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Old 19-05-2014, 09:14   #1
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Alarming Questions!

So we have picked up our new boat and I was surprised to see (hear) there are no alarms on the bilge pumps when they are running. Surprised this would conform to CE standards as well. Problem is if there is water entering, we have no way of knowing till it is over the floorboards or worse.
There is a visible light at the panel which comes on when they are running.

So my question is, how to fit an audible alarm to the system? Its a cat, so 2 bilge pumps. Is it best to fit an alarm to each at the pump, or a single alarm inside the electrical panel connected to the switch or LED's somehow?

Also, I would like to have a louder alarm from the Raymarine e125 plotter than the built in beep beep. Is it possible to connect an external alarm?

One other question on bilge pumps, ours runs about 12 inches to a check valve, then T's with the shower waste before being sent overboard. I have noticed when we use the showers (both sides) a small amount of water flows back through the check valve and into the bilge (maybe 1 litre per shower) Is that normal, or should check valves stop ALL water returning? I don't like the system as I prefer keep the bilges bone dry so I can monitor for any leaks. This system is ensuring there will always be some water in the bilge and the bilge pump will have to run occasionally to clear some of that water. The keels have been filled with a small sump space left for the bilge pump which holds approximately 10l of water. The most the pump can evacuate is about 9 litres, leaving a 1cm deep puddle in the sump.

Any thoughts on a fix to any of these items most appreciated !

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Old 19-05-2014, 09:23   #2
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pirate Re: Alarming questions!

Should be fairly simple... just connect the Pos - Neg of the alarm to the corresponding wires on the pump.. when the floats makes the connection that turns on the pump it should kick the alarm on as well.
And.. it'll switch itself off when the pump stops..
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Old 19-05-2014, 09:29   #3
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Re: Alarming questions!

Ideally the bilge pump should go to its own through hull with no restrictions. I am also surprised that a Lagoon 400 doesn't come equipped with a bilge alarm.
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Old 19-05-2014, 18:13   #4
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Re: Alarming questions!

a lot of boats don't even have a light let alone a buzzer.

some have a buzzer for high water. (2nd float switch higher up) more important to know when the pump can't keep up then when it's running)

buzzer could be put on the switch itself. should be on the manual switch wire. this is the same one currently lighting up the led.
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Old 20-05-2014, 00:25   #5
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Re: Alarming questions!

Thanks guys, will look into adding the buzzer/s . As far as the plotter, I dont think an external alarm can be added to the e125 (according to raymarine web site) any ideas welcome though..
As far as the bilge pumps, the only fix I can see is to add another through hull for the shower and separate it from the bilge pump line, or maybe T it into the basin waste?
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Old 25-05-2014, 05:05   #6
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Alarming questions!

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Originally Posted by monte View Post
Thanks guys, will look into adding the buzzer/s . As far as the plotter, I dont think an external alarm can be added to the e125 (according to raymarine web site) any ideas welcome though..
As far as the bilge pumps, the only fix I can see is to add another through hull for the shower and separate it from the bilge pump line, or maybe T it into the basin waste?

You don't want a buzzer! You want an alarm. A buzzer integrates with all the other noises. We are talking a potentially serious situation here.

The sound should be audible but NOT annoying so you can't think and communicate with other crew.

Military vessels are an example that it is possible.

Now a question for the electrical and control system engineers on here........

Where can he buy these?

I think it unlikely that you get an answer and it probably needs a new thread with this specific question.

Any engineers reading??
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Old 25-05-2014, 20:55   #7
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Re: Alarming questions!

Been using these bilge alarm sensors for many years http://aqualarm.net

They built me a very nice small custom panel for my alarms at a very reasonable cost. Oil, water, bilge, fire, water in fuel, etc

Good luck

Chuck
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Old 25-05-2014, 21:48   #8
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Re: Alarming questions!

You want an alarm that is independent of the pump. It should activate if the pumps are not keeping up. Under normal conditions the first pump should turn on the light. You should see that....if not the alarm will wake you up to a problem.
Never intersect a safety system with the shower. Fix that. Its only DC. Use terminal blocks and good wire. Take as long as needed to do the job correctly. If you don't do it yourself you won't know how it works. You will regret it.
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Old 25-05-2014, 22:06   #9
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Re: Alarming questions!

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Originally Posted by IdoraKeeper View Post
You want an alarm that is independent of the pump. It should activate if the pumps are not keeping up. Under normal conditions the first pump should turn on the light. You should see that....if not the alarm will wake you up to a problem.
Never intersect a safety system with the shower. Fix that. Its only DC. Use terminal blocks and good wire. Take as long as needed to do the job correctly. If you don't do it yourself you won't know how it works. You will regret it.
I agree.... Alarm with a "High Water" sensor so that in rough sloppy weather you have a meaningful alarm rather than a mostly empty bilge that cycles on with heavy motion.

Ideally your bilges should be bone dry but reality is that small leaks develop over time and always show when least convenient to fix...(Sods Law).

Indicator light will quietly advise you if pump is cycling in rough weather and there are smart sensors that prohibit false cycles.
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Old 28-05-2014, 14:13   #10
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Re: Alarming questions!

Thanks for the feedback. It seems the simplest method is to have an alarm wired directly as per Phils post. And the best would also to run the bilge pump and shower waste directly outboard with no T's. This should also keep the bilge dry and the alarm will only alert when there is a problem. Sounds good to me. On our last boat the alarm was wired to the pump and it worked well, I knew the bilges were always dry unless someone wasn't too careful in the shower and let the water flow out the door. Id prefer keep the bilge dry and be notified immediately of any water there so I can investigate. Thanks again
PS see you soon for a Port Phil if you are around PT when we sail through...
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Old 28-05-2014, 16:32   #11
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Re: Alarming questions!

The problem with Phil's wiring is that it goes off every time the pump is on. This means you will be hearing that alarm all the time, and it will cease to be an indicator of a problem so much as the boat is operating normally.

Bilge alarms should be wired so that they indicate a problem, not normal operation. Which means they need to be wired to a crash pump (it doesn't sound like you have one) or a second float switch higher in the bilge that alerts when the water gets higher than normally allowed.
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Old 19-06-2014, 04:15   #12
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Re: Alarming questions!

Back in December, when I was in Les Sables there was a couple there who had just purchased a new Lagoon 400 and had a serious issue with the shower releasing water into the bilge and without a bilge pump alarm had significant flooding that they didn't notice until they happened to pick up the floor boards. Definitely surprising there isn't a bilge alarm. Like you I keep mine bone dry and the only time my alarm has gone off it led me to a slight leak at a fresh water faucet connection. Let me know if you want me to connect you with them to see what they ultimately ended up doing.
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Old 19-06-2014, 04:30   #13
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Re: Alarming questions!

BTE=Stumble;1551894]The problem with Phil's wiring is that it goes off every time the pump is on. This means you will be hearing that alarm all the time, and it will cease to be an indicator of a problem so much as the boat is operating normally.

Bilge alarms should be wired so that they indicate a problem, not normal operation. Which means they need to be wired to a crash pump (it doesn't sound like you have one) or a second float switch higher in the bilge that alerts when the water gets higher than normally allowed.[/QUOTE]

IMO normal operation is to be off (the bilge pump). When it runs indicates a problem. We aren't talking about wooden boat with allmost everything except the head draining in the pilge.
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Old 19-06-2014, 04:34   #14
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Re: Alarming Questions!

If your bilge pump is going off all the time I consider that to be a problem worthy of an alarm. I have an alarm that goes of whenever my bilge pump is activated and it has only gone off twice since I bought it in November, both times I'm glad it did. Both my bilges are completely dry and if water comes in I want to know.

To each his own I guess, as long as there is some sort of alarm that will be triggered at the level of notification you prefer.
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Old 19-06-2014, 05:34   #15
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Re: Alarming Questions!

The 410 Lagoon has a "T" at the sink drain for the showers with individual shutoff valves to each, not into the bilge area. I had to add air breaks (back flow preventer's) do to the issue of flooding the shower pan on both sides that was mentioned.
The problem is the condensate from the salon A/C unit also goes to the bilge so there is a minor flow of water to it which would cause the alarm to trip off when running. I plan on running an external drain right at the A/C unit.

A high water pump with alarm is the way to go. Mounting it is a challenge but doable.

Steve in Solomons MD
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