It was too difficult to find a pump or alternator that could charge a battery to run a dc water pump from the water wheel I built so I decided to build a piston pump that would use the gravity of water collected in a bucket to drive a piston.
The concept is simple: Fill a bucket of water about 4 feet off the ground and let the weight push a piston down, inside a cylinder, that is filled with water. The water will be forced through pipe and pushed uphill. Two check valves are needed, one to allow water to come into the system and the second to keep the pumped water from returning into the system when the piston is refilling.
Because a significant amount of energy is required to raise the empty bucket and overcome the friction of the seals in the piston, a dual system is necessary.
Here is simple drawing of the system.
Here is a picture of the materials. The check valves cost about $6 each (4 are needed). The other pvc materials cost about $10 total. The key to making this work is to get the rubber seals out of a 3/4 inch compression fitting. These seals are not sold separately but the cost of the whole fitting with the two seals is only about $2. The seals are placed around a 2 inch long 3/4 inch threaded galvanized nipple - which is screwed into a 5 ft 3/4 inch galvanized pipe with a plastic cap on the end. I used pvc fittings because they are EASILY ground down to fit inside the conduit. A few wraps ( about 4 ) of electrical tape are needed under the seals to make them fit snug against the walls of the cylinder. The outer cylinder is made of 1 1/4 inch pvc conduit. I bought 10ft and cut it in half. All the parts of the piston are 3/4 inch and everything else is 1 inch.
I found a 16 foot 1 1/2 inch pipe to use for a rocker arm and welded a couple old lawn mower blades on it to make a pivot.
The pipe had to be reinforced because the weight of a 10 gallon bucket of water and the other materials was about 100 lbs and caused the pipe to bend. I attached a chain to the ends and to a point above the center.
Note the ends of the pistons were attached to the rocker arm by bending a heavy gauge wire around the pipe and welding it to the piston rod. It is fastened to the pipe by a threaded cap. This is necessary for three reasons: First, the cap can be easily removed so that the piston can be removed to replace or adjust the rubber seal. Second, the rocker arm is HALF filled with water. The threaded caps keep the water in the rocker arm. The purpose of half filling the rocker arm pipe with water is to add extra speed to the downward force when momentum is needed to empty the water from the bucket that has just pushed the piston rod down. Third, the rocker arm and the piston change angles as the piston is forced down. A solid connection would not allow this flexibility.
Here you can see the pipes that feed the water to the piston as well as the check valves that force the water to move in the direction up the hill. Also note that I used some galvanized pipe to go around the plastic conduit. This makes it more rigid and helps to hold the piston cylinder down when the piston rod is rising up and sucking in water for the next cycle.
This picture shows the entire system from one side but the water feed to the buckets has not yet been built.
Another wide angle of the other side. You can see that I still have to attach another bucket and design a system to dump the water from the bucket once it has pushed the piston down to the ground. I also need to install a "sand trap" to remove sand from the incoming water source to keep the system pure.
There are still several hours of work to finish this project but I have manually tested this design by filling the system with water then manually pulling the ends of the rocker arms down. The system forced water uphill about 10 feet high ... where the outgoing pipe ended.
Stay tuned... this is a project that should pump water without external energy and do it more efficiently than a ram pump. I have searched the internet for many hours to research this idea and have not found this system design anywhere. It should pump water a long way and work with any flow with very little maintenance.
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