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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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Is it possible to consider switching off the water pump during the night and only running air?
it can be done, however, remember that the fish are still producing ammonia through the night and this practice can cause water quality issues long before morning if the fish load is not extremely light.  Also, I don't recommend this practice at all during initial cycle up.  During initial cycle up running the pump full time will definitely help the process along.
hmmmmm.  maybe an airlift system could be put in place to allow some water circulation through the night?  the flood/drain cycle would be much longer with the lower flow of an airlift.
The IBC's are supposed to be here today. I am still hunting down a pump, charge controller, a panel some battery's. I have not decided if I should go 12 volt or 24 volt yet.

The advantage of 24 volt is that the device (pump) draws almost half the amps, so wiring is less critical if you are transmitting the power some distance.   Smaller wire is able to be used.   If the panels and batteries are pump is very close to each other then 12 volt will be fine.
12 volt pumps and the like are less expensive that 24 volt equipment.

 

Re running just on air during the night .  Lots of folk do that in order to conserve heat, not so much for power consumption but for water temp conservation. An air lift pump will not move very much water.

As a person with a background in electronics, I'd like to throw in my two cents.  Murray is spot-on about the volts and amps. In the end, what you have to consider is your total Wattage use. Watts = Volts X Amps. 

 

As a hypothetical situation, let's say you want to use a pump that uses 120W and can be switched between 12V and 24V.  That means you can use 12V with a current draw of 10A, or you can use 24V with a current draw of 5A.  Keep in mind that batteries usually (but not always) are a standard 12V with varying Amp-hours.  If you want a 24V system, you will have to get 2 batteries.  With a 12V system, you only need one battery, but the battery will discharge twice as fast as the 24V system.  Also, lower amperage is safer. Remember, a volt's a jolt, but the amps will kill.  

 

Make sure that your power supply and your power load (whatever is using the juice) match in terms of voltage. Cramming too many volts in is bad because you waste electricity, and there is a potential for damage to electrical components. Not supplying enough volts is bad because the current will try to rise to meet the wattage demands, and that will cause heat and, eventually, a fire.  Fire bad!

 

The cheapest way to start is most likely a simple solar powered pump. The downside is that if you don't have enough sun, your pump stops, and that isn't good.  Enough sun means: it isn't nighttime, there aren't many clouds, it isn't just before sunset or just after dawn, your panels aren't dirty, and so on.  It is solar, but it isn't reliable for a pump that needs to run constantly.

 

Your best bet for a low priced starting point would be a "redneck" semi-grid-tied system.  You could use a solar pump during the day, and have a regular pump plugged into an outlet with a light sensor that is turned on once the sun goes down.  The immediate downside is that you have multiple pumps.  

 

If this is for a commercial project, go all out and get a grid-tied, battery-bank system.  Use the purchase to get a tax rebate, and write off the depreciation each year for 10 or 20 years. This would give you backup power should the grid power fail, the batteries will stay topped off, and you will lower your utility bills.

 

Bravo for wanting to go solar!  I hope it works out well.

I am going to go 24 volts. I have a 922 GPH pump 120v, 60HZ with an 8 foot lift. I have not decided if I need a air pump in the fish tank yet. I should be turning it on tomorrow I hope. I think I want to go full solar or no solar. I live in the desert so I almost never have clouds. I have been looking around and I think I may be able to get some golf cart battery's on sale. I may get some tabbed cells off ebay and make a couple of panels.

 

 

 

 

Great to see the interest in alternative energy. Does the pump actually pump 922 gallons at 8 ft of head. This is important to be clear on because as the pump gets closer to it's max head pressure it is also drawing more amps. A pump that will pump 1000 gal/hr @ 1' may only pump 100 gal/hr @ 8' with increased power consumption.

 

I bought my solar cells and tabbing wire from MLSOLAR on Ebay. Fast delivery and so far great product.

Chris McMahon said:

I am going to go 24 volts. I have a 922 GPH pump 120v, 60HZ with an 8 foot lift. I have not decided if I need a air pump in the fish tank yet. I should be turning it on tomorrow I hope. I think I want to go full solar or no solar. I live in the desert so I almost never have clouds. I have been looking around and I think I may be able to get some golf cart battery's on sale. I may get some tabbed cells off ebay and make a couple of panels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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