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ReeferMac

Solar powered pond project

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Does anyone have experience working with small home-brew type solar/battery powered projects? I've got one coming down the pike at me, figured I'd ask here since we're such a swell group of people!

 

My 12 year old son likes to fish, play in the creek that runs behind our property, have all sorts of good, clean fun.  I'm quite happy to encourage this sort of activity. Last summer he took to catching some of the baby fish from the creek and keeping them in an old feed bucket up near our property.... But we had to harass him to eventually release the things, as they quickly outgrew the old feed-bucket! So long story short, Dad promised him a fish pond this year...

 

Hole is (mostly) dug (I need a deal on a couple skids of stone delivered?), there will be a little creek and waterfall, maybe one day some (LED) lights, ergo, I need a pump, which needs juice! Running conduit/wire isn't going to happen, but I could drag a collection of extension cords out there once a week with a battery charger to top-off the system when sunlight won't. I'm envisioning one of those Harbor-Freight solar panels and an old car-battery (maybe two, I can easily swap, keep one on a charger in the shed, switch it out once a week?) Don't have a pump/flow characteristics... suppose I'm coming at that problem from the back-end - I'll size the flow/pump to match the power (realistically) available from the solar system?

 

Cost is a factor (it's the wee one's play-place to grow bait... but the missus wants it to look like a water-feature/landscaped pond when it's done), I have some sunny locations within 50-feet of the pond I can mount some panels. A quick search shows a wealth of 12V pond pumps exist, but I don't know the what and where-for's of chargers/controllers and that end of things. Before I run down to the local China Mart and pickup some used car-batteries off Craigslist, does anyone here have experience with this sort of thing that could save me some headaches and $$$? LOL!  In my head it's a simple project once you get passed the physical work. I'm good with the pond and the plumbing, but know nothing about solar setups.

Thanks for the advice!

 

- K

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How far is the creek from the "pond" and does it flow well? Would it be easier to put in a small water wheel to generate the power to light the pond?  Then you could bury the lines to the pond and not have to worry about the aesthetics of solar panels.

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Shorty said:

How far is the creek from the "pond" and does it flow well? Would it be easier to put in a small water wheel to generate the power to light the pond?  Then you could bury the lines to the pond and not have to worry about the aesthetics of solar panels.

Or could a water wheel be used to deliver the water up to the top of the fall? Maybe with a screw/ auger type setup?

Then, if you decided to add lights, you could just buy the all-in-one landscaping lights they make now, in whatever flavor tickles your fancy.

Edited by TomInMN
Clarity
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I don't have any personal experience with the project you are planning, sounds pretty darn cool ! 🙂

 

But an excellent resource, imho, is Steven Harris. I've listened to him on various self sufficiency podcast and read many of his blog posts over the years where he goes into great detail for similar projects.

I'll post a few links below. Let us know how the project develops Kev.

 

https://www.stevenharris.net/

http://www.solar1234.com/

http://www.battery1234.com/

https://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/?s=steve+harris+episodes

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I researched solar power a couple of years ago with I was trying to set up a stock tank heater for my neighbor.  Didn't go through with it because the number of solar panels needed made the project not feasible.  I don't have experience with 12v pond pumps, but I do maintain a 250ish gallon bait tank with shad in it so when it's time to fish I don't have to go looking for bait.  The pump in it pumps around 1000 gal per hour.  I can tell you that you should do some research and figure out how much water you should be moving for a pond your size and go from there.  When you find the pump that you need figure out how much energy it's going to draw then you can figure out how many solar panels will be needed to keep the battery topped off.  We use a solar panel to keep the battery on our electric gate charged.  It just does okay.  

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Thanks for the thoughts and idea's everyone!
 

Creek's too far away, but the mechanical motion idea made me think about one of those windmill's you see for sale at Rural King (that the missus said she likes)... I'm just moving water, Archimede's came up with a nifty idea a little while back that would work.... Man, now it's morphing into a science project, but I reckon I just blew my budget! LMAO!

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The type of fish and quantity will determine how much oxygen you need in that pond.  If it's a small decorative "bait" pond as you put it, the waterfall with the right aquatic plants may be all you need for oxygenating the water.  Put in a small filtering system and you should be good to go.

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Edited by TomInMN
Link wasn't quite right...
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2 hours ago, ReeferMac said:

Fascinating!

Thanks for sharing!
 

It was a new one on me, too. I haven't compulsively searched out information on ram pumps yet, but I am curious...

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That is pretty cool. 

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Makes me want one and I don't even have a use for it.

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