Win a copy of Coppice Agroforestry this week in the Woodland forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
  • Leigh Tate
stewards:
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Beau Davidson
  • Nancy Reading
  • Jay Angler
gardeners:
  • L. Johnson
  • thomas rubino
  • S Rogers

Changing well pump from AC to DC or both

 
pollinator
Posts: 524
Location: Nomadic
43
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello all and hope your Summer is abundant. We are preparing to move to the desert SW to a new place. I was told that sediment and mud came out of the hose there. And that the well is 136 feet deep while my neighbors commonly are 400-500 feet deep. I have I idea to run past the collective group to remedy the sediment issue. I was told it has a 3/4hp, 240 volt, pump. What if this powerful pump is stirring up sediment and mud and pumping faster than the well can recharge? Does it make sense that if I replace it with a slow pump either powered from solar or grid power and pump into tanks that the issue might be resolved? I like the idea of having a few thousands gallons stored anyway. And to overflow into a constructed bog for the birds, animals, and garden. . Does anyone have experience with slow pumps? A few years ago they were very expensive. Do you know of a reliable model that is inexpensive? Thanks
 
Jeremy Baker
pollinator
Posts: 524
Location: Nomadic
43
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I forgot to mention the pump is placed at 80 feet in a 136 foot deep well. And I have  electrical question. Is it possible a 240 volt AC pump would run on 240 volt DC? Ive heard some “universal” motors run on both. But not sure how. Or is there a pump made that can run fast or slow? Or one that is designed for both AC and DC? Or that has two pumps in one case? Thanks again.
 
pollinator
Posts: 500
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
100
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jeremy,

Help us with some more information if you have it.  How long ago was the well in active use?  What about the pump has changed in recent months?

Wells silt up and need to be blown out, especially if they sit unused for long periods of time.  The pump should be high enough in the water column that it should not be sucking up sediment or causing current erosion at the bottom of the casing.  If it is then I would try to raise the intake of the pump up the casing before investing in a new expensive pump.  

How big is the casing?  How many gallons per hour is the pump flowing?  Are you sure the sediment and slug in the hose is being picked up in the well?  I know that sounds dumb, but pumps with the lift to bring water up over 100' don't last long when pumping 'trash' through them.  Is there a pressure tank in the system that could have accumulated the debris?  
 
Posts: 316
44
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well bores naturally fill in over time.  The solution for my own well was simply to shorten the pipe by one 20' section to get the pump further away from sediment.  That may or may not be a solution for your problem.  Here is a link to Grunfos' pump site.  They have a wide selection of AC, DC, and AC/DC pumps.

https://product-selection.grundfos.com/categories/pumps/submersible-groundwater-pumps?tab=categories

Keep in mind that most of the DC pump are high-voltage DC, and not the kind of thing that can be run on a little 100W panel.  Most likely running on four-eight large grid-tie panels wired in series.

I myself have a 1hp 240VAC pump, run now solely on solar.  I have a 4500W solar array, charging 48V battery bank, powering Schneider split-phase 120/240V inverter.  I can make the 2000W needed to power the pump from 8am to 4pm.

Your 3/4hp pump most likely runs on ~1200-1500W of power.  Also doable by solar.  You can measure exactly what power your pump draws with a clamp meter.  Keep in mind that pumps have LARGE starting surges to get the motor turning, usually about 4X the running power.  You can also measure this if you get a clamp meter that can measure "inrush current".  I am using a Uni-T 216C.  A regular meter is not fast enough to capture what's happening in the first 1/2 second when the pump switches on.
 
Jeremy Baker
pollinator
Posts: 524
Location: Nomadic
43
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jack and Michael……Thanks for the information. We are trying to find the the well inspection results. It was done as a condition of the sale but was mailed to the wrong address. I’ll get back to you shortly when/if we find it. I won’t be to the location for a month to test the well myself.
I think the well is only a 2-4 years old. The seller added a pressure tank and a sediment filter for the house.
I dont have a lot of experience with wells. What is involved in the “well inspection”? If I understand correctly they run the pump for a certain amount of time and measure flow. Is that all there is to it?  Now Ithink about it they might see if flow goes down or stops?
Maybe it just needs flushing out every month or so? . I think the seller mentioned 4 gpm but I need to double check.
 I will see if this pump is damaged by sediment then consider the alternatives. This is the beginning of a new project managing water at a desert permaculture site. And utilizing solar in a region with 300 days of sunshine.
 Michael, thanks for the link, and your solar sounds great. I’m super into solar and excited to build a new system. I have a old system I can bring with me that has 2400 watts of Evergreen panels. Not very efficient panels.but perhaps I could power the well with it. I’d like to build a bigger new system for the house and for charging a EV. Or I could use the old system for the shop. Not sure how it will shake out yet. The shop might have a rain catchment system. Lots to consider regarding water management.
 I read about someone who pumps water out of septic to water his trees in S. California. Interesting idea.
 
master steward
Posts: 10348
Location: USDA Zone 8a
3108
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When we bought our property, like you we knew nothing about wells.  I called the local well drilling company to come out and give me their opinion.  This was a $50.00 consultation that was worth much more than the $50.00.  

It was done as a condition of the sale but was mailed to the wrong address.



The Title company or attorney who handled the deed transfer most likely will have a copy of that document.
 
Michael Qulek
Posts: 316
44
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jeremy Baker wrote:
I’d like to build a bigger new system for the house and for charging a EV. Or I could use the old system for the shop. Not sure how it will shake out yet. The shop might have a rain catchment system. Lots to consider regarding water management.
 I read about someone who pumps water out of septic to water his trees in S. California. Interesting idea.



What kind of electronics do you have right now?  What is your system voltage?  The newer MPPT charge controllers are great.  Solar panels are dirt-cheap right now.  Don't buy through the mail.  Buy locally via Craigslist or your other local venue.  With local pickup, cash and carry, expect to get ~4W/$.  Where are you located?  There are solar wholesalers scattered throughout the Southwest.

Standard EV charging is governed at three tiers.
Level 1 charging: 12A at 120VAC; that's 1440W
Level 2 charging: 20-50A at 240V:  I've heard that the Telsa can be set at 10A.  My split-phase system could handle that.
Level 3 charging: 480VAC; totally out of the realm of DIY, commercial only

I'd say you could easily accomplish level one charging with ~3000W of panels, say 12 250W grid-tie panels.  They are going ~65-75$ each now.  I placed mine on rotating mounts.  The mount in the pic can hold six grid-ties.  Two of those and you will be able to charge an EV from ~7:30AM till about 4:30PM by rotating them East to West over the course of the day.  With my system, I could reach 10A at level 2 from maybe 9AM till 3PM.
IMG_0778.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_0778.JPG]
 
pollinator
Posts: 630
Location: North central Ontario
102
kids dog books chicken earthworks cooking solar wood heat woodworking homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jeremy Baker wrote:Hello all and hope your Summer is abundant. We are preparing to move to the desert SW to a new place. I was told that sediment and mud came out of the hose there. And that the well is 136 feet deep while my neighbors commonly are 400-500 feet deep. I have I idea to run past the collective group to remedy the sediment issue. I was told it has a 3/4hp, 240 volt, pump. What if this powerful pump is stirring up sediment and mud and pumping faster than the well can recharge? Does it make sense that if I replace it with a slow pump either powered from solar or grid power and pump into tanks that the issue might be resolved? I like the idea of having a few thousands gallons stored anyway. And to overflow into a constructed bog for the birds, animals, and garden. . Does anyone have experience with slow pumps? A few years ago they were very expensive. Do you know of a reliable model that is inexpensive? Thanks


Hi Jeremy,
I'll mirror some of what has been said. It is not uncommon for wells to put out some sediment especially if they are bored into fractured and or soft rock and or sit dormant for a time. I would start by running the pump full out from the tap closest to where it comes into the house preferably right at the pressure tank. If you have a little sediment it often builds up right in the tank. So, your first goal is to clean all the accumulated crud out of the well line and the tank THEN figure out how fast new sediment is coming in. Sometimes the pressure tank cannot be cleaned out enough and should just be changed out. A 20 micron sand filter before the tank is usually enough to filter out any sand if the well is putting out small amounts of sediment. If the filters clog too fast you can get a sand filter with a cleanable mesh filter to take the bulk out before the 20 micron filter.
If you are still having problems you could lift the pump 20ft or you can have a well company come in and blast your well clean of debris. The last one is expensive so try the easier diy ones first ...as to a DC deep well pump I don't like them as they are very expensive and very few well companies will touch them so if anything goes wrong you can be down for a long time. If solar is in your future better to size the system and inverter to take the existing pump ...

Cheers, David
 
Jeremy Baker
pollinator
Posts: 524
Location: Nomadic
43
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael…..I have a 2400 watt Outback inverter and Outback FM80 charge controller. I used for 7 years in my Motorhome and it still works. I’d like a bigger inverter for the new homestead. So I’m not sure what the old unit will be used for. The old unit is a grid tie model GTFX 2400 so we could get into discussing off grid vs grid tie in regards to the well and homestead.
The old Outback inverter is a sealed model. My friend drilled vent holes in his sealed Outback inverter and it raised the output to 3800 watts. His is still working 16 years later. Dust storms are aissue where we are moving so perhaps sealed is good.
 Fantastic unistrut rack! Inspiring. Do you bother with tilting or only rotating? Is it manually operated? I like ground mounted panels if there is space. Roof mounted are so difficult to install, clean, test, etc. And I plan to spend as little time on roofs as possible. Where we are going space is abundant.
 David…..I have a much clearer idea of well maintenance now thanks. When I get there I’d like to get busy testing it and cleaning out the sediment. The seller installed a sediment trap before the pressure tank. I’ll try using what we have before spending money on a new pump, tanks, etc. However the idea of a slow pump running from direct solar does still intrigues me. Ranches use a lot of these systems for stock tanks.  But they have no other choice. I saw a overflowing stock tank nearby. I’m not sure if it was on a spring or pump. Maybe there’s a hidden spring on our land haha. Dream on. Too bad the DC pumps are so expensive.
 I just now remembered that ranches and homesteads used windmill pumps for years also. Are they also a form of slow pump? Is this a viable alternative. How would I know if there’s enough wind. Also years ago I read the rural electrification project installed many Jacobs wind turbines. They were heavy duty generators that still have a following. Now I’m curious to see if there is much wind there. About 5 weeks until I’m there.

 
 
Michael Qulek
Posts: 316
44
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Outback is a tier-1 product.  I think some of the models can be paralleled to get split-phase 120/240V, so you should look into that.  If you can get a second unit of the same model, they could be paralleled to get 240V.  Firmware updating most likely would be needed for the older unit.  Do your homework here and I think you can make it work.

My unistrut arrays can both rotate and tilt, so I can adjust both azimuth and declination.  I adjust the azimuth daily, maybe 3 times per day when pumping water.  I call it hillbilly solar tracking.  As long as I am putting out 2000W, I can run my well-pump, so I don't need too many adjustments per day.  I only adjust declination seasonally, when I switch from the summer angle to the winter angle.  The good news for me though is that I'm not pumping much water outside of the growing season, so angle doesn't need as much optimization as in the heat of summer.

I've seen a windmill pumping water.  The rotating fan blades are attached to a linkage that connects to what's called a "sucker rod", a long slim threaded/jointed steel rod that extends from the well-head down to the submerged pump.  The rod actuates the pump, which pushes the water up.  Remember, water must be PUSHED up.  Water can only be sucked up a theoritical maximum of 32'.  A good rule of thumb is that if you need a chin-strap to keep your hat on, you have enough wind for a windmill.  Check neighbors in your local area.  I'm sure they'll love to talk about how they meet their water needs.

If you already have a pump in place, I'd just design a system to reliably run it.  With 3000W of panels it will work.  Just buy a good inverter to power it.  Make absolutely sure the inverter is sine-wave, and that it has good starting surge, and low THD.  If you stick with brands like Outback, Magnum, EVo, and Schneider, it will work.  Beware of the cheaper imported "All in One" inverters.  These AiOs are made CHEAP.  I've read that their internal components barely meet specification, and are of such poor design that they can not be UL listed.
 
David Baillie
pollinator
Posts: 630
Location: North central Ontario
102
kids dog books chicken earthworks cooking solar wood heat woodworking homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jeremy Baker wrote:Michael…..I have a 2400 watt Outback inverter and Outback FM80 charge controller. I used for 7 years in my Motorhome and it still works. I’d like a bigger inverter for the new homestead. So I’m not sure what the old unit will be used for. The old unit is a grid tie model GTFX 2400 so we could get into discussing off grid vs grid tie in regards to the well and homestead.
The old Outback inverter is a sealed model. My friend drilled vent holes in his sealed Outback inverter and it raised the output to 3800 watts. His is still working 16 years later. Dust storms are aissue where we are moving so perhaps sealed is good.
 Fantastic unistrut rack! Inspiring. Do you bother with tilting or only rotating? Is it manually operated? I like ground mounted panels if there is space. Roof mounted are so difficult to install, clean, test, etc. And I plan to spend as little time on roofs as possible. Where we are going space is abundant.
 David…..I have a much clearer idea of well maintenance now thanks. When I get there I’d like to get busy testing it and cleaning out the sediment. The seller installed a sediment trap before the pressure tank. I’ll try using what we have before spending money on a new pump, tanks, etc. However the idea of a slow pump running from direct solar does still intrigues me. Ranches use a lot of these systems for stock tanks.  But they have no other choice. I saw a overflowing stock tank nearby. I’m not sure if it was on a spring or pump. Maybe there’s a hidden spring on our land haha. Dream on. Too bad the DC pumps are so expensive.
 I just now remembered that ranches and homesteads used windmill pumps for years also. Are they also a form of slow pump? Is this a viable alternative. How would I know if there’s enough wind. Also years ago I read the rural electrification project installed many Jacobs wind turbines. They were heavy duty generators that still have a following. Now I’m curious to see if there is much wind there. About 5 weeks until I’m there.

 


So... For human consumption it's usually better to pump from a well on demand so the water is cooler and does not remain warm and stagnant in a tank. The wind driven pumps function was to lift some water from a ground source higher up to a tank to provide gravity pressurized water for farms and animals or to pump up from a shallow well toa ground tank. The elevated tank took the place of batteries as a form of storage. The older Jacobs were great tech for their day but would cost a fortune as they have entered the world of collectors items now. A modern permanent magnet wind turbine of similar size coupled with a wind mppt charge controller like the midnight solar would outperform it hands down for less money. Small wind is very site specific and most times your best financial return will come in investing in a bigger array and bank instead of the turbine. Of course there is also cool factor in these things.
Cheers, David
 
Anne Miller
master steward
Posts: 10348
Location: USDA Zone 8a
3108
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I merged your stuff with the following thread. I hope that is okay by you.
 
Jeremy Baker
pollinator
Posts: 524
Location: Nomadic
43
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We called the water company that tested the well. They said it passed the test and flowed between 7-10 gpm. What does this mean? Is that adequate. It sounds pretty good. I think they decided what pump to use. Thanks
 
David Baillie
pollinator
Posts: 630
Location: North central Ontario
102
kids dog books chicken earthworks cooking solar wood heat woodworking homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jeremy Baker wrote:We called the water company that tested the well. They said it passed the test and flowed between 7-10 gpm. What does this mean? Is that adequate. It sounds pretty good. I think they decided what pump to use. Thanks


That is really good flow. Here you require 5 gallons a minute to obtain a building permit or mortgage.
 
Jeremy Baker
pollinator
Posts: 524
Location: Nomadic
43
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I already want to buy a spare well pump and start collecting loads of backup supplies. Maybe I’m a Prepper at heart lol. Are soft start pumps worth the extra expense? Does it make any sense to place a tank next to the pump house and then use a smaller booster pump to supply the house and yard? I still feel insecure without any stored water in the desert. I have a 55 gallon stainless steel barrel. I could simply fill it and call it good. I’ll bring the Berkey water filter I haven’t tried out yet as well. .
Oh,  I found out the well is 220 feet deep but it doesn’t say where the pump is placed. The seller thought it was at 80 feet. Memory is so fickle isn’t it. He thought the well was 136 feet deep.
 I have a new 24 volt, 900 watt, permanent magnet  wind turbine I never installed in Washington due to low wind. Maybe it will find a home at last. There will be many solar and wind experiments there soon knowing me. Solar air heaters for the house might make a lot of sense. Anything to save energy.
Thanks.
 
Michael Qulek
Posts: 316
44
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jeremy Baker wrote:I already want to buy a spare well pump and start collecting loads of backup supplies. Maybe I’m a Prepper at heart lol. Are soft start pumps worth the extra expense?


I think it's money better spent investing in a quality solar system that will power what you already have, rather than buying gimmic products to try to make a mediocre system work.  Grid-tie panels are getting dirt-cheap right now.  You can get thousands of watts for just a few hundred dollars.  The other advantage of creating a substantial solar system is that if you know it can run your pump, it basically can run just about anything else.

Jeremy Baker wrote:Does it make any sense to place a tank next to the pump house and then use a smaller booster pump to supply the house and yard? I still feel insecure without any stored water in the desert. I have a 55 gallon stainless steel barrel. I could simply fill it and call it good. I’ll bring the Berkey water filter I haven’t tried out yet as well. .


What is the topography of your land like?  Do you have any natural high spots?  At my homestead, my 5000 gallon tanks are positioned about 150 vertical feet higher than the cabin, so I have 75psi of pressure at the cabin once the pump is shut off.  Would that work for you?  I'd rather have passive systems working naturally, rather than installing pressure tanks to get the pressure I want.

Jeremy Baker wrote: Oh,  I found out the well is 220 feet deep but it doesn’t say where the pump is placed. The seller thought it was at 80 feet. Memory is so fickle isn’t it. He thought the well was 136 feet deep.    

 
The original well-driller should have all this information, assuming they are still in business.  There should be a contact name/number printed somewhere on the well head to document who did the installation.  In any case, you can get some information about your pump using a clamp meter.  I have a Uni-T216C that can read "inrush current".  You can use that kind of clamp meter to determine what both the running and starting wattages are.  Anyone operating a solar system should have one.

BTW, clamp meter prices vary widely based on capacities.  Some read AC only, some AC and DC, some AC, DC, and inrush, some AC, DC, inrush, and RMS amperage.  Price goes up as the features goes up.  I think you need something that can at least read inrush.

Jeremy Baker wrote: I have a new 24 volt, 900 watt, permanent magnet  wind turbine I never installed in Washington due to low wind. Maybe it will find a home at last. There will be many solar and wind experiments there soon knowing me. Solar air heaters for the house might make a lot of sense. Anything to save energy.  


Wind might be a natural complement to solar if you're in a wide open area.  I'm guessing though that your solar resources are so good that wind will only make a marginal contribution.  I lean towards going overboard with solar.  For my own system, I have enough panels that I can still keep my batteries charged even in the rain.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic