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
"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
Installation of our pond pumps is simple:
- 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.)
- 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
- 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
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
2 litre of water over your water feature in 30 seconds and it looks
really good then you need a pump that will pump 4 litres per minute
at a 1 metre head. That is 240 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
||Litres per hour at height above
You can see from the table that the DC-40 pump would
be for the above example the best pump to use because it can pump
288 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 plus pump on its own for those who want
to supply their own 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.
New for 2015
We have been testing solar
pumping systems over winter in response to customers wanting smaller
and larger pumps than the ones we currently offer. Small pumps that
can go in very small ponds and large pumps that can pump large volumes
of water to greater heights. The new super pumps use 3 phase technolgy
to produce a much stronger turning force which makes them very powerfiul
for relatively low power.
smallest pump is our little micro that we connect to a 20 watt solar
PV panel via our controller (picture right). By using a 20 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.
DC- 40 pump
This pump fills the
gap between our Micro pump and the 50-02. We connect directly to
a 40 watt solar PV panel. A powerful little pump that pumps a reasonable
amount of water to quite a high 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 360
litres per hour and has a useful head of about 5m. The outlet is
8mm. Fresh water only. 12 month warranty.
HIGH VOLUME, 2400 litres / hour,
2 metre head
is a 24 volt pump rated at 86.4 watts and is capable
of moving 2400 litres an hour.This is a high volume pump with a
respectable pumping height. We drive this pump with two 60 watt
12volt solar PV panels in series via a special controller. This
pump is ideal for a large pond, if you want an impressive waterfall,
or for circulating water in a small lake.
- 24 volt DC 86.4 watt electronically
generated 3 phase brushless pump
- 115mm L x 60mm W x 100mm H
- Inlet and outlet 25mm
- Maximum flow 2400 litres per
hour, maximum head 2m (2m usable)
- Amphibious. Can be used outside
the water or submerged. The pump must always have water in it.
- Ceramic bearings for long life.
- Fresh water only.
- 12 month warranty
A case study
Jane had a special project. She had built an impresive
water feature in her garden and needed a pump that could do it justice.
She did not want to use a 230 volt powered pump because of the problems
of geting power to it. The water feature was on different levels,
so she needed a pump that would pump to a reasonable height and
still have a good flow of water. The 3P-3500 was the obvious choice.
It has a reasonable pumping height and a good flow rate that would
not look ridiculous in such a large water feature. Below is Jane's
impressive water feature being powered by the sun. Note the amount
of water leaving the top pond and running down the water course
in the picture.
1028 litres /hour, 8 metre head
3PH-1560 is a 24 volt pump rated at 86.4
watts with a high head of 8 metres.You can see water in the pictures
being pushed as high as the house and that is with an open end.
A narrow nozzel will throw it even higher. We drive this pump with
two 60 watt 12 volt solar PV panels in series via a special controller.
This pump can be used to pump water from one level to another, perhaps
to a header tank. It could also be a spectacular water feature in
a lake or a large pond. We have some in the Cook Islands directly
driving irrigation drippers. The pump is amphibious, so can be operated
inline with a piping system and does not have to be submerged. The
pump however must always have water to lubricate the ceramic bearings.
volt DC 86.4 watt electronically generated 3 phase brushless pump
- 100mm L x 60mm W x 75mm H
- Inlet and outlet 1/2 inch (15mm)
- Maximum flow1028 litres per hour
- Maximum head 8m (8m usable)
- Amphibious. Can be used inline
in a pipe or submerged. The pump must always have water in it.
- Not self priming, so if used
amphibiously the water source must be above the pump.
- Ceramic bearings for long life.
- Fresh water only
- 12 month warranty