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Old 07-10-2012, 13:20   #1
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DIY Float switch story.

DIY Float switch story.
It was going to be another 4 days before we could anchor up and sort it out. The only reason I discovered that we had a problem was because we had water over the floor boards. Between the rudder post leaking and the rubbish, Marine quality, expensive float switch packing up was enough to put us in a sinking boat in a state of full blown PANIC!.
Stuck out in the middle of nowhere with the nearest land 4 days away and the fantastic, expensive, Marine Quality float switch just crapped out made for a Mc’Giver moment.
After cutting apart and destroying the Marine Quality, expensive float switch I discovered that the Marine Quality stainless steel ball inside had rusted to crap, but the Chinise made micro switch was working perfectly.
I used a medicine bottle and the old micro switch to fabricate a new float switch, (see diagram) which has worked perfectly for the past six months.
Didn’t we have a spare Float Switch? I hear you ask!
NO! Just how many spare parts can we carry on a 30ft cruising boat?
I still haven’t used the set of pistons and rings that have been in a locker somewhere for the past ten years, probably rusted to crap.
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Old 07-10-2012, 14:02   #2
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

Way to go Jason.



I wonder if anyone (except you) will ever make a workable float switch again.

We have come so far in technology........................
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Old 07-10-2012, 14:41   #3
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

I have one for my bilge alarm that's pretty awesome. Just a clear cylinder with a poly float on it. When water goes in it floats the little float up, which closes the circuit. Walla.
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Old 07-10-2012, 14:43   #4
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

People still use float switches? I suggest going to the all electric type, it's just two terminals which when the water rises high enough are both submerged and therefore connected. I think the most common one is called the Bilge Witch or something like that, on a phone so can't link. No moving parts is better...
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Old 07-10-2012, 16:06   #5
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

Really nice fix!

13 years ago I bought a float switch made by the folks that also make tef-gel.

Pump Float Switch Jr. 12 Volt (Switch Only)

It still woks as advertised but a bit spendy. They have several different versions now.

John
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Old 07-10-2012, 16:57   #6
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

Great solution, but did you fix the packing? Do you carry packing or was it one of those dripless alternatives that you have to haul your boat out to fix? If it was a dripless nightmare sorry for your buy-in. I like the Kiss principal, the fixable principal. My job is to KEEP the Water Out. Kudos on your float solution!
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Old 07-10-2012, 20:04   #7
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by minaret View Post
People still use float switches? I suggest going to the all electric type, it's just two terminals which when the water rises high enough are both submerged and therefore connected. I think the most common one is called the Bilge Witch or something like that, on a phone so can't link. No moving parts is better...
So let me make sure I understand !!--we cant come up with a SUCCESSFUL switch that will activate a pump--so we are going to dip two electrical contacts into water.
Christ!!--if this is not going backwards--I dont know what is.

When are we going to learn that these things are DESIGNED to fail, so that we can keep buying new ones.
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Old 07-10-2012, 20:18   #8
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

Quote:
13 years ago I bought a float switch made by the folks that also make tef-gel.
Got two of those, had 'em 13 years as well. Works good, last a long time.
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Old 07-10-2012, 20:24   #9
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by Blue Stocking View Post
So let me make sure I understand !!--we cant come up with a SUCCESSFUL switch that will activate a pump--so we are going to dip two electrical contacts into water.
Christ!!--if this is not going backwards--I dont know what is.

When are we going to learn that these things are DESIGNED to fail, so that we can keep buying new ones.


I think you may be confused. This is what the Coast Guard uses, float switches are SO 20th century. These units are bombproof compared to a float switch. They are a bit more complex than just sticking two leads into water. Personally I would not go to sea with an old style float switch, they are gauranteed to fail just when you need them most, just as occurred in the OP. The Model 257 is the way to go, the secondary backup is genius....



Water Witch Bilge Switches
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Old 07-10-2012, 20:58   #10
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by minaret View Post
People still use float switches? I suggest going to the all electric type, it's just two terminals which when the water rises high enough are both submerged and therefore connected. I think the most common one is called the Bilge Witch or something like that, on a phone so can't link. No moving parts is better...
I like the no moving parts but do these things work with oil and such in the bilge? Yes I know there shouldn't be oil but my boat came preoiled when I bought it (a long, sad, and ugly tale that I will save for another day). I think I've gotten 99% of it cleaned out and properly disposed of but not sure what may seep out of the small cracks if I ever fill the bilge with water.

If the switch depends on setting up a current through the water between two contact points I think it might have trouble in fresh water as well.
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Old 07-10-2012, 21:01   #11
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

Never mind the previous post. Just saw your second post and followed the link. Seems like oil doesn't bother it.
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Old 07-10-2012, 21:18   #12
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Never mind the previous post. Just saw your second post and followed the link. Seems like oil doesn't bother it.

These things have been heavily used for over twenty years now, they have thought of everything. Look at the test video. I have installed countless units with nothing but good things reported. They beat the hell out of a float switch. The Coast Guard prefer them for good reason...
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:46   #13
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

Awesome on the float switch water witch thing there. Was just about to wire in a pump.
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:10   #14
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

Everyone should have a "Manuel" bildge pump ! Used to be standard equipment for sea going folks ! I guess in these days of Fancy electrical stuff they have just gone out of style??
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:19   #15
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Re: DIY Float switch story.

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Originally Posted by minaret View Post
I think you may be confused. This is what the Coast Guard uses, float switches are SO 20th century. These units are bombproof compared to a float switch. They are a bit more complex than just sticking two leads into water. Personally I would not go to sea with an old style float switch, they are gauranteed to fail just when you need them most, just as occurred in the OP. The Model 257 is the way to go, the secondary backup is genius....
I installed the Water Witch Bilge Monitor and their switches when I purchased our boat. Great combination. It has a low water alarm that will sound if the pump doesn't run within 6 secs of low switch activation and a high water alarm that will get your attention.
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