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Old 26-02-2015, 12:03   #46
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Re: Poor Design of Whale Bilge Pump

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"Plastic pumps can be easily broken by an over zealous crew."
I broke off an aluminum doorknob once, just by twisting too hard. Apparently an aluminum-parted pump can break all by itself.

At least with a properly designed, engineered, good quality plastic part? It is more likely the be broken by inept crew, than to simply fail all by itself while it sits untouched. I'd call that a net advantage.

And considering how strong "plastic" engineering resins can be? Shouldn't be a problem. (Or of course, you could just choose wimpy crew.(G)

This is why metal bits on boats require inspection and maintenance. Aluminum pumps are not designed to last forever nor are they maintenance free. Wishing it to be otherwise is pointless.
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Old 26-02-2015, 12:10   #47
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Re: Poor Design of Whale Bilge Pump

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This is why metal bits on boats require inspection and maintenance. Aluminum pumps are not designed to last forever nor are they maintenance free. Wishing it to be otherwise is pointless.
Why should pumps, especially important safety pumps, not be reliable and maintenance free? I don't think this is all that much to ask.

I have two Whale Gulper 220 gray water pumps, for example. One of them has never been touched in 14 years of service. Not once. And in frequent service.

The other needed a diaphragm for the first time last summer. That one in constant, daily service.

Those are electric pumps. Would it be so hard to design a mechanical one with similar reliability?
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Old 26-02-2015, 12:36   #48
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Re: Poor Design of Whale Bilge Pump

"Would it be so hard to design"
You already know the answer. Designing better products, often not impossible. Getting someone to gamble on MARKETING them, considering the extra expenses and the resulting loss of market volume?
Often damned difficult.

That's why cars are sold with tires that wear out on half the time of good quality retail tires from the same company. And exhaust systems built of galvanized pipe instead of stainless steel. And so many other shortcuts taken in all sorts of mass-market products.

But I'd call this an opportunity, not a problem. It shouldn't be hard to build a diaphragm pump from "best" materials and design, and then see if you can sell the extra ones at a profit. Must be some other sailors out there who'd be interested.

Good excuse for a 3D printer, a milling machine, some nice toys to become business expenses if you don't want to contract it out. And if Whale's patents have run out...piece of cake then, isn't it?
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Old 26-02-2015, 15:36   #49
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Re: Poor Design of Whale Bilge Pump

If you re dissatisfied with a product, buy a different product. Problem solved.
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Old 26-02-2015, 15:40   #50
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Re: Poor Design of Whale Bilge Pump

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If you re dissatisfied with a product, buy a different product. Problem solved.
And that is certainly what I intend to do
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Old 26-02-2015, 16:06   #51
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Re: Poor Design of Whale Bilge Pump

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Why should pumps, especially important safety pumps, not be reliable and maintenance free? I don't think this is all that much to ask.
No, but I suspect an insufficient number of people will pay the cost of that product. The rest of us get to spend less $$ up front and then pay ownership cost in maintenance and learning how to use the product so that it will work when we need it. It's a basic cost/demand equation no different than any other product. But I think it's wrong to say that the pump design is flawed. It could be made out of better material at a higher cost. If that resulted in sufficient profit for the manufacturer then they will do it. They are not intentionally selling junk. At least Edson is up front about the lifetime expectancy of their aluminum pump and they give ample warning not to leave it standing with salt after use. I have read several books that give similar warnings so this isn't a "new" problem.

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I have two Whale Gulper 220 gray water pumps, for example. One of them has never been touched in 14 years of service. Not once. And in frequent service.

The other needed a diaphragm for the first time last summer. That one in constant, daily service.

Those are electric pumps. Would it be so hard to design a mechanical one with similar reliability?
Gray water isn't salt water and the volume per stroke on those is much less than a Gusher or Edson. No, it's not hard to do design a perfect pump but it cost more $$ for the right material. Plastic has to be much tougher in a human powered pump because the motive force isn't smooth like a motor. People ram the pump into both stops forcefully meaning the design has to be more robust. Also, each rev of an electric pump moves a tiny amount of water compared to a manual pump. But the electric pump turns faster so it can be made with less and weaker material.

Go buy the bronze $999.00 pump from Edson. They will be pleased. Or get a plastic pump with 1/2 or 1/4 the volume per stroke and pump faster. It's a pretty simple trade-off to me. I personally like my big strong aluminum pump with high volume per stroke. I just have to keep it clean and don't let salt rest in it. It will last many years until I need it and on that day I am sure it will work perfectly. And I have and extra $750 to spend on something else. To each his own.
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Old 26-02-2015, 20:43   #52
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Re: Poor Design of Whale Bilge Pump

I had a Whale Gusher 10 before I replaced it with a Whale Titan ten years ago. Theres nothing wrong with the design of the Gusher 10. The problem is in the materials used to make it, most notably, aluminium. The Titan design is hardly different, but the materials it is made of are superior. Mine has been used regularly in a salt environment and works well after ten years.
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Old 02-03-2015, 19:17   #53
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Re: Poor Design of Whale Bilge Pump

Well, I successfully refurbished that Gusher 10, and it works. I pumped out both bilges this evening with it. Dry bilges at last, hurrah!

But what a PITA! Wire brushing with a Dremel tool, sanding, priming with special alu primer, then several coats of Smooth Hammerite. What is my time worth? Even at minimum wage, this job could not have been worth it.

Sorry for the complaining -- can't help myself. Now interesting -- will it last for a while. I am sort of damned if I do, and damned if not -- I really don't want a project of replacing this unit with something more durable, but at the cost of many hours of screwing around with redrilling the holes, etc. -- so many more important things on The List. But nor do I want to repeat this Fun with Painting Things circus every year.


The other thing about this pump is that the handle is inserted in the cockpit floor -- right under the cockpit table. It's an awkward position, and takes a lot of force to actuate it. I can't imagine pumping continuously in an emergency -- your arm would fall off. Maybe I need one of those portable Edson jobbies.
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