Water infrastructure for camp

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Water infrastructure for camp

Post by roablep » Wed May 01, 2019 4:45 am


I'm working on water infrastructure for our camp. Our camp has several water uses -- in our interactivity area, our kitchen, and our misting shower. We're designing the endpoints to be low-usage, but I want the overall infrastructure to be robust.

Last year, we got a 500 gal tank from MECO which mostly worked well, except for two problems:
  • The pump burnt out (and so did the backup) -- possibly due to faulty switches.
  • The flow switch never seemed to work (perhaps there wasn't enough pressure in the tank to activate it). So we had to manually turn on/off the pump for each use.
This year, it'd be great if 1) our pump didn't fail and bonuses if 2) the lines were pre-pressurized/maintained enough pressure and 3) if the flow-based auto switch actually worked. So... hoping the wisdom of the crowds has some insight to these:
  • Can anyone recommend a reliable pump? AC or DC...We have a generator or could also run it on a car or marine battery.
  • Does anyone have a suggestion on an auto flow switch such that someone can just turn on the endpoint and the pump kicks in? Would a prepressurized accumulator tank help?

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Re: Water infrastructure for camp

Post by Token » Wed May 01, 2019 9:28 am

Millions of RVs have exactly what you want built in. Tried, true, and reliable.

Dig in that area and see if it fits your needs.

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Re: Water infrastructure for camp

Post by Popeye » Wed May 01, 2019 12:10 pm

Flow switches are problematic, they leak and jam against the pipe. Most of these pumps work on a pressure -not a flow- switch or are controlled by a manual switch. With pressure control there is an air tank between the pump outlet and the user equipment sometimes built in the pump. When the pump turns on it increases the air pressure in the tank to the pressure switches set point then opens the switch and the pump shuts off. As water is used air pressure drops and the pump is turned on. Pump burnout is most often caused by the pump shortcycling. That is, the pump turns on and off to often; when an electric motor turns on it can draw up to 300% of its running current to overcome the at rest inertia. This current is converted to heat and builds up in the windings and the pump can burn out if it is turned on and off often.
The MECO systems I have seen have been set up properly for standard playa operation. They either have a small or no pressure tank. They always worked.
I'm wondering if the problem might be related to your misting shower? The shower sounds like it works on pressure and if the pump works on flow or mechanically the system might shortcycle and the pump would burn out. If this is the case you have a design problem not a pump problem. Suggest you figure out what pressure your shower needs and put an air tank in or increase the size of the one you have. Use a pressure switch with the differential set high enough so the pump does not short cycle.
Suggest you use a 120V pump. Look at the pump curve (supplied by mfr.) to make sure you have enough flow and head. Generally speaking a DC pump will not provide enough pressure. If your camp is large you may want to take pipe length into account. A short run of garden hose is probably ok but use pipe or PEX for longer runs.
You could learn more about this by googling shallow well pumps.
If you get your water from a well take a look at your well pumping system.

Good luck
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

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Re: Water infrastructure for camp

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu May 02, 2019 4:47 am

I’ll second Token’s advice, just use an RV pump. They’re everything you need, automatic, reliable, relatively inexpensive and work great.
They have a pressure switch built in, and will turn themselves on and off as needed.
There’s thousands of them doing just what you want out there, in all the RVs.

If you want to distribute more water than one can handle, use a few of ‘em.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

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Re: Water infrastructure for camp

Post by roablep » Thu May 02, 2019 6:58 am

Thanks guys, really appreciate it! RV it is... now to research that!

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