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Solar Fountain Pump

Posted by westelle z9 Fresno CA (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 18, 09 at 21:46

I have a 3-tier corner fountain that needs a pump; and, since there isn't any electricity I will need it to be solar powered. I found a number of these online. Do any of you use a solar pump? If so, do you have any recommendation -- good or bad?

I also saw a solar-powered pump with a battery so the pump will run a bit longer after the sun is gone or moves away. Anyone using this?

PS: the pump has to lift the water a bit less than 3 feet.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 22, 09 at 21:37

I bought a small solar-powered pump online for use in a pot fountain, made by Silicon Solar, Inc. (Model 04-1185 NightPack). It was submerged and had a stem with a "flower" sprinkling the water just above the water line in the pot. (It tended to float, had to put a rock on top of it to keep it in place -- not ideal!) It worked well enough for awhile, even after dark with the battery pack. But eventually it had problems clogging with debris -- algae or similar. It lasted about a year. I have since replaced it with a larger, sturdier electric pump, and now have a product to control the algae. I would still like to try the solar again, but with a larger pump. It sounds like the small one might work for your fountain, though.


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

This is the pump I am seriously considering. It will need to lift the water at least 2', so maybe this isn't powerful enough. This same company has a larger pump, but I'm afraid it might be too strong..... I really want a strong trickle not a shooting stream.

Anyone else?


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

I have been using solar pumps for two backyard bird baths for several years. None of them lasts longer than 9 months. Most conked out after 6 months. I've bought the Nightpack too. It didn't last long, and the battery reserve was only enough to run it after dark for an hour or two.

Once a week I have to clear out the debris that gets caught inside the pump. Usually it's strands of algae or debris from birds' feathers, etc. that winds around this little axel inside the pump. It isn't hard to clean. But I had to buy the pointiest pair of tweezers I could find in order to access the axel and pull off the debris that had wound around the axel.

If birds are going to use the fountain, you have to be willing to empty out the water every day or two and put in fresh water. It gets dirty real fast when birds are using the fountain.

My biggest problem is with the cord connection between the solar panel and the pump. (You plug the pump's cord into the receptacle in the solar panel). The connection constantly loosens itself. The cord could move a 1/1000th of an inch and it would be just enough that the connection was lost and the pump would stop. It happened constantly with all the pumps I bought. I was always fiddling with the connection and the solar panel's position in order to find just the right position where the pump wouldn't stop working. Finally, my husband stripped the ends of the cords to expose the wires inside and found that the wires were broken. He cut off the damaged wire ends. Then he soldered the wires in the cord to the solar panel's receptacle so that the connection is now permanent. It has helped alot. I still have to fiddle with the solar panel's position a bit sometimes.

Also, since I have been buying "brushless" pumps, they definitely last longer than the other kind. They are more expensive, but I don't have to replace them as often.
I think the lift for the pumps I use is 12 inches. Not the 2 feet you need.
As for your not wanting to buy too strong a pump, you can always put something like a little rock on top of the round plastic piece where the water comes out, to alter its flow. Altering the flow of the water is the fun part. I find the lift is never as high as they claim it will be, except when the pump is brand new. Over time, its power diminishes.


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

Thank you for your input, buddyben. Those timelines you gave don't seem very long for the cost of the solar pump; with all the advances in solar technology you'd think there would be a better product. I guess I'll keep looking.


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 24, 09 at 23:49

It's not the technology so much as the economics.

Water is heavy, and pushing it around takes pressure, and creating pressure takes power. Most solar powered pumps don't have that much power because the solar panel would have to be quite large, and the solar panel is the expensive part.

A sufficiently large panel costs more than most people are willing to pay, because you could probably run electricity out to the spot and buy a pump for less money than it will take to buy a big enough solar panel.


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

Ah.... well..... and I thought it was going to be so easy.


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Mon, May 4, 09 at 18:20

westelle, from talking to pond folks I know, the best option is one of the larger OASE solar pumps--best construction and most reliable. Of course they are more expensive than the typical ones seen at big box stores. You'd have to compare the price of running electricity out to your site vs. the price of solar and factor in longevity and etc. If you google on OASE solar pumps it will bring up many sites. I don't know if you've ever had a fountain before, solar or not, but they are a maintenance issue because algae greens up the water unless you add chemicals or clean them regularly. I ended up adding water lillies to my fountain because they keep the water clear. On the down side, water lillys need trimming and deadheading just like roses do, and algae forms on the bottom of the fountain (instead of greening up the water). Another thing I have found is that an external pump (one not sitting in the water) is far more reliable and easier to deal with than a submersible pump, solar or not.

Just some things to consider--fountains in my experience require some maintenance, is all I am saying. Our fountain is 10 years old now, so I've been through a few things with it over the years...


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

I have to agree with hoovb there is maintenance and upkeep.
I have a waterfall/pond which is dry now.
Continual was cleaned of debris, leaves, algae etc. No use of chemicals due to birds playing in the waterfall part.
The nearby grapevine also contributes to the mess.
Then the pump died, replaced it, then the racoons decided to chew on the power cord.
Mine has to be electric do to about a 15 foot lift.
I really enjoyed the sound and so did the neighbors but now I just hear more birds instead.


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

Thanks, hoovb, for the idea of OASE Solar pumps. I'll look them up tomorrow.
Interesting idea about the out-of-water pump. I'll look into that too.

gobluedjm: I well understand about an abundance of alga. Last year I didn't even have a pump because of theneed to constantly clean it, but I missed the trickling of water down the 3 bowls.


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

I originally got my solar fountains because I wanted the sound of running water to mask the sounds of too many noisy neighbors. I learned two things: first, it takes alot of water to mask the noisy neighbors and my fountains were not loud enough. Second, a CD of a babbling brook played on my outdoor Sony radio/CD player boombox (set on 'repeat' mode) does the trick just fine. I still have my fountains, but now I maintain them solely for the benefit of the birds.


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

I have a two tier fountain I would like a solar pump for.
How did you make out?


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

I couldn't find anything that really seemed to suit my purpose.... then I got bbusy with other things and lost interest. I guess I should rethink all this.


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

  • Posted by magoo1 7 Crowley, TX (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 18, 10 at 15:23

Please refer to my thread dated today about the pump set-up I have.....awesome job. Due diligence in cleaning pays off in spades......I cannot be more pleased with it's performance. E-mail me if you guys need more info......or just go to the site below......

esolarlighting.com


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

Where is this thread you wrote?

Thank you for the link. The site looks promising and I'll have a better look at it when I have a bit more time.


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

The best applications for solar are those that require a constant but very low-draw load (like operating a laptop computer), or those that require an initial draw of high amperage that quickly falls to a low-level maintenance draw (like starting an electric motor). Since it requires a rather heavy and constant draw of amperage, pumping water is one of the electric applications that solar is least suited to doing well. It can still be done if one's expectations are realistic. The demands on the system increase dramatically as both the lift height and the bore of the outfeed pipe increase. So you can mitigate the one by adjusting the other. If you be happy with the amount of water output that a one-quarter inch drip irrigation tube will emit, you can have a higher lift. If you want to use three-eighths inch tubing, you'll have to settle for a lower lift. I wouldn't use a heavier bore than that.


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

Bookmarked.


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

  • Posted by ebang Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 16, 12 at 17:57

I have pumps from this company: http://www.solarkey.com/index.asp

I actually have some of their most powerful pumps (too much for what you are doing), but they sell all types and I've been very happy. They also have useful extras like extra long cord extensions if you need that. I once ordered the wrong pump (thought it would be enough, but it wasn't quite, my fault) and when I talked to them about returning it they basically credited my account for almost the whole value while letting me keep the pump. So I paid only a little extra to buy the larger pump that I needed. Nice!

-E!


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

Actually, the technology and marketing for solar pump has changed quite a lot along with the time passing by. The cost for solar panels has droped significantly since the year of 2012.
Chinese solar panel manufacturers are accused of dumping their products to Europe, so that European Union has imposed higher tariff on Chinese solar panel import, while the punishment does not affect the solar pump import since solar pump is more of a pump than a solar panel.
The good side of this matter is that the solar pump manufacturer in China can purchase much cheaper solar panel due to the over productivity of Chinese solar panels, therefore the Chinese solar pump manufacturer can sell their solar pump at a much favorable price.


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

Actually, the technology and marketing for solar pump has changed quite a lot along with the time passing by. The cost for solar panels has droped significantly since the year of 2012.
Chinese solar panel manufacturers are accused of dumping their products to Europe, so that European Union has imposed higher tariff on Chinese solar panel import, while the punishment does not affect the solar pump import since solar pump is more of a pump than a solar panel.
The good side of this matter is that the solar pump manufacturer in China can purchase much cheaper solar panel due to the over productivity of Chinese solar panels, therefore the Chinese solar pump manufacturer can sell their solar pump at a much favorable price.

We are a manufacturer in China specializing in solar pond/fountain pump kits for water feature, waterfall, fountain and drip irrigation, solar pond air pump kits for pond oxygenation, filters for pond water filtration and associated battery backups.
Compared with mains power, solar power is environmentally friendly, easier to install and has no operating cost, but perhaps even more importantly, it is much safer for kids.
We have exported our products world wide for more than nine years, mostly to Europe, USA and Australia etc. and established a good reputation. Moreover, all of our products are CE and RoHS certified.
If you are interested in our products, we could be your trustworthy supplier.
To know more about our company and our products, please come to our web site at http://www.solarever.com.
If you need any help, Please contact Mr. Larry Li at larry@solarever.com.
Thank you very much for your time.

Best Regards,
Larry Li,
Hangzhou Gene Solar Industries Co., Ltd.
T: +86 0571 85020097-801 : F: +86 0571 85020097-806
E: larry@solarever.com
W: http://www.solarever.com

Here is a link that might be useful: Hangzhou Gene Solar


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RE: Solar Fountain Pump

  • Posted by LB12 none (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 17, 13 at 11:56

I had fun making this fountain. I learned some lessons when it came to using the solar pump. I hope these tips help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Picking the Right Solar Pump


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