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  • Well Pumps - AC or DC

    Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
    Grunfos makes some DC pumps, but the pump and it's controller are as expensive as a PV, battery, inverter setup to run a generic AC pump.

    The most important thing is to properly size the pump, the combo of Motor & pump stages is critical to get the best performance per watt. And a 240V, 3 wire pump is easier for an inverter to start than the same pump in a 2 wire configuraton.

    Mike "been there, done that" B.
    It looks like you know lots about this subject. Can you advise us. We want to power our well pump with solar. Based on what you have said it looks like we will stick with our AC pump and not go with DC. This is the pump that we have now:

    Wayne Reliant One
    3/4 HP - I don't understand this - does this mean it is less than 1 HP?
    V: 115/230
    A: 12.2/6.1
    RPM: 3450
    HZ: 60

    It looks like this pump doesn't meet the 240v that you mentioned in your post. Do we need to buy a new one?
    What kind of inverter do you recommend?
    What kind and how many solar panels do you recommend?

    Thanks for your help
    Last edited by Mike90250; 09-29-2011, 05:53 PM. Reason: subject line, spl;it thead

  • #2
    Maybe I know enough to be dangerous

    I had to do a lot of research for my own situation 3 years ago. I concluded that a conventional, 240v AC 1/2 hp pump was going to meet my needs.
    I was also installing a whole house off grid system, and was going to have a XW6048 inverter (6,000w 48v battery bank) to power the house, and I may as well use the the 240v AC to run the pump, or invest in a lot of new (back then) and expensive tech for a DC direct solar pump. So I went with a system that any well / pump tech could understand without going to the big city for help.

    3/4 hp is a really good sized pump, and I would expect it to draw 1500w when running.
    But do you need that large of a pump ?? How deep is the well ? Pressure tank or elevated storage ? Farm irrigation, or 1 house ?
    3/4 hp is eithr a really deep well, or a lot of water usage.
    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


    • #3
      Save yourself a lot of heartburn and bite the bullet now.

      Use a DC pump ran during the day to fill a cistern, pressurize the tank for distribution.
      MSEE, PE

      Comment


      • #4
        A 3/4 horsepower pump will take a 4 to 5 kW source to make startup surge.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by RCinFLA View Post
          A 3/4 horsepower pump will take a 4 to 5 kW source to make startup surge.
          Can that be right? Let me see if I have this right ......If I buy panels that are 220 watts that means 5kw (5000 watts) divided by 220 watts per panel = 23 panels - yikes! Is that right.

          Comment


          • #6
            [QUOTE=Mike90250;33008]Maybe I know enough to be dangerous

            I had to do a lot of research for my own situation 3 years ago. I concluded that a conventional, 240v AC 1/2 hp pump was going to meet my needs.
            I was also installing a whole house off grid system, and was going to have a XW6048 inverter (6,000w 48v battery bank) to power the house, and I may as well use the the 240v AC to run the pump, or invest in a lot of new (back then) and expensive tech for a DC direct solar pump. So I went with a system that any well / pump tech could understand without going to the big city for help.

            3/4 hp is a really good sized pump, and I would expect it to draw 1500w when running.
            But do you need that large of a pump ?? How deep is the well ? Pressure tank or elevated storage ? Farm irrigation, or 1 house ?
            3/4 hp is eithr a really deep well, or a lot of water usage.[/QUOTE


            Our well is 15 feet deep. We have a small organic garden which is growing -was one acre - will be 3 acres soon, but we live in TN and get lots of rain. We have a yoga center where there are about currently 8 people taking showers, doing laundry, cooking and eating. We expect that number to double in a few years. As it turns out, we now have one pump (the one described) that pumps the water out of the well and pushes the water closer to the main house (50 feet). There is a holding tank at the main house and another pump (need to get the data on this one). From this holding tank, the pump is located in our main building and distributes the water upstairs and to a few close by cabins. For right now we just want to solar power the one pump that brings the water up from the ground.

            Thanks for your help.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by dbird108 View Post
              Can that be right? Let me see if I have this right ......If I buy panels that are 220 watts that means 5kw (5000 watts) divided by 220 watts per panel = 23 panels - yikes! Is that right.
              If it is an AC motor, yes it will take that much starting current. The current will drop down after pump is running to about 1400 watts for the 3/4 HP pump. My 5/8 HP 240vac house pump will not start with less then a 4kW generator or 4kW inverter. The startup surge will be close to locked rotor amps of motor. If inverter voltage slumps then the startup current will be less then locked rotor but will last longer. Many inverters have a short period surge capability of up to two times their rated capacity. Don't forget the yielded current load on batteries. For surge overload, inverter efficiency drops to maybe 50-60%. Too small a battery will have a collapse in DC voltage causing inverter to shut down.

              A DC motor will have less surge but still a surge current at startup.

              It is not the panels that supply the pump. It is the batteries and inverter. Panels charge the batteries. You need to figure the duty cycle of pump actual on time. My 5/8 hp pump averages about 0.5 kWH of power per day. My usage is about 250 gallons of water a day with 40 gallon pressure bladder tank running with 20 psi start, 40 psi stop. You don't get 40 gallons for each cycle of the pump, maybe something like 25 gallons, so to supply 250 gallons a day the pump must cycle 10 times per day. Depending on pump size and well depth the run time for each refill of pressure tank varies. Mine is less then three minutes run time per tank refill cycle.

              Startup surge last for about 0.5 seconds so there is 4 kW's for 0.5 seconds times 10 starts per day = 5.5 wH's per day. Converted to 48v battery AH's it would be 5.5 WH's / 0.90(inv eff) = 6.1 WH's => 0.12 AH's /day

              Run time is 3 mins at about 1000 watts times 10 cycles per day = 0.5 kWH's per day.
              Converted to 48v battery AH's it would be 500 WH's / 0.93(inv eff) = 538 WH's => 10.4 AH's/day

              So you can see the kWH impact on battery energy is not that great, but the 4 kW surge power to start the pump requires a fairly large inverter/battery system.

              Put in perspective, typical refrig will draw over 1kWH per day. A 30 watt inverter idle power consumption is 0.720 kWH's per day.

              Well depth head pressure is not necessarily the pipe depth of well. It depends on water table. My well is 70 feet down but water table is less then 10 feet down so pump is effectively pulling a 10 feet rise. This is added to tank pressure to get the net pumping pressure is avg. 30 psi /(0.434 psi/ ft head) + 10 ft head = 79 ft-head. You can look up pump gpm at 79 ft-head to get water volume pumped. Some pump charts are in psi, some in head pressure, some do head suction rise and psi output for given gallons per minute.

              As to original question of DC or AC pump, if you are going to be running a refrig, microwave and such, you will likely need a sizable inverter anyway so might as well use an AC pump which are much lower cost then a DC pump. AC pumps of less then 1 HP usually have a 120 vac or 240 vac wiring option so you can run off of a 120 vac inverter.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                Save yourself a lot of heartburn and bite the bullet now.

                Use a DC pump ran during the day to fill a cistern, pressurize the tank for distribution.
                Bump and repeat.
                MSEE, PE

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                  Bump and repeat.
                  What do you use to pressurize the tank, another pump? I see no reason of cistern unless you are collecting rain water. Most of the power is going to be pressurizing a tank for useable house pressure of 20 to 40 psi. (unless you have a very deep well draw)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=dbird108;33046

                    Our well is 15 feet deep.
                    Thanks for your help.[/QUOTE]

                    Here is the operative portion.
                    very shallow well.
                    Rich
                    WWW.solarsaves.net

                    NABCEP certified Technical Sales Professional

                    http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...Battery-Design

                    http://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html (Voltage drop Calculator among others)

                    www.gaisma.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      So with a well, you have 2 issues

                      1) getting water up out of the earth. (suction pump)

                      2) providing pressure to run household needs. (pressure building pump)

                      If you are only 15 feet down, you could go to a smaller suction pump, you don't need 3/4hp. Your "holding tank" won't provide "pressure" - that's what the 2nd pump is for.

                      If you have any elevation on your property, and can get a tank 30 or 40' up a hill, that will provide pressure, and you could get by with one pump.

                      A thing to watch out for, if your water is only 15' down from the top, you may have to treat the drinking water.

                      There are 2 methods of using pumps for pressure:
                      a) simple pump and "pressure tank".
                      b) fancy pump with bleed-off valve and it runs to provide pressure. Not too good for off-grid usage.

                      A third type, but I think your setup is too large, is an RV style of pressure pump, but those just run a simple sink or a mini-shower.

                      Pumping water takes a lot of power.
                      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


                      • #12
                        Well PUmps

                        Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
                        Maybe I know enough to be dangerous

                        I had to do a lot of research for my own situation 3 years ago. I concluded that a conventional, 240v AC 1/2 hp pump was going to meet my needs.
                        I was also installing a whole house off grid system, and was going to have a XW6048 inverter (6,000w 48v battery bank) to power the house, and I may as well use the the 240v AC to run the pump, or invest in a lot of new (back then) and expensive tech for a DC direct solar pump. So I went with a system that any well / pump tech could understand without going to the big city for help.

                        3/4 hp is a really good sized pump, and I would expect it to draw 1500w when running.
                        But do you need that large of a pump ?? How deep is the well ? Pressure tank or elevated storage ? Farm irrigation, or 1 house ?
                        3/4 hp is eithr a really deep well, or a lot of water usage.
                        Hi -This was my answer to your questions -must have entered it into the wrong location:
                        Our well is 15 feet deep. We have a small organic garden which is growing -was one acre - will be 3 acres soon, but we live in TN and get lots of rain. We have a yoga center where there are about currently 8 people taking showers, doing laundry, cooking and eating. We expect that number to double in a few years. As it turns out, we now have one pump (the one described) that pumps the water out of the well and pushes the water closer to the main house (50 feet). There is a holding tank at the main house and another pump (need to get the data on this one). From this holding tank, the pump is located in our main building and distributes the water upstairs and to a few close by cabins. For right now we just want to solar power the one pump that brings the water up from the ground.

                        Thanks for your help.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          15 foot deep is nothing, a surface pump can suck that easily, and then push it along to a holding tank. You need to measure how much water you use a day (half the 500 gl tank, the whole tank, or 3 tank fulls) Once you know how much water you need, you can size the pump properly, for the lift and volume.

                          There are simple pressure building pumps for water pressure for the taps.

                          Are you planning on solar water heating for the showers ?
                          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


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
                            So with a well, you have 2 issues

                            1) getting water up out of the earth. (suction pump)

                            2) providing pressure to run household needs. (pressure building pump)

                            If you are only 15 feet down, you could go to a smaller suction pump, you don't need 3/4hp. Your "holding tank" won't provide "pressure" - that's what the 2nd pump is for.

                            If you have any elevation on your property, and can get a tank 30 or 40' up a hill, that will provide pressure, and you could get by with one pump.

                            A thing to watch out for, if your water is only 15' down from the top, you may have to treat the drinking water.

                            There are 2 methods of using pumps for pressure:
                            a) simple pump and "pressure tank".
                            b) fancy pump with bleed-off valve and it runs to provide pressure. Not too good for off-grid usage.

                            A third type, but I think your setup is too large, is an RV style of pressure pump, but those just run a simple sink or a mini-shower.

                            Pumping water takes a lot of power.
                            Nice answer - thanks so much. Someone else responded that the start up power required for the well pump is quite high requiring lots of solar panels. My calculations show that we would need about 23? panels to do this. It sounds too expensive to be feasible.

                            Here is my origina question and his response - what do you think?


                            Can that be right? Let me see if I have this right ......If I buy panels that are 220 watts that means 5kw (5000 watts) divided by 220 watts per panel = 23 panels - yikes! Is that right.
                            If it is an AC motor, yes it will take that much starting current. The current will drop down after pump is running to about 1400 watts for the 3/4 HP pump. My 5/8 HP 240vac house pump will not start with less then a 4kW generator or 4kW inverter. The startup surge will be close to locked rotor amps of motor. If inverter voltage slumps then the startup current will be less then locked rotor but will last longer. Many inverters have a short period surge capability of up to two times their rated capacity. Don't forget the yielded current load on batteries. For surge overload, inverter efficiency drops to maybe 50-60%. Too small a battery will have a collapse in DC voltage causing inverter to shut down.

                            A DC motor will have less surge but still a surge current at startup.

                            It is not the panels that supply the pump. It is the batteries and inverter. Panels charge the batteries. You need to figure the duty cycle of pump actual on time. My 5/8 hp pump averages about 0.5 kWH of power per day. My usage is about 250 gallons of water a day with 40 gallon pressure bladder tank running with 20 psi start, 40 psi stop. You don't get 40 gallons for each cycle of the pump, maybe something like 25 gallons, so to supply 250 gallons a day the pump must cycle 10 times per day. Depending on pump size and well depth the run time for each refill of pressure tank varies. Mine is less then three minutes run time per tank refill cycle.

                            Startup surge last for about 0.5 seconds so there is 4 kW's for 0.5 seconds times 10 starts per day = 5.5 wH's per day. Converted to 48v battery AH's it would be 5.5 WH's / 0.90(inv eff) = 6.1 WH's => 0.12 AH's /day

                            Run time is 3 mins at about 1000 watts times 10 cycles per day = 0.5 kWH's per day.
                            Converted to 48v battery AH's it would be 500 WH's / 0.93(inv eff) = 538 WH's => 10.4 AH's/day

                            So you can see the kWH impact on battery energy is not that great, but the 4 kW surge power to start the pump requires a fairly large inverter/battery system.

                            Put in perspective, typical refrig will draw over 1kWH per day. A 30 watt inverter idle power consumption is 0.720 kWH's per day.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
                              15 foot deep is nothing, a surface pump can suck that easily, and then push it along to a holding tank. You need to measure how much water you use a day (half the 500 gl tank, the whole tank, or 3 tank fulls) Once you know how much water you need, you can size the pump properly, for the lift and volume.

                              There are simple pressure building pumps for water pressure for the taps.

                              Are you planning on solar water heating for the showers ?
                              We may do solar for the showers, but we have lots of big trees. We have limited resources and wanted to focus on one thing at a time, although we realize they are connected. The well pump area gets plenty of sunshine, but we could also probably heat some water on the roof of the building next to the to the well pump. It sounds like you are saying that a surface pump would be less of an energy user than the 3/4 HP one that we have now? We need to measure how much water we are using - I see that now. Do you know of any good gizmos for this?

                              Comment

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