setting up small irrigation system - questions
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    Question setting up small irrigation system - questions

    If this is the wrong forum, please feel free to move it to the appropriate one.

    I have a garden that is about 75'x50' as well as 30 fruit trees to water. I was using an old Goulds pump powered by an even older Fairbanks hit-n-miss engine. I am getting tired of fooling with it, and I think I might buy a 6hp water pump from TSC. It is rated at 9000 gph, but it has to pump up a 30' head, so I'm sure it will be less. The pump has a 2" inlet and 2" outlet. I'd like to build a manifold of some sort to run a few hoses to sprinklers, a hose to a water tank, and a hose to drag around for the fruit trees. Is all of this doable somehow, and anyone know of any web links to some tips on setting something like this up? My main question is if I could make my manifold to power 5 or six garden hoses, or will I have too much pressure for this? I don't want to ruin the pump. I am figuring if I was to run it for about 1/2 hour every two days or so it would be fine for my uses, if my plan would work.
    Andy B.

    1966 110 Lawn Tractor
    2012 2520 - DELIVERED 27APR2012!!!

    Tractor that I used to own - 1954 40 Utility
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    Scotty370's Avatar
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    Just Brainstorming here..................

    ..........Couldn't you have the end of the manifold have a return line to the water source? Yeah, I know that you'd be pumping some water in 'circles' but that's probably better on the unit that having a 'dead-heading' situation. You could have a valve on the return, to throttle your return water and not bog down the pump, or close it completely, if you have ample 'take-away' from the hoses........Just a thought.........~Scotty

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    Scotty,

    A return line was exactly what I was thinking (and wanted to avoid). I picked up the pump tonight and a pile of fittings. I have no idea what this creation will look like, but I'm going to give it a shot. One good thing I found in the instruction manual for the pump is that I can just throttle it back to almost half speed to lower the output. I have seen some pumps that have a built-in governor and run at pretty much one set speed. I was afraid this pump was like that, but it appears I can cut the output down by at least 30-40%. That along with the higher head should get me down to a manageable output pressure.

    The old Goulds pump is neat (because it is old), but even when running well it could barely power two sprinklers. If my plan works I'll probably sell the Goulds pump and just keep the old Fairbanks engine for playing around with because it is a cool old engine.
    Andy B.

    1966 110 Lawn Tractor
    2012 2520 - DELIVERED 27APR2012!!!

    Tractor that I used to own - 1954 40 Utility
    KB3WPN

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    56FordGuy's Avatar
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    One, I love the old hit and miss engines. It's rare you see one being put to work around here anymore, even if it's watering fruit trees.

    Two, I've been working on this myself. We're dealing with a serious drought here, my garden and horse pasture are both beginning to wither. I've been running a regular garden sprinkler for the vegetables, but the water pressure has been very low the last few days, to the point it can't drive the sprinkler well enough. Haven't done anything for the horse pasture.

    I have a creek to draw from, down at the end of the road. I'm shopping for a gas powered pump, and a tank of some sort to put on the bed of the truck. Not sure what the system will look like, beyond that.
    -Blake

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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    I have a little 2 stroke water pump you could borrow. It moves a good bit of water. You can PM me if you're interested.
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    56FordGuy's Avatar
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    Thanks! Once I figure out what to try and do, I'll let you know.

    I'm struggling with how large of a system to try and build. My only two options are to put it either on the bed of the truck, or the Gator. If I build the system for the Gator, then obviously it can't be very large. It would probably be suitable for watering the garden, but useless for the pasture. I'd spend more time running back and forth to the creek to refill than watering. On the other hand, if I build it for the truck then the truck is tied up unless I remove the tank, pump, and lines every time. It would also be difficult to water the garden with a truck mounted system, due to the way my land is laid out. It would be possible, but tricky to get the truck to the garden.

    I'm thinking about one of those 275 gallon IBC totes, a gas powered pump, and sprinklers that will fit the stake pockets on the bed of the truck. If I run the system once or twice a week, it shouldn't be too much trouble to install or remove. I would need to be able to run the pump to fill the tank, then run the pump to empty the tank through the sprinklers.

    Still working out the logistics of it. I'll be interested in seeing what Andy designs. Did you go with the semi trash pump, or the regular water pump? I think I need the semi trash pump since I'll be drawing from a creek, but it's $70 more expensive. Might be worth it, though. I'm not sure what the regular pumps can stand up to.
    -Blake

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    I did end up getting the 6HP semi-trash pump with the 2" inlets and outlets. The hoses and fittings cost me more than the pump. Oh well.
    I bought a 20' section of the 2" rigid hose to connect to the pump, and another section of the 2" flat blue PVC to connect to that. I also bought the kit that comes with the 2" rigid hose suction line, and another chunk of the 2" flat PVC, and a screen for the end of the suction like. The pond I'm drawing from has about 500 frogs in it and a few turtles, so I didn't want to see if frogs and turtles would make it through the pump.

    Then I have a mess of white PVC fittings to go from 2" down to five 3/4 garden hoses, and a spare port for whatever. The pump is going up a good 30' head, and it does take a minute or two for it to decide it's going to get the water up there, but once it does it flows pretty well. It is also sucking up about 3-4' from the level of the water in the pond. I don't know the name for sprinklers, but the pump will power two of the sprinkler heads the go round and round (unless you put the stop down), and two that look like a wide fountain and move back and forth making an arch of water, as well as one garden hose with a showerhead end on it. I have to do some adjusting to balance the flow, but it seems like it will work. Four sprinkler heads of some sort would probably be the ideal amount if you want them to work as good as one sprinkler supplied by your home outdoor faucet.

    I'll grab a few photos later today once I get everything set up kind of how I want it.

    If you had the suction line with only a foot or two of head, and the pump was pumping up 8-10', it puts out a TON of water. I had it running to test it when I first got the pump and I swear in about 1 minute I had 4" of water on a 10'x10' patch of lawn. Some guys were working on a sports field my township is putting in and the guys were sucking water from a stream by my house to fill a large tank on their lawn service truck. It was about a 500 gallon tank and they were using a pump that looked just like mine with a 2" line. It took them maybe 10 minutes to fill their truck.

    A future plan is to get a 250 gallon tank and fill that and run a few of those soaker hoses so I can turn it on and just let the tank slowly drain. I know where a bunch of those 250 gallon tanks are, I just need to plan my layout before I go get one (or two).
    Andy B.

    1966 110 Lawn Tractor
    2012 2520 - DELIVERED 27APR2012!!!

    Tractor that I used to own - 1954 40 Utility
    KB3WPN

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    56FordGuy's Avatar
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    My concern is using a 2" pump to pump water out of the tank. I think it might be too much water, unless I run gigantic sprinklers or 10 heads. The other option is to let some bypass back to the tank, but it seems a little wasteful to have the the pump running, just to circulate water when a smaller pump could get the job done. I need to find some large sprinkler heads that will work with this system.

    Part of my question is hooking up to draw out of an IBC tote. They have a 2" valve on the bottom, so I would need a hose to thread onto it. I guess I could roll up the excess suction line and use that, or I could just throw the suction tube into the top of the tank and not use the 2" valve on the bottom. Either way, I wind up pulling the water through the entire length of suction hose, when the pump is sitting right beside the tank on the back of the truck.

    The alternative would be to try and get the water pressure from the tank to run a small sprinkler head or two, without the use of a pump. I'm afraid that would be fairly inefficient though, if it was even possible.
    -Blake

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    You can buy the 2" rigid hose or flat PVC by the foot at TSC, and they sell a ton of different fittings to connect everything, so getting from the tank to the pump wouldn't be much trouble. But yes, a 6hp pump would be able to suck the tank dry in a few minutes, so you'd probably need 20 sprinklers to make use of the flow with no real pump head pressure to deal with.

    You could always go down to a 1.5" or 1" pump. I think they are under 5hp. It would take a little longer to fill and empty the tank, but you wouldn't need a spray system on the delivery end designed to handle 8000 gph.

    I personally would have liked something PTO-powered, but the only decent PTO pumps I was finding were 10000 gph units that cost $2500+, a bit out of my price range for a garden.
    Andy B.

    1966 110 Lawn Tractor
    2012 2520 - DELIVERED 27APR2012!!!

    Tractor that I used to own - 1954 40 Utility
    KB3WPN

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    56FordGuy's Avatar
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    I'm leaning toward a 2" pump, and possibly going with a bypass system. That way I can run as large a sprinkler as I want, and have the potential to set it up with two tanks and a single large hose for fire control. I hope to never have to, but with it being this dry it's a very real concern.

    I've found a couple of 2" pumps used locally, may go that route. We'll see.
    -Blake

    Your mileage may vary.

    JD 6410
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    YouTube- Life in Wyoming

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