I was getting water for the greenhouse the other day out of an old cow trough that fills with rain water. It is nearby and you don't need to wade into it to get the water. Sadly, you do need to watch for polliwogs as they seem to take up residence in there and I don't wanna dump their poor little selves on my plants and they have a habit of swimming in my jug. I also did not feel like taking my shoes and socks off and wading into the pond, nor dragging my 5 gallon jugs to the front of the house and filling them up with the pitcher pump. Laziness inspires me. I started thinking of a better way and the piece that I have.
My dear friend John had gifted me with a small solar panel a while back. I used this to keep a charge on a lawn tractor battery that could run a small 200W inverter and run a pair of 100W CFL (the real 100W CFL's, 5-600W incandescent equivalent) in a couple old stadium lamp fixtures I modified to fir them. The fixtures used to take 750W incandescent lamps. Anyway, someone else gave me an old HF solar set up to power that so I still had Johns small cell mounted to a hunk of wood that was retrofitted on an old 18" satellite dish mount bolted to the building. Being lazy I just unscrewed the panel. I may get the mount later on. FWIW satellite tv dish mounting hardware works pretty good for small solar panels. Just remove the dish from the mount and bolt on a piece of plywood to hold your panel and you are good to go..
Anyway, I had the panel. My friend Garett had gifted me with a small DC piston pump and a small radiator a few years ago. This was going to be used to water cool a device and the device never go that far. I used the radiator in line with my laser cutter, but I use the AC pump that came with the cutter, so I still have the little DC pump kicking around. The plot thickens..
Look close, you can just see the pump hiding on the bank. Like most pumps this one is much better at pushing than it is at pulling, so the nearer to the water level the pump is, the better it works.
Perhaps a month ago I was helping a friend move and he was going to toss out a spool of 1/4" tubing and a spool of 1/8" tubing. I am a sucker for stuff that my be useful at some point in time, and I thought the 1/8" tubing may be good for spaghetti in some electronics work. So I rounded that up.
Sadly upon rounding all the big pieces up it was apparent that while the solar panel would run the pump just fine, there was no way even with boiling water I was going to get that tubing on the pump. The small things are the ones to bite you in the ass. I took a slow survey of the junk.. Um I mean useful surplus material I have everywhere around here and started fixating on an old lawn tractor. Mostly cause I wanted to sit down. The engine on that tractor had self destructed rather spectacularly. But the gas tank was still in it, and the gas tank had fuel line still on it... And the fuel line fit over the barb on the pump, and the 1.4" tubing was a very tight fit inside the fuel line. Ah Ha!
So, 15 minutes later I have the pump by the bank of the pond, I have the steel base of an old craftsman table saw out in the pond, it was perfect. The feet stuck into the silt on the bottom well, it had a wide base so it will not tip over, and it had holes for the old saw to bolt onto I was able to thread the 1/4" tubing through the holes so the intake was far above the silt and comfortable below the water line. I had the solar cell propped up against some junk I had back there and the pump a spinning away. I am figuring that I get 15, or a bit over 15 gallons of water a day out of this. This is based on roughly how long it takes to fill one of the 5 gallon jugs.
However, the 5 gallon jugs are a pain. Too big to water with, so I have to funnel it into gallon milk...Read more »