Hydralic Ram Pump

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Biggkidd

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Irrigation and critters. Cistern water for the house. Which as thin as rain has been lately we may have to resort back to creek water upon occasion. We've had to before.
 

Aerindel

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Can any of you guys with experience with these pumps tell me if one would work in the following situation? I have a large creek on one corner of my property. It has almost ZERO fall less than a foot per hundred feet I'd bet. Being about 24 feet wide and 12 to 18 inches deep where I can access it. It also catches HUGE storm surges where the water really rolls and gets 5 + feet deeper at these times. At that point the water washes across lowlands across from me. Problem 1) the creek is 175 feet below where I need water according to the surveyors. 2) My pipe run as of now is about 1800-2000 feet. The pipe is 1 inch poly and I currently use a Delavan roller pump belt driven from a 5 or 6 horse Honda engine. I get about 15-20 GPM free flow or enough pressure to run a bidirectional sprinkler head for crops. A ram pump if it would work would be so much nicer, quieter and fuelless. Best it could run all the time from what I understand.
CAN ONE DO THE JOB?

Thanks for any help and or input!
Probably not. Its not a matter of the elevation you are pumping to, its lack of drop for your drive water. A ram pump is entirely powered by the potential energy of falling water. If you have no fall, you have nothing to work with.

However....there are other kinds of pumps that do not require a lot of fall, just enough volume of water moving:

Consider this design:

spiral water wheel pump
 

Biggkidd

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Same option I came up with just not possible with the storm surges we get. Plus other than storms or after heavy rain it's pretty hard to tell the water is flowing at all. Thanks though!
 

UrbanHunter

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Can any of you guys with experience with these pumps tell me if one would work in the following situation? I have a large creek on one corner of my property. It has almost ZERO fall less than a foot per hundred feet I'd bet. Being about 24 feet wide and 12 to 18 inches deep where I can access it. It also catches HUGE storm surges where the water really rolls and gets 5 + feet deeper at these times. At that point the water washes across lowlands across from me. Problem 1) the creek is 175 feet below where I need water according to the surveyors. 2) My pipe run as of now is about 1800-2000 feet. The pipe is 1 inch poly and I currently use a Delavan roller pump belt driven from a 5 or 6 horse Honda engine. I get about 15-20 GPM free flow or enough pressure to run a bidirectional sprinkler head for crops. A ram pump if it would work would be so much nicer, quieter and fuelless. Best it could run all the time from what I understand.
CAN ONE DO THE JOB?

Thanks for any help and or input!
175' is a big lift, on one of my travels I saw water wheels in Lanzhou China, these were tall slow moving paddle wheels that scooped up water and then dumped it into a basin feeding a pipe about 25' above the river surface. The volume of water lifted was very low compared to the water passing though the wheel. The wheels I saw were on a river with very little drop but there was flow.
 

Biggkidd

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175' is a big lift, on one of my travels I saw water wheels in Lanzhou China, these were tall slow moving paddle wheels that scooped up water and then dumped it into a basin feeding a pipe about 25' above the river surface. The volume of water lifted was very low compared to the water passing though the wheel. The wheels I saw were on a river with very little drop but there was flow.
That's actually a design I have copied on paper here for after SHTF. I think a short dam to pinch the width down from 24 would allow it to work here. I think it would have to be a floating rig though on account of storm surges. I even have cable to anchor it on hand. Still don't know if it could withstand the 5+ foot storm surges we get and I'd still need a lot more poly pipe I don't have on hand.
 
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UrbanHunter

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That's actually a design I have copied on paper here for after SHTF. I think a short dam to pinch the width down from 24 would allow it to work here. I think it would have to be a floating rig though on account of storm surges. I even have cable to anchor it on hand. Still don't know if it could withstand the 5+ foot storm surges we get and I'd still need a lot more poly pipe I don't have on hand.
When you described your problem I came to the conclusion that you would most likely need a hybrid approach, possibly a water wheel to raise water into a cistern or elevated holding tank/pond that was no more than 20' above the stream, then use some sort of ram pump to move part of the holding tank water to a higher elevation while letting the discharge go back into the stream.

The wheels I saw in China were mounted on concrete walls parallel to the stream, they were not that wide and the paddles were designed such that in high flow conditions water could actually flow over/around the paddle. But, as you can see in the last picture they were able to get quite a lift (almost the diameter of the wheel).
1627469321442.png
1627469383216.png
1627469498095.png
 
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UrbanHunter

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You got me to thinking about when I was a little boy at Disney Land and their water lifting device:
1627470434010.png

A water wheel with a pulley system lifting cups of water using a rope ladder arrangement, the lift would be limited by the torque of the wheel, the gear ratio, the weight difference between the empty and full cups, and don't forget the total drag of the system. It is cute and fun.......
 

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I just saw the post on the "hippo Water roller" and something hit me, a simple water wheel but use a chain (bycycle?) to drive a crankshaft tied to a piston in cylinder and a pair of check valves for inlet and outlet valves, the piston could push water into a pipe/hose and get the lift you need, it would be slow/low flow but it would be constant pulsing flow. With a typical piston and a stroke you could get 100 psi to the line and that could give you the lift you need. Just borrow @Neb 's steam engine parts (or an old lawn mower).

I remember that one of my uncles had pumper trucks that used 6 cylinder engines tied to a PTO shaft to act as a pump to fill a sludge tank. Same principal only small scale....
 

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I've built a steam engine and made limited power with it. So I fully get the piston idea and combining it with a water wheel could be doable. More food for thought THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Neb

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I've built a steam engine and made limited power with it. So I fully get the piston idea and combining it with a water wheel could be doable. More food for thought THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!
I would to learn more about your steam engine!

I have the casting to make 5 of these.



I still need to get it running under steam and learn how to operate it. It is a goal of mine.

Ben
 

Biggkidd

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Oh wow you have the real deal! I made mine out of scrap and junk. I think there is an old video of it running on you tube if I can find it I'll post a link.
 

Biggkidd

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Okay found three very short clips.


I learned enough I could build one in times of need out of recycled junk which was my goal at the time.

It could have / would have run much better and made more power but my homemade boiler wasn't up to the task. I also learned enough about them to build a MUCH better unit much like our old rocket stove water heater.
 

Neb

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Okay found three very short clips.


I learned enough I could build one in times of need out of recycled junk which was my goal at the time.

It could have / would have run much better and made more power but my homemade boiler wasn't up to the task. I also learned enough about them to build a MUCH better unit much like our old rocket stove water heater.
Nice!

Looks like a compressor was used?

How did you make the boiler?

I have plans for a boiler that I hope to build some day.


The ready to fire that comply with code are pricey!


How you lubricating the engine?

I never gave that much thought until someone mentioned steam oil. It is thick at room temps but designed for running under steam.

I have been watching videos from this guy


He is full of good steam engine info.

Dave Richards


Has what he believes is the only operating steam fired machine shop in north america. I would like to someday adapt my machine shop to run on steam and use it to build steam engines.

Calm down Ben!

Ben
 

UrbanHunter

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@Neb 's talk about lubrication hit a cord, if you are using an piston type of water pump you will need to think about how you will lubricated it (especially the piston rings), I had considered grease fittings for the bearings and an inverted design so you could have oil collect at the piston..... rust is not good for sealing, but lots of oil in your water is not good either, I guess you could use vegetable oil to reduce the risk.
 

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Neb it was largely air compressor parts with a wood splitter control valve letting the steam in and out. You hit right on one major problem oil / oil contamination. The design in the video had issues. What I came up with to solve those were a second block and extension rods. That got the steam away from the oil. My boiler was a part of our home heating outdoor stove at the time. If I were doing it now I would go with a rocket design. Pretty much the exact same design I used for heating hot water sorry pics were on my old computer that died.

Urbanhunter Far as the piston for a water pump it would move slow and cold enough the water itself is all the lube that would be needed I expect. One teaspoon of any kind of oil can contaminate thousands of gallons of water. That's why old pumps used leathers for seals.
 

Biggkidd

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Neb if you're going to play with steam just remember this one crucial item water volume to steam volume ratio is right around 1:1500. I know that seems incredible but it's true and what makes steam dangerous! Just to make sure we are clear 1 gallon of water turned to steam is 1500 gallons of steam.
 

Neb

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Neb if you're going to play with steam just remember this one crucial item water volume to steam volume ratio is right around 1:1500. I know that seems incredible but it's true and what makes steam dangerous! Just to make sure we are clear 1 gallon of water turned to steam is 1500 gallons of steam.
Good reminder!

Makes that ready made boiler look like a good deal. :confused2:

Keith Appleton (see his channel linked above) demonstrated pressure testing boilers to twice the operating pressure using water instead of steam. If it fails you get a leak and not ... a disaster.

Ben
 

Biggkidd

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From what I've seen myself and read a steady leak is not a big deal it's when there's a sudden high volume release you're in trouble!
 

SheepDog

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today we have a number of polymer seals for rings and such in high pressure steam applications. There is no need for steel rings in a steam engine. Boilers - especially high pressure boilers - are fitted with hollow bolts. If anything rusts out the bolts go first as cracks form and the steam is released in a controlled manner. That signals it's time for a boiler rebuild. You have to decide how much pressure you need to operate your motor. A 200 psi engine can easily operate small machinery while for tasks that require more power you need more pressure. Making your engine with non-corrosive metals can extend their life. Brass, bronze, and stainless steel are all very good candidates. Brass is "self lubricating" more than the others but is not as strong. A 304 stainless is likely the least expensive (over the life of use) than the others. An exceptional candidate is Aluminum bronze but it is extremely expensive but easier to machine than stainless. At the expensive top is Carbon fiber but it should be used only in places that are not exposed to the high pressure steam.
If I was building another steam engine I would use a stainless piston and cylinder with bronze rod and valves. The boiler would be made of 300 series stainless with stainless tubes covered with copper. (stainless tube pressed into a copper tube reduces the poor heat transfer of the stainless)

Bear in mind that I do tend to over engineer everything. ;)
 

poltiregist

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Can any of you guys with experience with these pumps tell me if one would work in the following situation? I have a large creek on one corner of my property. It has almost ZERO fall less than a foot per hundred feet I'd bet. Being about 24 feet wide and 12 to 18 inches deep where I can access it. It also catches HUGE storm surges where the water really rolls and gets 5 + feet deeper at these times. At that point the water washes across lowlands across from me. Problem 1) the creek is 175 feet below where I need water according to the surveyors. 2) My pipe run as of now is about 1800-2000 feet. The pipe is 1 inch poly and I currently use a Delavan roller pump belt driven from a 5 or 6 horse Honda engine. I get about 15-20 GPM free flow or enough pressure to run a bidirectional sprinkler head for crops. A ram pump if it would work would be so much nicer, quieter and fuelless. Best it could run all the time from what I understand.
CAN ONE DO THE JOB?

Thanks for any help and or input!
I am by no stretch of imagination a expert on ram pumps but have installed one . First without at least two foot of water drop going into the pump , I highly doubt it will have enough pressure to pump . Second 1800 feet is way too for to try to pump it . Third storms sending strong currents and debris down the creek will reek havoc on your pump . Fourth remember that pump will fill with trash even on calm days stopping your ram pump so someone would likely have to climb down that 175 foot incline clean it out and climb back up almost daily if used daily . --- What we found works better is a electrical pump hooked to a solar system but even that I doubt would be as satisfactory as what you already have set up .
 

poltiregist

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I am not sure what happened as I already posted on this thread and no wording came up so I will rewrite . I am not a ram pump expert by any stretch of the imagination but can pass on my experience with a ram pump . We had about a 4 foot drop of water straight down into the pump from a spring source . The pump did pump uphill at about 35 degree angle through a 3/4 inch pipe for a distance of about 250 feet . That was about the limit of the pumps capabilities . We had problems with leaves and other debris falling into the pump causing it to stop its pumping . Remember someone having debris problems will have to climb down to the pump and then back up to get the pump pumping again . In our case this would be a daily choir . --- We eventually went to a electric pump that we hooked to a solar system . That worked better . -- Our entire system was actually set up for when the grid no longer exist , as that is not our primary water source at this time .
 

Neb

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I am not sure what happened as I already posted on this thread and no wording came up so I will rewrite . I am not a ram pump expert by any stretch of the imagination but can pass on my experience with a ram pump . We had about a 4 foot drop of water straight down into the pump from a spring source . The pump did pump uphill at about 35 degree angle through a 3/4 inch pipe for a distance of about 250 feet . That was about the limit of the pumps capabilities . We had problems with leaves and other debris falling into the pump causing it to stop its pumping . Remember someone having debris problems will have to climb down to the pump and then back up to get the pump pumping again . In our case this would be a daily choir . --- We eventually went to a electric pump that we hooked to a solar system . That worked better . -- Our entire system was actually set up for when the grid no longer exist , as that is not our primary water source at this time .
I had issues with silt after intense storms because I was using a collection dam built below a hillside with multiple springs. Worked fine with a filter designed for a pond fountain but when the rain came, not good. The fast running water would pick-up dirt but when it got to the dam the velocity would drop and drop silt. One heavy rain would fill the 2 foot deep dam. I shoveled it out once but 2 weeks later it was silted in again.

I had seen the math in a physics book but never stopped to apply it to my situation. I did get a nice waterfall out of the deal.

Since then I acquired a book on ram pumps that discussed water intakes to collect ground water. One method uses an intake with a screen that collects water along a bank of a stream such that the intake flow is perpendicular to the stream flow. Under heavy flows the screen is swept clean by the water. This video shows a related collection system for a micro hydro system.


The next time I set up the ram pump I will use the 2 springs I developed a couple of years ago that have spring boxes to collect sediment.

Ben
 

Neb

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today we have a number of polymer seals for rings and such in high pressure steam applications. There is no need for steel rings in a steam engine. Boilers - especially high pressure boilers - are fitted with hollow bolts. If anything rusts out the bolts go first as cracks form and the steam is released in a controlled manner. That signals it's time for a boiler rebuild. You have to decide how much pressure you need to operate your motor. A 200 psi engine can easily operate small machinery while for tasks that require more power you need more pressure. Making your engine with non-corrosive metals can extend their life. Brass, bronze, and stainless steel are all very good candidates. Brass is "self lubricating" more than the others but is not as strong. A 304 stainless is likely the least expensive (over the life of use) than the others. An exceptional candidate is Aluminum bronze but it is extremely expensive but easier to machine than stainless. At the expensive top is Carbon fiber but it should be used only in places that are not exposed to the high pressure steam.
If I was building another steam engine I would use a stainless piston and cylinder with bronze rod and valves. The boiler would be made of 300 series stainless with stainless tubes covered with copper. (stainless tube pressed into a copper tube reduces the poor heat transfer of the stainless)

Bear in mind that I do tend to over engineer everything. ;)
Keith Appleton (see link for his channel above) has mentioned using polymer seals and will be considering them instead of rings. The steam engine I have now uses rings and the casting sets have rings included.

Re:high pressure

Dave Richards runs his machine shop on 60 psi or so. High pressure is not required. My milling machine runs off of a 1/4 HP electric motor. The steam engine is rated for 2 HP so plenty of margin for error. What i do need is a boiler that can boiler enough steam to keep up with the work being done by the machine tools. Would be nice to power a generator but that is a distant goal.

Ben
 

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Ben,
My drill uses a 1/4 HP motor but my lathe uses a 2 HP motor and the mill uses a 3 HP motor. You are seeing the paradox of steam. You either need a large boiler for low pressure or higher pressure with a smaller boiler. Either way will work in most situations but for the really big jobs you will need both.
 

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