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Old 10-18-2005, 07:27 AM
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Default Windshield Washer Pump?

I have heard about a few people using a windshield washer pump for a DIY misting system and I want to find out more. I have searched and can't find very much information on it, just a few people saying they are currently using it.

Now my questions are, How much preasure does it normally produce? I know it's not going to be the 55psi that the misting kits put out, but is it 25 or what? Does it produce a decent mist (Like the spray from the actual car washers)?

My next question is how much current does it draw? I'm assuming they run on 12v DC since that is typical of a cars electrical system, but how many mili-amps or amps does it need? I need to know if I can find an AC - DC converter than can support it's needs, even though I will only run it for very short periods of time. Any information will be helpfull and thanks in advance.
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Old 10-18-2005, 01:35 PM
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I put together a misting system on my own. It's for my deremensis
and melleri chameleons, though I'm currently waiting on 5 new
nozzles, some of which are going to be used on my dart frogs.

I had nozzles from Barrs, and tubing, fittings and a 5 gallon bucket
from Home Depot, and a $20 digital timer with minute settings.

I could not find a pump that put out the 45psi I needed. Initially, I
wanted a cheap, piston pump, like the ones that come with the
$100 misting systems. Those do not last nearly as long as a good
diaphragm pump, and I refuse to have something in the house that
may self destruct if allowed to run dry or run too long (melleri and
deremensis need lots of water, and need a long-duration misting
session before they'll drink).

I found a pump that looked good. A 120V Sureflo, 45psi
diaphragm pump. They make a model with a 6' power cord, but
Grainger supply had to do a special order for it. Instead, I got a
better model, with just the wires. I went to Home Depot and
bought a 8' power cord and attached it myself. This pump is more
than adequate for dozens of nozzles, runs VERY quietly, though it
pulses due the the fact that it's not a bypass pump. If run
continuously, this could damage it. However, it runs for less than
15 minutes a day, so it's not an issue. I'd suggest a bypass pump,
to avoid the pulsing and resulting "banging of hoses against the
walls with each pulse" - which is the only sound we hear from
across the hall. This high end model was about $120 with the
extra power cord.

All in all, I spent about $170 total, for pump, timer, hoses&fittings,
bucket, and 3 nozzles. $200 if you include the 5 extra nozzles that
I'm still waiting for. I believe the lower end diaphragm pump (not
as quiet) was $30-$50 dollars less than the one I got.

A diaphragm pump will last a very long time. I think it's worth the
extra money. Especially considering the risk of running dry or
overheating. If your water supply fails, your pump is garbage, or
worse - the source of the fire that burned out your room! Some
piston pumps put out 100psi, but I *believe* most of these nozzles
function properly down to as low as 25psi. They work perfectly
fine at 45psi.

The only problem I have now is adapting the chameleon misting
schedule with that of my dart frogs. A few light mistings a day will
keep the humidity up for the frogs, but the chameleons are in
screen cages, and need almost as much humidity as the darn
frogs! Plus, they tend to drink only after the water's been dripping
for several minutes... I've got this somehow figured out. I trick
them, by misting for 2 minutes, then stopping for a few, then
misting again for 2 more minutes, pausing, then misting again.
Problem is, the frog tanks are simple false bottomed tanks, without
a drain built in. I'm just going to have to see how much moisture
they retain. I'm using a fairly large water feature, that should help
evaporate some of it. Plus there's plenty of space in the false
bottom. I may end up having to ventilate the cage more than I had
intended, to make up for the excess misting water. Oh well, just
going to have to do some trial and error stuff.

Is there any sort of timer that is available that would enable me to
set up a sub-set of timed mistings? Like hook up a timer to the set
of nozzels going to the frogs, so they only get the short duration
mistings? I may have to change the type of tubing I'm using (1/4"
right now), to 3/8" an dhook up a lawn timer....might work.
Any ideas?

Eric A
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Old 11-26-2005, 11:02 PM
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Default Pump

I bought a univeral windshield washer pump from Autozone for $15. I used people mister heads and 1/8 inch tubing for drip irigation. The power supply is a 12V 6 amp laptop power supply that I found at goodwill. All told it cost about $30 to run 4 misting heads.

One disadvantage, is that the windshield pumps are only rated to run 15 seconds at a time, so if you want the pump to last years, you need a timer that can run in 15 second intervals (I have yet to find one for less then $40). I have mine running on a digital timer with 1 minute intervals. I run it 2 times each morning about 10 minutes apart. The first pump died after 6 months, but I decided to try again, and this pump has been running fine for about a year and a half. I suspect if I ran in 15 second intervals, the first one would have lasted a lot longer.

Another disadvantage is that the pumps require a good deal of amps. I think mine needed 4 or more. And those power adapters are expensive new. If you have a budy that works with computers he can probably hook you up with a laptop power supply, and sometimes you can find what you need on ebay for $20 or so. Or you can get lucky and find some at goodwill for $1 a piece.
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Old 11-27-2005, 06:40 AM
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I'd suggest a bypass pump,
to avoid the pulsing and resulting "banging of hoses against the
walls with each pulse" - which is the only sound we hear from
across the hall.
I would suggest extending the terminal end of your misting line back to your sump. If you place an adjustable valve after all the misting heads and divert the excess pressure back into the sump it will alleviate the pulsing. Adjust the valve to maintain sufficient pressure to operate the heads but bleed enough pressure to allow a continuous flow.

John R.
When frogs become outlawed, only outlaws will have frogs.
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Old 11-27-2005, 01:01 PM
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I set one up like gzollinger (Greg, is that you?), and it ran for about 2 years, then burned out (ran 1x per day for 1 minute). All told, it cost me about $60 to set mine up. It was okay, but VERY noisy.

I have read that some on this board have picked up a 110v pump for $50. Personally, that is the direction I would go, as, in my experience, a windshield washer pump will only handle 2-3 misting nozzles if there is any distance to the tubing between them.
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Old 11-27-2005, 08:17 PM
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Default Homer

Yep this is Greg. Who's Homer?

You are right, the windshield pump is loud and my mister heads are at the level of the pump (no head) the pump has to draw the water about a foot at it's highest point. So if you had to push water up to the misters much distance, the pump might struggle.

If you can find a 110V pump for $50, then this is obviously the best option. Where have people found the pump for this price??? I can find the 12V pumps, but it is a pain to run them off a computer power supply.
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Old 11-28-2005, 01:53 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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We e-mailed back and forth a few years ago about the windshield washer pump system. I think I saw it on Gardenweb the first time, along with your orchidarium, and we talked about CF bulbs. You sent me a copy of the presentation you were going to make at an orchid club. I really appreciated your help, as the system worked well for me for over 1.5 years.

Even with the water source above the pump, I didn't find the pump power to be good enough to power more than 3 nozzles with any distance on the tubing . . . but the diameter of the tubing would probably make a difference. The brand of pump may also make a difference.

Regarding the source for a less expensive pump, the pump discussion was here: ... 27&start=0 .

All the best.

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Old 11-28-2005, 03:11 AM
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Default Thanks

Thanks for the link to the pump Homer. I am glad to here the stuff I sent was usefull!
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