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Old 08-10-2012, 20:59   #31
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by minaret View Post
If the bilge is so nasty that it gums up the contacts, a float switch would have been jammed long before. To clean the water witch you wipe the contacts with a paper towel. To clean the float switch you remove and disassemble it.
That may be true in some or even most cases but I had the opposite experience. I bought a boat that had oil spilled in the bilge and left for months. Add some diesel from a leaky filter, whatever soap and cleaner the PO dumped in, a little salt water and stir for a few months. The mix had emulsified into a really nasty soup but still liquid and not extremely viscous.

Boat had an electronic switch (not a Water Witch but the exact same technology). That switch would not work but an el cheapo Rule with the built in float was still working. Now I have to admit that this was an extreme and unusual case. And would the Water Witch have fared better than the other brand?

I do agree that to fix the problem with a Water Witch would be the ultimate in simplicity but in my boat maybe a little trickier. I have a really deep and really hard to reach sump where I would mount the switch. Would have to mount on some sort of lifting bracket or something to reach it. This is a boat design issue and not the switch but the design of the Tef-gel type switch will work better for me in this case.
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Old 08-10-2012, 21:01   #32
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by stillbuilding View Post
So there would appear to be a choice between two items - the Tefgel well constucted float switch without fancy electronics and the Waterwitch with fancy sealed electronics but no float to fail. Hmmm....
In practice I think either would do well. Maybe get one of each just to cover all the bases.
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Old 08-10-2012, 21:07   #33
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

The question I had with not pumping oil is that the switch has a 15 sec shut off delay. How can you be sure the water/oil level wont get down to the pump level and then start pumping oil out.
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Old 08-10-2012, 21:07   #34
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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I was taught as a boy, That the first thing ya do when ya relieve the watch(after cking course and location) was to stroke the Manual pump to see if any water was in the bilges! if it took more then a couple of strokes, we personaly cked the bilges to see if there was a problem ! Not a big deal these days of plastic boats ! But it's still done on my boats !!!
Since I didn't set foot on a sailboat until I was in my twenties I can't say I learned this as a boy but that was SOP on my boats on passage.

The manual pump was in the bottom of the cockpit locker handle inserted in the side of the cockpit so you could pump it sitting at the helm. First thing on watch pump the bilge and count the strokes, record in the log. If the number of strokes started changing over time, up or down, then figure out why.
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Old 08-10-2012, 21:51   #35
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
The question I had with not pumping oil is that the switch has a 15 sec shut off delay. How can you be sure the water/oil level wont get down to the pump level and then start pumping oil out.

I'd rather pump oil or fuel for 15 seconds with the Water Witch than just pump it all out with a float switch. At least some effort was made to address this.
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Old 08-10-2012, 21:55   #36
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
I have a really deep and really hard to reach sump where I would mount the switch. Would have to mount on some sort of lifting bracket or something to reach it.


This is exactly what I did with my boat. I really like the secondary backup, if the main pump runs for more than two minutes the backup pump automatically kicks in. Of course I have it all on auto/manual switches as well. My really deep hard to reach sump is of course under the engine.
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Old 08-10-2012, 22:47   #37
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

If your bilge is so dirty a water witch wont work, ya really need to do a major cleaning job !! really theres no excuse for a bilge that dirty !! any engine even a leaky perkins can be made to not foul the bilge like that !! Just sayin your running around with bad ticket waiting to happen !! just my 2 cents
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:07   #38
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by bobconnie View Post
If your bilge is so dirty a water witch wont work, ya really need to do a major cleaning job !! really theres no excuse for a bilge that dirty !! any engine even a leaky perkins can be made to not foul the bilge like that !! Just sayin your running around with bad ticket waiting to happen !! just my 2 cents
100% yes. In my case it was like that when I bought the boat. Since this is a public forum I won't repeat some of the language I used to express my opinion of the PO for doing that but to call it a major cleaning job is an understatement.

I sent weeks and many, many hours rinsing the bilge and pumping sludge into jugs to haul off for proper disposal. Then pressure washed the whole bilge 6-8 times, again saving the water for disposal.

Finally while working on the engine found out why there was so much oil in the bilge. The dip stick tube was broken right where it came out of the oil pan on the side of the block. PO gooped some epoxy around the two pieces but didn't even wipe the oil off before applying so of course it didn't stick at all. So every time the engine was run a small stream of oil was running down the side of the block into the bilge.

Needless to say, the dip stick tube is now properly repaired.
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:17   #39
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by minaret View Post
This is exactly what I did with my boat. I really like the secondary backup, if the main pump runs for more than two minutes the backup pump automatically kicks in. Of course I have it all on auto/manual switches as well. My really deep hard to reach sump is of course under the engine.
Mine is under the water tank which is in a hollow spot in the top of the keel. The only access to the sump is a 3" wide X 3' deep vertical crack under the transmission and v-drive assembly. Whatever I do for a switch is going to be a bit of a pain.

For my backups I have two 4000 gph pumps that draw up to 15 amps each which is beyond the rated capacity of any automatic switch I've looked at. I plan to have the secondary bilge level monitor sent to an alarm and switch them on manually.
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Old 09-10-2012, 18:47   #40
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

WATER WITCH DOES NOT WORK IN/WITH FRESH WATER!!!!

Sorry for yelling, but if you have bilge water that is not salt water, it does not work. That means it doesn't work for:

1) Folks on fresh water

2) Boats that have condensate emptying to the bilge (those with air conditioners or dehumidifiers)

3) Water that comes from rain (down the mast, too!)

4) Any other fresh water into the bilge (gray water, overflowing water tanks, cleaning water from cleaning your bilge, etc.).

This completely ruled the product out, for us.
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Old 09-10-2012, 19:58   #41
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

From Water Witch tech sheet.
Quote:
Normal fresh water has ample mineral content for proper operation
However rain water may dilute the mineral content so it doesn't work properly.
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Old 09-10-2012, 19:59   #42
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

Jason:

I like your ingenuity. I was thinking of buying a high water alarm as a back to the bilge pump switch. However, I've got all the parts to use your float switch idea. Could even use the old diesel engine alarm since it has not been hooked up since I converted to electric propulsion. Glad I did not remove it yet. Thanks for the idea.
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Old 09-10-2012, 20:09   #43
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
From Water Witch tech sheet.


However rain water may dilute the mineral content so it doesn't work properly.
And A/C and dehumidifier condensate also has similar low/no mineral content. I called them and told them what we have. They said they didn't think it was a good idea. Now, since this is something that we DEPEND upon to keep our boats afloat, seems to me it should work all of the time...
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Old 09-10-2012, 20:11   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep
WATER WITCH DOES NOT WORK IN/WITH FRESH WATER!!!!

Sorry for yelling, but if you have bilge water that is not salt water, it does not work. That means it doesn't work for:

1) Folks on fresh water

2) Boats that have condensate emptying to the bilge (those with air conditioners or dehumidifiers)

3) Water that comes from rain (down the mast, too!)

4) Any other fresh water into the bilge (gray water, overflowing water tanks, cleaning water from cleaning your bilge, etc.).

This completely ruled the product out, for us.
Well thanks for confirming that point. Probably not enough of a limitation to prevent me using it for a high volume bilge pump but would possibly rule it out for the bilge box at the base of the mast. Good to have the science confirmed.
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Old 10-10-2012, 00:03   #45
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
And A/C and dehumidifier condensate also has similar low/no mineral content. I called them and told them what we have. They said they didn't think it was a good idea. Now, since this is something that we DEPEND upon to keep our boats afloat, seems to me it should work all of the time...
You're going to sink the boat from the air conditioner's run off? That's some extreme air conditioning man.
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