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  1. #1
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    Default Borehole Automation

    Hi Guys

    Is it possible to install an automatic irrigation control system (such as the Hunter or Rainbird controllers) on a borehole, as well as fill up a water tank for home usage? currently I have ball valves that i manually switch between the feed for the house water tank and the irrigation system for the garden. The normal setup is when the tank switches the borehole on/off through a float switch. I water the garden by manually switching the lines using the ball valves.

    I would really appreciate some assistance as the garden is taking up a significant portion of my time even though I have an irrigation system installed as I still need to go around and switch to the different zones by hand.

    the current system is a franklin 1.1kw motor/ Meyers One pump which fills up the 2 000L tank with about 1300L in 12 minutes as per my calculations. The system has given me good service but the bracket linking the pump and motor broke again after I had it welded back on recently so it is time for a new system. It seems I will be changing to a WILO Actun First 1.1kW system from the enquiries that I have done. R5 200 incl. for Motor, pump, control box as there is no need for new wiring. I am based in Rustenburg so please feel free to drop a name or two if anyone knows of reputable people that can assist me. The borehole is currently out of service for the last week and i would like to get off the municipal system soonest.

    I was advised to change to a 1.1kW system again as I was told the 0.75kW systems and weaker would not be able to give enough pressure to the hunter rotors for the lawn.

    borehole
    - depth 35m
    - water column about 22m above pump and has never run dry with my usage profile


    TIA

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Borehole Automation

    I'll post a photo of my electrical installation tomorrow, which does exactly this.

    In addition to controlling the irrigation valves with 24V signals - either 4 or 6 channels - it also starts the pump.

    This is all upstream of the Franklin box, so no modification is required there.

    Mine works as follows: The pump is started at a set time and pushes water through 4 circuits.

    Then it rests. The borehole runs out of capacity just before the rain season, so this is another advantage of the controller. If you can't get your say, 5000l tank full in one session, you do it in as many cycles as it takes, allowing seepage to flood the undergtound sump and pumping again when it is sufficient. This is determined by trial and error.

    An hour later the pump starts again. This time circuit 5, which fills a 1500l tank in the front garden.

    The tank in the front garden has its own pump and irrigation computer, which irrigates 4 circuits there.

    The computer in the front garden also starts the pressure pump when the irrigation cycle starts.
    If my post insulted you, wonder where the smiley went .

    Johnie
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Borehole Automation

    At the cottage we have bore hole feeding directly to the sprinkler system. Borehole is not ours but we use it and I did a lot of work to get the system working. Some comments:
    - Borehole has always some sand coming up. Even a small amount is bad for the sprinklers. I had to put special filter. It needs regular cleaning.

    - If I was to do the system from scratch I would have the borehole pump to fill a jojo tank. Has settlement in the tank and then using separate pump to feed the sprinkler system. Would have to play a bit with timing so that the sprinklers do not get soil/sand. Maybe needs that filter just in case. Rare cleaning. I put small ball valve on the filter. When pump is running open the valve and most of the dirt come out.

    - Sprinkler controller has 24 V (or 12 V I am not sure) output. When the timer starts it sends signal to this output and that closes relay for the pump power. Pump must also have bypass to run it manually. In the picture is the arrangement (I did not do the wiring!). Orbit is the controller, left of the controlled is the relay. First breaker is pump bypass. ESP is pump protector.

    In the pump there are additional wires for other purpose.

    Franklin is 2 capacitor motor. I have one unused as that pump protector could not work with such pump.
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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Borehole Automation

    Most irrigation controllers has a circuit to switch on your borehole or a different pump.
    You just need to confirm what relay you need to take the 24v AC as a command to start the pump.

    The borehole pump will then start as you irrigation starts and stops.

    You can then do an electronic float valve with an irrigation sprinkler on your water tank as an extra zone.
    Should the tank then drop below a specific level it will then open the extra valve and fill your tank but that is dependant on level how long you run it.
    However if the tank is full the electronic float valve will close the circuit but that could be a risk on your borehole pump.

    So best for tank would be to have the electronic valve also start your borehole to fill the tank.

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Borehole Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by JJJ View Post
    I'll post a photo of my electrical installation tomorrow, which does exactly this.

    In addition to controlling the irrigation valves with 24V signals - either 4 or 6 channels - it also starts the pump.

    This is all upstream of the Franklin box, so no modification is required there.

    Mine works as follows: The pump is started at a set time and pushes water through 4 circuits.

    Then it rests. The borehole runs out of capacity just before the rain season, so this is another advantage of the controller. If you can't get your say, 5000l tank full in one session, you do it in as many cycles as it takes, allowing seepage to flood the undergtound sump and pumping again when it is sufficient. This is determined by trial and error.

    An hour later the pump starts again. This time circuit 5, which fills a 1500l tank in the front garden.

    The tank in the front garden has its own pump and irrigation computer, which irrigates 4 circuits there.

    The computer in the front garden also starts the pressure pump when the irrigation cycle starts.
    The system you have seems to do what I need- even at a more complicated level looking forward to seeing the setup.
    I am trying to get my head around the control system, meaning electronic float switch as mentioned by MickPrado below.
    As per my understanding the controller will then basically run the borehole pump off of its timer to do the irrigation at the set schedule AND will also be able to switch the borehole pump on and off with an electronic float switch as the level of the tank drops?

  9. #6
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    Default Re: Borehole Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jouko View Post
    At the cottage we have bore hole feeding directly to the sprinkler system. Borehole is not ours but we use it and I did a lot of work to get the system working. Some comments:
    - Borehole has always some sand coming up. Even a small amount is bad for the sprinklers. I had to put special filter. It needs regular cleaning.

    - If I was to do the system from scratch I would have the borehole pump to fill a jojo tank. Has settlement in the tank and then using separate pump to feed the sprinkler system. Would have to play a bit with timing so that the sprinklers do not get soil/sand. Maybe needs that filter just in case. Rare cleaning. I put small ball valve on the filter. When pump is running open the valve and most of the dirt come out.

    - Sprinkler controller has 24 V (or 12 V I am not sure) output. When the timer starts it sends signal to this output and that closes relay for the pump power. Pump must also have bypass to run it manually. In the picture is the arrangement (I did not do the wiring!). Orbit is the controller, left of the controlled is the relay. First breaker is pump bypass. ESP is pump protector.

    In the pump there are additional wires for other purpose.

    Franklin is 2 capacitor motor. I have one unused as that pump protector could not work with such pump.

    Quite correct Jouko there is some fine sand coming through that I have picked up on my tap filter, not a lot though but it is there. I have also not experienced problems on the the rotors for the sprinklers but only the zones which have pop ups needed to be cleaned from time to time. I installed a 40mm strainer valve on the main line feeding the water tank for the house but I believe the sand needs a much smaller filter as it looks like very fine beach sand. might be better to get a set of those blue filter cartridges as I did a full SANS test on the water about a year ago and the quality of the water is very good.

  10. #7
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    Default Re: Borehole Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by MickPrado View Post
    Most irrigation controllers has a circuit to switch on your borehole or a different pump.
    You just need to confirm what relay you need to take the 24v AC as a command to start the pump.

    The borehole pump will then start as you irrigation starts and stops.

    You can then do an electronic float valve with an irrigation sprinkler on your water tank as an extra zone.
    Should the tank then drop below a specific level it will then open the extra valve and fill your tank but that is dependant on level how long you run it.
    However if the tank is full the electronic float valve will close the circuit but that could be a risk on your borehole pump.

    So best for tank would be to have the electronic valve also start your borehole to fill the tank.
    I like to do some research before requesting for a service and forums such as these are very useful with the wealth of knowledge going around. It seems you are not too far from me so do you perhaps know of any good installers in Brits area perhaps which could assist with irrigation systems, maybe they could even point me in the direction of someone in my area that could assist? I would rather pay someone knowledgeable to set up the system. my last DIY project turned from a 2 week jungle gym project into an 80% complete jungle gym 6 months later - at least the kids are able to use it as is now

  11. #8
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    Default Re: Borehole Automation

    I did get the biggest of the type in the image. It was sold at an irrigation place. Inside are disks. The pack must not be tightened too much. In the cap there is connection where I put the ball valve for flushing. Myself and an other user we do open the filter and wash the discs. We have nice old fashion stainless steel washing basin outside for that (and braai grids...). SWAMBO did get two plus one square years back - for free. All in use.

    That filter seems to work well. I have flushed the lines couple times by removing the last pop up and turning the pump on.

    As a general note. I have received complains: little water at taps, washing machine takes for ever... Answer: CLEAN the filters. What filters. Eish.
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  13. #9
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    Default Re: Borehole Automation

    Hi Life,

    Two scenarios, simple one first, NOT borehole related, but irrigating from a tank.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The controller is powered by a 24V transformer plugging directly into a 3pin 220V household wall socket.

    No relay is required to start the irrigation pump, as it keeps the water circuit pressurized to around 3.5 bar. As soon as a valve is opened, the pump senses the pressure loss and starts to maintain it. It will keep on pumping for around 10s after the last valve closes and stop as soon as the system is pressurized again.

    It has an input filter - exactly like the one in the post above - should your water have sediment, or like mine, is also fed directly from a leave-strewn gutter. I have not flushed it for the past 3 years or so. Still works fine.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Now scenario 2:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    CB top right is power into the box. This is around 30m from the borehole, which is where the Franklin box is located.

    The CB on the left feeds the Franklin - why does Alice Cooper pop into my head now?

    This irrigation controller did not come with a power supply, so has an open 24V transformer to feed it.

    Next to the xformer is a gate remote receiver so I could start the pump from a 3rd button on my gate remote for car washing. Too far away from the front garden, unfortunately.

    Next, the relay with a 24V coil energized by the controller, switching the power through to the pump via the Franklin box.

    I do not have sediment, so no filter. I top up the pool directly from the borehole.

    I.t.o. using low tank level to start the pump, bear in mind you have to run the float switch wires to the controller. This would be similar to me starting the pump with the gate remote, which also just closes a switch. Can't remember how I wired it but will have a look if required.
    Last edited by JJJ; 2021/10/24 at 12:06 PM.
    If my post insulted you, wonder where the smiley went .

    Johnie
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  15. #10
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    Default Re: Borehole Automation

    We have one of those pressure controlled pumps to feed the cottage. There are in total something like 40 of them in various houses and public facilities. They are very nice IF there is absolutely no leaks on the pressure side. Very small leak in any joint, valve... and pump starts and stops. Personally I would use solenoid and signal from the controller to start the pump. This is especially the case if the house is occasionally empty. I have switched off these pumps many times in various houses because of leaking toilet, leaking pipe, tap... Between 2 premises we have at least 12 of those solenoid valves and from time to time they fail, leak... I would not run pressure controlled pump against those solenoid valves for irrigation.
    Jouko
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  17. #11
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    Default Re: Borehole Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jouko View Post
    I would not run pressure controlled pump against those solenoid valves for irrigation.
    Mine's been running since Feb 2017. It is an Italian made pump and pressure sensor.

    The pump does top up once or twice a day.

    It gets annoying when it runs every 15 mins, but then you know the garden engineer has pierced a water line with his fork. So early warning to find the leak.

    Since I've moved the stone pathways to exactly over the irrigation lines, this has thankfully stopped.
    If my post insulted you, wonder where the smiley went .

    Johnie
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  18. #12
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    Default Re: Borehole Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by JJJ View Post
    Hi Life,

    Two scenarios, simple one first, NOT borehole related, but irrigating from a tank.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20211024_113202.jpg 
Views:	40 
Size:	275.3 KB 
ID:	633897

    The controller is powered by a 24V transformer plugging directly into a 3pin 220V household wall socket.

    No relay is required to start the irrigation pump, as it keeps the water circuit pressurized to around 3.5 bar. As soon as a valve is opened, the pump senses the pressure loss and starts to maintain it. It will keep on pumping for around 10s after the last valve closes and stop as soon as the system is pressurized again.

    It has an input filter - exactly like the one in the post above - should your water have sediment, or like mine, is also fed directly from a leave-strewn gutter. I have not flushed it for the past 3 years or so. Still works fine.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20211024_113301.jpg 
Views:	37 
Size:	439.6 KB 
ID:	633898

    Now scenario 2:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20211024_113528.jpg 
Views:	38 
Size:	374.9 KB 
ID:	633899

    CB top right is power into the box. This is around 30m from the borehole, which is where the Franklin box is located.

    The CB on the left feeds the Franklin - why does Alice Cooper pop into my head now?

    This irrigation controller did not come with a power supply, so has an open 24V transformer to feed it.

    Next to the xformer is a gate remote receiver so I could start the pump from a 3rd button on my gate remote for car washing. Too far away from the front garden, unfortunately.

    Next, the relay with a 24V coil energized by the controller, switching the power through to the pump via the Franklin box.

    I do not have sediment, so no filter. I top up the pool directly from the borehole.

    I.t.o. using low tank level to start the pump, bear in mind you have to run the float switch wires to the controller. This would be similar to me starting the pump with the gate remote, which also just closes a switch. Can't remember how I wired it but will have a look if required.
    You've got me thinking now... maybe I can experiment with the cheaper Hurricane borehole pumps as the 0.75 kW complete system from takealot is R2 888 with free delivery and 12 months warranty. then I could just use the difference to spend on a decent - I am thinking either 1.1kW pressure pump/ VSD pressure pump.
    This would then benefit the whole house instead of just having enough pressure for the sprinklers which makes more sense to me. then i could automate this much simpler scenario and also have more pressure for the showers


    currently I have a leo pressure pump connected to a 2 000L Jojo tank
    it more than does the job, but I could keep it as a spare.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    the borehole with the 40mm strainer connected - i have one of the disc filters but only managed to pick up one in a 25mm size. i wanted at least 40mm as i did not want to clean it often or in case i forget. since installation never ben cleaned and it has still been working fine

    Click image for larger version. 

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    control box with franklin start run capacitors and bypass breaker for switching on the irrigation manually.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  19. #13
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    Default Re: Borehole Automation

    Thanks again to everyone that has given input on this thread. just the up and down chats has got me thinking in a different direction now which i believe could add more value for the money spent.

  20. #14
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    Default Re: Borehole Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jouko View Post
    We have one of those pressure controlled pumps to feed the cottage. There are in total something like 40 of them in various houses and public facilities. They are very nice IF there is absolutely no leaks on the pressure side. Very small leak in any joint, valve... and pump starts and stops. Personally I would use solenoid and signal from the controller to start the pump. This is especially the case if the house is occasionally empty. I have switched off these pumps many times in various houses because of leaking toilet, leaking pipe, tap... Between 2 premises we have at least 12 of those solenoid valves and from time to time they fail, leak... I would not run pressure controlled pump against those solenoid valves for irrigation.

    I can't comment on the solenoids, but I must say the LEO pressure pump has a bit more tolerance for the leaking taps as i have noticed when the kids do not close one properly then it would take some time before the pump starts and stops. I was worried about this before installing the pressure pump as I thought it would trigger for every insignificant little dripping tap.
    a significant drip like water running or a larger leak triggers it immediately especially toilet leaks, but other than that i have been pleasantly surprised by this little pump.

  21. #15
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    Default Re: Borehole Automation

    We work exclusively off bore hole water.
    My lessons:
    Borehole pump must be on a digital timer for granular control of the water depth
    Two storage tanks
    A .75kW compensation pump is fine.
    Pre-filter between pump and taps.
    Test water every 6 months and replace filter elements.
    Jakes Louw
    2012 Jeep Sahara Unlimited 3.6 V6
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