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Old 31-12-2009, 21:22   #1
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Rule-Mate Bilge Pump

I have just installed a new 500gph Rule-Mate pump with water sensing technology and a new hose which drains into the sink drain. It is wired to a Rule-Mate switch which allows switching between manual and auto.

I tested it by putting water into the bilge until the pump started working and everything works except the pump will not shut off. By the sound of the pump, there seems to be water still near the impeller but not enough to be pumped out.

Looking at the installation diagram I have put in a larger loop in the pipe just before it enters the sink drain. I was wondering if that somehow is interferring with the operation of the pump and switch.

If I raise the pump by hand a few inches out of the water it does stop operating.

Any suggestions?
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Old 31-12-2009, 22:47   #2
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Does it stay on all the time or does it cycle? The problems I'm thinking of usually involves the pump cycling on and off, but maybe the switch is low enough in this pump that you might not notice it.

Two things I can think of are, 1 you have a long enough hose and a small enough bilge that the water backflowing out of the hose when the pump turns off, the float switch activates again. This results in the pump continually cycling. Another possibility, did you tee into your sink drain below the waterline level? If so without a vented loop above the water line in the pump hose you have created a siphon. As soon as the pump
tries to turn off the ocean backflows into your boat, starting the pump again. In both cases lifting the pump high enough drains the water out of the hose stopping the cycle.

John
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Old 31-12-2009, 22:57   #3
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In response to cal40john:

Once the pump starts it stays on.

My boat does have quite a small bilge. Perhaps the pump just needs to be mounted higher in the bilge so that the water backflowing out of hose doesn't affect the water sensor.

The tee at the sink drain is well above the waterline.
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Old 31-12-2009, 23:57   #4
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put a one way 'no return' valve in the line between the pump and the sink drain. this will prevent backflow that can tell the pump to keep running.

i had a similar problem and the no return valve fixed it....
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Old 01-01-2010, 01:49   #5
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I reread your post a little more carefully and realized that this is the new system where they check for load on the pump instead of using a float switch. I haven't played with one of these yet. I believe the manual is saying that with .75" of water up from the bottom of the pump it will pump enough of a mixture of air and water that it will stay in its sense mode. At 1.5" it will definitely be in pump mode. Is the pump bringing the water level down to around .75"? If it is and the pump doesn't turn off I would guess that it is defective. I believe that when the water level is that low, there is enough air in the impellor that the pump should see a decreased load and shut off.

Also the manual says to not put in a check valve. I've read of other people stating that the column of water in the hose provides a back pressure. The pump when it starts will have some air in it and might not develop enough head to push the water out or prime/purge itself.

John
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Old 02-01-2010, 21:09   #6
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Do you (onestepcsy37) have the bilge pump with the new water sensing technology?

The instructions say not to install a check valve. Is a no return valve different than a check valve?
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Old 02-01-2010, 23:20   #7
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Vented loop, yes! Check valve, NO! No return valve = check valve.

Do not install a check valve into your bilge pumps exit port. A bad idea waiting to screw you.
I am with the other school of thought that says no automatic bilge pump, keep the boat largely dry and clean and you will know when water is coming in to your cabin and hopefully where the water is coming from. A clean boat will show where the crap/ooze/water is coming from better then one with a dirty bilge just the same as a clean and painted engine will tell you where an oil/water/air leak is coming from.
So my suggestion would be to disconnect the auto sensor for a week or two and see how much water your boat takes on while checking on it often. You may be surprised but your mileage will vary.

Edit to add: It would also be helpful if you said where you or your boat is generally. Do you keep it in the water for winter, etc.
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Old 03-01-2010, 00:37   #8
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Vented loop, yes! Check valve, NO! No return valve = check valve.

Do not install a check valve into your bilge pumps exit port. A bad idea waiting to screw you.
I am with the other school of thought that says no automatic bilge pump, keep the boat largely dry and clean and you will know when water is coming in to your cabin and hopefully where the water is coming from. A clean boat will show where the crap/ooze/water is coming from better then one with a dirty bilge just the same as a clean and painted engine will tell you where an oil/water/air leak is coming from.
So my suggestion would be to disconnect the auto sensor for a week or two and see how much water your boat takes on while checking on it often. You may be surprised but your mileage will vary.

Edit to add: It would also be helpful if you said where you or your boat is generally. Do you keep it in the water for winter, etc.
If he has the pump I think he has, he doesn't have a choice. It turns itself on every 2.5 minutes for a short time. If the load (current draw) on the motor is high enough (pumping water not air) it stays on, if not it turns off and tries again later.

I really don't like this kind of pump, I don't like much anything using the batteries when I'm not there, but I'm not on shorepower either.


John
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:44   #9
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Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
Vented loop, yes! Check valve, NO! No return valve = check valve.

Do not install a check valve into your bilge pumps exit port. A bad idea waiting to screw you.
This is exactly the sentiment of Rule Pumps. However Johnson pumps, at least the larger ones, come with check valves. Not saying who is right, but it would be very difficult to fit vented loops--high enough-- on my boat, so it came with check valves. Fitted to Rule pumps, one in each hull, which have lasted 10 years FWIW.

My project at the moment is replacing these pumps with tiny Rule pumps (and small lines) mounted low to pump out bilge and keep the eventual drainback minimal. Plus monster Johnson pumps mounted higher only for emergency use. All will have check valves, mainly for extra security, as the thruhulls are 8 inches or so above waterline, and the hoses do loop 6 inches or so higher.
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Old 04-01-2010, 13:13   #10
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I have a sailboat so the automatic bilge pump handles water that runs down the inside of the mast. Don't think there is much I can do to stop this water from coming in the boat.

Got a response from a Rule technician.

I think the problem is directly related to the very small size of the bilge. The pump impeller seems to splash water remaining in the bilge on to the water sensor. I have partially solved the problem by raising the pump a bit.

Thanks for all the reponses.
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Old 05-01-2010, 06:03   #11
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Uh...I have a sailboat and water running down the inside or outside of my mast doesn't get into my boat. What kind of boat do you have? Is the mast deck or keel stepped? Perhaps we should help you seal the leak?
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Old 05-01-2010, 20:42   #12
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Uh...I have a sailboat and water running down the inside or outside of my mast doesn't get into my boat. What kind of boat do you have? Is the mast deck or keel stepped? Perhaps we should help you seal the leak?
Sounds like his mast is keel stepped, so not really practical to ensure that no water gets inside and then down to the bilge.
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Old 05-01-2010, 23:02   #13
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I have a keel stepped mast with internal halyards and I live in a rainforest climate where we get in excess of 75 inches of rain each year mainly during a 6 month wet season (and often have strong winds). I would welcome any suggestions as to how I can prevent water from running down the inside of the mast into the bilge -- other than climbing the mast to cover each opening in the mast every time I leave the boat.

Most of the comments have been very helpful.

thank you
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Old 21-05-2013, 12:09   #14
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Re: Rule-Mate Bilge Pump

Quote:
Originally Posted by rvennis View Post
I have a sailboat so the automatic bilge pump handles water that runs down the inside of the mast. Don't think there is much I can do to stop this water from coming in the boat.

Got a response from a Rule technician.

I think the problem is directly related to the very small size of the bilge. The pump impeller seems to splash water remaining in the bilge on to the water sensor. I have partially solved the problem by raising the pump a bit.

Thanks for all the reponses.
What water sensor are you thinking of? These pumps have electrical current (load) sensor. It senses the amount of current(electricity) used by the pump. When its pumping water it will be higher, then when air comes in, it will be lower and the pump will shut off. Then every once in a while (i guess 2.5 mins) it will pump for a bit sensing the load again. Mine is not working either. When pumping air it pumps for 2 minutes before it stops. And does that every few minutes.
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Old 21-05-2013, 13:19   #15
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Re: Rule-Mate Bilge Pump

It makes me sad to say that I've had nothing but trouble with Rule Pumps, especially the automatic start pumps. I'll never buy another one again. Every one has failed.
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