30" length of vinyl tubing. Make sure the joint
is leakproof. Fit the other end over the input
side of the waste valve; it should fit snugly.
Gently heat one end of the spray bottle’s
siphon tube with a hot air gun or hair dryer,
and bend it 90° without kinking it. Thicken
the end by wrapping it with electrical tape,
then couple it to the check valve with a short
piece of vinyl tubing, pointing the output tube
upward (Figure J). Your pump is complete.
D 5. Set up the pump and water source. Use ring stands or other means to raise the pump slightly above a catch basin, to hold the water source about 25" above the pump, and to hold the output tube upright. Fit some stiff 6" tubing over the output tube to extend it higher than the water source. Fill the water source. The waste valve
should shut, with little or no water exiting, and
if you tap it with your finger, the ram should
send water up the output tube. Flick it to
remove all air bubbles from the output side.
6. Adjust for automatic cycling.
To get the ram to cycle automatically, you’ll
need to add some weight to the waste valve
cover. Try different small weights, and file
away some metal to fine-tune the weight
down. When you have the correct weight,
hot-glue it on and watch the water run uphill.
Going Further To make larger ram pumps, you can fabricate your own check valves from flaps of plastic, or waste valves out of O-rings and valve seats. You can even scale up to full-sized ram pumps using standard plumbing fittings. ; H
Make a full-sized ram pump from PVC pipe:
See video of the hydraulic ram in action:
Matthew Gryczan is a former manufacturing engineer and
newspaper reporter who has been a lifelong basement
tinkerer. In his day job, he writes news releases for science
and technology companies at Sci Tech Communications.
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