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The Ram Pump Page
How and Where They Work

The ram pump will pump water from a flowing source of water to a point above that source with no other power required.
A full description of how to build and install one kind is contained in the Atlas Ram E-book

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Antique cast iron water ram 
The hydraulic ram pump is a reliable, old-time water pump that works just as well today as ever. Ongoing research indicates the Great Pyramid may actually have been a gigantic ram pump..built to pump drinking water to public water fountains in the cities above the Nile flood plain. (Pyramid Pump)

Often called a water ram, one of these simple devices can pump water from a flowing source of water (spring, creek, river, etc.) to any point above the source, and this without any power requirement except the force of water moving downhill contained inside a 'drive pipe'.
This rugged and dependable device is typically installed today at remote home sites and cabins that are off the power grid and would otherwise be without a water supply. Sometimes a ram is used as a backup water system, or for watering livestock, gardens, decorative lily ponds, water wheels or fountains. Simply because a ram uses no power opens up a world of possibilities for using water that would otherwise flow on downstream - wasted.
All that is really required is the surface water source. The water has to be moving...not much, but some. The creek need not be large either -
4 gallons per minute is the minimum.


The ram sets up BELOW the water source to get FALL, 
generally over 6 feet is required.

A) Water source; can be a river, stream, spring, or pond.
(B) Supply pipe. Goes from the source to the collection barrel downstream (below the source).
(C) Collection barrel or intake barrel. The water is collected here. Water level stays at the level of the source.
(D) Drive pipe. About 100 ft. long; brings the water to the pump and provides the power to the pump, somewhat like a battering ram. Probably the least understood and most important part of the ram pump system. Typically black plastic pipe, 1" to 2" dia., generally matched to the size of the clack valve on the pump.
(E) Ram Pump. Starts and stops the movement of the water column in the drive pipe through the clack valve (gold colored). Also redirects a portion of the water (10%-15%) to the pressure tank through the internal check valve or one-way valve. This portion leaves the pump and rises to the end use area through the...
(F) Delivery pipe which goes to the storage tank, garden, house...wherever the water is needed. Typically of 1/2" or 3/4" black plastic pipe.

Atlas Ram Pump-cutaway and photo.

Atlas ram pump..sturdy reliable, 

The Atlas Ram Pump carries easily 
to the pump site.

The Atlas Ram Pump simple to 

The Atlas Ram Pump base 
is best molded from 'quickwall'.

The Atlas Ram Pump-simple to build, 
install and maintain.

30 pages with illustrations and color photos.

 Atlas Ram E-book has all the info of the print book...and much more!

This E-book explains in simple terms and with illustrations and color photos how and where the ram pump works, how it can be set up, and how to keep it working year after year with a minimum of time and energy.

The second section of the book gives step-by-step plans for building a fully operational Atlas Ram Pump from readily available plumbing fittings, with NO welding, drilling, tapping or special tools needed. The design has evolved to a point where low maintenence and long term reliable service is almost certain, even by a novice.

The final chapter shows how to set up and maintain an Atlas Ram Pump water system.
Also included is the authors personal e-mail for any questions...

FROM THE AUTHOR & PUBLISHER... Years ago, when I moved to a remote cabin in The Smokies, there was no electricity available. There was a spring nearby, to get water from, but it had to be carried to the cabin. I knew this had to change, so I began to research some alternatives. Eventually I found some info about 'ram pumps' which looked promising.
That was many years ago and the ram I built then has gone through many changes. Feeling that there must be others with similar needs (there are!) I began to compile and draw and write. The book 'The Original! HYDRAULIC RAM PUMPS How and Where They Work' was the result. It contained plans for a design that has evolved through trial and error.

This new issue as an E-book is a complete rewrite, with lots of color and photos not possible with the print book, as well as wealth of new info. The Atlas Ram is now simpler and cheaper to build, more reliable and efficient than ever. Any new developments and user experiences are added to each reprint of the book. It just keeps getting better! In fact, there is a person in WA who once copied the print book and sold it as his own. That's alright, I hear imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Too bad he can't answer your questions--He's off the net now...Meanwhile I DO answer questions as best I can--my personal e-mail is inside the book. A great resource for self-reliant types, homesteaders, hobbyists, alternative energy users or anyone curious about this 'old-tech' device that has been around for so long and works so well.

Read below what some people have said about the print book...

Walt LeRoy's ram.
"Don, This is a picture of the ram I made from your book.
Made it for my daughter and son-in-law's place at Scaly Mountain, N.C.
Haven't installed it yet, but I'll be moving up there soon and we will get it going then. I'll let you know how it works.
Thanks for a real fun project."
Walt LeRoy, Darien, GA.

As can be seen from the picture to the left, Walt has mounted his ram on an anchoring base of steel. The corner spikes are meant to be driven into the creek bed, anchoring the unit quite nicely. An excellent innovation, which also makes the concrete base unneccessary.
Mr. LeRoy is in his 80's.

I am the fellow from California who bought one of your 2" assembled ram pumps last May (2011). I installed it... in remote Bali, Indonesia. I had to run (the supply pipe) nearly 500ft. up river. It empties into a small 80 galllon water tank. Then I ran 100ft. of 2" steel pipe from this tank down to the 2" ram pump, with ONLY ~9ft. OF HEAD!! The pump just started right up with 2 or 3 pushes of the clack! Then, I ran 1/2" pipe to the delivery site, up a steep mountain 165 FEET ABOVE THE PUMP, with 750 ft. run. That's right, 165 ft. elevation gain with 750 ft. run!! Incredible! I'm amazed! Thanks very much for making this available, and for such a reasonable price. I spent many hours online checking out all of your competitors and DIY advice and am now convinced that I made the right choice by buying a legendary Don Wilson Atlas Ram Pump.
Very awesome indeed!
Many thanks! Adam Keith California & Bali

"Great little book! I have built and bought hydraulic ram pumps. I have bought the books from England, called ram builders all over the US, and searched the net. Don Wilson's book has the clearest directions I have seen." Reviewer: jtgookin@nols.edu from Lander, WY

"I received your book today and immediately read it from cover to cover. As a manufacturing engineer for over 30 years, I have been keenly interested in finding information on the Hydraulic Ram Pump. I would like to thank you for your very informative book. It is well written, very well illustrated..and the best investment I have made in years!" Reviewer :Jim Martin, Williamson, NY

"We really enjoy the ram you helped us build. Thanks for just knowing we could call if we got snagged. We've been enjoying our water without having to lug it uphill...for well over a year, with just our rigged improvisations of your instructions. I had heard rams were noisy, but the steady thud reminds me of a quiet heartbeat and it beats with about the same cadence. I'd hardly call THAT noise. Thanks again for your book and help." Reviewer: Sue Story, Millers Creek, NC

My pump that I built from your book this spring is working great. I have a fall of about 13 feet, the pump pumps about 200 gallons per day up 130 vertical feet! I use the water to water trees and shrubs but it could easily supply my house.
About the pesky problem of air in the drive pipe, which could make someone think there is something wrong with the pump when that is not the case. I put a vertical vent leg (about 2' long) with a valve at the top about 2' up the drive pipe to exhaust any air. That works fine and does not interfere with the working of the pump at all.
Regards, John Eells

Some people have a ram pump for a summer cabin, shut the pump off for the winter when they leave... and set it back up when they return. Here's a review by one of them...

Ernie Samson writes again: "Hi, it is Ernie Samson again. I just set our pump up for the year, and it is working wonderfully... thought you would like to know. Everyone who comes and sees it working can't believe how well it works! Thanks again!"

All the parts for an Atlas 2 inch Ram. Here ia a 1 inch Atlas Ram built from the book.
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2012 Atlas Publications

Kenneth Spruce CEO
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