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Old 13-04-2015, 12:22   #16
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

"Does this mean a separate out line for each pump? If the pumps were hooked together, I would think one would pump water into the other and then back into the bilge."

Yes, ideally each pump would have it's own discharge line. If you can't do that, then you have to use check valves. The new Jabsco Low Pro pumps actually come with a joker type check valve.

Link: Rule LoPro Bilge Pump

The idea of a small maintenance pump plus a big pump mounted higher is excellent.

The same thing can be accomplished with both pumps mounted at the same level by activating the small pump with a regular Ultra Safety System switch and the second pump activated by a USS Hi Differential switch. The regular switches turn on with a 3/4" rise of water and the Hi Dif switch requires a 2-1/4" rise of water.

I know there are many ways to accomplish this, just thought this Hi Differential Switch might be useful for you guys to know about.
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Old 13-04-2015, 13:35   #17
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

Currently the way it's set up there's a submersible maintenance pump in the lowest point of the bilge, with the remote (mounted above waterline with a pickup strainer in the bilge) pump as the second to activate, then a larger submersible at about the 2' mark from the bottom of the bilge.
My thinking is to replace the burnt out maintenance pump in the bilge with a reasonable 800 GPM pump there for standard everyday use, the higher output submersible next with the remote pump as the third pump.
All have dedicated through hulls above the waterline so volume is not an issue and no check valves are required. An alarm will be tied to the second tier pump to let me know if there's a problem with the maintenance pump or a bigger problem to deal with, did I mention the 5 gallon bucket. I have two 5 gallon buckets aboard, it's a bigger boat than the last one so I had to upgrade.
The switches to be mounted at the required heights to control those pumps.
Unfortunately there's not enough room to mount regular floats with remote switches in that space, they put the deep sump right behind the house battery mounting shelf and just in front of the engine so between the three hoses/strainers and other plumbing there it's a bit tight. On the brighter side they did a good job of centralizing the heavy stuff and keeping it relatively low.
If I pull the engine next year I may rethink the layout of this area and get it more cleanly organized, as it is there's a bit of wiring and plumbing running through the area as systems have been added/removed by the prior two owners. At this point though I need to get it to work as cleanly and dependably as possible for now.
The boat is relatively dry but does have a traditional packing gland on the prop shaft which drips a little underway (as it should) and needs to have the deck hardware and chainplates re-bedded, otherwise the water comes from the showers if the the sumps overflow. Gotta get water saver shower heads, even though the shower handles have on/off valves they do use a fair amount quickly.
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Old 13-04-2015, 14:22   #18
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

I have always had problems with any electrics immersed in sump water. Come to the conclusion that most of the gear is just not up to it. Big pumps like the rule 4000 seem fine and so do the float switches if mounted as emergency pumps so normally dry. They definitely need a relay or the switch gear will burn up if it ever need to opperate for more than a few hours. I have gone to a remote pump that can be mounted outside the bilge for 'routine' duty keeping he bilge dry. Not found any of the smaller submersible pumps reliable and with a deep bilge the pumping rates are very low. Tried electronic switches but found them no better than float switches for reliability. At the moment I am sticking with a float switch regularly replaced but may go to an air pressure one so that everything stays dry.
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Old 13-04-2015, 14:22   #19
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

Quote:
Originally Posted by RDW View Post
Never install a check valve in a bilge pump line.
Does this mean a separate out line for each pump? If the pumps were hooked together, I would think one would pump water into the other and then back into the bilge.
Straighten me out.
RDW
Yes, I thought I had that covered with
"Never combine bilge pump outlet plumbing."
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Old 13-04-2015, 14:40   #20
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
I think you will hear a lot of positive feed back on Ultra Safety Systems bilge switches. It is not unusual to hear of them lasting ten years or more. They are not cheap.
Their Senior Model incorporates an alarm switch.
I had similar frustration with bilge pump switches ()

and just put in a Senior from Ultra Safety Systems. I'm hoping it'll last longer and perform better than the others.
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Old 13-04-2015, 14:51   #21
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
Yes, I thought I had that covered with
"Never combine bilge pump outlet plumbing."
Just making sure I am clear on your comments.

Are you suggesting that no anti-backflow valves should be on a setup where 2 pumps are (incorrectly, I grant you) sharing a discharge line, or that NO single discharge line should have a check valve. If the former, I agree totally, if the latter, I respectfully disagree. A well managed and maintained boat, with deep bilges, should not require various sized pumps stacked to extract the water, IMHO.
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Old 13-04-2015, 14:54   #22
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

I was certain I had that covered with
"Never install a check valve in a bilge pump line."
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Old 13-04-2015, 16:18   #23
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

Funny, we'd have said "The installation must have been done by a drunk in Massachusetts." Guess it's a regional thing!
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Old 13-04-2015, 16:24   #24
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

If you want to add some "brains" to your bilge control, there are lots of options, including multiple bilge control, remote monitoring, even TXT messages from your boat if the highwater pump is activated, for example.

A basic bilge control module - like THIS can allow you to NOT have a bilge float switch right at the bottom of the bilge - it can be programmed to run for XXX seconds after the water is gone. It can run high and low sensors, and can control up to two Pumps - for your Maintenance pump and your primary bilge pump for example.
Some of the systems count activations - so you know how many cycles since you left the boat, etc etc. These systems start pretty low cost - $82.00 USD - and go up to serious money - 64 bilge areas, remote control, TXT integration etc etc.
Have a look at my site or contact me if you are interested.
Cheers
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Old 13-04-2015, 16:28   #25
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

Matt--someone used to sell a Pump Watch (or something like that) which would total the run time and (perhaps) number of starts, like an engine hour-meter. Is there still something this simple around?
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Old 13-04-2015, 16:38   #26
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

Sure is, but once you get the smarts, the pricing goes up. Here is the beginning of the smart range, can do 4 Bilge areas;
BC4000 Bile Controller The control unit is $505 USD, + the units for each bilge required - say $82 each...
We usually do custom quotes for this stuff for each boat/customers requirements, to ensure nothing is missed out.

Cheers
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Old 13-04-2015, 21:07   #27
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

I usually only get a year or less from the new non mercury float switches from rule. I now use the blue mercury switches with a p-fet or relay and they last for ever. Look at the new Rule horizontal pump with switch. I got one but have not used it yet but spent a lot of time with Rule at the Miami boat show and it looks like it may solve lots of pump problems. My boat has six pumps and switches and needs two more. With a relay it is easy to have any pump turn on a light or horn. My last boat (cat) had four pumps with all hooking to one light which worked like a dram
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Old 14-04-2015, 02:24   #28
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

Quote:
I plan to add a clock to my bilge pump setup, that runs while any pump is running, that way you can check the clock to see if you have a problem that needs attention.
Good idea, I have a 12V engine hours meter which measures down to 1/10th of an hour which would do the job nicely. I am going to see if I can find another one for the auto bilge pump.
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Old 14-04-2015, 14:51   #29
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

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Originally Posted by kjdavie01 View Post
Funny, we'd have said "The installation must have been done by a drunk in Massachusetts." Guess it's a regional thing!
Well the boat was originally from Maine, so it spent the last 20 years there, it's now in RI but there's plenty of drunks to go around in either state. I live in MA now so I'll have to cop to that one, I just don't do work that requires thinking and working at the same time after a couple brewskis, I usually reserve things like waxing hulls and scrubbing the bottom for post brewski tasks, in fact I find that beer helps my attitude towards hull waxing.....
I leave things like working with anything that flows electrons to those rare moments when I'm clear headed.
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Old 17-04-2015, 13:03   #30
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Re: Bilge Pump Switch Systems

Thanks all for the number of answers and ideas you responded with, I'm in the process of ordering the replacement items and fabricating the mounting bracket to locate the hardware.
The suggestions here helped a lot in coming up with an effective, simple solution.
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