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Old 08-10-2015, 02:00   #136
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

I've replaced all my RULE CRAP switches with WATER WITCH. All is well.
Only downside is they do not work in pure rain water so my open Boston Whaler dink still needs to sit with plugs out.
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Old 08-10-2015, 05:16   #137
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

Ditto, I had one fail two weeks ago. The first and last time it operated. Came on and stayed on for God knows how long. FWIW I had a fancy Whale no -float type switch fail almost immediately a couple of years ago. Didn't return that POC either.
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Old 26-10-2015, 22:16   #138
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

I finally got around to examining my failed Rule float switch.

First step was to determine continuity. Hooked up the meter and found that there was no continuity, regardless of float position.

Looking very closely at the wires, I found a small tear/hole right where the wires enter the switch. The wire inside had dissolved into powder-like oblivion. This defect was not visible during a cursory observation. In the close-up, I have pulled the insulation apart to make the hole more visible.

This occurred despite the wire being properly secured and protected by flexible plastic conduit. Admittedly, the bilge is a dark and nasty spot, but Rule certainly didn't help matters by providing a meager 18 (?) g, thin jacketed wire - a wire that has no marking as to country of origin, gauge, classification, etc.

From the WARNING label, this is one of the outdated mercury type switches. And I have second failed switch to check when I have a few minutes. Grr....
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Old 28-10-2015, 16:17   #139
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

Redsky, Rule hasn't made that switch in about ten years.

This is the current production switch.

Year after year, the Rule-A-Matic has been the switch of choice for boaters the world over. Our latest design now includes a removable base for easy cleaning and servicing, a mercury free snap switch tested to over one million cycles and marine grade "blocked" wire. Designed for pumps drawing up to 14 Amps. Model 35A and 35FA now includes a 2 year warranty.
Link: Rule-A-Matic Float Switch
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Old 28-10-2015, 18:16   #140
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

Will they deliver on that warranty to GPS coordinates in the Pacific? Pay for the boat sunk at dock? Yeah, thanks anyway.
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Old 29-10-2015, 15:29   #141
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

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Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
...

I am curious as to why there seems to be a disconnect between failures in the field and returns on these switches. I really don't get many returns but reading this forum makes me think that a lot of them fail during their warranty period. Do people just not bother to return them?

...
I can tell you why in my case...because Im a cruiser so they have failed in inconvenient locations to return them. Ive also bought some in Central America which have failed...returns/warranty are really not part of the culture here.

The older fully automatic ones, no float switch, were the worst, just junk..and you had to listen to them spin up every few minutes all night long!

At one point I was saving Rule junk with plans to return to Rule with a nice cover letter. I had a box full from my boat and others. Never did, finally just tossed them.

Ripped all Rule junk out of my boat and replaced with Johnson pumps about 2 years ago. Only one quirky float switch problem so far which I think may be due to mounting location...further testing needed.
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Old 29-10-2015, 16:23   #142
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

There are others I'm sure, but one way to make an easily serviceable pump switch would be to remote mount it, a simple micro switch mounted up high but connected to a float would work, switch mounted just under the sole, but connected to a float via a long wire, or better use a reed switch.
High water alarms are easy and cheap, of course for them to be of any use you have to be on the boat.


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Old 29-10-2015, 21:36   #143
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

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Cheechako, the old style Rule float switches used regular marine grade wire. If they got a small break in the insulation water would wick the length of the wire. This corroded the wire and made it feel strange. The current switches use a type of wire that is blocked to prevent wicking.

i see a lot of people have mentioned that the switches fail in the on position.

I was reading the installation instructions and saw something I hadn't noticed before.

They say that the switch should be mounted 1/4" higher than the base of the pump to insure that the switch turns off. If you attach the switch to a Rule pump with their little clip, it gives you this space. If the switch is screwed to the same surface that the pump is, you won't have this space. I'm thinking this might be what is causing at least some of the failures. I know I've just screwed them down next to the pump with no spacer. If this is the problem, Rule should include a spacer with the switch, or redesign the switch not to need this extra 1/4". Could this be part of the problem or am I the only one that doesn't read instructions?
All my rule switch instalation allowed the pump to pump down below the switch sut off point. All failed in between 6 to 18 months in new England where the season is 6 months, all in boats with dry bilges and not much cycling. There just crap. Period. This is over 25 years and several "redesigns". My current water witch setup is working well but I'm thinking of using a washing machine level switch as an alternative. Thousands of cycles without failure and cheap to boot. Last washing machine lasted 18 years with a family of 4 and original diaphragm level switch. Whaddaya think?

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Old 29-10-2015, 22:47   #144
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

Lifeo, are you talking about the diaphragm switches that are actuated by rising air pressure in a tube? Both Groco and Jabsco make switches that work on that principle. In fact I think the Groco one is just a repackaged washing machine switch. They do pretty good but the switch housing of the Groco is steel and it rusts pretty quickly. The problem with both of them is that the small pressure tube gets plugged with bilge crap.

Maybe if you mounted it in a large diameter tube, you could avoid the clogging problem.
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Old 30-10-2015, 12:43   #145
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

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Lifeo, are you talking about the diaphragm switches that are actuated by rising air pressure in a tube? Both Groco and Jabsco make switches that work on that principle. In fact I think the Groco one is just a repackaged washing machine switch. They do pretty good but the switch housing of the Groco is steel and it rusts pretty quickly. The problem with both of them is that the small pressure tube gets plugged with bilge crap.

Maybe if you mounted it in a large diameter tube, you could avoid the clogging problem.
I was thinking the washing machine level switch because it wouldn't need to be in the water and could be mounted remotely out of the bilge scum. Using a piece of 1/2" or 3/4" PVC with a tubing fitting screwed to the end to plug a hose to would provide a pressure tube that wouldn't clog. There are also industrial diaphragm type switches which could be used for the same purpose which are built to go through hundreds of thousands of cycles without failure, many are used in water, chiller, tanks storage and waste treatment facility applications. Those aren't as cheap but they're built to live in more challenging environments. Most day sailors and dock queens probably don't need something as robust, but if your boat is your home it's a little different application, which might point to why most over the counter float switches are "good enough". It's a cost consideration that companies use to determine what the market will bear as opposed to what people are willing to pay on average. Marketing to a niche market probably doesn't look like a highly profitable way to go for companies like Rule. Doesn't mean they couldn't improve it a little.
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Old 30-10-2015, 13:28   #146
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

Lifeo, this is the Jabsco / Rule version of what you've described.

Notice how short the air bell at the bottom is. The hole at the top of the bell is also pretty small and it gets clogged. If, as you describe, the bell was tall enough that it never completely filled with water, the hole should not get plugged.

This is the Groco version which I think is just a repackaged washing machine switch. Same problem with the air bell.
Your idea to replace the air bell with PVC pipe sounds like it would solve the clogging problem.
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Old 30-10-2015, 13:55   #147
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

I have those in my shower sumps. They also wont switch off sometimes, I just glued a weight onto it, problem solved.
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Old 09-01-2017, 08:28   #148
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

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Ditto, I had one fail two weeks ago. The first and last time it operated. Came on and stayed on for God knows how long. FWIW I had a fancy Whale no -float type switch fail almost immediately a couple of years ago. Didn't return that POC either.
The above was on our small boat. Our big boat had an enclosed Rule switch, seperate from a Johnson pump. Installed about 2014. That stuck on mechanically about 2 weeks ago. I got a new Rule switch at West Marine, exposed type. That lasted almost 2 weeks. Float goes up and down OK, you can hear the switch work, but it goes from 0.2 ohms when closed/up to about 6.0 ohms when open/down. So the pump still runs, but slowly. Seems obvious the switch chamber leaked and has water bridging the switch.

$150 later I have a USS float switch. Hope to God THAT works.
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Old 09-01-2017, 09:43   #149
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

since my first posting i have had to change tiny teeny fully automatic broken pump with a rule 2000 gph pump-- for 5 yrs i manually initiated it. my old , too late pump of 2200 gph is still perfect (knocking wood briskly), and the old mercury float switch, after cleaning it, works perfectly(again knocking wood) --even now--seems the switch was installed before last owner's purchase. cleaned of the blown engine crud oil spewed when the 107 po detonated sending oil thrughout boat. this created a stuck switch issue requiring intensive cleaning. after cleaning it works well.
my only issue with my mercury switch has been that it was installed using foam to secure it..hahahahah now it falls over when any water enters the bilge, as with storms, so i purchased a rule float switch(seems the only brand carried here) for automaticity of my under engine pump.
btw--donot install your auto float switch using foam.. that **** dont work--deteriorates with oily substances, such as engine detonations, and over time merely disintigrates.
do self a huge favor and do it right the first time.
as for protection from bilge crap--i placed my 2000gph pump under my egine inside a plastic colander i modified for the job so hose passes thru the colander, and the new rule a matic or what isitsname switch is also mounted inside colander--- no crap in my pump nor in my switch.only crap able to enter is the engine oil gunk i keep finding despite thorough cleanings of entire bilges. (wanna strangle po for having detonated the old engine and continuing to use it--had a huge hole in block behind the oiled starter. ) routine cleaning of the switch and or visually checking routinely will prevent the crap from screwing with your system.

helpful hint -- positioning of switch makes a huge difference.
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Old 11-10-2017, 19:15   #150
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

All Rule products are total crap. I make the misstake of installing all Rule pumps and enclosed float switches 2 years ago. 2 pumps and 2 switches.
After 2 months, one switch stayed on running the pump dry and melting the plastic around the pump motor. All garbage, 1 month later the same thing happened to the other pump. I was lucky to be able to replace everything in Hawaii under warrantee. Now one switch is on all the time again and the other one is intermittent. And another pump melted.
Oh and these are the so called Rule Gold heavy duty pumps!

In all, after 2 years i have replaced 4 pumps and counless switches. Needless to say i am done with Rule!! Plastic pieces of garbage!
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