I love my new honey pump from Kelley Beekeeping. But like all love affairs, there are ups and downs, issues to deal with, questions to ask before everything works smoothly.
She (all wondrous machines are she, yes?) is a straightforward pump with a ¾ horsepower motor, a large wheel, small wheel, and a fan belt. I added on a series of plumbing connections, a 1-½ inch food grade hose and a small metal hose insert from another pump I own.
The Honey Pump’s Job at Brookfield Farm
I sell raw honey from naturally treated, antibiotic-free Washington hives; both my own honey and that of friends of mine. Most of my friend’s honey is in food-quality 55-gallon barrels. These can contain anywhere from 600-650 pounds of honey. If you’re working with raw honey, get the 3/4 horsepower pump – because your honey is going to be thick and hard for the pump and motor to move.
Because I deal in raw honey, the barrels are placed in a 100F warm room and often wrapped with a PowerBlanket, also set at 100F. This allows the honey to stay raw (at a little above optimum hive temperature) but make it flow. It flows, but it remains very, very thick. In the case of Buckwheat honey, incredibly thick. Thus the need for a ¾ horsepower pump.
The Honey Pump’s Issues
Actually, the pump has few issues itself. The troubles all are in a lack of communication – love can be like that.
The pump arrives from Kelly Beekeeping somewhat disassembled on a flat metal sheet which is bolted to a piece of wood. All the bits, wheels, belt and belt guard, are laying flat on the metal sheet. The motor arrives separately.
The big thing the set-up lacks is directions.
The Wonderment of “How To” put my honey pump together
The lack of directions would be fine if I knew anything about pumps and motors. But I know nothing about them. A pamphlet that came with the pump explained the flow of the honey would depend on if the pump was rotating clock-wise or counter clock-wise. That was all.
It might seem logical. One wheel had a key slot in it. The motor had a key slot. They should work together, right? Wrong. The round gear wheel goes on the motor, which has a key on its shaft – remove that key.
When In Doubt Call Kelleys
One of the things I like about Kelley Beekeeping is that their people actually talk to you, and listen to you. I rang Kelleys and they put me over the people in the shop who do know about pumps and motors. They talked me though putting the set-up together, from wiring to assembly.
Perhaps the oddest moment was when I was told “oh, didn’t anyone tell you to take that off the motor?” This was in reference to the key, which I thought was part of the shaft.
My New Honey Pump:
This is what my pump looks like now.
You might note it does not have a belt guard. The guard did not work at all. It rubbed the fan belt. If you remove the guard be really careful. Fingers and clothes can get caught and injuries can occur (your hair is pulled back and under a cap, so that’s secure, right?).
The motor comes in a different box.
The “How To” on the Kelley Honey Pump
So in aid of anyone else who purchases this pump. What follows is how I put the pump together.
The Honey Pump & Motor Wheels:
The big wheel goes onto the pump. Ignore the fact that the wheel has a key slot. It means nothing.
The little wheel goes onto the motor
You will need a hex key to set these in place.
Important: Do not tighten them down until everything is in place.
The Honey Pump Motor:
As I mentioned, if the motor you have has a key on it. Lift it out. You don’t need it. It will be in the way and is confusing because its gear is the round one.
I went with the 3/4 horse power motor from Kelley’s. They told me that if you’re dealing in raw honey you’ll need that to be able to pump the semi-fluid honey. They were absolutely right. (I could not find a link to their page for the motors – perhaps I simply called them and said “I’ll take one of those too.” I can’t remember).
The pump arrives on a metal plate with predrilled holes for the motor. There are holes drilled in the metal where the motor would be mounted.
Try placing the motor where the pre-drilled holes are. Hopefully it will fit.
In fact, before you order the pump and motor I would suggest calling and asking them to make sure the holes are correct for the motor you’re buying (assuming you’re getting the entire set-up from Kelleys)
If the motor does not fit in the pre-drilled holes: (Now why do I know this part, eh?)
You will need a metal drill bit, 3-in-1 oil, and a drill.
My husband drilled the holes with a regular drill, but he makes furniture and is good at using a handheld power drill. I would have used my drill press.
Assembly of Honey Pump:
The pump arrived locked down in place by Kelleys
Attach the motor to the plate
Put the wheels on the motor and the pump.
Put the fan belt on the wheels.
If you have to set the motor into new holes you’ve drilled: Move the motor around until:
The fan belt is stretched snug between the wheels
The fan belt looks like it would run straight between the wheels
Mark and drill your holes. The 3-in-1 oil is to put on the drill bit. Drilling metal gets hot.
Align the guide wheels for the fan belt – Important advice from Kelleys:
Tighten the wheel on the motor but NOT to tighten the wheel down hard on the pump shaft until I let it run a bit – without pumping, just turning the motor on.
That helps to align the wheels as the fan belt pulls it to its logical place.
Then tighten the wheel on the pump shaft.
Wiring the Motor:
My motor may be different from the motor now being used – so please call Kelleys and have them explain the wiring to you. Mine had 8 wires in multiple colors. None of these were the ground wire. It was not logical as to which wire would be neutral and which would be hot, and I worked in electrical for a long time.
The Foot Switch
I added a foot switch as well.
There is no on/off switch on the motor, and unplugging the unit in a hurry was not going to be pretty, if I needed to do it.
The Belt Guard
I just could not make it work. It rubbed against the belt no matter where we put it. In the end I just took it off. Remember, if you do this just be really careful – the guard is there to protect you.
The Plumbing Bits:
The Honey Hose:
I went with 1 ½ inch hose because that’s what I had on my other pump.
I’m glad I did. When I got to pumping my barrel of 100F buckwheat it was a challenge. Buckwheat honey is really thick. The hose nearly collapsed on itself trying to suck up the honey. But it did it. It worked.
Inflow/ Outflow Bits
Photos will explain it best, but here’s the break down as well:
You’ll need 1” to 1 ½ “ reducers, elbows and bits that the hose will fit over (bet there’s a formal name for that), and hose clamps.
To pump from barrel (incoming): 1” to 1 ½ “ adapter, 1 1/2” female thread to male thread, 1 ½ inch female thread to male hose adapter, hose, with a clip to hold the hose onto the male hose adapter
From pump outflow 1” to 1 ½” adapter, 1 1/2 “ female to male thread, 1 ½ “ elbow (the pump is in the way), 1 ½ inch female thread to male hose adaptor, hose, with a clip to hold the hose onto the male hose
I wound up buying more than I needed.
Metal Cap For Honey Barrel
This metal insert came from a pump that I got from Mann Lake. The pump was nice, but not strong enough to pump raw honey.
The end cap is magic. It keeps the hose from connecting to the barrel’s side or bottom and stopping the flow.
Partners In Honey
So far the pump has plowed though nine barrels of honey, with two to go. What used to take me all day now takes about two hours. It is faster with more fluid honey, and slower with thicker honey.
As I said I love my honey pump. It is the beginning of a beautiful friendship (you’ll have to watch the entire clip on the link – but Casablanca, and Bogart are well worth watching over, and over, and over again.)
That’s the news from Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey in very rainy Maple Falls, Washington. Creeks are running like rivers. Rivers are nearing road level. In other words, back to normal for November around here. This is good. The drought was bad. So it’s pretty quiet in the apiary these days.
I’m doing a presentation tomorrow on Bees and Beekeeping – in naturally treated hives. Should be fun, and a challenge to see if I can do the whole thing in an hour and half….
What’s happening in your part of the bee world?
Thank you for posting such readable directions on how to assemble and use your pump. I don’t think it will ever be something for me but reading your delight in getting it to work was a fine experience. Good luck with your honey potting etc.
Thank you – I do love my pump – I thought I’d write it out so that if anyone else bought one and sat there thinking, directions, I need directions, maybe they’d find my blog and it would help them. I never would have gotten though it without Kelly Beekeeping’s “guys in the shop” talking me though it.