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lessons learned on the journey toward independence

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Review of Shurflo 9300 Submersible Water Pump

Shurflo 9300 submersible dc water pumpEven before I moved into my current temporary home, one of the early issues encountered was water.  The submersible pump was quite undersized and could hardly pump water to the surface, let alone pressurize the water system.  So I needed to make some changes, including the pump.  I decided to go with a DC pump for a number of reasons:

  • Greater energy efficiency
  • My well is very slow and most DC pumps are also slow, thus giving the well more time to produce extra water during the pumping cycle
  • A DC water pump is more likely to function after an Electromagnetic Pulse as it does not depend on an inverter for AC electricity, but rather is powered straight from the batteries which should survive and can be charged from solar panels/hydro/wind which (debatably) should also survive if properly grounded and shielded
  • Since the inverter is not required to power the pump, there is less to go wrong with a DC pumping system

The Shurflo 9300 is not a top-of-the-line pump but does come at a fairly affordable price compared to some others ($700+).  It is capable of pumping 230 vertical feet to an unpressurized cistern and is not recommended for pressurizing a home water system because it is so slow.  But that slowness is what I was looking for when dealing with a very poor well.

This unit is capable of pumping over 80 gallons per hour when connected to a 24 volt battery or 36 gallons per hour when used with a 12 volt system.  If your system is 12 volts and you want the faster pumping speed that 24 volts brings, a transformer may be used to step the voltage up, provided it is capable of handling at least 4+ amps.  When our pump is in operation, it uses plus or minus 100 watts, which is pretty amazing.  The 9300 is also rebuildable, to a certain extent.

So far I have been happy with it.  What remains to be seen is how well it holds up.  It seems to handle running dry reasonably well, although doing so is not recommended.  When I get the chance, I plan on installing a timer so every drop of water the well produces can be pumped out, but for the present we turn the pump on and off manually to fill our small cistern.

Installation was quite simple, especially since I used the recommended 1/2" drinking quality rubber hose.  Installing a pump can't be much easier than that!  Just make sure you have a good safety line attached to the pump as the hose is more likely to come off than PVC or other pipe.

Although I am happy with this pump, I would probably do something different if I knew then what I know now.  Both Robison Pumps and Sun Pumps look very interesting for my application (200 feet or less of vertical rise) and appear to be of a more durable construction while maintaining a similar price point.  Give all three a good look before you decide on a DC slow submersible pump with 200 feet or less of vertical rise.

 

  Do you have any experience with this or another DC submersible pump? Please share!

Comments

  • Guest
    Loren Hackerott Sunday, 22 July 2012

    I've been looking at both the Robison and the 9300. I did not look into the Sun pumps. One of my first consultations was with www.backwoodssolar.com which recommended the Shurflo 9300. I believe they also sell the Sun pumps. You mention a $700 plus price. However, I had no trouble find the pump for about $545. Note: it uses a special wire which I think lists for $1.30 a foot.
    If you get the pump for this price and add about $100 feet of wire, you will be at about the same price as the Robison. They make several models but the entry level Robison is about $660 and I think comes with 50' of wire.

    The Robison is not be installed more then 50' below the water level. However the Shurflo can be installed at 100' below the water level.

    At present I am planning on running the Shurflo direct from the solar panel without a controler, battery ect. into a 5000 gallon cistern.

    I ended up ordering a pipe mount and bracket for my solar panel from Robison. By the way Robison was great to work with. For that matter so was Backwoods.

    If I remember the the name right it is Bison Pumps that make a Stainless Steel hand pump they say can be installed in the same casing as your submersible. I really like that idea but their pump is something like $1600 so that probably is not going to happen.

  • Nick
    Nick Sunday, 22 July 2012

    Excellent info, Loren! Yes, the price given was based on Backwoods Solar's price, which is usually high. But the service is very good.

    In addition to the Bison, which is an excellent hand pump for static water levels less than 125 feet or so (max depth 200 feet), you might also check out the Simple Pump (www.simplepump.com). It is not as heavy duty but is still well made, is much easier to operate at greater depths, and usually works out to be cheaper than the Bison. They are both good, but the Simple Pump is probably better suited for deeper water levels while my preference would be the Bison for shallower pumping.

    Please let us know how your water system works once once you get it up and running. I am sure you will have some more great tips to share after that experience.

    Thanks so much!

  • Guest
    Loren Hackerott Sunday, 05 August 2012

    Installing the 9300 went very well. However, sealing the wire to the pump is a multi-step process. Be patient and make sure you do it right. It comes with a small packet of special grease. A little goes a long way. Putting a little on the wire boots will really help get them on.

    I contacted Simple Pump that Nick mentioned as I wanted to make my well cap compatible with their hand pump. However, while they have well caps, I could not use them since I had a solid plate / seal due to the artisian water. They were very kind in emailing me the prints so my machinist could make the appropriate modifications to my solid plate.

    I have a lot to learn about the direction and angle of the solar panel but it is working! I have a 5000 gallon tank by the well and am working on placing a 2600 gallon tank on the hill to gain another 30 feet or so of elevation. My plan is to pump to the upper tank and let the overflow run back down the hill and fill the lower tank. When the lower tank is full, a float switch will stop the pump from running. When the pump is not running either due to the sun being down, or the tanks being full, the artisian water will come up and flow either to my drip line or to another tank down hill from the well.

    For me, the wire and the food grade wire-braided tubing each ran about $1.00 a foot.
    I also did some checking and it is possible to put an AC pump below the DC pump but again, beyond the cost of the pump is another couple dollars a foot. So putting an AC pump 100 feet below my DC pump which is at 90' could run another $400.00. My thought was that if something happened to my DC system, I could run it off an AC generator. And if I did add the hand pump, I would have three ways to get water out of the well if my well even if the water level dropped and it quit being an artesian well. So, I am set up to do add these options, but the likelihood is that I won't simply due to other pressing needs.

  • Guest
    Kenneth H Friday, 24 August 2012

    Interesting blog. In the original article it speaks about a step-up transformer, this is used for AC circuits. A better term would be a step-up converter to move the voltage up to 24 volts DC.

  • Guest
    Sunny Monday, 05 November 2012

    yes, I had a lot worlds to say about the Solartech.cn solar pumps .Which help me defuse the desert control with Solartech PS370 solar pumping system ,made by Solartech.cn in China. and the desert i had is a big one in China , i got the first by free in 2001 year,and pad the second in 2011year, and now the desert is crowed by plants , tress , tomatoes , and others plants .
    I think the it is a better blog for writing somethings about solar pumps ,which is less writting before .and here we can ask more questions about the solar powered water pump .
    and at last i show the solar pump company website named solartech.cn, hope give some aids for others ,and last years i heared they sold Lorentz and Grundfos more solartech solar inverters: http://www.solartech.cn/

  • Guest
    jason Monday, 05 November 2012

    yes , i had found the Solartech website, and they had done more project all over the world ,like Africa, Turkey, Botswana, HaiNan ,and others areas.
    I also see the Lorentz solar inverters ,but i do not understand why there exist the solar inverters named Solartech ,who is the company made solartech solar pumps.
    and the project here:http://www.solartech.cn/category.aspx?NodeID=27

  • Guest
    James Sunday, 25 November 2012

    Solartech solar water pumps supplied by Shenzhen Solartech Renewable Energy Co.,Ltd is like to the solar pump you said. and you can learn more about the knowledge in the website of www.solartech.cn

  • Guest
    Dave Friday, 12 April 2013

    I installed a 9300 in 2006. Every year I think I should pull up and re-build, but I never get around to it. The pump is 110 ft down with a static water level 60 feet down. I have always wanted to lower the pump and get more than the 50 feet of pumping cause the static level is slower to recover than the well recovery at the bottom. Because of this I can only pump about 60 gallons a day to my cistern. Anyway, I am getting ready to order a new one and pull up the old, rebuild the diaphragm and keep as a back up. I really have had a good run with this pump. I think I will set it deeper to be about at 100 feet submersion.

  • Guest
    Mike Monday, 03 February 2014

    Bought a Chinese knockoff of this pump for 175.00 from ebay or less than half normal price. It is hooked to a 200 watt panel and has been drip irrigating 40 trees the last 2 months. A dump valve is used to regulate line pressure and the rest is run on the ground. Well depth is ~30ft.

  • Guest
    Bill Spurlock Saturday, 19 April 2014

    I've used Shurflo 9300 pumps in two wells for about 8 years now with varied results. They work great when they work, but I have had many problems both my fault and the manufacturer's fault. I had two fail early due to bad motor bearings, one fail right away because the motor flooded due to a factory missing O ring, and one fail due to a split rubber boot on the wire connector seal. The quick detach cable-to-motor plug makes changing pumps very convenient, but I have not found it to be super reliable and have had water intrusion into the cable several times. When this happens you have to toss the $$ wire since water wicks way up the strands and if you reuse the cable you will get corrosion of the plug again. That causes a bad connection, which overheats the plug and melts the rubber boot. A new wiring plug is $70, and I've gone through several of them. I keep rebuilding one 9300 since I have the Shurflo controller which has not only "tank full" float connectors but also comes with well water level electrodes to automatically cycle the pump on/off to prevent dry running.

    A cheaper alternative that I have had great success with is the NEMO solar submersible: http://nemosolar.com/dcsubmersiblepumps/. At $220 including shipping they are hard to beat. They are a Flojet diaphragm pump installed in a custom waterproof canister by a small company in Vermont. They come in 12V and 24V DC as well as 120V AC (just a DC model with built in rectifier. These pumps use conventional two wire sub pump wire and standard underwater shrink connectors as used by standard AC submersible well pumps. I run a 12V one from a computer power supply which works great. I'm just getting ready to install a 120V AC model in a new well. Definitely worth considering if you're on a budget.

  • Guest
    Dan Ervin Thursday, 08 May 2014

    We've been running two Shurflo 9300 pumps for several years now at 24 volts in a shallow well d the redundancy. I have to say that I'm not very impressed with them. While they seem to function well when working, the electrical connection is miserable, poorly designed and prone to failure. The company will only sell the entire connection kit and we suffer from the same problems mentioned by Mr. Spurlock above. The "o" rings don't seem to be sufficient to prevent leaks and we have finally stopped even using the inner boot supplied with the kits. We've gone to using Magic Wrap sold at Lowe's and covering it with waterproof liquid electrical tape. We've just started using this solution, but if this fails I think I'll switch the entire pump system to those sold by solarpumps.com. A bit more expensive, but comes with 100' of wire included and a factory sealed connection. A neighbor has been using one of these for their stock tanks for several years with no problems. Backwoods solar has also helped us through many issues, and we've bought a lot products from them while adding-on to a 1920's homesteader's cabin in Colorado. I hope this information is helpful.

    Dan

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