How to build an Off Grid Hydraulic Ram Pump that uses no electricity to pump water .

Water is one of the most important resources you can have and to get water to the highest point on your property, so that you can store it and water your gardens and your animals and your orchards are incredibly valuable.

This project goes over the build a water pump that can pump water uphill with no other external source of power except for the water flowing into it. If you have got a piece of land with an abundant source of water like a pond or a creek, a ram pump lets you get that water to a tank or a location at a higher elevation without using no electricity or fuel.

A ram pump is essentially two one-way check valves, one called the waste valve and the other called the delivery valve. To get it started, you just momentarily open the waste valve to allow water to flow. After that, it’s working on its own to pump the water uphill above the elevation of the source.

The ramp pump works by the principle of a water hammer. As the waste valve opens, water flows into the pump and immediately out the valve. But as it picks up speed, the flowing water eventually forces the waste valve to slam shut. Now the water is stopped in the pump, it had kinetic energy, but now it doesn’t. That means that kinetic energy was converted into pressure.

Slamming a valve shut converts all the kinetic energy nearly instantly, creating a huge spike in pressure which opens the second check valve and forces water entering the pump into the delivery line. A pressure tank is included in the pump to smooth out those sharp spikes and pressure and provide a more even flow rate out of the delivery pipe, reducing wear and tear on the pump components.

Here we use a PVC cylinder as the pressure tank. As the delivery pipe is opened, it will allow a constant flow of water as the pressure builds. If you open the valve too quickly, this will hold a certain amount of pressure in it so that the pump doesn’t stop due to pressure loss.

To get the water to the pump somehow from your source, you need to have a tube or pipe. This pipe is called a drive pipe. This needs to have head pressure or drop in elevation. The drive pipe has the same size as the waste valve. The more rigid the material, the more efficient your pump will be. You can use steel or PVC pipe or flex tube. To get the water to our desired destination, we are going to have to have something called a delivery pipe. Here we are using a garden hose as the delivery pipe.




Here are the steps to assemble a one and quarter-inch hydraulic ram pump. The parts you need to build this pump are :

Six one quarter close pipe nipples –
This allows the components to be screwed close together and not have any extra gap between them.

Two three quarter pipe nipples
2 One and a quarter ball valves
3 quarter threaded union
2 One and a quarter PVC union

2 threaded PVC tees – threaded on all 3 sides
A threaded spring check valve –
This has a spring on the inside. That allows water to flow in one direction and not the other.
A bushing that goes from one and a quarter down to three quarters.
Brass or stainless steel swing check valve –
This is threaded on both ends. And inside there is a little lever that closes on a swing motion.
Teflon pipe tape to make sure things are tightened up and a couple of wrenches.



The next step in the pump assembly is to take the Teflon tape and put it around these one-inch and three-quarter pipe nipples. This is done in a clockwise position such that whenever it is time to actually screw components onto this, we want to make sure that they do not unscrew or remove the Teflon tape. This pipe tape will allow the components to be screwed together in a more fluid manner. And it helps to create a better seal in the components.



The next step is to take your one and a quarter ball valve and a pipe nipple and thread them together.

Take the one and a quarter union and connect it to the other end of the taped nipples.

Connect a tee to this unit with the help of another pipe nipple.

Next is attaching a spring check valve to this unit. You need to make sure that the flow is pointing away from the components we just put together. There’s an arrow on these that distinguishes the flow direction.

Connect another PVC tee to the valve through a nipple. A threaded bushing is going to go on the end of that second tee.

On that three-quarter bushing, we are going to put one of the three-quarter pipe nipples. From that pipe nipple, we are going to put the other three-quarter-inch union.

A three quarter ball valve is connected to this end through another pipe nipple.

We connect the swing brass/stainless steel check valve to the first PVC tee with the help of another pipe nipple. When connecting the check valve, make sure that the door or flapper is going to fall open from gravity. So it is going to screw onto this pipe nipple with the door hanging open.

The second PVC tee is connected to the pressure tank with another pipe nipple. Make sure that both tees are facing in the same direction.



To build the pressure tank for the one and a quarter pump, you need a four-inch PVC schedule 40 pipes, four-inch coupling, a four-inch socket to one and a quarter threaded bushing, a four-inch cap, bicycle inner tube.

Take your angle grinder and cut a 17-inch long pipe from the four-inch PVC schedule 40 pipes. Once the pipe section is cut, it’s time to assemble the pressure tank.

Coat the inside of the coupling with PVC cement and stick our 17-inch pipe inside. Make sure it is real snug in there. The other side of the coupling is connected to the threaded bushing.

The next step is to insert the bike’s inner tube into the pressure tank. Grab it from the underside and pull it enough that we can attach my pump to it.

Start filling the tube with the bicycle pump. Pump until the whole tube seems tight. Put the cap back on the top and seal them tight using PVC cement.



The last step is to attach your pressure tank onto this threaded nipple that is connected to the second PVC tee on the pump. The next step is installing the ram pump near the water source. This one and quarter inch pump require around eight gallons per minute to operate. The amount of water that you get at the top is increased as the pump size goes up.

So to start the pump, first, you need to close the ball valve for the delivery pipe and make sure the ball valve for the drive pipe is opened.
You need to just push the waste valve down until all the air inside the drive pipe is out. Water comes down this drive pipe and slams against the check valve to shut it down. It creates a pressure wave that gets shot back up the drive pipe. If the pressure wave finds an air pocket, then the pump will stop.

Start priming the pump by opening the valve manually a couple of times until the pump starts to work on its own. After the pump has been running for a minute or two, you’re gonna open up your delivery pipe valve out because the pressure tank now has enough pressure in it to push water uphill.

Image Credits : Land to House

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