Underwater Wiring Tips for Using a Solar Water Fountain Underwater Wiring Tips for Using a Solar Water Fountain
Installing a solar water fountain is an easy way to improve the appearance of your garden. These fountains use small photovoltaic cells to power a 12 volt or 24 volt pump motor instead of wiring to the main building power grid. This makes installation much quicker and easier. . Manufacturers offer several different options. There are simple "plug-and-play" systems that can be dropped into place, as well as customizable kits. Some fountain designs have completely submerged pumps that sit in the reservoir, whereas other larger, more complex fountains have pumps that are accessible through service ports. In any case, prolonged exposure to water is still a risk factor for electrical wiring. Failure to follow proper installation methods can eventually result in equipment failure. For the best results, follow these underwater wiring tips.
Make sure you obtain a PV cell that produces enough electricity to power the pump motor. Check the wattage ratings on each, as well as the necessary voltage input. Place the PV cell in an area free of shade and run a wire back to the fountain pump. Running the wire underground is the best way to prevent damage, but this requires extra time and effort for excavation.
Follow Safety Precautions
Although the voltages for small fountain kits are relatively low, you will still want to avoid the discomfort of accidental shocks. Wear insulated gloves and shade the solar cell. Do not submerge a bare cable in water if it is attached to a live power source. Obviously, it is best to finish wiring the pump before filling the fountain.
Use Waterproofing Materials
Keep a caulk gun and tube of sealant handy at all times when working on a solar water fountain. It has numerous uses. Use the sealant to plug leaks in the fountain reservoir or spout. When connecting wires, cover any bare exposed wire completely with a thick bead of sealant. This is especially important if the fountain design calls for the fountain to be completely submerged. Allow the sealant to dry before starting the pump. Alternatively, you could also use an epoxy adhesive. If you have to drill through a reservoir wall below the water line in order to run the wire, seal this penetration as well. Choose the right wiring for the job. Check an electrical supply store for wires labeled as waterproof. These wires are made with extra insulation to prevent leaks and a vapor barrier to prevent internal condensation.
If you want the fountain to continue running at night, you will need a battery system to store extra energy harvested during the day. This may require the size of the collector panel to be increased slightly. This modification also requires a charge controller to prevent battery overload. Install these components as far from the water as possible, bearing in mind that transmitting current across long wires weakens the current and wastes energy.