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Old 25-05-2017, 17:01   #1
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Bilge Pump/switch gremlins

Hello,

I was following the recent discussion about bilge pumps but I seem to be having a different problem. I have a 3 way system (manual and automatic) with a bilge counter and with a float switch that is positioned roughly 1/2 way up my bilge. My problem is two fold.

1st and most importantly I've noticed that my pump will cycle extremely frequently (I've seen hundreds of counts in a day or two).

2ndly and even more concerning when I got on the boat today the secondary backup bilge pump was running and the float switch was completely submerged!! This is a new rule-a-magic switch. When I moved it up and down the primary pump kicked on and I was able to empty the bilge. I left the boat and came back 4 hours later and again happened upon the secondary pump running and exactly the same situation (I was able to get the primary float switch/pump to engage by manually moving the float switch up/down.

Ok... for the 1st problem I am no thinking that the issue is that the float switch is just not running the pump long enough. I angled it down (so that it kicks on sooner) and this seems to help but I still see that the level only goes down about an inch an a half before the pump kicks off. most troubling is that fact that the float switch does not disengage the pump at the bottom of its throw. It seems to me there should be an adjustment for this but after reading the manual for the switch and watching a few videos this does not seem to be the case.

Regarding #2 - other than replacing the float switch for the 2nd time I have no idea why it did not kick on once completely under water and would very much appreciate any thoughts or suggestions!

Thanks!!!!
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Old 25-05-2017, 18:07   #2
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Re: Bilge Pump/switch gremlins

First thing is to figure out where all the water is coming from and shut it off.

Then find why the switch doesn't work. Most common problem is not the switch but the wiring.
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Old 26-05-2017, 04:29   #3
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Re: Bilge Pump/switch gremlins

I actually believe the water is coming from the 3 different AC units (condensation) but I'm amazed that it could be that much! I shut them all off this morning and will wait to see if that fixes the problem. Still wish there were a way to get the pump to drain the bilge more than an inch (so that it doesn't run so frequently).
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Old 26-05-2017, 08:30   #4
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Re: Bilge Pump/switch gremlins

When you manually run (via switch panel) the bottom most pump what is the depth of the water when it has pushed out all it will push?
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Old 26-05-2017, 10:51   #5
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Re: Bilge Pump/switch gremlins

Thanks for the query. If I run the manual pump I can get the water all the way down to less than an inch above the bottom (3 more inches at least than the float switch can do).

That said I think I now know where the water is coming from... thank you for the suggestion to look for it. I've been assuming it was the AC units so I had them off for several hours and this time when I got on the boat the problem was clearly still occurring (pump running ever 3 minutes or so) I started looking and because the AC was off I was able to hear water running when I opened the engine compartment.... the VERY strange thing is that it sounded like it was running thru the hoses of the emergency hand bilge pump! So, I cycled the manual hand pump several times and voila no more water! So now the obvious question is how/why is this happening?? Presumably the outlet for this pump is above the waterline (I will have to locate it). So how could water be getting into it??

I'm still stumped but a least I know how to stop it!
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Old 26-05-2017, 13:09   #6
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Bilge Pump/switch gremlins

There is no siphon break in the manual bilge pump outlet hose. This is a major finding and must be fixed ASAP.

The outlet of the pump must rise up well above the water line and at the highest point a siphon break installed. Then the hose can continue down to the overboard outlet which should be above the water line when not heeled.
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Old 26-05-2017, 13:11   #7
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Re: Bilge Pump/switch gremlins

There are time delay devices that will let the pump run after the switch tries to turn the pump off. This should fix your other problem. Also I would install a better switch than a Rule floppy type. Check out Aqualarm or other higher end switches.
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