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Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

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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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Discussion Starter #3
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.
 

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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.
 

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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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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. :laugh:

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).
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I set up my "distribution system" this afternoon and grabbed a few photos. I think I'm going to make one more change, and get rid of the one type of sprinkler as they don't really function that well without a higher pressure. I am also going to add a valve to two of the outputs so I can change things instead of either shutting the pump off, or trying to swap a hose nozzle with the pump running (it can be done, but a change of clothes and waterproof watch are required).

This is the "arch" type of sprinkler that works good:
sprinkler1.jpg

This is the "round and round" one that doesn't work too good:
sprinkler2.jpg

Pardon my names for the sprinklers, I have no idea what the proper name for them is.

Here is the 5-headed hydra that supplies the water. Hopefully I never find out if it grows another head if one gets chopped off:
hydra.jpg

Here is the 6hp pump:
pump.jpg

If you notice the semi-rigid output line (the one coming out of the top) has a slight bulge in it. A word of advice, the output orientation can be moved by removing the four bolts that hold the fitting on, and turn it to one of four directions. If you change the output to the same side as the muffler, it would be a good idea to be sure the PVC hose isn't running in front of the muffler. So far it isn't getting any worse since I made sure it stays off to the side, but if it finally pops, I'll have to stick a splice in there.

Here is the semi-rigid PVC to flat blue PVC connection:
pump_hose.jpg

I then bought another piece of the flat stuff to connect to the first flat blue one and get me to the top of my hill and that seems to be working.

One other tip, the 3/4" hoses definitely flow MUCH more water than the 5/8" ones. You can use the two hose sizes to even the flow out somewhat, but the sprinklers definitely work better with the 3/4" hose. Personally, I'd spend the extra on the 3/4" hose even just for normal garden use. They are generally higher quality hoses.

If I knew this big mess was going to work out okay like it has, I would have probably went searching for some sort of black 2" PVC water supply line and just buried it from the pump to the hydra. When the flat blue hoses finally start leaking that is probably what I'll do.
 
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Excellent post. Thanks!

So, you're running 5 sprinklers directly off the pump, and pumping from a body of water instead of a tank? Have you tested to see what the water pressure is at the sprinklers?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks, yes, I'm pulling water from a small pond and pumping up a 30' hill (30' head, but about 50' of hill). The pressure is less than if the sprinklers were running from you house faucet, so I'd say certainly under 50 psi. I haven't tried just running three sprinklers to see what happens, but once I pick up the two valves I'll give it a shot. I have to see if I have anything laying around to measure the pressure at the sprinklers, or at least at the hydra. It would probably be a good idea to do so.

As I mentioned, when I first tried out the pump I just took water from the pond and out one blue hose onto the ground, it was like a firehose coming out. You would suck a 250 gallon tank dry in minutes.
 

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Well, you can tell we're experiencing 'drought like symptoms' down here. I went to two different TSC stores today, neither one had the 2" semi trash pump in stock. I was told they expected them to arrive in a couple of weeks. The water pump sections of both stores were pretty bare.

I'm going to try a few more stores around the area. Hopefully something will turn up.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
They had at least three of the 6HP ones at my local store. The salesgirl helping me was complaining because she said the TSC higher-ups sent a truckload of them to our area last fall after all of the rain and flooding we were having. I tried to get a discount, but I'm guessing they will start selling again because it is too dry now, and not too wet.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, I found the first flaw in my system. I would be willing to bet several of you reading this have wondered about it, and it was in the back of my mind as well. I am sucking this water from a pond. Yes, it has some pond scum and plant life in it. The screen on the suction hose has about 3/16" holes in it. Enough to keep out frogs and sticks, but not enough to keep out small bits of plant material. I was running the sprinklers this afternoon and all of a sudden they just stopped working. I thought maybe the pump impeller had sheared a key or something, but everything still had pressure. The sprinklers had just become clogged with plant matter. I ended up removing the sprinklers and just letting the hoses run in the furrows alongside the plant rows. It worked okay, but I'm not sure if it is the most beneficial way to be watering. For now it is what I'll have to do. I guess the good thing is that my garden happens to be set up with furrows between each row of plants, so the water just ran down along them. It is only on a very slight hill and the water filled the trenches about 1" deep as it flowed down it. It took maybe 15 minutes for the water to get all the way down the trenches, and then I let it run for a few more minutes and shut down for the day.

Any of you reading this, how do farmers irrigate things like rows of tomato plants in a field? Do they just let water run in a trench along the plant hills once a day or something?
 

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How deep is the pond? Would it be possible to suspend your strainer up off the bottom a bit? That might help.

I've read about systems that use settling ponds. Water comes from the supply into a smaller pond, where the silt and debris settles to the bottom. It goes from the settling pond to the pump, then the end use. Most of the systems are closed, like a well drilling rig where they recirculate the same water. Not sure how it would work for a sprinkler rig.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Believe me, if the screen was sitting on the bottom the sprinklers would have clogged a lot sooner. I used two key bits of redneck engineering, duct tape and plastic gallon jugs. :laugh: I taped an empty gallon oil jug to the suction line about 2' from the end so it floats and keeps the screen off the bottom of the pond. The pond has a good bit of "stuff" in it, so I am going to be stuck dealing with it. I have to do some more investigating into irrigation systems and how the big guys deal with it. I may end up just going with the water in trenches next to the plants. It seems like it is working okay. I'll run some more water tomorrow and if it looks like the plants are happy, then I'll be happy.
 

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If this were my set up........... I would do this.

Wade out in the pond and set up a ring of snow fence about 4' in diameter. Anchor to a couple steel posts and wrap screen door screen around the fence.

This should provide a big enough area to keep from starving your intake with trash.

Have a 2nd piece of screen door screen handy to change out the first one that will eventually need cleaned.

Put enough 2 liter soda bottles on the suction screen so it only rides about 3" under water. Do NOT put screen on the intake cage.

You would be surprised at amount of minnows, sticks, and such that a pump is capable of moving and keep running.
But I never tried to use yard sprinklers. Just open ditch irrigation.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #20
But I never tried to use yard sprinklers. Just open ditch irrigation.

Good luck
Does the open ditch irrigation seem to work? That is effectively what I am doing now. The plants seem to be doing okay, but I have to make a few modifications to my furrows to make it more efficient. I didn't set the garden up with this method in mind, but at least everything is in rows so I can deal with it.
 
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