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Old 24-04-2016, 17:41   #16
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

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Originally Posted by JEschman View Post
The Sensaswitch has been discontinued, but Whale now makes what looks like the identical switch (Whale BE9003). I've used three of them...
Original sensaswitch. Installed in very shallow bilge on my first boat (Cal 25). Was still working fine when I sold the boat 6 years later.

Whale BE9003. Installed in bilge in current boat. Mostly worked fine for a year or so, but then a couple of times when testing, failed to switch on, which is of course unacceptable. Replaced with USS Ultra Pumpswitch. (This switch is ridiculously expensive, but bulletproof. Like it enough that I used another one when I later installed 2nd larger/higher bilge pump.)

Whale BE9003. Installed in shallow shower sump on current boat. Never failed to switch on, but has stuck "on" several times. Typically remedied by cleaning the sensor surfaces and cycling the breaker a couple of times. It's still there, but when it dies, I'll replace with something else.
So short answer, I was initially impressed with these field-effect electronic switches -"sealed and no moving parts" sounds good - but now don't trust them. I think you'll find plenty of similar comments here and elsewhere online.
Ah yes the old cheaper manufacturing reducing the performance/usable life. Still I buy cheaper stuff so that helps cause the problem. The trend here is the air switch people seem to be the most satisfied. Hell they must be sensitive to detect a 2" rise in water level. Thanks for the info
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Old 24-04-2016, 17:47   #17
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

If by "electronic" you're considering the "Ultra" switch, in my experience they're just a faster way to spend your money on another inferior product. I don't have anything to recommend. Seems to me they're all problematic.
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Old 24-04-2016, 17:52   #18
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

Ive got a float switch thats been sitting in filthy bilgewater since before i owned this boat - i cant believe it still works, when it stops Ill tie some rags around my nose and haul it out to see if i can find who made it. One thing for sure, it aint electronic.
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Old 24-04-2016, 18:09   #19
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

There are millions of washing machines around the world which have the same problem as the bilge pump only in reverse. When the washing machine fills from the tap - the control system needs to know when the machine bowl is at the correct level for washing. Every washing machine I have pulled down for checking has a diaphragm operated by air pressure to trigger the microswitch.
These appear to have extreme high reliability.
Our washing machine has often flooded the laundry and required some tinkering - however it has never been the level sensor which has caused the problem - it has always been the solenoid valve jamming in the open position.
Have replaced the solenoid valve several times.
I vote for Air pressure sensor device
And if you would like a low cost sensing device - visit your local yard where washing machines go, or buy a spare. You would have to marinise it for the salty environement.
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Old 24-04-2016, 19:17   #20
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

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Originally Posted by Seighlor View Post
If by "electronic" you're considering the "Ultra" switch, in my experience they're just a faster way to spend your money on another inferior product. I don't have anything to recommend. Seems to me they're all problematic.
Yes I probably should have said bilge pump switch using field effect rather than just electronic but still my lapse made for a wider range of replies * I'm still learning. Thanks for your input.
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Old 24-04-2016, 19:18   #21
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

I did a bit of research on my air switch before I bought it, its an expensive bit of kit! Seemed like it wasnt without its faults. If the water level rises very slowly then it only takes a slight air leak somewhere to stop it working and then gunk can get inside the tube and gunk it up.

Hopefull any waves would still trigger it, and this hasn't been an issue for me so far. But I intend to add a conventional float switch uo at a high level as a backup unit.

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Old 24-04-2016, 19:34   #22
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

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Originally Posted by desdestiny View Post
There are millions of washing machines around the world which have the same problem as the bilge pump only in reverse. When the washing machine fills from the tap - the control system needs to know when the machine bowl is at the correct level for washing. Every washing machine I have pulled down for checking has a diaphragm operated by air pressure to trigger the microswitch.
These appear to have extreme high reliability.
Our washing machine has often flooded the laundry and required some tinkering - however it has never been the level sensor which has caused the problem - it has always been the solenoid valve jamming in the open position.
Have replaced the solenoid valve several times.
I vote for Air pressure sensor device
And if you would like a low cost sensing device - visit your local yard where washing machines go, or buy a spare. You would have to marinise it for the salty environement.
I'd be interested to know if you have actually done this with a washing m/c level sensor. Are the washing m/c switches adjustable? Would hate my boat to fill to the same level as the washing m/c Actually we were thinking along those lines but would like to hear from someone who has actually used the washing machine switch for bilge pump control. Think it's a good idea as from what another chap on this thread says you can have a long air tube & have the switch a fair way from the water so the switch marinisation wouldn't be as critical at a guess.
Have a good ANZAC day cobber & thanks for your input, have found the thread interesting&informative
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Old 24-04-2016, 22:06   #23
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

I installed a sensaswitch in my Colin archer ketch twelve years ago and have never regretted it. It and it's wiring are often wet with no ill effects. Clean it every few months as it will be slow to turn off the pump if the switch gets covered with bilge scum.
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Old 24-04-2016, 22:25   #24
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

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I installed a sensaswitch in my Colin archer ketch twelve years ago and have never regretted it. It and it's wiring are often wet with no ill effects. Clean it every few months as it will be slow to turn off the pump if the switch gets covered with bilge scum.
Thanks for the input. Sadly original manufacturer doesn't make them anymore & the clones are not nearly as good from my research & other post. 12 years sounds great our TMC float switch barely made 12 mths.
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Old 24-04-2016, 22:39   #25
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

Have two electronic switches for two pumps in locations where they may get submerged. One failure in 12 years and they won't clog up with debris. Rule float switches (will clog with debris) will last only if not submerged, say for a really loud bilge alarm when the floor boards start to float. Submerged Rule switches may last a year or two tops.
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Old 24-04-2016, 23:30   #26
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

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Originally Posted by IRG View Post
After a dozen various bilge pump and bilge alarm switches, I have finally settled down to what I think is the best - GROCO AS-100 Bilge Pump Control Kit. Simple to use and install, easy to replace and only seem to fail when totally rusted through after years of service. These are a switch with a clear hose and an air bell you hang just above the pump.
I just looked the groco website and it was not clear if the air bell is fixed in position. It looks like a good solution . I need to deal with faulty switched this year
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Old 25-04-2016, 16:57   #27
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

I have a Waterwitch electronic switch on my boat which was installed 8 years ago, still working but will not work with freshwater (when the boat is on the hard and rainwater finds it's way into the bilge)
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Old 25-04-2016, 17:18   #28
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

Thanks for that, prompted me to do the research & they warn in the waterwitch tech data that rainwater falls below the mineral content needed to trigger the sensor. Who wuda thunk it?
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Old 25-04-2016, 19:16   #29
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

After three dozen years of experience with bilge pump switches I've probably tossed out a hundred failed Rule and Rule style switches. The best 'electronic' ones I"ve found were the water witches but they all fail. The Ultra (yes, they are a buck and a half) NEVER seem to fail. All we use now and, over a dozen years, cheaper than tossing out three Rule switches...

My customers quit complaining about the cost when they realized that they really are bulletproof.

The air switches, if maintained, are the only other ones worth considering, with Groco better than Jabsco...

Just my (relatively experienced) opinion....
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Old 26-04-2016, 12:25   #30
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Re: Electronic float switches any good?

This is my shower pump float switch, using a washing machine water level switch.
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