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Old 28-05-2018, 14:18   #16
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

Remember to never assume your pump and switch are working because the bilge is dry. You could just have a dry bilge with a burned out pump or defective switch. Always test with a pour of water into the sump.
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Old 28-05-2018, 14:23   #17
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

Well, yes, but that's what my hook on a stick is for. I just reach down and lift the flipper. Part of the daily routine. If the pump starts, we are good (still). If it, don't I get busy :-)

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Old 28-05-2018, 14:30   #18
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
The consensus remains that the rocker-type float switches are garbage and alternatives exist. I like the PVC "tree" idea, because I also like "staged" pumps.
I have "rocker-type" float switches in my gray water tanks. They have been bulletproof and still going strong after 17 years of hard service.

I use the Ultimate Ultra Junior tube type switches for my large bilge pumps, but they hardly get wet except during testing with a hose, as the maintenance pumps (Whale Supersub 1100's) keep the water down. So I can't say how good they are.

The Whale Supersubs are super cheap and flimsy. I've replaced one already. The big pumps are Rule 4000's. They seem to be fine, but have never been used except in testing.
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Old 28-05-2018, 16:36   #19
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

After a pencil stub in the bilge jammed my float switch open and burnt out the pump motor I thought it was time for a rethink.

I replaced it with a plain clear vinyl tube into the bilge on a length of wood. I connected the tube to a diaphragm switch from an old washing machine (free!!) and switched it through a relay. All electric bits well out of the water no moving parts in the water and could cope with debris, oil etc. Worked for years.
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Old 28-05-2018, 17:29   #20
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

After over 30 years in the industry the ONLY pump switch we put on a boat is the Ultra Safety Switch. Yes, it costs about $170, but it's a mission critical part and they are VERY reliable and flexible. https://www.tefgel.com/contain.php?p...mpswitch_price
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Old 28-05-2018, 19:49   #21
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

The Ultra Safety Switch looks same same but different to the aquaalarm one for $60?

https://www.go2marine.com/product/20...ch-ss-209.html
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Old 28-05-2018, 20:04   #22
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

Interesting, as someone who has two Ultra Switch Jrs I can tell you they are in fact extremely rugged, and reliable.
They also seem to be not much more than a simple reed switch in a nice plexiglass tube.
Mine has no light, nor an alarm to indicate excessive pump run, you may be onto something there.
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Old 29-05-2018, 02:24   #23
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

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Interesting, as someone who has two Ultra Switch Jrs I can tell you they are in fact extremely rugged, and reliable.
They also seem to be not much more than a simple reed switch in a nice plexiglass tube.
Mine has no light, nor an alarm to indicate excessive pump run, you may be onto something there.
I have a separate Ultra Junior switch which triggers a loud alarm. I have a very, very deep main bilge, and I had the maintenance pump right on the bottom, the power pumps a little higher, and the alarm switch a little higher still. Just used a panel alarm from Mouser and a 9v battery.
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Old 29-05-2018, 06:32   #24
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

I have a second higher pump, it has the alarm.
However I like the idea of an alarm that sounds if the primary runs too long.
Plus the price is a lot more tenable, assuming its good quality.
Ill not replace my ultras, but Id like to see one.
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Old 30-05-2018, 19:07   #25
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

Mount the bilge hose w a strainer in the bilge, and the pump, out of the bilge.
You can then easily service the hose in the bilge for foreign matter, by pulling it up and checking.
The switch that monitors the level can be mounted on a stick, and serviced the same way.
Diaphragm pump, Works well
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Old 30-05-2018, 19:37   #26
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

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Originally Posted by Simi 60 View Post
The Ultra Safety Switch looks same same but different to the aquaalarm one for $60?

https://www.go2marine.com/product/20...ch-ss-209.html
I have the same one and the fact that it runs for 15 secs after the "low" level is reached make a big difference when you have a long bilge line. A cool feature and way better than the flipper type.
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Old 30-05-2018, 19:49   #27
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

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Originally Posted by Steadman Uhlich View Post


I just came off a voyage on a full keel 53 foot boat (draft 7.5 feet) that had a very large and very deep engine room and bilge, so deep there would be great difficulty reaching the bilge pump at the bottom.

The owner had his bilge pump Water Witch attached to the bottom of a 6-7 foot ( I think) long, 1/2 inch diameter stainless pipe, mounted to the side of the bilge "well" so he could pull up the Water Witch to clean it or service it. The switch was on some small stainless platform or plate at the bottom end of the pipe.
I also have a boat with a deep sump, I made a bracket that holds both the bottom main pump and the secondary pump (above it) and is bolted with wing nuts, so any time I need to service the pumps I can just raise them on the bracket. It makes servicing so much better.
I also have water witch bilge switches and have had no problem with them. I also have water column switches which I've found to need more attention. Either will work with the proper installation and care.
If your interested in fabricating a pump/switch mounting bracket, let me know and I'll go back in the archive and send some pictures.
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Old 31-05-2018, 06:50   #28
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

I use a groco AS 100 . I put it on a leg along with the pump . All the wiring is well above the emaergency water level . Switch has no moving parts . I made the L shaped leg out of fiberglass and attached everything to that.
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Old 31-05-2018, 07:24   #29
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

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Originally Posted by qwert View Post
After a pencil stub in the bilge jammed my float switch open and burnt out the pump motor I thought it was time for a rethink.

I replaced it with a plain clear vinyl tube into the bilge on a length of wood. I connected the tube to a diaphragm switch from an old washing machine (free!!) and switched it through a relay. All electric bits well out of the water no moving parts in the water and could cope with debris, oil etc. Worked for years.
The local fishing boats do the same here. The washing machine float switch is great. I also installed one on my boat, but I used a piece of PVC pipe. It's so much more reliable than the Rule float switch.
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Old 11-06-2018, 13:09   #30
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Re: Float Switch replacement for bilge pump

5 years ago I replaced my float switches with electronic switches by Attwood (S3 Digital Bilge Switch). I don't have a dry bilge, so the lower one is always wet and runs occasionally, and it hasn't missed a beat in 5 years. I like that they run on for a bit after they are dry (helps with long hoses or a switch mounted slightly higher than the pump) and they have a time delay on start, which deals with sloshing. Best price 5 years ago, and still today, is Walmart.

With regard to switches, I find the ON-OFF-AUTO an incredibly stupid design. Why would you EVER want an "off" position? If you want it off, pull the fuse! Especially since pushing to ON and then releasing results in OFF, not AUTO. Yes, it's easy to remember to push it back to AUTO -- but yes, it's easy to forget. My "primary" has a toggle ON-OFF for testing, etc. My secondary doesn't even have that -- it's just wired direct to the fuse. Both of my pumps are 100% set for AUTO unless I pull a fuse -- no "senior moment" or "bumbling brother in law" will ever have it turned off!

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