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I am in the process of selecting a pump for a CHOP 2 system. Five 275 gallon IBC totes are on the way. I would like to run the system on solar. The system calls for a block pump that pumps 3500 liters per hour or 925 gallons per hour here in the states.
Has anyone tried anything like this before? Is it feasible at night or would the bank of batteries be too expensive? We do have wind but not every night. I am also not allowed by the city to have a windmill. At least I have never tried to put one up. Have they made quiet windmills yet? Still brainstorming up ideas.

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Feasibility is totally dependent on your budget.

Do lots of research into pumps to find one that will provide enough flow at the height you need plus some.  Search for energy efficient pumps to reduce the amount of energy you need but you will need a fair bank of solar along with batteries to make it work.  I totally could be done but the solar panels, batteries, charge controller, inverter, etc will probably cost as much as the rest of the aquaponics system at a quick guess.

TCLynx, is correct, the cost is as much if not more than most AP systems. The desire to run the system off solar is wonderful, but to do it properly the cost is high.
There is a need to have very efficient pump/s and good equipment to make it work well.  This will cost loads of money.

I view it this way, there are three levels of Solar.

1 A feel good system = A grid connect system on the roof of your house that will contribute and offset some of the running cost of AP.  Makes you feel good, but does not do much really.

2 Overnight stand alone system = A very efficient pump and aerator hooked up to a small battery bank, inverter and solar panels with enough charging power and battery storage to carry the system overnight. Is dependant on every day being a good solar charging day. Wet overcast days a mains powered battery charger would kick in to run the system and keep the battery charged.

3 Fully Solar stand alone system..  As above, but enough panels and more to the point, battery storage to carry the system for a minimum of 5 days.   Still need a gen set and suitable charger in case bad weather persists.

I hope this helps.
Murray

I am going to crunch some numbers on any of the pumps I can find and see if I can't build a Overnight system. Here in Southern California we 99% good solar charging days. I am also going to look for good quiet windmills. I may end up putting the solar system together over some time.

Murry I really enjoyed your DIY Aquaponics dvd! I am one of the people that preordered it. Thanks for your work.
Glad you got value from the DVD. We had a lot of fun making it.
The best 240 volt pump we can find here in Aussie at the moment id AquaBee.  It claims 2000 lph for 33 watts.  We are finding it is delivering the same amount of water side by side to a low cost pump that claims 3500 lph but consumes 100 watts.  Now that is a massive saving in power.
Waiting on the arrival of a fancy multimeter to measure the actual watts.

around here with the 110/120 volt side of the world, I've been quite happy with the Quiet One 4000 pump I haven't messed with any of their smaller pumps yet but the Quiet One 4000 is the smallest pump with 1" fittings.  Literature says it's a 50 watt pump but when I measured with the kill-o-watt meter I think it peaked at 48 watts when I checked one of them.

 

I'm using a Quiet One 4000 to pump for my 300 gallon system and I'm probably getting about 600 gallons per hour at the heights I'm asking and through the indexing valve.

Has anyone tried to use a an airlift pump? I was looking at a few an the power needed is between 4 watts to 18 watts.

 

For lifting water, air lifts are generally not as efficient as a water pump for the gallons per hour moved.  Air lifts generally only make sense if a large air blower is already in use and the system doesn't require much lift to the water, just moving it from one container to another at only a few inches of lift.

 

So those few air lifts you were looking at that only require an air pump of 4-18 watts, how much water do they lift and how high?  Is your system really small enough to function on such small flow rates?  And will your system function only lifting the water a small amount?

 

In general you can probably find a water pump that will lift the same amount of water higher for about the same watts used.

So far it's looking encouraging. I was able to find a 12 volt 3.5 amp pump that will push 950 gallons. I did some more research and I need a deep cycle battery that can pull 48 amp hours. Most of them are rated at 250 amp hours. I need to look up which pumps are the best pumps. This one is called an Orca Electric Bilge Pump. I am not sure if a bulge pump can stand up to constant use.

You may be better off getting a 110 volt pump and an inverter.  I know many people resist that but the energy cost of running the inverter may well be offset by getting a more energy efficient pump.  Most bilge pumps are not designed to run constantly long term.

 

Also, keep in mind that pump that says it can pump 950 gallons, that might be at 0 head.  Look for pumps that have a curve or chart available that tells you how many gallons it will pump at different head heights.

 

Anyway, based on the 12 volts 3.5 amps, if that little pump really does move 15 gallons per minute at 0 head and if it is durable enough to do that continuously long term, then it could be a good choice provided you are not lifting very high.  See if you can find some reviews of that particular pump and a curve to tell you how much it will pump at a few feet up at least.

It has a three foot head. I am going to building a CHOP2 using 275 gallon IBC's. I am not sure if it will be enough. I may upsize the pump anyway. I am going to email the company on Monday and see what they say about 24/7 operation.

Hi Chris,

Generally most bilge pumps are designed for continuous operation, are more rugged in construction, and also limit leaching into water, but usually cost more.

Chris McMahon said:

It has a three foot head. I am going to building a CHOP2 using 275 gallon IBC's. I am not sure if it will be enough. I may upsize the pump anyway. I am going to email the company on Monday and see what they say about 24/7 operation.

Chris let us know what you find out. Like you I am looking to do the same thing and run off a battery that is charged with solar panels.



Chris McMahon said:

So far it's looking encouraging. I was able to find a 12 volt 3.5 amp pump that will push 950 gallons. I did some more research and I need a deep cycle battery that can pull 48 amp hours. Most of them are rated at 250 amp hours. I need to look up which pumps are the best pumps. This one is called an Orca Electric Bilge Pump. I am not sure if a bulge pump can stand up to constant use.

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