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I am planning of building a solar water fountain which would serve as a bird bath in my backyard this summer.

My requirements are simple: The fountain should be powered by solar energy, a small output motor (or whatever) connected to this solar source which pumps out the water. I just need a small working model in a economic price.

I have no experience in building basic electronics model, please guide me on how this can be accomplished, where I can get solar panels and how do I configure it with a motor etc. I am from India and would like to purchase raw materials available in India rather than getting it shipped from elsewhere. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Raj

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The problem with this question in my opinion is that it is too broad. If you want good answers, you should separate it in several questions.

I'd start by first getting the fountain part done. Find appropriate fountain body and see what volume of water you'd need for it. This will probably give you a starting point for pump selection.

I can't recommend you a good pump, because I have no experience in that field, but this article seems like an interesting starting point. Basically, you'll need a low voltage DC pump.

While selecting a pump, you should be checking put what types of solar power sources are available in your area. After you research that, it would be a good time to post a question here about driving a specific pump with specific solar power source.

Next comes the assembly part. How difficult it is going to be will depend on previous steps. You could probably find a prefabricated pump controller which will most likely going to be just plug and play or you could be building your own. This is where it gets really complicated. If you are going to be making your own, you will need to make a circuit will require soldering skills and equipment. You will also need a circuit board which you can make yourself or get one from a factory (if you can find one which will take small orders in your area) or use some type of prototyping board. If you are going to be making it yourself, you'll probably need to ask several questions for that step alone, since making a controller will require some experience.

After that, if something goes wrong, comes the debugging part. If the design is good, most likely the only problem would be bad solder joint. A good multimeter will come in handy there.

I do know that this answer isn't very specific, but your question as I said is very very very broad so I'm posting this more to give you idea for size of your project, because what you are asking here is pretty much equivalent of asking "How do I make simple text editor with absolutely no programming experience?" on StackOverflow.

You mentioned voltage details in your comment. A good question when asking for that would be something like "I have a pump which needs XX volts and YYY milliamps. I have ZZZ, XXX, YYY solar panels available. How do I make a circuit which could drive the pump using one of them?" or something like that.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for suggestions, illuminating indeed. I know that the question is quite abstract and broad, but I needed some initial pointers. Failing to ask this question, I would never have got these suggestions. I will proceed in the said direction and get back when I have doubts, thanks a ton! \$\endgroup\$ – Raj Pawan Gumdal Nov 19 '10 at 9:57
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Look at the effect requirements of the pump motor, then buy solar panels with peak effects maybe five times that, unless where you live is very, very sunny.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I want a small water fountain which would sprinkle water enough for a sunbird (which is equivalent to a humming bird in size). What kind of motor should I buy? What panels should I get? How do I modulate the voltage so that it is constant always? Details appreciated :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Raj Pawan Gumdal Nov 18 '10 at 10:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Raj For the most basic version I wouldn't worry about any regulation if you can tolerate fluctuations in the output and keep your supply close to what the motor requires. DC motors are fairly robust. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick T Nov 18 '10 at 15:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Cool, thanks for the suggestions. Will start working and get back if I have any doubts. \$\endgroup\$ – Raj Pawan Gumdal Nov 19 '10 at 7:10

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