Hydralic Ram Pump

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Neb

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I am starting this thead to share a video that is the first in a series about Hydralic Ram Pumps.



He is a nerdy type prepper but does have nice ram pump he uses on his farm.

I will update this thread when I get my ram pump setup again.

Take care,

Ben
 

Neb

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Since I was in the neighbourhood today I took a short video and a picture ralated to the ram pump.

This video shows the output of the springs that will be diverted to the ram pump.



This image shows the location where the ram pump goes. I am standing on ground that is 8-10 feet above the stream bed.

20210319_154916.jpg



Ben
 

Supervisor42

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I am starting this thead to share a video that is the first in a series about Hydralic Ram Pumps.



He is a nerdy type prepper but does have nice ram pump he uses on his farm.

I will update this thread when I get my ram pump setup again.

Take care,

Ben
I would give anything to take him by the hand and show him systems that I have seen that have been running 24/7 for over 50 years.
I looked at several other videos and they all are copies of the same inefficient design, with unnecessary parts, are above ground and subject to freeze, and only useful to fill open-top tanks.
Granted, they are better than a 1/2hp electric pump, the power drop and cost to power it for years, but ram-pumps were perfected decades ago, and they are nothing like the ones on youtube.
 

Neb

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He is one of best I found on YouTube.

For a CME the electric option is not an option.

I would have to run 300' of extrnsion cord to use an electric pump.

Granted his water source is a pond and only good for crops without treatment. I do hope to use spring water for my next install of my ram pump. But there again my springs slow down in late August and couldn't runa pump 365 days a year.

Wranglerstar has ram pump videos that may be more to your liking.


How about Engineer775?


Ben
 

Supervisor42

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He is one of best I found on YouTube.

For a CME the electric option is not an option.

I would have to run 300' of extrnsion cord to use an electric pump.

Granted his water source is a pond and only good for crops without treatment. I do hope to use spring water for my next install of my ram pump. But there again my springs slow down in late August and couldn't runa pump 365 days a year.

Wranglerstar has ram pump videos that may be more to your liking.


How about Engineer775?


Ben
:( No.
The 90° turn to the surge valve, (the one that slams shut) is wrong. It is linear, inline with the ram-pipe and the discharge/overflow pipe.
The small accumulator tank sticking up, not needed, because you will have to have a 50-60 gallon pressure tank anyway, just like with a well pump, because the house draws more volume than the pump can supply in a short period.
Granted, the systems that I saw were owned by po-folks but they had pressurised water to flush toilets, take a bath, wash dishes, and do laundry with.
They drank it too but you should not. They also fought with internal parasites and water-borne diseases.
The reason you don't see the old systems on youtube is because there is nothing to see.
Everything is below ground level except the storage tank and the end of the discharge pipe:(.
I can make a drawing of one but I'll have to fire up my PC
PullingHairOut.gif
.
 
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Spikedriver

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My family farm had a Ram pump system. It was removed long before my time, but the basic infrastructure was still there when I was a kid. It started with a flowing well that put out 2-3 gallons/minute. The water naturally came from 120 feet deep, up the casing to 5.5 feet below surface level. A small diameter pipe then ran downhill underground from that well, about 100-150 feet to a concrete vault holding the ram. From the ram another line went back uphill about 120 yards to the house. The overflow water continued downhill underground, then the pipe came up above ground and emptied into a stock tank. The overflow from that tank continued downhill into a fish pond/watering hole for the cattle.

The house had a holding tank on the 2nd floor that fed the bathroom and kitchen via gravity.

Sup42 is correct that everything was straight line coming out of the water source and all the moving parts were underground. It was an ingenious system, that unfortunately is no longer viable due to a declining water table...
 

Neb

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:( No.
The 90° turn to the surge valve, (the one that slams shut) is wrong. It is linear, inline with the ram-pipe and the discharge/overflow pipe.
The small accumulator tank sticking up, not needed, because you will have to have a 50-60 gallon pressure tank anyway, just like with a well pump, because the house draws more volume than the pump can supply in a short period.
Granted, the systems that I saw were owned by po-folks but they had pressurised water to flush toilets, take a bath, wash dishes, and do laundry with.
They drank it too but you should not. They also fought with internal parasites and water-borne diseases.
The reason you don't see the old systems on youtube is because there is nothing to see.
Everything is below ground level except the storage tank and the end of the discharge pipe:(.
I can make a drawing of one but I'll have to fire up my PCView attachment 61349.
Can you help me understand your comment about the 90 degree to the surge? Should I understand that to refer to impetus valve that close to create the pressure surge?

I do have a book dedicated to ram pumps but I can't locate it at the moment. (I have four book shelves of engineering books that are doubled up books behind books).

I drove myself crazy trying to find an old reference thinking it was in

20210320_134626_HDR.jpg


Eventually I found this book on side table next to my chair! (Silly me)

20210320_142943.jpg


It has a short section on hydralic rams.

20210320_141648.jpg


20210320_141654.jpg


Here are pictures of the ram pump I built. The impetus valve was originally 3/4 inch but I down sized it to 1/2 inch to try to get the pump to cycle faster. Eventually I would like to try out a small foot valve that could give me more control by adding weights.

20210320_133541.jpg


The tri-fold pressure tanks are not connected in these images. I went with 3 pressure tanks to keep the height of the pump shorter and less noticeable to revenuers.

20210320_133557.jpg


The valve to the ouput pressure gage was only opened when priming the pump and turned off after. If memory serves me the pump started cycling just short of 20 psi and averaged about 27 psi in operation. That was consistent with the 50 or so feet of elevation to the pond at the top of the hill.

20210320_133605.jpg


One of the three pressure tanks is shown below. 4" diameter about 30" tall. Painted camo to help hide them. Not knowing how big the pressure tanks should be I sized them to the same volume as the total delivery line to the top of the hill. I used screw on caps with teflon tape but could not prevent air from leaking out and the pressure vessels from saturating. I plan to replace the caps with glued on version and put pool noodles in the tanks.

20210320_133444.jpg


I may be able to go down to just one tank but that is a future experiment.

I appreciate any thoughts and insight you can share.

This is a learning experience for me. If I can figure out the details I have other springs that can be developed to run ram pumps.

Ben
 

SheepDog

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Place a rubber bladder in the tank. It can be made from a bicycle inner tube.

Each fitting you use lowers the efficiency of the pump.
 

Supervisor42

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Can you help me understand your comment about the 90 degree to the surge? Should I understand that to refer to impetus valve that close to create the pressure surge?

I do have a book dedicated to ram pumps but I can't locate it at the moment. (I have four book shelves of engineering books that are doubled up books behind books).

I drove myself crazy trying to find an old reference thinking it was in

View attachment 61429

Eventually I found this book on side table next to my chair! (Silly me)

View attachment 61430

It has a short section on hydralic rams.

View attachment 61431

View attachment 61432

Here are pictures of the ram pump I built. The impetus valve was originally 3/4 inch but I down sized it to 1/2 inch to try to get the pump to cycle faster. Eventually I would like to try out a small foot valve that could give me more control by adding weights.

View attachment 61433

The tri-fold pressure tanks are not connected in these images. I went with 3 pressure tanks to keep the height of the pump shorter and less noticeable to revenuers.

View attachment 61434

The valve to the ouput pressure gage was only opened when priming the pump and turned off after. If memory serves me the pump started cycling just short of 20 psi and averaged about 27 psi in operation. That was consistent with the 50 or so feet of elevation to the pond at the top of the hill.

View attachment 61435

One of the three pressure tanks is shown below. 4" diameter about 30" tall. Painted camo to help hide them. Not knowing how big the pressure tanks should be I sized them to the same volume as the total delivery line to the top of the hill. I used screw on caps with teflon tape but could not prevent air from leaking out and the pressure vessels from saturating. I plan to replace the caps with glued on version and put pool noodles in the tanks.

View attachment 61436

I may be able to go down to just one tank but that is a future experiment.

I appreciate any thoughts and insight you can share.

This is a learning experience for me. If I can figure out the details I have other springs that can be developed to run ram pumps.

Ben
Great books!
I'm working with 1974 memories stored in dead brain cells. :(
The proper name for what I called the surge-valve is the "clack-valve".
The reason the newbies have their clack valves vertical is because they are using a conventional swinging gate check valve with gravity to open it.
The inline clack valves were converted water-well foot-valves with the spring to hold them open instead of closed. When the flow thru them overpowered the spring, they slammed closed.
Since the gravity pressure is not enough to overcome the spring pressure, the reflection wave yanks it back open and the cycle repeats. A simple "T" upstream of it with a checkvalve off the side of it sends the burst of water to the pressure tank a few feet away.
The pump part was no more complicated than that.
3" black-iron or galvanized pipe about 50' long was the ram tube, reduced to 1-1/2" for about 2' to accelerate the flow before the "T" and the clack valve.
After the clack valve there was about 4' of discharge pipe threaded on the end with a pipe cap nearby.
If the pump ever needed to be restarted, you simply screwed the cap on, waited a couple minutes, then took it back off.
 
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Spikedriver

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I have been told by older relatives who remembered the ram pump working, that it had a side benefit - the water from underground was nice and cold. It didn't warm up much if at all while traveling through the pump and then emptying into the stock tank. This had the effect of keeping the tank at a nice cool temp all summer long. Apparently my grandpa would keep a pony keg in the stock tank - nice and cold, all summer long, with no need for refrigeration. Off grid living at its best!😉
 

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I have been told by older relatives who remembered the ram pump working, that it had a side benefit - the water from underground was nice and cold. It didn't warm up much if at all while traveling through the pump and then emptying into the stock tank. This had the effect of keeping the tank at a nice cool temp all summer long. Apparently my grandpa would keep a pony keg in the stock tank - nice and cold, all summer long, with no need for refrigeration. Off grid living at its best!😉
Yep! The farm I grew up on had a deep artesian well that flowed constantly out an overflow pipe.
An electric pump supplied pressurized water up to the house.
I remember drinking the chilly water on hot summer days as it came out of the overflow pipe.
It couldn't have been much over 60°F.
I grew up on that water until age 18 and there was only one downside: no flouride.
Dentist> "Congratulations! You only have 4 cavities to drill&fill this year instead of 5 :thumbs:"
 
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Supervisor42

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Back on topic:
I guess the key difference in the clack valves of the old days and the ones that are opened by gravity, is in the adjustable spring tension of the inline valve.
This allows for adjustment of how fast the ram column of water is moving before it snaps closed.
A larger or longer ram pipe can supply greater volume/pressure if the column can get moving 'good' before the clacker closes.
If you got the spring too tight, the 1-1/2" discharge pipe would be at full flow before it clacked.
Too loose, and it would short-cycle and you would get low pressure/volume out of the pump.
The gravity opened ones close when very little water tries to go out of them limiting the cycle time and reducing the awesome power a good 'water-hammer' is capable of.
My
twocents.gif
.
 

Supervisor42

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Just for Ben since he is an engineer...
Before we dive too deep into calculation formulas. Some simple physics will help.
There are some givens we have to look at to determine optimal cycle time.
The full volume in the ram pipe to accelerate from a dead stop to flow takes time due to inertia.
This is largely determined by the ram pipe length. For a given percentage of max speed, longer ram pipe will take more time because of the inertia of the column to get moving with the same head-pressure on it.
One can postulate that the ram will make maximum pressure (zero output volume) when thru-flow is halted at max flow (C10) because the column is moving at max velocity.
The cycle time becomes important because if it is too short, the column doesn't ever gain enough velocity to provide the 'good train-wreck' that we need to move lots of water.
The maximum volume is likely achieved when the cycle time (C5) is 1/2 that of the one that makes max pressure because it is twice as many cycles but will still use most of the 'hammer'.
 
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Neb

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Just for Ben since he is an engineer...
Before we dive too deep into calculation formulas. Some simple physics will help.
There are some givens we have to look at to determine optimal cycle time.
The full volume in the ram pipe to accelerate from a dead stop to flow takes time due to inertia.
This is largely determined by the ram pipe length. For a given percentage of max speed, longer ram pipe will take more time because of the inertia of the column to get moving with the same head-pressure on it.
One can postulate that the ram will make maximum pressure (zero output volume) when thru-flow is halted at max flow (C10) because the column is moving at max velocity.
The cycle time becomes important because if it is too short, the column doesn't ever gain enough velocity to provide the 'good train-wreck' that we need to move lots of water.
The maximum volume is likely achieved when the cycle time (C5) is 1/2 that of the one that makes max pressure because it is twice as many cycles but will still use most of the 'hammer'.
Nice thinking there @Supervisor42 .

To keep this discussion out of the weeds...

To decrease the cycle time we need to increase the the acceleration of the column of water feeding the pump. That is where short drive pipes or a stand pipe comes into play. My next installation of the ram pump will use a short steel drive pipe.


My last one used a long run of3/4 pvc from a pond with no stand pipe. I could sit by the pond and listen to the cycling and watch the ripples in the water as each shockwave was reflected up steam. Those ripples were all wasted energy.

Ben
 

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I have used a ram pump for the last six years. It provides all of my irrigation water and wash water during the summer.

I used a spring tension clack valve. Inline with the drive pipe of course. Pressure tank is a bicycle inner tube stuffed inside a 4" PVC filter housing (without the filter) at right angles to the drive pip and check valve.

12' of drop from source

50' of 1.25 drive pipe

200' of .75 output pipe to an elevation of 35' above water source

Cycle rate of 60 beats per minute.

1 GPM output per 10 Gallons of drive water.

In my opinion, cycle rate and output are secondary to RELIABILITY. I tune my ram to the point where it never stops running.

In my experience, long cycle times are much more likely to get stuck closed. Short cycle times are likely to get stuck open. I adjust mine until it sticks CLOSED and then increase spring tension until it will pop open even under static pressure.

If your interested in the physics, short cycles times are the most efficient in terms of water pumped per unit of drive water, long cycle times are more efficient in terms of water pumped per minute but require more relative drive water. If drive water supply is unlimited, you want the longest cycle time that will reliably cycle. The reliable rate is usually a little faster than the maximum rate. And IMO, a ram that runs all summer once started is more important than a slight reduction in GPM in a pump that you have to walk down and 'defibrillate' from time to time.

My ram body is almost entirely metal. My first couple where PVC but I found they would only run for a couple of months before the stress caused cracks. I replaced each cracked part with metal one by one until the entire ramp is 90% metal pipe.
 
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Aerindel

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Were you using thicker schedule 80 (gray) PVC or thinner walled white?
White schedule 40

I forgot to add:

HOW TO ADJUST YOUR RAM.

The trick to adjusting you ram stroke length and spring pressure took me a long time to figure out but I find it was the only way to get truly reliable operation. This sequence of adjustments I have found is very important for a properly tuned ram.

Set your stroke length as long as it will go, something like 1" is good to start.

Adjust your spring as weak as you can until the ram closes and sticks closed.

With the ram stuck closed, slowly increase SPRING TENSION until the ram pops open. It will most likely stick open at this point

DECREASE STROKE LENGTH until the ram closes. It should start cycling. If it does not, manually run the valve a dozen times or so until your pressure tank is fully pressurized to whatever it needs to be for your rise, many rams will only cycle when the pressure tank is charged.

If the ram stops after a few cycles, what you do depends on if its stuck open, or stuck closed.

If stuck CLOSED increase spring pressure slightly.

If stuck OPEN, decrease stroke length slightly.

Stroke length in a high pressure ram, that is one with a good amount of head on the drive line, may be very short.

Mine is only about 3/16th of an inch.

Your final stroke length will depend a lot on your rise and run.

Mathematically, you need your ram set up so:

Static water pressure < spring pressure

Moving water pressure on clack valve > spring pressure

The mistake I kept making was when the valve was stuck open, I would decrease spring pressure, which would make the ram cycle, but then lead to it sticking closed. With a ram, as long as the spring pressure is enough to pop it open under static pressure, you stop adjusting the spring, and only adjust the stroke length to fix any cycling problems.

All this applies as well to gravity operated clack valves, just replace spring pressure, with weight.

If your ram sticks both open AND closed alternatingly, your pressure tank is too small, or has lost all its air pressure and filled with water.

You know your pressure tank is the right size when you can't see any pulses in your output line but only get a steady stream.
 
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Aerindel

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Another potential pit fall.

Immediately after the clack valve closes the water in your drive line will 'bounce' and create slight negative pressure against the clack valve for an instant. If adjusted in a certain way, this can cause your valve to open even under what would normally be weak pressure. This kind of adjustment leads to the highest GPM as it allows you a longer stroke....BUT is unreliable as any small variation in water pressure can make your ram stick closed if it ever 'skips a beat'

The best rams are the ones that are self starting, that is they cannot physically stick closed and will re-start automatically even if they stall out for some reason.

It is also important to keep any bubbles out of your drive line. Any leaking fittings will SUCK air in prior to the water hammer, any air in the drive line will act like a shock absorber when the valve closes and rob you of power. Your pressure tank acts the same way but its on the other side of a check valve so all the energy is sent up your output line.
 
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LadyLocust

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Hey all. Sketches to go along with all these words would be awesome! I have no experience with ram pumps but have dealt with well pump and pressure tank. This is something I'm interested in knowing. I don't have means at the moment to put it to use, but have printed info. on ram pumps as I've found it though I'm thinking it's usually been above ground. Shooting the ideas and knowledge back and forth is valuable! Pix would make it even more so.
Also, we had an artesian growing up - the best water!
 

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Hey all. Sketches to go along with all these words would be awesome! I have no experience with ram pumps but have dealt with well pump and pressure tank. This is something I'm interested in knowing. I don't have means at the moment to put it to use, but have printed info. on ram pumps as I've found it though I'm thinking it's usually been above ground. Shooting the ideas and knowledge back and forth is valuable! Pix would make it even more so.
Also, we had an artesian growing up - the best water!
I can sketch if I have to.
I'm hoping @Aerindel can draw better than me. He's played with the real ones and has knowledge that is not 40 50 years old :( .
The plastic ones of today are more demonstration models of the principle (think 4H), rather than functional systems that have been working 24/7 for decades.
The good news is, they have always been simple and inexpensive. (a fraction compared to drilling a well and building a windmill).
 
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Neb

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Hey all. Sketches to go along with all these words would be awesome! I have no experience with ram pumps but have dealt with well pump and pressure tank. This is something I'm interested in knowing. I don't have means at the moment to put it to use, but have printed info. on ram pumps as I've found it though I'm thinking it's usually been above ground. Shooting the ideas and knowledge back and forth is valuable! Pix would make it even more so.
Also, we had an artesian growing up - the best water!
I have seen submerged ram pumps that sit in a stream bed.

Would you luke a short video explaining the operation? I could record a short video as an itro.

Ben
 

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Hey all. Sketches to go along with all these words would be awesome!
... Pix would make it even more so.
Also, we had an artesian growing up - the best water!
The inline clack valves were similar to this:

Not shown is the locknut that goes on the threaded rod of the valve to adjust it.
 
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I have seen submerged ram pumps that sit in a stream bed.

Would you luke a short video explaining the operation? I could record a short video as an itro.

Ben
Don't go out of your way, but if it's handy or convenient sometime - sure. I would make notes and draw my own pix (not as much fun as seeing others' artwork) :) My FIL was born in 1934 and is a pretty smart cookie so I asked if he had any experience with them - nope. He'd seen them and knew what they were of course, but said he never worked on any.
 

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The inline clack valves were similar to this:

Not shown is the locknut that goes on the threaded rod of the valve to adjust it.
A similar gizmo as to what's in the end of the pump pipe when irrigating out of the river - so it doesn't lose its prime right?
(Thank you by the way) I'm learning a lot.
 

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A similar gizmo as to what's in the end of the pump pipe when irrigating out of the river - so it doesn't lose its prime right?
(Thank you by the way) I'm learning a lot.
It's almost at the end of the pipe.
And pumping water from a dammed-up creek, not a river.
The river is always way-down there. (lowest point) Nowhere down from there.
A creek (fed by springs) flowing down to the river works year-round. :thumbs:
Edit:
My FIL was born in 1934 and is a pretty smart cookie so I asked if he had any experience with them - nope. He'd seen them and knew what they were of course, but said he never worked on any.
He's right. They didn't need to be worked on very much. They just kept on clinking and clinking.:)
 
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LadyLocust

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It's almost at the end of the pipe.
And pumping water from a dammed-up creek, not a river.
The river is always way-down there. (lowest point) Nowhere down from there.
A creek flowing down to the river (fed by springs) works year-round. :thumbs:
We are currently in the process of selling our place on the river. It has some fabulous features, water being one of them, but is only 1 acre. We would like more acreage but it has to meet certain specs. Water, be it spring or flowing is one of those specs. If we end up with a spring, this is info. I want to know 😊
 

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We are currently in the process of selling our place on the river. It has some fabulous features, water being one of them, but is only 1 acre. We would like more acreage but it has to meet certain specs. Water, be it spring or flowing is one of those specs. If we end up with a spring, this is info. I want to know 😊
We'll start at the source.
Rocks across a creek create a pool that the intake pipe is in.
The water still flows over the rocks down the creek so nothing is really changed as far as it's flow.
Looks like this:

The intake of the ram pipe with it's screen is just above the bottom of the pool.
 
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