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Solar powered pumps (we are the experts)


Solar pumpHunkin Garden Products have been selling solar pumps since 1995. Over this time we have always sold solar brushless pumps as opposed to brushed pumps. The reason for this is that brushed pumps use tiny brushes to transfer power to the rotating part (armature) of the electric motor and are in contact with it, so therefore wear away, causing pump failure. By contrast, our earlier brushless pumps are still working after 17 years.

Our pumps did away with the brushes and had an electronically generated rotating field to make the pump rotate, but this technology was expensive. However, like all new technology when it starts to become main-stream, the price drops, and this has happened with solar pumps and PV panels.

Solar pumps and PV panels (photo voltaic panels, often just called solar panels) are still a little more expensive than an equivalent mains powered pump, but with the increased price of electricity solar pumps can save you money, especially witth the larger wattage pumps. But the real advantage is the ease of installation. The moment you decide to use 230 volt mains by law you must use an electrician to wire up the power supply and that is when it gets expensive. Mains rated cable buried at least 600mm underground in conduit and weatherproof power points make it very expensive. If you have obstacles like paths or driveways between your power supply and where your water feature is situated it becomes almost impossible. Solar also fits in well because fortunately when you need the water the sun is normally shining the most, so the pumps perform the best.

Solar systems provide a safe, economic alternative to running cable and they are very simple to install by the home user. Our systems are designed to just plug together so it could not be simpler. We use commercial grade solar panels that utilise toughened glass encased in aluminium frames. You will notice we use larger panels than the pump wattage would suggest you require. This is what we call "Hunkin overkill" and we do this because our focus is on performance, not price. It is a fact that panel outputs drop with temperature and with age. So a panel in the hot sun, while receiving a lot of sunlight, also gets hot, which reduces its output. A bit of a catch 22. Panels can also lose up to 20% of their output over time (this is normal) so having a bit of extra power means the panel will still be operating your pump in the future. Pumps, like most electric motors also need more power to initially start, so bigger panels means earlier starting during the day and continuous operation in less than ideal conditions.

This says it all from one of our landscaper customers

"these pumps are great. reliable and powerful in a small package. I have wasted hundreds of dollars and time on pumps which are physically much bigger and supposedly more powerful, but they just dont do what they're supposed to and are poorly made.thanks again"

All our solar pumps are driven by brushless DC motors. Our pumps are customised for solar application. Apart from the very cheap models (under $100) they are primarily designed for industrial applications so are of rugged construction with ceramic bearings. They must always be immersed in water when operating to lubricate the ceramic bearings or they will be severely damaged. Warranty is void if the pump is run without water. This is one reason why we don't like fountains. Sometimes on a windy day spray from a fountain can fall outside the pond and the pond can be emptied very quickly.

Our pumps connect directly to the panel, so when the sun shines (clear blue sky) they pump. When it is cloudy or raining they don't pump so well. The next question we are often asked is can we run the pumps on a car battery so it can operate at night. You can for a very short period (for instance if you have visitors at night) but a permanent solution is a lot more complicated. We won't get into too much detail but basically a car battery is designed for a short burst of high current to start a car. No battery likes going flat, and a car battery really doesn't. It can be done but it is expensive. For a permanent solution you need deep cycle batteries, a charge controller and extra panels to run the pump and charge the battery. Deep cycle batteries alone are $300 plus each.

Installation of our pond pumps is simple:

  1. Put the pump in the water. (Tip - Place the pump on a brick so it is not right on the bottom of the pond. This stops the pump from sucking up all the gunk from the bottom of the pond.)
     
  2. Mount the solar PV panel where it can receive full sun at midday. Face the panel towards true north at an angle of approx 40 degrees. The panel produces maximum output when it is a right angle to the sun because there is no reflection off the glass.
     
  3. Connect the panel to the pump. If the sun is shining the pump will start either immediately or after a 2 second delay, depending on the model. All electric motors need a lot more energy to start than to run, so our larger pumps have a soft start feature.

Pond pumps, how to select a system

The most important decision is to first work out how much water you want to circulate and at what height above the water you want the water to come out.

E.g: You want a waterfall 1 metre high but like all of us you can't really visualise what amount of water you want over it to make it look effective. Try this: Fill a bucket with 5 litres of water and pour it over your water feature, timing how long it takes you to empty the bucket. For instance, if you pour 4 litres of water over your water feature in 30 seconds and it looks really good then you need a pump that will pump 8 litres per minute at a 1 metre head. That is 480 litres per hour at a 1 metre head. Now look at the table below. These are our measured results, not some manufacturer's theoretical flow rates. ( I am standing on a ladder or a roof with a 2 litre milk container for some of these measurements)

Litres per hour at height above water (head)
Model
Max flow
0.5m
1m
2m
3m
4m
5m
6m
7m
Micro
240
90
60
DC5-800
800
700
600
340
180

You can see from the table that the DC5-800 pump would be for the above example the best pump to use because it can pump 600 litres per hour at a 1 metre head. Always choose the bigger pump system because these flow rates are measured under ideal full summer sun conditions and in reality you will not always get this result. Pipe work and fittings also contribute to head reduction. If you have too much water over your feature you can always bleed off a bit of water into your pond. Too little, can't do anything. We have applied some "Hunkin overkill" to our panel selections so the pumps will perform well in less than ideal conditions. Tip: To make it look like you have a large flow of water going over your waterfall choose a very flat rock at the top for the water to flow over. A wide thin sheet of water gives the illusion of a big water flow when it really isn't.

Solar pump testing to determine pumping volumes at different heads. Water is pumped into a 2 litre milk container and the time taken to fill it is recorded, very technical! From that we calculate the amount of water at any given head. This way we can be sure that when we say a pump will pump to a certain height, it will.

Our pumps are pumps designed for industry and we have adapted them for home use along with filters. The price list below is for pump and panel. There is a 1 year warranty on the pumps and 10 years on the panels. Please note: None of our pumps are suitable for swimming pools where chlorine is used. Chlorine is very corrosive and will lead to premature failure of the pump. Fresh water only. The water must also be clean, so pumping out of a creek is not recommend.

A common myth

A pump will not fix any algae problems. It is not the lack of circulation that causes it, it is an in-balance of nutrients in the water, or too much sun. Too many nutrients is normally caused by too many fish pooing and weeing in the water. A lot of people think changing the water will fix it. It won't. It often makes it worse, because you introduce new nutrients. Sometimes you have to be patient and let the pond sort itself out. It can take months, and is more likely to clear up in winter with less sun.

What a pump will do is add extra oxygen to the water which will support good aerobic bacteria. This bacteria is everywhere in your pond and they break down all the poo and wee into nutrients as well as any rotting leaves etc. that have fallen into the pond. If the pond gets oxygen starved, then anaerobic bad bacteria thrive, and this is characterised by bad smells.

The only effective artificial method I know of to get rid of green water is a UV lamp and bio-filter. For that you need a constant supply of electricity. ie: mains power. However you are fighting nature and eventually as always, nature wins. Best to keep a balanced pond.

New for 2015

MICRO PUMP

Our smallest pump is our little micro that we connect to a 20 watt solar PV panel via our controller (picture right). By using a 30 watt panel with our controller this pump will still operate in light cloud and will run for most of a summer's day.

This pump is so small it is ideal for placing in shallower ponds. The only catch is you must make sure the pump never runs dry so the pond must be deep enough to make sure water is always covering the pump. The pump size is 40mm L x 40mm W x 30mm H. It can pump a maximum of 240 litres per hour and has a useful head of about 1m. The outlet is 8mm. The output is adjustable. Fresh water only. 12 month warranty.

New for 2020

DC5- 800 pump We connect directly to a 40 watt solar PV panel. A powerful little pump that pumps a reasonable amount of water to quite a moderate head.

This pump needs at least a 200mm of water depth and like all the other pumps must not be allowed to run dry. The pump features ceramic bearings for longer life. The pump size with filter is 150mm L x 60mm W x 70mm H. It can pump a maximum of 800 litres per hour and has a useful head of about 3m. The outlet is 11mm OD.. Fresh water only. 12 month warranty.

 

 

Need more cable between the pump and panel?

We custom make our pump panel combinations so we are able to add additional cable to either the pump or the panel. There is a limit though, as voltage drop occurs with distance, but you are much better off having the panel in the sun and a small amount of voltage drop than having the panel in the shade. Eg. If you need the panel to be 10m from the pump and you are putting the panel on a roof it would be best to have the connector at ground level. In this case you would choose "extra cable on panel" and add the amount of extra you require. If you have a pond where the pump is more than 5m from dry land you would choose "extra cable on pump" so the connector is not underwater. Our credit card processing is manually done on an EFTPOS machine in the office, so if you make a mistake please let us know so we can make an adjustment in the office.


Micro pump full system In stock, low numbers

micro pump with filter

Micro pump, 3 watt, 12 volts, 8mm outlet (8mm clear tubing is available from places like Mitre 10 Mega, Bunnings etc.)
Price including pump, controller, 5m cable, all connectors and 30 watt PV panel. 20W panel size 350mm x 510mm x 25mm thick
$165.40 inc GST
.

There is normally 1m of cable on the panel. In the standard configuration there is approx 6m between the panel and the pump, but we can extend the cable if you need more distance between the panel and the pump. The benefits of a panel in full sun far outweigh any losses in the cable (within reason). If you want extra cable select from the shopping cart. Extra cable is $3.20 per metre, postage included if ordered with a pump and panel. When ordering extra cable, enter the number of metres required and click recalculate before going to payments.


Postage and packaging NI $20.00 SI $25.00 additional $6.50 for rural delivery

Please note: To prevent unnecessary delays please make sure you select the RD option if you are at a rural address.

Choose a destination:
Choose additional cable if required:

DC5-800 pump full system Sorry sold out. More expected about 14th Oct.

DC5-800 pump with filter

DC5-800 pump, 19 watt, 12 volts, 11mm outlet (Slightly loose on a garden hose so use a hose clip to secure) or 10mm clear tubing heated in boiling water to soften.

Price including pump, filter, 5m cable, all connectors and 60 watt PV panel. 630W panel size 540mm x 670mm x 30mm thick.
$259.40 inc GST
.

There is normally 1m of cable on the panel. In the standard configuration there is approx 6m between the panel and the pump, but we can extend the cable if you need more distance between the panel and the pump. The benefits of a panel in full sun far outweigh any losses in the cable (within reason). If you want extra cable select from the shopping cart. Extra cable is $3.20 per metre, postage included if ordered with a pump and panel. When ordering extra cable, enter the number of metres required and click recalculate before going to payments.

Please note this pump must be submerged at all times when running.


Postage and packaging NI $30.00 SI $35.00 additional $6.50 for rural delivery

Please note: To prevent unnecessary delays please make sure you select the RD option if you are at a rural address.

Choose a destination:
Choose additional cable if required:

 

 

Solar PV panels to give you an idea of physical size

(Please note pen on top to show approx. size.)


30 watt PV solar panel

Dimensions in mm

680 x 340 x 30

 

 

Other sizes

40 watt panel in mm

540 x 670 x 25

 

20 watt panel in mm

510 x 350 x 25


60 watt PV solar panel

Dimensions in mm

630mm x 540mm x 30mm thick.

 
 
 
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