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  1. #1
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    Question High Volume Portable Pumps in Rural Setting

    All,

    Looked around and couldn't find any threads so...

    Looking for experiences / input on high volume portable pumps in a rural firefighting environment.

    We currently have 3 very, very, very old 8hp, 2 1/2" intake, single 2 1/2" discharge, unknown GPM portable pumps. The pumps we have are roughly 24" square in size and weigh about 176#. Last time we tried to flow test them, with an inline tester, they wouldn't even give a reading. We could never really get "much" water out of them. Thus, they have only been used to pump basements and not much else.

    We have secured AFG grant funds to replace them and my hope is to get the department pumps, in a similar size and weight to the above pumps, that provide a "sizable" (300 - 700gpm) water volume - so that they could be used as a primary water source for firefighting operations on properties were we have ponds / streams ect.

    Our district is primarily non-hydrant and, unless we can get an apparatus to a pond, depend highly on tanker shuttles for water. The other hope is, that by having a high few high volume pumps around, it will cause a little paradigm shift in the department and we'd start using ponds that are accessible to us with pumps, and not just with apparatus.

    Any specific pump brands, dos / don'ts, experiences, scenarios, or whatever else is appreciated.

    Dave
    Last edited by hdavid66; 12-22-2008 at 07:00 PM.
    Dave
    Middlesex Hose Co.
    Middlesex NY

    dharrington@middlesexny.org

    http://www.middlesexfire.org


  2. #2
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    check out hale's portable pumps http://www.haleproducts.com/Main/Pro...s,161,161.aspx

    the most gpm's I see is 550

  3. #3
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    We purchased a floating pump with a 12 Hp Briggs engine. Kind of hard to crank when it was new. We have used it on a water hauling drill along with 2 neighboring departments pumps. They worked well, but a tank of gas did not last long. Used a departments floating pump on a structure fire and it pumped enough water from a laket to the drop tanks to allow us to shut down the tanker shuttle. Best I can remember the pumps are able to do about 250 gpm but not at very much pressure. I think ours is a Darley. It was the only one that would fit in the compartment on the truck we were putting it on.

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    We purchased 2 Hale SuperChief floating pumps, a siamese fitting, and hoses for each. We can set up in a number of different ways and have tried several.

    1) Here's what has worked the best for us. Drop the 1st pump in a static source, discharging to a 2.5" hose, to a siamese fitting to 4" LDH to get things going. Set up the 2nd and flow it to the other side of the siamese. We filled a 2500 gallon tanker in about 9 minutes. 50' of 2.5", 100' of 4" LDH. A hose clamp controls the flow between tankers. This worked pretty good but picked up a lot of weeds that got caught in the pump and the inlet screen on the tanker and slowed the fill time down some.

    2) Another way we tried was the same as above but with 750' of 4" LDH going to a collapsible drop tank. The tank had a 2.5" fitting that we put a ball valve on to control the flow. The ball valve had a 4" storz fitting on one side and a swivel on the other. Eleven minutes to fill the tank from about 800' away with about a twenty foot increase in elevation.

    3) One pump in the water source filling the collapsible drop tank with a smaller floating portable Fyr Flote (pressure) pump. We used this setup pretty good for wildland fires. Just leave the Super Chief running and the tank overflows without tying up apparatus.

    Using both of the Super Chiefs and discharging to a pair of frame-supported drop tanks probably works the best. A mutual aid pumper drafting from the tanks is used to fill tankers in less time. This also allows whatever debris that may be picked up from the static source to settle out in the drop tanks before the water is pumped into the tanker shuttle. Ties up another pumper but cuts down on the fill time.

    The only problems we have had are:

    Debris fouling (grass/weeds)

    Oil seal failures (letting dry run too long - starting the pumps on the bank before sliding them in the water source)

    Super Chief's aren't the easiest to move around and get set up. It takes two people about 10 minutes to get both pumps set up and water flowing. Steep creek banks are a pain, especially when refilling gas tanks.

    Regulating the flow.

    Ice in cold weather - both at the water source and at the fill site.

    We don't have to use them very often, but they do come in handy when you can.

  5. #5
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    While I have no direct experience with portable pumps, I do recall that they typically don't put out decent volumes until you've lowered the discharge pressure to almost nothing. Rather than trying to take a flow/pitot reading, you might hook the largest hose you have to it and tim how long it takes to fill a known size drop tank.
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    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    We've got a couple of the big 18 hp Darley 500-600 gpm volume portables.While I'm not a big Darley fan these pumps have done a decent job for us.We use 'em for filling or augmenting pumper supplies in remote locations. The word "portable"is subject to debate,two guys aren't going to lug them far. T.C.

  7. #7
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    CET and Waterous make some great small pumps.

    Rather than filling a portable tank then drafting from it try a Turbodraft. Great piece of equipment and has no moving parts that need maintained etc.

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    Thumbs up

    We have been using waterous floto pumps since the early eightys.They flow around 140 GPM with one 1.5 discharge.We flow two pumps together and fill tankers.During severe weather such as winter storms the pumps have been placed in ditchline's with flowing water.We were able pulled enough water to mopup and prevent rekindles.During those conditions trucks could not access water anywhere.
    We also have a hale chief 3 floating pump that produces flow around 400 GPM with (2) 2.5 discharges.Floating pumps have there place in the rural fire service.There a great backup tool in the the old fire supression tool box.
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  9. #9
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs up And...........

    A small, rural, VFD that I know well has a Darley like Rescue101 mentioned above. It is used as the Primary Pump on their Brush Rig, and it is used as the Source Pump for filling tankers. They bumped up the intake from 4 to 4.5 inches, and I saw it drafting with FIVE sections of Suction Hose, total lift about 10 feet, and it was filling Tankers at 500 GPM.

    One point about supplying a Tanker Shuttle: I think we all agree that we should fill and empty Tankers as fast as possible. The bottleneck is often at the Fill Site, and to combat that problem when using portable pumps, we've set up 3,4, even 5 Portables to keep a 3,000 Gallon Drop Tank filled, with a 1,250 Pumper doing the actual Tanker Filling. Works for us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hdavid66 View Post
    All,

    Looked around and couldn't find any threads so...

    Looking for experiences / input on high volume portable pumps in a rural firefighting environment.

    We currently have 3 very, very, very old 8hp, 2 1/2" intake, single 2 1/2" discharge, unknown GPM portable pumps. The pumps we have are roughly 24" square in size and weigh about 176#. Last time we tried to flow test them, with an inline tester, they wouldn't even give a reading. We could never really get "much" water out of them. Thus, they have only been used to pump basements and not much else.


    Dave

    One thing to try with your old pumps, open them up and clean out the impeller blades. We had some portables that just wouldn't prime and another one that would prime but barely pump. We opened them up and found small stones and a lot of mud caked and hardened to the bronze impellers. After cleaning them out, they work like new.

    Also good to check your hard suction hoses and fittings for leaks.

  11. #11
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Neiowa,a neighboring town demoed a turbodraft and in the area they tried it my portable would outdo it any day of the week.I will honestly say I was NOT at all impressed with the TURBODRAFT.May work well for some,but not in our area. T.C.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    Neiowa,a neighboring town demoed a turbodraft and in the area they tried it my portable would outdo it any day of the week.I will honestly say I was NOT at all impressed with the TURBODRAFT.May work well for some,but not in our area. T.C.
    The advantage of the TURBODRAFT is that it can draft from heights greater than 30 feet and can pump water that is a long ways a way.

  13. #13
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    I visited an FD on a sales call a few months back and they had an irrigation pump on a trailer for rural water supply. I am not sure of the size of the pump but it had 2 - 6 inch inlets and 4 - 5 inch outlets. They said it served them very very well.

    Just an outside the box thought.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 12-27-2008 at 06:45 PM.

  14. #14
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    SC,with my big portable I DO NOT have to "draft"over thirty feet and I can push water as far as a Turbodraft.And in "our"demo,it could barely do twenty feet much less thirty. Plainly put,for OUR operations,I can get the water at greater quantity and quicker using methods we have used for over half a century WITHOUT a TD. T.C.

  15. #15
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    Default Deciding on a Portable Pump

    HDAVID66

    Suggest that you look at Hale's web site listed at the bottom, and in particular concentrate on the HP series 300 and 400. The 300 series using a 20 HP Honda engine GX620 is a true and actual curve drawn by actual testing. This pump could supply about 100 gpm at 100 psi, or adequately handle two lines of 1 1/2" hose 700 ft long with a 1/2" SS nozzle (50 gpm @ 50 psi). The 400 series I looked at uses the Briggs & Stratton 18 HP, but Hale only calculated the curve and did not do actual tests. In my opinion this curve is suspect, but should supply somewhere near the curve except at the low pressure / high volume end of the curve. Probably about 80 gpm at 100 psi.
    Speaking of the low pressure end used for filling P. Ponds or direct feed to fill tankers. The 300 series with the Honda mentioned above will supply 360 gpm through 100 ft. of 2 1/2" hose, or the same 360 gpm through 500 ft of 3" hose with 2 1/2" couplings. The 400 series with the Briggs should flow just slightly less than the Honda at about 40 psi. Either one would be a good choice for the dual function.
    It has been my experience with portables, that no one tunes these engines under load. You should be prepared to ask your supplier to adjust them under flow conditions. I suggest that you attach a 50' piece of 3"x2 1/2" couplings then attach a 1 3/8" SS nozzle and attempt to get a 35 psi nozzle pressure with a pitot gauge. This will get the PP working at its intended load of about 340 gpm at 40 psi specified for these pumps. The tech should attempt to reach an rpm of about 3,000 by adjusting the carb. Just keep going until it reaches the desired nozzle pressure. This is for the Honda motor.

    http://www.haleproducts.com/Main/Pro...s,138,138.aspx

  16. #16
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    Would it be correct to assume that portable pumps have low flow ratings because the pump is direct drive from the engine with no gearbox?

  17. #17
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    we recently set up what you are attempting ,e used a 4" honda portable trash and a 3"portable trash honda pump we pumped into 5" soft suction(each)bout 300' feet into a drop tank where a engine with a large diameter discharge filled the tankers , all tankers were 3300-4100 we could load each in about 4-5 minutes it worked awesome, it takes some manpower to get setup but then two guys can easily keep it going, most of the area departments that watched it set up there own very soon after , the pumps cost abot 1300 for the 3" and 2200 for the 4" each have a 18'foot suction and strainer with adapter to discharge npt to storz , it threads right on, we found dumping into a drop tank settled out the rocks etc.,good luck

  18. #18
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    Default Low flow = portable pumps because

    The reason for the low flow is caused by the low horsepower the engine can develop. The surface feet per minute at the rim of the impeller is the major factor controlling the discharge pressure, thus a larger diameter impeller can make more pressure or turning the impeller faster will also generate more pressure. Gasoline engines usually develop their horsepower at relatively high rpm, so the manufacturer tries to match the HP curve to the point where he believes most people will use the pump. Second problem comes in when the width of the impeller is increased. Increasing the width, increases the flow, but also demands more torque to turn the impeller. Thus it is constantly a balance between volume times pressure working aganst rpm times torque. The point where balance occurs is when the energy available from the engine is exactly matched by the water load of pressure times volume times pump efficiency. The Honda 20 hp engine discussed above develops 104 psi at 100 gpm with a motor speed of 3600rpm.(5.77 Water HP) At 76 psi at 235 gpm with a speed of 3200 rpm. (9.92 Water HP) The "Knee" of the curve occurs at about 50 psi and a flow of about 360 gpm. (10.0 Water HP) Interpolating the curves, I believe the rpm would be about 3050. Below this the torque and HP drop rapidly and at 20 psi the pump can move 395 gpm at a speed of 2800 rpm. (4.39 Water HP) 1 HP = 550 ft. lbs per sec. 1 psi = 2.2 ft of head 1 gal = 8.34 lbs

  19. #19
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    We are a very small rural fire dept and we use to kinds of portable pumps. one on our brush truck which is a Darley 1 1/2 age low volume high pressure. We have a CET high vol pump for dry hydrants and pond. The CET pump is the PFP-27-HV. 700gpm's at 25 psi, 500 gpms at 50psi, 300gpms at 75 ppsi, and 150 gpms at 100psi. We als0 got it with a AFG grant. It works great for willing tankers or tranfers with supply lines from want dump tank to an0ther. I like both Darley and CET b0th pumps were great always start right up. CET has even bigger portables depending on yur budget. Since we are so small we brought the CET instead of relying on an0ther pumper to fill the tankers. We usually set it on about 50psi so it fills at 500gpm. we highly recomand it.

    heres the link

    http://www.fire-pump.com/en/portable...ails.asp?id=17

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    I visited an FD on a sales call a few months back and they had an irrigation pump on a trailer for rural water supply. I am not sure of the size of the pump but it had 2 - 6 inch inlets and 4 - 5 inch outlets. They said it served them very very well.

    Just an outside the box thought.
    I've been searching since I saw this. A few years ago I came across this system that had a truck mounted pump with a big diesel engine. You could drop the pump and lay roughly 2 miles of LDH up to 12 inches in diameter. I believe it was built in the UK, a place in Syracuse sold them. Probably isn't practical for most fire situations, but it was pretty cool. However, something on a smaller scale......

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