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Question about putting 12v solar pump into well casing for slow feed to a remote tank

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  • Question about putting 12v solar pump into well casing for slow feed to a remote tank

    Hi everyone,

    We have an interesting situation. We live on a fairly steep hill and the well is at the bottom, while our house is at the top. This resulted in 2 electric meters with the meter fees for both services being kind of pricey.

    Here's the nuts and bolts of our issue. Currently, we have a 1hp well pump 22ov activated off a microswitch that is powered in our home utility room and mounted on the pressure tank. The well is about 400 feet down the hill with a 50-60' lift. Currently, we just run the 220v pump and do not use our 550 gallon tank other than for storing water for power outages.

    What we want to do is place our 12v solar pump (with panels and no battery bank) into the well casing above the 220v pump and slowly fill the storage tank and then run the water from the storage tank through our pressure tank to use in barns, home, etc. We will need to put a float activator into the storage tank and attach that to the microswitch that should then tell the solar pump to run.

    I've previously done the math and the Shurflo pump will fill the tank slowly with the distance and head. I think it was about 2 gallons per minute at max possible rate.

    The main question I have is whether to hook the solar pump line into the existent water line using the [B]same[/B] check valve that is in the existent water line? Or should we plumb in another line with it's own check valve that enters the existent water line after the check valve for the 220 pump? Also, do you think we can run it off panels alone, or do we need to put in a battery bank? Our usage will be fine with the 500 gallon tank. We have good sun exposure and are located in the Missouri Ozarks. We can put in a battery bank if needed, just want to keep costs down as much as possible.

    We want to leave the 220v pump in the well in case something happens with the solar and then we can power the 220v pump off the gas generator.

    The flow rate on the well is 12 gallons per minute, so we have never had any issue with running it low even on the 220v.There is no way for the solar pump to run the well out with the replacement rate.

    Thanks for your thoughts! It's already an ususual set up, and changing to solar will make it even more unusual.

  • #2
    if everything is as you describe, it should work.

    BUT, I have reservations about your expected flow rate. 12GPM on the 1hp 220V pump, seems reasonable for 60' lift.

    2GPM on a 12V, 60' lift, seems rather high, unless it's a REALLY BIG 12V pump. I would check the pump specs, and I expect that at low head, you get 2GPM, but high head, maybe only .2 GPM
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

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    • #3
      You're likely correct that I am over estimating the flow. I've slept since I did the calculations!

      What about the check valve issue? I'm sure the pump will move the water the distance we need, but I'm not sure how to deal with the check valve.

      Thanks much!

      Comment


      • #4
        Are you using the 9300 series pump? The 24v model would get you over 2 gpm flow at 60' head.

        I'd also install it on it's own piping instead of trying to marry the 2. The 220 pump could easily overpower the shurflo pump if they both run at the same time.

        What's the diameter of the casing? It would need to be large eonough to handle the pump and the standpipe for the 220 pump necxt to it.

        The solar store has a kit that will handle what you want to do. I'll be installing one on my well this weekend.

        http://thesolarstore.com/shurflo-930...ee-p-1159.html

        Just remember tis is a diaphram pump that will need rebuilt every few years.

        WWW

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        • #5
          Yes, actually. And that is a really great deal you linked to!

          The reason for using the existent water line is the ground we are dealing with (we have great dirt between the rocks!) and the distance. If we put a shut off on the solar line right before we tee in, that should isolate the solar pump from damage, right? So, as for the plumbing, it would be line up from the solar pump, check valve in that line, shut off for the solar line right before T-ing into the feed line. We should be able to jump off the control box for the microswitch to the solar pump. Does that sound reasonable?

          We had a guy with a solar business come out and look at it, but he really just wanted to sell us an additional system, not work with what we already have. I understand that, but we aren't exactly rich.

          Comment


          • #6
            What's the voltage for the microswitch? I may not be compatable with the LCB or pump.

            Not sure on your plumbing idea as I think I'd need to see it. You just want to make sure the solar pump is working against as little pressure as possible. You need to make sure the pump can't come on when you have that shutoff valve closed.

            I'll be getting a DC-DC converter so that I can run the pump from any 12v source. If I happen to need water when the suns not shining I plan on pulling the truck next to the well to pump a few gallons.

            WWW

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            • #7
              Both pumps need check valves.

              A pressure switch (or microswitch) will need to activate a relay, or a solid-state relay, or a DC contactor. Most AC switches will quickly fry on DC. My float switch in my tank, activates a standard 240VAC pump contactor (relay) so the full power does not go through the 800' of cable from the tanks to the pump.
              Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
              || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
              || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

              solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
              gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

              Comment

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