Pumping water with batteries
July 2, 2009 7:45 AM   Subscribe

Small pump. For liquids. Battery powered. Inexpensive. Does such a thing exist?

I've been searching for pumps and haven't found much available. I've found several pumps for garden fountains, that are basically a small paddlewheel on a fast motor that flicks water. Far too inefficient for battery power.

I've found homebrewers making their own peristaltic pumps which could be shunk down.

Any other simple homemade pump designs or sources for cheap pumps?
posted by kamelhoecker to Technology (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can you elaborate on what you want to use the pump for and the conditions it needs to meet? Also, what kind of battery are you thinking of? I mean, this pump is designed to use a car battery, but somehow I don't think that's what you are looking for.
posted by cabingirl at 7:53 AM on July 2, 2009

you could buy a replacement pump for a zodi?
posted by Frasermoo at 7:57 AM on July 2, 2009

Would a fish-tank pump be workable?
posted by jangie at 8:00 AM on July 2, 2009

I have few uses in mind: Pumping liquid out of a worm compost bin. Or pumping small amounts of water (100mL) to plants. Yes, small batteries to run a small 3-9V motor (500mA max). (I'll probably use a wall wart to power the pump initially, but would like the possibility of moving to batteries.)
posted by kamelhoecker at 8:02 AM on July 2, 2009

What about a 12V oil change pump? You can easily build a small 12V supply from 8 AA batteries and 2 4xAA battery holders that you can get at Radio Shack.
posted by brain at 8:07 AM on July 2, 2009

For the worm composter, you're probably better off with a drain arrangement and letting gravity do the work. If you have a lot of plants to water, drip irrigation might be appropriate.
posted by jon1270 at 8:30 AM on July 2, 2009

Don't most boating supply stores sell small, 12V pumps?
posted by rr at 8:41 AM on July 2, 2009

If you're thinking about a drip irrigation system, you can use your house's water pressure to move the water, rather than a pump. If you're working from a rain barrel, you could elevate the barrel and let it flow by gravity.
posted by electroboy at 8:59 AM on July 2, 2009

It's much quicker finding stuff like this by searching Google Images, rather than Google Web.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:23 AM on July 2, 2009

Seconding boat bilge pumps. You should be able to pick up a pump that runs off battery power and can do 200 gph or more for ~$15.. you can get a simple plastic float, too, that will activate/deactivate the pump as the float rises or lowers but it is unclear from your description if a float would work in your situation.
posted by mbatch at 9:23 AM on July 2, 2009

Windshield washer pumps, via surplus.
posted by hortense at 9:28 AM on July 2, 2009

How small? There exist battery-operated pumps for filling kerosene heaters.
posted by dreadpiratesully at 9:30 AM on July 2, 2009

American Science and Surplus - pumps (battery powered and otherwise)
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:23 PM on July 2, 2009

Windshield washer pump, alligator clips and a battery?
posted by gjc at 3:02 PM on July 2, 2009

Thanks for the responses. jon1274: I know gravity can sometimes do the job of a pump, but i really wanted to play with a pump.

exogenous: That solar pump looks basically like the paddlewheel design that just splashes water in a particular direction. That design seems crazy inefficient to me, but i guess the idea is that you only want a bit of water gurgling for a tabletop fountain and don't actually want it to be shooting water high into the air.

jangie: Good idea. The aquariums I had as a kid just had bubblers, but it makes sense that fancy systems need actual pumps. Combined with weapons-grade pandemonium's suggestion of using google images I discovered that there is a whole scene of people using aquarium pumps to water-cool their overclocked computers.

The windshield washer pumps are a good idea. As is the kerosene, hot-water shower pump (no idea that existed!) boat bilge and oil-change pump. (And there are probably also some inexpensive pumps for siphoning gas.) I'll see what's available and affordable.

I managed to find a small diaphram pump in an electronics surplus store. Combined with a small motor, it was only $7 so i'm going to see how that works before moving up to anything fancier.
posted by kamelhoecker at 6:38 AM on July 3, 2009

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