Pulser Pump Model. a Substitute for Lots of Fossil Fuel?




About: I am a stone mason. My hobby is making new solar cooking and gardening stuff. I have used solar heat to cook soil for a couple of years. In mother earth news in January, i read that their compost expert does...

http://www.appropedia.org/ Pulser_pump is being used by students from Queens University in Toronto for a project on the pulser pump. It will be completed on 1st May 2010 Their initial results support most of what I have reported. They have included pdf files from various other research projects too. Worth a look.
Brian (18th April 2010)
Every second thousands and thousands of gallons of low grade water power runs to waste (low grade is water falling less than 2 meters). some of this water power was used for a thousand years to grind grain or pump for irrigation and other uses too. With cheap fossil fuels as a substitute, it is no longer economical to use this power. (interest on machinery and construction costs is greater than the price of the electricity produced per year).
Pulser pumps are a significantly cheaper and low tech way of using low grade water power so some of this power can be used competitively again!
This is a pulser pump instructable. You can find pulser pump info on utube and in a yahoo group.
Pulser pumps are so mind bogglingly simple that I am the only person who has ever put pulser pump info online.
No peer review= no credibility.
Please check and make a model or make a full scale pump.
YOU can make the differerence!

Step 1: Online Checking

You will find info in the yahoo group pulserpump and in utube and the internet glossary of pumps. Pulser pumps have been on the internet for 7 years.
I do not know of anybody who has made one even though the info is freely available. I do not know the parameters because I only made about 4 pumps on a tiny seasonal stream. 0.5 meters head and 500 liters per minute max flow.
Pulser pumps might work better with larger head and flow. This is likely.
But if nobody ever trys, nobody will ever know!
Making a model and putting it online is the first step to acceptence.
Will you do it?

Step 2: Procedeure and Materials

This is materials list and procedeure to make a model
Materials list for the pulser pump model

These are the exact list that I used for a previous model.
You can substitute your own local equivalent as necessary
Measurements are in feet (') and inches(")
(I can put in the metric equivalent if needed.
An 8 ft long piece of 2"by 4" timber
A 22 inch long piece of 2"by 4" timber
A 30 inch long piece of 2"by 4" timber
A 35 in long piece of 3/4" internal diameter (1 inch external diameter) clear vinyl pipe A 79 in long piece of 3/4" internal diameter (1 inch external diameter) clear vinyl pipe
A 58 in long piece of 3/8" internal diameter clear vinyl pipe
22 3 and a half inch screws (screwed side by side, these hold the pipes in place against the wood)
A 1 and a half inch screw (holds the top cranberry juice container in place.
About 7 3 and a half inch nails to nail the 2 by 4 planks together.
Orville redenbackers hot air popping corn container (850g) 7 inches long
Ocean spray cranberry juice container (1 liter)
Drill, 3.5 mm drill bit (for pilot holes for screws and nails)
1 inch forstner drill bit. (This did a good job cutting the holes in the plastic bottles and lids.
Nail the 22 inch 2 by 4 to the 8ft 2 by 4 starting 10 inches from the bottom
Leave a 7 1/2 inch gap and nail the 30 inch 2 by 4 above that.
Carefully cut a 1 inch hole in the bottom of the Orville redenbackers hot air popping corn container using the forstner drill bit and using a piece of wooden handle in the container so it does'nt.t collapse.
Fit the shorter piece of 1 inch pipe into it and push it through about 1 inch.
Cut, drill or burn a hole (slightly smaller than the external diameter of the 3/8 inch pipe) in the bottom of the Orville redenbackers hot air popping corn container.
Use the forstner bit to cut 1 inch holes in the lids of both containers.
Cut 2 1 inch holes in the side of the cranberry juice container (at 90 degrees to each other). near the bottom.
Join the pipes into the containers as shown in the diagram. Use the short screw through one of the holes to secure the cranberry juice container to the 2 by 4 behind it.
Use the 3 1/2 inch screws (or nails) (BESIDE not through the pipes!) to secure the pipes against the wood
Secure your model vertically against a wall, put a garden hose in, turn on and adjust the water flow and your model should work!
NOTES You can use 2 Orville redenbackers hot air popping corn containers (and no cranberry container) if you like. I had only one.
You can substitute a 58 inch length of 6 mm tube for the 3/8 inch tube if you like.
I did not have any and 6 mm probably works a little better.
Happy modeling

Step 3: Another Model If You Want to Try This Way!

Here is another model, This one is of a split process pulser pump.
Split process is seperate trompe and airlift pumps.
I found split process to be more efficient in my prototype. (the one that is shown on utube).
this model used acrylic for the chambers.
I found the other model more easy to make but depends on your skills



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    42 Discussions

    I made several pulser pumps (real actual pumps) and they are on youtube. Mat made the "cornish pulser pump" and it is on youtube. There is a demo from Indonesia on youtube. The next idea people (Austria) have one of my videos on the net too. Windowfarms uses the exact same airlift principle that I first demonstrated around 2001 and our windowfarms (their open source user group) has 40,000 members. It can pump water and make low pressure air. I have used low pressure air to run my pallet gardens and various aquaponics and hydroponics proof of concepts for several years. I don't have a river or stream anymore so I cannot develop it further. People here in Victoria have been extremely negative about even lending a stream to me for a few hours to do a proof of concept of the pulser pump nano. (The low pressure mini version that a 10 year old could make). So I have done my best. People like you clearly do not want the thing. It is a shame because the nano could help a lot of people who have no power what so ever.

    No, I really like the concept....I was just looking for examples beyond the Cornish and Indonesian examples, to see if my application can be adapted to as-built installations.

    My design concern is that I don't have any fall as my slack ditch goes to pipe at my property line.

    Section through ditch.png

    I am sorry Goatboy825, power comes from fall multiplied by flow. If you have no fall, you have no power. I think the minimum fall you need to do a useful amount of work is half a meter. (about 20 inches). I have made mini versions that work down to 8 inches of head, 20 cm, but really, time is better spent at other things. The amount of energy in 8 inches of falling water is very small. brian

    I appreciate the feed back. Thats what I was thinking, but wasn't sure. I will keep working on my spiral pump.

    The Pulser pump is a great concept. Keep promoting it. I know I will.

    Hi, (and thanks for the nice words). Another thing that might work is gravitational vortex. Your site is probably at the edge of its range but it might work. It is pretty simple, all you need is a top or bottom half or third of a rainbarrel as a dam in your drain, you can cut the side of the rain barrel so water enters at one side. And have a 3 or 4 inch hole in the bottom of it. you for water to exit. Stick a vertical shaft in it and try maybe a peristaltic pump to take off the power to pump water. (but there is other options too). The gravitational vortex is neat because if you are not using the power, it stores it up in the vortex, (the whirlpool gets higher) until it does twist your turbine. Another neat thing about the vortex is that you can make a rubbishy turbine and it will still probably work. I did a demo of how the vortex behaves at



    8 years ago on Introduction

    Many years ago I became enthused with the Humphry pumps at Chingford and the Trompe up in northern Michigan which once supplied 1,000,000 cu,ft @100psi compressed air to a copper mine.
    I had no "Stream " on my property but it was sitting on a 15 ft layer of clay, below which was a 20 ft thick gravel bed which stretched for miles in all directions, below this was blue clay and gault to a depth of 260 ft laying on the greate chalk aquifier of London, which outcrops at the channel at Dover. It was my ambition to drill a hole from the surface into this chalk Aquifier and dump ground water from the gravel bed into it. I anticipated capturing the energy of a falling body of water and at the same time replenish the falling chalk water table which had been pillaged over the years, the bonus would be 40 cu.ft of compressed air @100 psi. delivered back to the well head, This would be used to run a 6 KW motor generator.
    One of the problems in the design of my "power well" was the separation and reclamation of bubbles at the exit point at the bottom of the well. with the use of
    fixed blades to induce the water to spin, to generate the centrifugal force required to separate the water from the air which would be conducted back to the surface through 3/4" pipe. There were other issues with the Thames River Authority, some of which included my provisions for preventing contamination
    of the chalk aquifier with surface water. even though the nearest well to my property was 2 miles distant, I explained my system, which utilised live fish as
    the main guardians of pollution control. but they would not hear of it.
    Now of course I live in the USA where my well is barely 70 ft from my neighbors
    Septic Tank, Oh such freedom.


    3 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Lucky you! The world is a really strange place. In Texas the oil companies just got a gentle pat on the wrist for injecting diesel into shale to frack (fracture) it.
    I have a strange problem. Wikipedia will not enter the pump because it is a novel experimental device (Even though mine ran since 1988). And even after I noted that the trompe is there and the airlift pump is there and it is not rocket science to combine the 2, they would not budge.
    People in authority can be. ( 2 words begins with as)
    It would be really useful for people in poor countries if it was on wikipedia.
    Hardly anybody knows that you can join pipes together in this way and use it to pump water. No need for diesel or motors or engines or electricity.
    Just pipes!
    A guy wrote to me a while ago saying that he has heard of tromps to pump water before. (probably deep high pressure ones but I don't care).
    Anyway he looked for the reference but could not find it.
    Perhaps you know of a reference to a trompe driving an airlift pump?
    It has to be in a book or wikipedia will remove it.

    The first reference to such a scheme I saw was about 30 years ago in a book in the Yale engineering library. Joseph Priestley was said to have built a trompe driving an airlift for irrigation of the top of a plateau with intermittent rainfall but an impermeable layer partway up that caused springs to come out of the cliff. He just directed the flow down a pipe to make the compressor and used the compressed air to raise a smaller fraction of the water back to the top of the plateau.
    I have a river in my backyard featuring a 15 foot dam and a millpond 1/4 mile long.
    The dam usually looks like it has over 100 hp going over it. I think I need to build a trompe and try to get off the grid.
    I have some air dispersal tubing if anyone wants to try a piece.

    Hi, priestlyfan, do you have a date for that? There is a horrible little page on wikipedia about the airlift pump that says it was invented in Germany in 1797. Horrible page because it is there as a gateway to the patented "geyser pump" (which is not supposed to be the wikipedia way).
    Anyway, if Priestly died in feb 1804 it is possible he was using an airlift pump before it was "invented" . Anyone here with access to the Yale engineering library? or with more details on Priestly's life?
    Lets pin down the timing of Priestly's trompe airlift pump combination!
    Brian White.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    not to be insulting but the gaiatechnician has said over and over again in the preceding posts what has been/or not in the advancement of this pump and your handle does not give you credit for the question. It will work anywhere the conditions are right, and they are not very ridgid, just some differing water levels

    Mr. Rig It

    11 years ago on Introduction

    I see you have put your diagrams on the page but I still don't get how it works or why. Also at what point do you use it for alternative power? Can you go in to further explanation and also post the video here in your instructable. I would definitely like to see more and have a better understanding of what you are saying. However, I like many others might not go to Utube or Yahoo to search for it because, well I am lazy and I would rather see it on this web site than go searching for it. I am interested though can you post more info? I hope I did not come across rude, I did not intend to. Thank you.

    5 replies
    is the video. It is used to pump water for sheep cattle and a garden back where i grew up in ireland.
    I have also used it to make a little geyser, to power a device that removed silt from sand so I could use it for masonry and to blow air through a metal pipe that went down the chimney captured heat from the flue and heated a living room. (that actually worked really well except that the air was stinky from the stream).

    This is a brilliant idea! I was researching ram pumps, and trying to figure out how to make the oscillator, when I ran across your pulser pump. I really like the "no moving parts" thing! I don't really care about relative efficiencies, I figure that anything that runs 24 hours a day on stream power will be more than enough to water a few cattle.

    I live in New Hampshire, where we get pretty cold winters. In your experience, does this thing freeze up during the winter? Or will constant flow keep it clear?

    Does the water inlet need to be even with the surface of the water (more or less) so that it sucks in air? Have you considered a float and flexible tube to the chamber below, or does the inlet pipe have to be a straight vertical drop?

    How big should the chamber be? Where is the lower end of the lift tube in relation to the bottom of the inlet pipe? Should it be above or below the water level in the chamber? Does the lift tube have to be smaller than the inlet pipe? Is there an efficient or maximum ratio of the two?

    Have you figured out equations for rate of flow based on head, pipe size, or chamber size? Any idea why it pulses instead of just being a constant flow? I noticed somewhere you mentioned that pulsing slows or speeds up depending on the amount of air being sucked in. If there's no air, does it just pump water at a constant rate, or does it just stop?

    I'm anxious to try this out! Thanks for your advocacy about this great idea, and any help you can give me.

    A friend suggested a "pulser pump Nano" a tiny version with a tiny trompe going only 3 or 4 ft deep.
    I don't have a stream any more but I tested low pressure airlift with just 22 inches of air pressure. (The pressure needed to pump air 22 inches deep in water).
    This pumped water 13 ft high. I could have gone higher too if I had more pipes!
    This means the pulser pump nano might be a success. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUqrBzO39xY


    8 years ago on Introduction

    tell more about trombe pump.

    is it on wikipedia ---> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_water_heating

    1 reply

    I actually started the entry and some of the people at wikipedia found the references. (They were going to get rid of it because I didn't have any references but I pleaded).
    I didn't have access to good engineering libraries.
    I have some info on the pulser pump group at yahoo groups and at my tripod.com site about the pulser pump.
    I did a talk a while ago and some new information is available now.
    Tromps started in Italy about 400 years ago (I don't have dates) and traveled very quickly to Spain and from there to the USA.
    There is information coming out of Barcelona right now. They have some group going to revive interest in tromps and researching using them in 3rd world countries. I suggested that before I even knew what a tromp was!
    A link for Spanish work is http://www.aedie.org/11chlie-papers/RESUMEN/248-Bosch-summary.pdf