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Old 15-07-2013, 08:07   #46
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

When I worked at a marina, we sold a lot of Rule pumps & a lot of Rule float switches. I saw several switches that were bad, right out of the package. I also saw a lot that failed when marine crud started to grow on them & make them stick. I came to the conclusion that Rule float switches were the worst ones out there, except for all the others. We never found a better quality replacement, so we kept selling Rule switches. This was about 30 years ago. The issue is far from new.

Since then, I have seen a wide variety of liquid measuring switches & sensors in industrial applications. Some of them were in fairly critical applications like automated solvent distillation equipment or cooling systems on large scale power generation equipment. I do have to say that in general, liquid level control systems have a tendency to be one of the more underdeveloped parts of most automated systems. This should not be the case these days. We have all sorts of wonderful components to work with now, like capacitive proximity sensors & magnetic reed switches, that are available right off the shelf at somewhat reasonable prices.

Maybe I need to put together something reliable & put it on the market.

I have spoken to many boaters over the years that have the same saying about bilge pumps. They say that 1 is none, 2 is 1, 3 is 2 & you should always have at least 2 of those. I don't subscribe to that philosophy, but a lot of people do.
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Old 15-07-2013, 09:38   #47
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

Since my last post two more Rule float switches have gone bad on my boat. They are not made to ever be in contact with water.
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Old 15-07-2013, 10:09   #48
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

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Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
JRO, That's pretty harsh.
I do own several boats. I've owned boats since I was 12 years old. I've sold Rule products for more than forty years. All of my bilge pumps are equiped with Rule Float Switches.
If I was getting a lot back, I wouldn't carry it. If a Rule float switch is failing every couple of months there is a problem somewhere else.
All of us are living the bad experience of Rule switches not working yet clowns like this guy swears it is our fault! Is this guy someone you can trust to buy your boat supplies from? He's had boats since he was 12 years old!
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Old 15-07-2013, 11:19   #49
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

Over a couple years and a couple of different forums, I have found Hopcar to be an honest stand up kind of guy. He goes out of his way to help people with no concern to profit. You have this one wrong. I think that you just don't trust anyone in retail. I think your displeasure should be directed at the manufacturer, not the little guy. I have also had problems with rule auto switches. I have found some to go bad in a year, and others last 5yrs. I think the way you do your wiring has alot to do with this. The wires on the switch are small. I strip twice the wire and fold it over so that it fits in a blue butt connector, same as the pump lead. I finish the connectors by wiping 5200 over the ends. This waterproofs them and, also keeps them from pulling apart. I then wrap all the wires together and mount them as high as possible. I hope this helps somebody. Also, Hopcar is a standup guy!
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Old 15-07-2013, 12:54   #50
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

haw1961, Thank you very much!
I wonder if you're on to something with the wire connections.
I always use a terminal strip mounted as high as possible to make my wire connections. I use adhesive heat shrink ring terminals to connect to the terminal strip and then spray it with corrosion block. I once used a heat shrink adhesive butt connector but let it get into the water. Water traveled the length of the wire and the wire corroded and broke inside the switch.

Honest JRO, I have 3 Rule float switches on my own boat that lives in the water and I get four or five years out of them. My cockpit hatches are not watertite so every time it rains, the two lowest pump turn on.
Maybe we should narrow down which Rule switch is the problem. They make 4 different switches. I like the Super Switch #37A because it has 14 gauge wire.

"He's had boats since he was 12 years old!"
That's true. My Dad gave me a little 12 ft molded plywood skiff with a 3 hp Johnson on it when I was 12 years old.
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Old 15-07-2013, 15:01   #51
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

I'd have to agree with the comments on the Ultra Safety switches. I had two on my first boat for 15 years, and have three on this boat since 1998 (and they weren't new then) without a single problem.
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Old 15-07-2013, 15:09   #52
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

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haw1961, Thank you very much!
I wonder if you're on to something with the wire connections.
My Dad gave me a little 12 ft molded plywood skiff with a 3 hp Johnson on it when I was 12 years old.
The point is that "Boat Smarts" has more to do with knowledge and that unfortunately is not a strict function of time. We'd all become experts if that were the case.

Installation connections are not made where they can come in contact with moisture other than where the factory does it. It is NOT a installation wire connection issue. IT IS A PRODUCT ISSUE. They are not made well enough to be used as intended.

As consumers we are screwed because guys like you are not giving Rule the feedback they need to make changes. The are thrilled to have these things maded in China for peanuts and keep selling them to the same people over and over again. We don't have easy options on the shelf and get stuck hoping the next one will last longer.
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Old 15-07-2013, 16:30   #53
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

"As consumers we are screwed because guys like you are not giving Rule the feedback they need to make changes."

Wow you are hard to please!
Don't you think they look at all of the switches that get returned? They don't want to make a product that fails.

In fact a Jabsco / Rule guy was in my office about two weeks ago. I told him I was hearing bad things about their float switches on the internet. He was surprised. He said that the return rate had dropped on their float switches to less than 2%. This occured after they did the redesign to elimanate the mercury switch. The 2% seems to jive with my returns.

There is nothing stopping you from complaining directly to Rule yourself.

Back in the seventies we used to get a lot of returns on Rule float switches. I took apart a number of them back then to see what failed. The design required the wires to flex every time the float went up or down. The wires always broke at the point they flexed.

"The are thrilled to have these things maded in China for peanuts and keep selling them to the same people over and over again."
Actually they are made in Costa Rica.

"We don't have easy options on the shelf and get stuck hoping the next one will last longer."
I admit I only currently have three different brands on my shelves, but there must be dozens of different brands and styles of bilge switches on the market. You've got plenty of choices. If you don't like Rule, buy Johnson, Water Witch, Ultra Safety Systems, Sea Choice, Sea Dog, Whale, or WEMA. That's about all I could come up with off the top of my head but there is more.
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Old 15-07-2013, 17:13   #54
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
"As consumers we are screwed because guys like you are not giving Rule the feedback they need to make changes."

Wow you are hard to please!
Don't you think they look at all of the switches that get returned? They don't want to make a product that fails.
It's not your job to try to please me. But... There is no reason for you to blow smoke up everyone's dress here. You are lying, stupid or both. They know their product is crap... Their attitude is "Try to buy something else." They did a great job marketing their product to supply stores and used as OEM product on new boats. They can afford to sell crap.
The only reason these switches may seem to have happy users is because most users don't use their boats. They don't know if their switches are broken.
These switches cannot be used dependably in a wet environment. They know that. You should know that. More importantly you should not lie to your customers thinking that's how to please them. Someone said you were a stand-up guy... It's time for you to sit down and stay quiet until someone wants to hear more about your first boat.
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Old 13-03-2014, 21:27   #55
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

Hello All,
As Ultra Safety System pumps have been mentioned here, I thought I'd let you know that you should be very careful about their warranty. I had one of the originals that came with a lifetime warranty. As has been mentioned here, the switch is well-made. Mine never went off because I never had that much water in my bilge. However, it did fail after something like 18 years. The company refused to replace it even though I had the original documentation and serial number. "We can't replace switches that are that old" they told me. Not sure what Lifetime warranty means then. Though I like the switch, it did leave a bad taste dealing with this issue.
Cheers,
Bruce
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Old 14-03-2014, 11:41   #56
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

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Originally Posted by bbalan View Post
Hello All,
As Ultra Safety System pumps have been mentioned here, I thought I'd let you know that you should be very careful about their warranty. I had one of the originals that came with a lifetime warranty. As has been mentioned here, the switch is well-made. Mine never went off because I never had that much water in my bilge. However, it did fail after something like 18 years. The company refused to replace it even though I had the original documentation and serial number. "We can't replace switches that are that old" they told me. Not sure what Lifetime warranty means then. Though I like the switch, it did leave a bad taste dealing with this issue.
Cheers,
Bruce
Yeah, they are great switches but that is bunk. I bought some JBL speakers in 1976. They came with a lifetime warranty and I kept the papers. They had to be rebuilt a few years ago. They did it ... no charge! That was like 30 years.
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Old 24-03-2014, 13:44   #57
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

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I went through Rule float switches about every two years though had one fail in a few months. Used a Johnson Controls float switch the last time the Rule gave up. It's going on three years and still working fine.
Had the same issue with Rule switches, two year was about the life limit. The vendor suggested going to the heavy duty model, cost more but still quit after two years on a boat that doesn't see the pump cycle very often.
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Old 24-03-2014, 15:28   #58
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
"As consumers we are screwed because guys like you are not giving Rule the feedback they need to make changes."

Wow you are hard to please!
Don't you think they look at all of the switches that get returned? They don't want to make a product that fails.

In fact a Jabsco / Rule guy was in my office about two weeks ago. I told him I was hearing bad things about their float switches on the internet. He was surprised. He said that the return rate had dropped on their float switches to less than 2%. This occured after they did the redesign to elimanate the mercury switch. The 2% seems to jive with my returns.

There is nothing stopping you from complaining directly to Rule yourself.

Back in the seventies we used to get a lot of returns on Rule float switches. I took apart a number of them back then to see what failed. The design required the wires to flex every time the float went up or down. The wires always broke at the point they flexed.

"The are thrilled to have these things maded in China for peanuts and keep selling them to the same people over and over again."
Actually they are made in Costa Rica.

"We don't have easy options on the shelf and get stuck hoping the next one will last longer."
I admit I only currently have three different brands on my shelves, but there must be dozens of different brands and styles of bilge switches on the market. You've got plenty of choices. If you don't like Rule, buy Johnson, Water Witch, Ultra Safety Systems, Sea Choice, Sea Dog, Whale, or WEMA. That's about all I could come up with off the top of my head but there is more.

Hopcar -
It's useless to continue to try and have a conversation with this guy. Obviously the world is against him and everyone is trying to steel his $$$. He asked, you offered information - he'll figure it out.
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Old 24-03-2014, 16:17   #59
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

Hi Chenega, You're right, I'll let him have the last word on the subject.

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?

Here is what Rule says about their least expensive switch:
"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."
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Old 24-03-2014, 16:31   #60
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Re: Rule Bilge Pump Float Switch Problems

...I don't know. I worked in the marine industry for more than 25 years and the majority of switches were Rule. In my personal boat I I use rule but i do inspect, clean and test weekly during the season. I use backup bilge pump systems as nothing is foolproof in my opinion. I also do everything I can to prevent water intrusion through routine maintenance of stuffing box and seacocks and, generally have a dry bilge.
Your input is always appreciated.
-Cheers
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