :o I'm convinced the co-generation model applies here. I will have to try it out this summer and let you know how it plays out...
Taranach dice: Mar 1, 2009. 12:22 PM
I beg to differ, I have tested fuel efficiencies of my truck in summer and winter and the heat that can come through without the dashboard fans is sufficient to heat the truck, no wasted gas. Interesting enough, it takes slightly MORE gas to operate the truck in summer due to having to dump the heat away from the engine. I get 18.53 MPG in winter and 17.26 MPG in summer with all else being equal. Simple thermodynamics. As for not being able to recover the waste energy, bull pucky! Have the exhaust water drain into a catch basis a couple feet away and the water will regain all the potential energy from flowing downhill. The longer the distance between the catch basin and your power generation, the greater this potential becomes.
mje dice: Mar 1, 2009. 1:25 PM
You well well get better mileage in the winter, but it's not because you're running the heater. Better mileage in winter is usually due to increased volumetric efficiency from ingesting colder air. Removing more energy from the system does require more fuel- once again, no freebies. The Otto cycle is only about 35% efficient in turning fuel into energy, so there's a lot of waste heat to capture for a car heater of turbocharger. But since the thermostat keeps the temperature of the cooling system constant, drawing more energy burns more fuel. If you recapture energy from the exhaust water flowing downhill... you're just picking up the energy from the water flowing downhill. Again, keep in mind that extracting any dynamic energy from the stream of water exiting the pump will increase back pressure, and decrease the amount of work done at the other end. A hydraulic ram works by extracting energy from water that had dropped over a gradient by compressing air. The energy stored in that compressed air is then used to raise a fraction of the water to a higher level than it started from. The rest of the water is simply dumped. If you impede the flow of that water, less will exit from teh ram, and less will be admitted in at the otehr end.
Taranach dice: Mar 1, 2009. 2:56 PM
Read again, I did not state it was from the heater, that is residual heat flowing through the heater coil and being expended. The only difference is where it is expended, to the outside or to an enclosed space. No further energy is being expended to get the heat to the cab then before. You and I are talking different dynamics here... I was not talking about taking energy directly from the discharge, I was talking about utilizing the discharge for further energy withdrawal rather than letting it leak out to the ground. One can attain multiple taps of energy from gravity when available and since electricity does not have the disadvantage of mass it can be used further downstream from the pump. I completely understand hydraulics as I am a robotic engineer by trade. Hydraulic (and pneumatic) systems are a large integral part of automation systems and increasing efficiency of systems has become quite the priority in industrial settings. I agree that the energy cannot be taken immediately from the discharge but that is not what I said.
Taranach dice: Mar 1, 2009. 3:06 PM
Read again please, I am not running the fans, I am allowing the heat within the heater coil to dissipate in the enclosed space of the cab, no further energy required that is not present anyway. The heat energy is still there the only difference is whether the waste heat is discharged to atmosphere or into an enclosed space. Again, apples and oranges. Indeed one cannot tap the discharged energy directly from the output as it decreases the efficiency however, that is not what I stated. The question is whether further energy could be gleaned from the discharge rather than letting it just spill to the ground. I postulated how it could be done WITHOUT affecting the pump efficiency. As long as there is a continuation of the downgrade, electricity can be gained. The further the distance downhill from the pump, the more energy can be claimed. Electricity also has the advantage of not having appreciable mass so losses compared to head pressures of water are reduced. Finally, I am a robotics engineer by trade and have a very strong understanding of hydraulics and pneumatics due to the integral nature of these to power sources in automation. There is also a very strong impetus for efficiency in these systems in the industrial world, especially now.
mje dice: Mar 1, 2009. 4:55 PM
The fan draws power from the engine. As I noted, the otto cycle produces so much waste energy that it's not a valid comparison.

There's really no disagreement here. The hydraulic ram is running right on the edge, efficiency-wise. Any energy you draw *from the ram* will affect the functioning of the ram. If you let the water fall another foot or so, you're not using the energy of the exhaust- you're simply tapping the gravitation gradient between the ram and where you put your turbine, which I think is what you're saying. But that's not tapping into "waste energy" from the ram, which was someone's initial contention.
eltigre dice: Mar 2, 2009. 7:38 AM
This is an excellent discussion, Thanks for participating. I think where we are at odds here is in the mechanical design of the energy extraction system. If we attempt to enclose the ram pump exhaust water and use the pressurized system to extract energy, then I would agree with your position that valve back pressure will be affected. That said, the concept I have in mind attempts to extract waste energy after it has left the valve and therefore should not affect the valve operation in any way. Schematic attached... (obviously, more efficiency can be gained by directing the exhaust water in a more optimal configuration)
mje dice: Mar 2, 2009. 9:28 AM
You may be surprised to find that the proposed Pelton wheel will in fact increase back pressure, even though the flow appears to be unconstrained. Don't take my word for it- try it. Position an obstruction a few inches from the exhaust, and see if the flow from the pump doesn't decrease.
eltigre dice: Mar 2, 2009. 11:33 AM
Actually, I have already done as you suggest. If you have a close look at the video, you will see a clear plastic butter tub obstructing the valve exhaust intended to direct it downwards. I installed this as a splash guard to redirect the exhaust water from shooting straight out the exhaust ports about 30" or so and making a muddy mess around the pump. The walls of the plastic tub are about 1" or less distance from the exhaust port holes. There was no measurable reduction in GPM pumped. I conducted numerous timed output tests as I attempted to adjust my pump for optimal performance.
mje dice: Mar 2, 2009. 12:23 PM
Fair enough. Now let's see how much useful work you can extract at the distance.
MinerJay dice: Ago 26, 2009. 4:28 AM
I have a problem for you, the further you go down the hill to generate pressure for another energy converter the bigger the Z or R will be, thus problems with power transmission with lower values of voltage I would assume you will be producing. what will be the gain of using the exhaust water for power? There are much easier ways to get electron flow. I think what most of you are trying to achieve will never work as well as you think it will, there is always losses in everything, it would be nice if it were a perfect world and everything worked as well as calcs on paper that factor in no opposing forces. Keep dreaming, one day you might just come across something that "could" change the world, it's a pity you will want to make money out of it and become just as bad as the guys you are trying to battle against, got to love greed. Have fun! Jay
zerokewl777 dice: Abr 27, 2009. 9:56 PM
omg!! i could show u how to make an overunity unit with these same plans on a smaller scale using only a few liters of water... and because no power is being put in the extrat force along coming out of the pipe and the fallign water would be enof to turn a small water wheel with an altanator btw everything here said of mine © ;-)
MinerJay dice: Ago 26, 2009. 3:50 AM
Good luck with that working mate, by the way please learn how to spell.
rr52 dice: Mar 3, 2009. 2:17 PM
I think the idea is that the water wasted is blowing out and falling anyway. Redirecting it to turn a small turbine will not impede anything. Much like the wasted heat generated from a hydrogen fuel cell can be redirected into a home for additional heat instead of going off into the air taking efficiency from 35 to 85% efficiency. .
zerokewl777 dice: Abr 27, 2009. 9:53 PM
ARHHHHHHHHHHH ur way of science is about to die muahahahahaha :-) see above post
WilderLust dice: Feb 26, 2009. 11:18 AM
True... but as stated above, there is excess energy so while we cannot harvest all of the exhaust energy, much of it can be. the magnet idea is interesting but it must be remembered that when magnet is moved through a coil to generate electricity, a magnetic drag is created thus impeding the movement of the magnets so it will effect the valve. I think the simplest way to do this is to direct the exhaust jet over a simple water wheel connected to an electric motor turned to a small generator. the jet should have enough power to turn the wheel and generate a small amount of electricity. i love this pump design... i hope i will have a chance to build one sometime.
zerokewl777 dice: Abr 27, 2009. 9:52 PM
I WILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Email is pamela524@yahoo.com( im a guy)
zerokewl777 dice: Abr 27, 2009. 9:43 PM
Don't forget the Second Law of Thermodynamics??? what does heat have to do with a water pump? Ill give you the dynamic (movement) but thermo??(heat) it is for use in heat powered machines only.. with a few rare .. well if rambled on. sorry ( i sign up for an account to say this....
techball dice: Ago 30, 2009. 8:35 AM
what would the point be in that, just attach a generator to the feed stream directly and bypass the pump all together, i believe that's the concept that hydro dams are based on... its funny, every engineer has probably tried to "make" a "over-unity" machine, aka, engine over 100% efficiency
The+Ideanator dice: Ago 31, 2009. 9:30 AM
Temperature is relative dude. Thermodynamics rules apply at sub-zero just as much as they do on the sun's surface, theres just a bigger difference.
zerokewl777 dice: Abr 27, 2009. 9:48 PM
and I don't mean to rain down hard on ya mate but impossible is just a word for quitters... aim working on an overunity unit right now with these same pricibles... you forgot gravity remains a constant. if i put a water wheel a few feet away from the extraction point if will not even effect the machine... (btw if your smart you have a 10000000 dollar idea here heheh .. peace bro.
danielwhw dice: Oct 17, 2011. 4:37 PM
the pressure on the exhaust is not related to the water going uphill. now it may affect the frequency of the pump but replacing the weights with magnets and the coils he described can resolve the frequency issue.
Also using the exhaust water do drive a wheel wont change anything on the pump side if you don't create any back pressure.
Dr.Bill dice: Feb 21, 2009. 6:46 AM
Years ago the Whole Earth Catalog had one of these in it. They called it a Klack Valve because of the sound it made. The klack valve pumps water up hill where there is no electricity available. This is handy. I don't think theirs squirted any water out like that though. Check it out. Good Idea.
eltigre dice: Feb 21, 2009. 8:59 AM
Yes, I have seen the klack valve design. I think their exhaust water was led away down an enclosed pipe. I could do the same and maybe power a small turbine in the process. The Klak design has a few weaknesses that I hope I have improved upon here.
Dr.Bill dice: Feb 21, 2009. 12:09 PM
Several times a year the klack valve comes back into my mind. I have no idea why. I have never had any use for the thing. However, I think I must have been sufficiently impressed by it to have it come back to my thoughts so often. You see, I like anything that cuts out the idea of big business and government control. I have over the years made my life such that I leave a small carbon footprint behind me. I take it you are a farmer? You are my age. I am glad to see that the old ways are still being followed. Dr.Bill KB1LZL
eltigre dice: Feb 21, 2009. 2:51 PM
Hey Bill, We do farm some around here... Actually, farming made me a millionaire...sadly I used to be a billionaire before I started farming... Anyway, I agree with you, seems like self reliance and independance has gone the way of the dino except for a few of us codgers still hanging on by our finger nails. Just today I was saying to my wife that more of the old patents and inventions should be given another look. A hundred years ago, they had no electronic components, plastics, specialty metals and few machine tools. Makes me wonder how many great improvements could have been made to the technology if somebody reviewed it and said "hey, all that needs to work well is an O ring right there and some high temperature epoxy on the heat exchanger seals" You know what I mean. Someone gave me a book for xmas called 1800 mechanical movements and devices, originally published in 1899 (Algrove publishing limited reprinted it in 2000). get yourself a copy, you will love it...
static dice: Feb 26, 2009. 11:34 PM
BTW; it does appear that scanned copies of 1800 mechanical movements and devices can be download from the internet. Also it looks like print copies can be purchase inexpensively > &15 including S/H from online vendors. I'd order one, but I suspect my CC balance is approaching the limit, and I don't want to risk going over
eltigre dice: Feb 22, 2009. 2:39 PM
Hey Bill, Got your message about 'Scientific American 1800's' If you really want to look smart, get a copy of a little book called "Pocket Ref" compiled by Thomas Glover, Sequoia Publishing Inc. Littletown, Colorado. Sold through Lee Valley Tools, who have other great reference and instructional books and hard to get tools as well. This book is 542 little pages of everything about anything from the composition of air to the properties of welding rods. Thousands of formulas and handy hard to find information... I can't be farther than 10' from it or I get all twitchy...
Dr.Bill dice: Feb 23, 2009. 7:50 AM
Thanks man i'm gonna look for it. Maybe its got some stuff in it for ham radio.
eltigre dice: Feb 23, 2009. 8:22 AM
It does have a wire and an electronics section...

If you need to know the inductance, in microhenry's of a single layer air-core coil, its

I=r2n2/9r+10L ;)

static dice: Feb 26, 2009. 11:16 PM
As a ham I have other books I go to first for things electronic or electric. However that doesn't make the pocket reference a smart buy for those who don't yet have one. I found mine at a local book store. Same price as most online sources, but no S/H added.
alphabetswoop dice: Feb 24, 2009. 1:50 PM
Harbor Freights also typically carry the book. Up front, around the cash registers. Phenomenally useful.
static dice: Feb 26, 2009. 11:08 PM
I have the pocket reference, but I doubt it make me look smart. I do look stupid whenever, I forget to refer to it to refresh my memory, before opening my mouth,so to speak, on the web. Few if any places to put a ram pump to work here on the Kansas High Plains.
rr52 dice: Mar 3, 2009. 1:05 PM
Lee Valley Tools catalogs, ref. books, supplies, etc., are a must for do it yourself people. I'm a woman and use Lee Valley catalogs quite often. When you think they must make something for an application, Lee Valley will usually have it, or explain how to do it. Thanks for the good info here. I'm working on a huge invention and I'm absorbing everything I can about ram pumps right now. I'm also copying Crispin's specs. above. What a find. Thanks so much.
AndyGadget dice: Feb 21, 2009. 1:42 AM
Many (pre-internet) years ago, we used to hear a 'clink..........clink..........clink' in various woods around us, but could never work out what was making it., until one day we found one of the pumps and all was revealed. It was a few more years before I found out how they work. Great instructable.
discontinuuity dice: Feb 21, 2009. 12:53 AM
So if I understand, this pump "wastes" some water out of the reciprocating valve in order to supply energy to pump a smaller volume of water through the output hose.
kill-a-watt dice: Feb 21, 2009. 6:04 AM
You got it. It's not perpetual motion or anything. You are using the energy in the falling water to pump a small amount uphill.
Dr.Bill dice: Feb 21, 2009. 6:55 AM
Put the pump in the garden in a terraced site and watered garden. No waste if the garden drains to the stream the water came from. I like it. Also a possibility of making electricity with it.
eltigre dice: Feb 21, 2009. 8:55 AM
Don't think of the drive water as "waste", In my case it is spring water that flows into the woods anyway. I have simply tapped into it and am using it to pump for free. So in my case, it was waste water before but now it pays me. Just like you wouldn't consider the river that turns the water wheel to be "waste" water. I could likely make another small pond near my exhaust site and use that to power another ram pump further down stream in series. That would maybe close to double my efficiency. What do you think?
Matt4_16 dice: Feb 20, 2009. 11:44 PM
great idea, kinda slow though ain't it
eltigre dice: Feb 21, 2009. 9:35 AM
Hey Matt; Yes and no is the answer. It is slow compared to electric or fossil fuel GPM pumping. but, it is persistent. it runs steady 24/7 so it pumps over 1,000 gallons per day for us. More than enough for or irrigation use. In fact, too much, we had enough extra to actually plug it into a dribbler hose and water the dry grass in spots. Something we would never do normally because who can afford to waste power and water just to make the grass grow so you can cut it sooner!!! We have a large property, so I actually built a few water barrel wagons to move the water where we need it, typically, 5 barrels are full every morning for you plus another 5 worth pumped every day. maybe I should post another instructable showing how I built my water wagons out of scrap bits as well?
Dr.Bill dice: Feb 21, 2009. 12:15 PM
It comes from a kinder more gentle time.
Dr.Bill dice: Feb 21, 2009. 12:17 PM
It can also build up an incredible amount of head water if left alone for a little while!
benthekahn dice: Feb 20, 2009. 5:37 PM
I am not sure I understand this. Does this make more pressure in the, but less water volume?
eltigre dice: Feb 20, 2009. 6:06 PM
The operating principle is based on the capture of some of the kinetic energy of the moving water in the feed pipe. Let's guess that there is 50 lbs of water in the feed pipe. When the gate valve opens, gravity starts to move it by allowing the column to start escaping out the exhaust ports. The water flows faster and faster until the friction of the moving water builds up against the hockey puck valve seal and slams the whole valve shut which instantly stops the water flow out the ports. But, Mr. Isac Newton says that bodies in motion tend to stay in motion, so the moving water looks for a way out and the only one we have porvided is to squeeze past the check valve and compress the inner tube inside the pressure tank. When the pressure equalizes, the check valve closes up and the innertube tries to expand which results in some water being squeezed up the delivery pipe. Repeat if necessary twice per second! So, I guess you could explain it as trading volume for pressure but that may not be entirely accurate.
frollard dice: Feb 20, 2009. 5:15 PM
I've uploaded your video for you
(because I dont have qt on my computer, and wanted to see it!)

frollard dice: Feb 20, 2009. 5:18 PM
What sort of ratio do you get between water siphon dumped and water pumped?

It looks as if it wouldn't be terribly efficient, but if you have a huge pond - you're no worse for wear - and saving hydrocarbons is a huge plus!

5* from me!
eltigre dice: Feb 20, 2009. 5:54 PM
the feed water flows about 3 gallons per minute and the delivery flows about .75 gallons per minute. You will get more flow if your delivery pipe is not 700' long and over 100' high like mine. Not too efficient except that it is persistent! 24/7 and the pond is spring fed so all the water flows wasted into the bush anyway. Great solution for my geographic idiosyncrasies...
eltigre dice: Feb 20, 2009. 5:55 PM
Thanks a gallon, I was struggling with uploading to youtube. I owe ya one.
xtank5 dice: Feb 20, 2009. 8:37 PM
Wow what a pun. Nice Instructable by the way.
Kiteman dice: Feb 21, 2009. 3:39 AM
You can now embed that video in the Instructable - all you need is the address that frollard gave you.
eltigre dice: Feb 21, 2009. 9:11 AM
it's done ;) thanks Kiteman and Thans Frollard.
frollard dice: Feb 22, 2009. 4:57 PM
You're totally welcome! I had forgotten I'd done it, then when checking my 'total hits' they went from averaging 150-200/day to 1000 in a day alone! popular video! -out of threaded order - thanks for explaining the efficiency of the action, makes sense, and really if you're working with spring water, its hard to extract mechanically any 'work' out of it, so this is ingenious! You mention you have a hundred feet of head to deal with - could that run a small electric turbine?
eltigre dice: Feb 22, 2009. 7:04 PM
Actually, I have to pump up over 100' to my delivery site, but the head or fall from the pond is max 20'. I experimented with water wheel pumps etc., but my best seasonal flow rate from the spring is only about 4-5 gpm so it is too little to turn anything substantial. I could build a massive water wheel with a very slow rotation and try to use the torque, but the installation location is challenging for any large constructions and you lose a lot through transmissions etc. I'm still thinking about some sort of micro turbine or the like coupled to the exhaust of the ram pump. There is also a very interesting compressed air generator you can make from a few pipes and some falling water with no moving mechanical parts and I like the look of that one. (I may build it this summer and use the air through a bubbler to keep the ice off my pond so I can feed the trout more easily in the winter.) As drBill mentioned, these pumps can build up a large reservoir if given enough time and I have an unused silo... I may get ambitious enough to stack a bunch of tanks inside the silo and fill them all up with the excess water this thing pumps. That would give me about 150' of head and I could use that to run a small turbine intermittently. (Now if only I didn't have to paint the porch this summer...)
frollard dice: Feb 23, 2009. 1:39 PM
I'm thinking some sort of jet-engine style turbine must be able to make enough torque to run an impeller pump...I did the math too - 20 feet (6m) of head and 4 gallons (16L) per minute results in 15.5 watt-hours per hour of operation...or 15ish watts... what kind of pump runs on that kind of energy? :D
eltigre dice: Feb 23, 2009. 4:24 PM
This kind of pump... I calculated it is generating about 17 watts output power so I think you are pretty close on your available power calculations. The hammer effect is the key. Imagine pushing a nail into a board, takes a lot of pressure to accomplish, but bounce even a tiny hammer on the head and you drive the nail in slowy and surely by trading distance for force. Same thing happening here I think.
eltigre dice: Feb 24, 2009. 6:13 AM
Hey Frollard, Thanks for adding the info bubbles to the video, nicely done, I like it...
CaseyCase dice: Feb 20, 2009. 4:46 PM
"strong like bull and smart like tree"---tee-hee!
servodave dice: Feb 21, 2009. 7:18 AM
This is brilliant. I am unsure about something in the details. Just to be clear about it; it seems the pump assembly has to be lower than the water source (pond, pool, tank, whatever) for this to work. Is that right? Thanks
eltigre dice: Feb 21, 2009. 8:46 AM
That is correct. The weight of the water in the feed pipe powers it. It is not necessary to have a very long pipe. The best ratio is 5:1 as an oscillation wave is set up in the feed pipe during operation which seems to bounce back and forth between the gate valve and the top of the feed pipe and that wave smoothes out the pump cycle. It's quite interesting to see and hear it.
Kiteman dice: Feb 20, 2009. 3:25 PM
(You would get more views of the videos if you upload them to YouTube or similar and then embed them here)
eltigre dice: Feb 20, 2009. 4:44 PM
I'll give it a try
richms dice: Feb 20, 2009. 4:54 PM
Also I dont have anything here that will play .mov so cant watch it regardless.
lukeyj15 dice: Feb 20, 2009. 5:14 PM
Try VLC or get Quicktime
richms dice: Feb 20, 2009. 9:20 PM
I cant install on these computers since its at work, using propitiatory video software is never a good idea online. I have VLC at home so will give it a shot later, not going to install quicktime ever again thanks apple...
rszanti dice: Feb 26, 2009. 8:13 AM
Everyone should understand, this is not free power. The author's pump puts out about 28 psi and 3 gpm per his comments. There is a 10 foot drop of water head feeding it which converts to about 4.32 psi. If you multiply the pressure times the flow you get an approximation of work done - At 100% efficiency the GPM used to power the pump is 28 x 3 / 4.32 = 20 gpm. So for every three gallons pumped, at least 17 gallons is lost. Not a problem if you have a pond on the hill with a constant overflow that's lost anyway.
eltigre dice: Feb 26, 2009. 11:03 AM
exactly so. Prior to installing this pump, all the spring water flowing out of the pond just ran away into the woods without doing anything at all.
lukeyj15 dice: Feb 27, 2009. 1:34 AM
Higher up is a youtube video