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Old 10-10-2012, 00:10   #46
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
You're going to sink the boat from the air conditioner's run off? That's some extreme air conditioning man.


Yep, just flip the auto/manual switch to manual once a day for a minute or two. However, I think this is probably just CYA on Water Witch's part. I know for certain these switches have no trouble with rain water, I install them in dinghies and tenders all the time just for that purpose. My own Boston Whaler which sits at the dock in my slip here in Seattle, where it rains heavily a lot, is pumped by a Water Witch, just for the rain. Never had a problem, even when the boat gets all full of sand and seaweed and the like. I'm sure if you pour pure de ionized water on it you might have a problem, but I seriously doubt you would experience trouble in any real world situation. Or maybe the rain around here is just super dirty, lol!
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Old 10-10-2012, 00:13   #47
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
I plan to have the secondary bilge level monitor sent to an alarm and switch them on manually.

What if you are not aboard when catastrophe strikes?
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:01   #48
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
You're going to sink the boat from the air conditioner's run off? That's some extreme air conditioning man.
Not sink the boat - but put a LOT of water into the bilge. Our bilge runs the length of the keel, with a molded in sump in the center. The sump probably holds about 5 gallons, before it runs into the rest of the bilge, and covers the keel bolts. We want to keep our keel bolts dry.

On a typical weekend, we probably make 10 gallons or more of condensate (probably a LOT more). Condensate is pure water - 0 tds. We have no other known incoming water, besides a very slow input from the packing gland - not enough salt to make a difference.

Rainwater is typically about 10ppm tds (yes, I've measured it myself - I keep reef tanks, so I know my tds). HOWEVER, in the dinghy installation noted in another thread, there's plenty of wind-blown salt to mix into the rainwater to make it conductive.

Like I said, I called the folks at Water Witch, and their recommendation was "no".
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:24   #49
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
Not sink the boat - but put a LOT of water into the bilge. Our bilge runs the length of the keel, with a molded in sump in the center. The sump probably holds about 5 gallons, before it runs into the rest of the bilge, and covers the keel bolts. We want to keep our keel bolts dry.

On a typical weekend, we probably make 10 gallons or more of condensate (probably a LOT more). Condensate is pure water - 0 tds. We have no other known incoming water, besides a very slow input from the packing gland - not enough salt to make a difference.

Rainwater is typically about 10ppm tds (yes, I've measured it myself - I keep reef tanks, so I know my tds). HOWEVER, in the dinghy installation noted in another thread, there's plenty of wind-blown salt to mix into the rainwater to make it conductive.

Like I said, I called the folks at Water Witch, and their recommendation was "no".


Perhaps a better way to keep those keel bolts dry would be to plumb things so the condensate goes over the side instead of into the bilge? Easy to do, while it's not a change I would make for the sake of which type of float switch you use.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:43   #50
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by minaret View Post
Perhaps a better way to keep those keel bolts dry would be to plumb things so the condensate goes over the side instead of into the bilge? Easy to do, while it's not a change I would make for the sake of which type of float switch you use.
With the sump and a bilge pump, the bolts stay dry. However, 10 gallons of condensate would overflow the sump (probably about 5 gallons) and wet the rest of the bilge, including the bolts. The A/C condensers are below the waterline.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:51   #51
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by minaret View Post
What if you are not aboard when catastrophe strikes?
Have thought about that and can think of two likely scenarios. Note, when I'm away from the boat I generally close all the seacocks which should prevent catastrophic failures anyway.

1. Boat is in a marina or mooring field where there would be employees or neighbors nearby. Alarm alerts neighbors who check and call me and/or activate manual switch.

2. Boat is in a location with no people around. Secondary emergency pump activates, battery drains, boat sinks anyway.

I guess there a third possibility, boat at marina, with shore power to keep batteries going and no one around to check on the boat. So automatic bilge pumps could keep the boat afloat. But sooner or later the emergency pumps are going to fail. No bilge pump I know of is designed for continuous duty for days. So boat sinks at the dock anyway, just takes a little longer.

Another thought, if it's a really catastrophic leak I don't think even 2 X 4000 gph bilge pumps could keep up for long.

Another thought, in my experience leaks tend to be very small or very large. Small ones are dealt with by the regular bilge pump, very large ones the emergency pumps can slow down long enough for you plug the hole but you have to be there to deal with it.

Can remember only one small to medium leak when I was sailing a old wood sloop that belonged to a friend and the keel bolts were pretty loose. Sailing upwind the boat took on a fair amount of water but not catastrophic. I asked him why he hadn't fixed the problem and he said he just ran the bilge pumps every hour or so.

Anyway, I would welcome your input and comments on my logic. See any dumb assumptions I made that might sink the boat I'm ready to modify the plan.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:26   #52
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Have thought about that and can think of two likely scenarios. Note, when I'm away from the boat I generally close all the seacocks which should prevent catastrophic failures anyway.

1. Boat is in a marina or mooring field where there would be employees or neighbors nearby. Alarm alerts neighbors who check and call me and/or activate manual switch.

2. Boat is in a location with no people around. Secondary emergency pump activates, battery drains, boat sinks anyway.

I guess there a third possibility, boat at marina, with shore power to keep batteries going and no one around to check on the boat. So automatic bilge pumps could keep the boat afloat. But sooner or later the emergency pumps are going to fail. No bilge pump I know of is designed for continuous duty for days. So boat sinks at the dock anyway, just takes a little longer.

Another thought, if it's a really catastrophic leak I don't think even 2 X 4000 gph bilge pumps could keep up for long.

Another thought, in my experience leaks tend to be very small or very large. Small ones are dealt with by the regular bilge pump, very large ones the emergency pumps can slow down long enough for you plug the hole but you have to be there to deal with it.

Can remember only one small to medium leak when I was sailing a old wood sloop that belonged to a friend and the keel bolts were pretty loose. Sailing upwind the boat took on a fair amount of water but not catastrophic. I asked him why he hadn't fixed the problem and he said he just ran the bilge pumps every hour or so.

Anyway, I would welcome your input and comments on my logic. See any dumb assumptions I made that might sink the boat I'm ready to modify the plan.

That makes sense, just doesn't seem "ideal". What if instead of wiring the secondary on the switch to an alarm, you could wire it to open a solenoid which would then power the secondary pumps? I'm not an electrician by any means, but it seems to me that the power limitations of the switch could be gotten around by a competent electrician. All you really need it to do is operate a switch for you, right?
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