Low pressure

Discussion in 'Water Fed Pole Cleaning' started by reliable chris, Jan 19, 2015.

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  1. reliable chris

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    hi all..
    I'm new to this, joined in desperation to sort problem out hopefully!
    I have run a shurflo pump in my van for 4 years. just recently my pressure at brush has reduced dramatically. I have an electronic controller which I used to run on 3. now I need 4 or 5, and of course then my battery starts flashing 'L' on the controller.
    I'm wondering if I need a new battery or pump!?
    only other thing I've noticed browsing the forum, is maybe I have an air problem as sometimes the brush jets splutter and spit! I do occasionally remove the small filter ( on pump inlet side) and wipe it out as I get a film clog it up from the tank.
    HELP!!?
     
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  2. abs

    abs Guru
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    Could be simple wear and tear, id be buying a spare pump as back up m8 you've had your money's worth out of that one at 4 years
     
  3. Smurf

    Smurf Banned
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    Hi & welcome to the forum :thumbsup:
     
  4. reliable chris

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    Thanks, good to be part of the forum
    yeah, I was thinking it was probs time for renewing some equipment! just didn't wanna buy a new pump if it was a faulty batt and vice versa..
    time to invest then..
     
  5. spruce

    spruce Grand Master
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    #5 spruce, Jan 19, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2015
    Provided you are using a decent capacity battery to drive your pump in the first place, I would suspect the battery is the first place to look. But you must also check that you have good joins at the battery and fuse holder. A bad connection can can resistance and reduce supply voltage to the controller / pump. Use a proper battery terminal and get rid of the crocodile connectors if you are using them.

    The battery we normally use is an 85 amph leisure battery for the single operator vans and a 110 amph for my van which is a twin operator unit (2 pumps, 2 controllers and 2 hose reels.)

    It should be starting off the day fully charged and showing a voltage of around 12.7/12.8v. The L starts flashing at 11.5 v and if this is happening before the day is out, then the battery isn't holding a charge or its lost its capacity due to age. ( A Shurflo pump will draw around 5 amps per hour at the settings you are using. So if your pump is running for 4 hours a day then you can assume that you will have around 65 amps left in an 85 amph battery at the end of the day. You would have used around 25% of its capacity.)

    Another thing you also need to consider is that the cold weather reduces a battery'e efficiency by as much as 25%. The pump also has to work harder (which uses more current/power) when the water is cold as its viscosity changes with temperature (This can be observed, for example, by watching how cooking oil appears to move more fluidly upon a frying pan after being heated by a stove.)

    We have 3 Shurflo pumps that are a lot older than yours is. 2 are nearly 9 years old, the third is 7 years old and the 4th is 3 1/2 years old. All are working fine. Every year I notice the flow decreases only to perk up again in the summer when the water is warmer.

    You will see a very big flow difference between water at 9 degrees C at the brush head and the same Varistream flow setting with the water at 35 degrees C. I didn't do an actual measurement but estimate that the flow was at least 50% greater. Guys who are heating their water with gas heaters will tell you that they will turn the flow down a bit when using hot.

    Oh BTW, the 3 voltage testing bars on the latest Varistreams aren't a good way to measure battery charge status You need a good multimeter and you need to let the battery settle for at least an hour (4 hours is the recommendation) to get an accurate voltage reading.
     
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  6. reliable chris

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    Thanks spruce
    that's very helpful. I've got a 110v batt that I've used for over a year. I do charge it after every use, however I never tighten the nuts when putting the clamps on the terminals, so maybe a loose fit may cause a problem, but I've never tightened them, so seems strange that would cause a problem now.
    Maybe a new batt is needed?
    didn't realise temp played a part, so that's good to know too.
    Also, while on the subject, I'm looking into putting another pole in use. I take it you need to double up on everything like u suggest to get a decent flow? does that not include the battery? A 110 will run 2 systems? I take it u have 2 outlets at bottom of tank, and don't use a splitter out of 1 outlet??
     
  7. spruce

    spruce Grand Master
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    A 110 amp battery will do fine for 2 systems.

    The current battery I have is a Numax and it is 4 years old this month. It also has an air diesel heater connected to it which gets used occasionally in winter so I can retreat to a warm cabin if its very cold outside to thaw out. :)
    That draws around 2.5 amps when running and up to 18 amp when starting up. Because of this I usually have the van's engine running so the alternator takes the brunt of it through the split charge relay. The SCR doesn't do much to recharge the battery as we do very short trips.

    The previous battery was a cheap and cheerful Orange (in name and colour) 110 amp Leisure battery from a 'local' caravan outlet. That last over 3 years. One thing we do is to have each battery sitting on a thick (18mm) piece of old rubber matting which isolates the battery from the extreme cold of the van's metal floor.

    We initially started off with a system that had a pump box that could be brought inside in winter. It used those crocodile clamps and they gave us no end of drama. I would suggest you carry a spanner around and just nip up the battery clamp bolt after putting them on. I just makes for a good contact. It takes just a second. It will probably be a 13mm spanner that you will need if its a standard size terminal.

    I charge my battery at least ever second night but have a wired in a charge connector lead which I simply plug the charger into. I'm fortunate as the van is parked on the driveway every night. (In fact each of the van's has the same plug in feature.) If it has had a heavy day, then it gets fully charged that night.

    I have a voltage-amp meter combo gauge in the van so I can see how much charge the battery is taking on the drive home. If the alternator is only trickle charging it by a couple of amps I don't bother to put the charger on. If it is charging the battery by 4 amps or above, then the charger gets put onto it. It gets left on all night as it is an intelligent charger and kicks into a maintenance charging cycle when the battery is full so is never overcharged.

    I have a single elbow outlet from my 650 liter tank - 1" BSP to 1/2" hose. The pumps are mounted on the side of the tank on the steel frame and I have simply taken the hose to the second pump and T'ed into that with a 1/2" hose T piece. Actually I have done that twice as I also have a tap on the end of this outlet so I can drain the tank using gravity if needed. One thing I do regret not doing was fitting a tap at the tank outlet.
    However, I have managed without one for over 7 years on this set-up so I probably will never fit one now. (The hose I used from the tank outlet elbow is 1/2" reinforced plastic hose and on the couple of times I needed to stop the water I just clamped the hose flat with a G clamp.)

    We find that even when using both pumps flat out (when filling a 25 liter plastic water container for example) we don't have a water supply issue. Under normal cleaning conditions I use a pump flow of 4 or 5 on my Varistream and the other is 2 or 3 as my son likes to use a brush with 1mm jets. (He also uses a back-pack hence the smaller jets for more controlled water usage. I can't get on with those jets tbh.) But even using a bigger jetted brush at the same flow as mine doesn't create an issue.
     
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  8. stuvy

    stuvy Well-Known Member
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    Top work spruce
     
  9. reliable chris

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    cheers spruce.
    tightened battery clamps with spanner today and worked a treat! ☺
     
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