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Old 30-04-2014, 15:00   #1
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Thumbs up Need a Little Help with Bilge Alarm Wiring. Thank you!

Hello fellow sailors, it's a pleasure to be part of this group and I thank you in advance for your help and patience. So I'm attempting to install a high water bilge alarm with a water witch 101 float switch. I'm rather novice when it comes to electrical systems but I'm studying my Nigel Calder books and trying to learn as best I can. I'm struggling to understand the wiring on this particular project and like most things I'm probably trying to over think it...

The water witch has a red, black, and white wire. The bilge alarm has a white, red, green, and orange wire. The instructions on the alarm say to connect red to positive and white to negative which makes complete sense. It then goes on to say to connect the orange & green wire to the float switch but it doesn't specify WHICH wires and after an hour of google searches I'm thoroughly confused. Can someone please explain in relatively laymen terms on how exactly I'm supposed to wire this?? The alarm does not have a bilge pump on/off switch its just an alarm. Please let me know if there is anything I can be more specific about and once again thank you SO MUCH for your time and advice... May the wind always fill your sails

~Scotty.
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Old 30-04-2014, 16:21   #2
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Re: Need a little help with bilge alarm wiring. Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor Scotty View Post

The water witch has a red, black, and white wire. The bilge alarm has a white, red, green, and orange wire. The instructions on the alarm say to connect red to positive and white to negative which makes complete sense. It then goes on to say to connect the orange & green wire to the float switch but it doesn't specify WHICH wires and after an hour of google searches I'm thoroughly confused. Can someone please explain in relatively laymen terms on how exactly I'm supposed to wire this?? The alarm does not have a bilge pump on/off switch its just an alarm. Please let me know if there is anything I can be more specific about and once again thank you SO MUCH for your time and advice... May the wind always fill your sails

~Scotty.
You are connecting your alarm to the Water Witch in place of a pump. I can not read the drawing in your photo, but connect the alarm orange and green to the WW using the wires it shows as a "pump".
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Old 30-04-2014, 17:36   #3
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Re: Need a little help with bilge alarm wiring. Thank you!

OK, I had typed a long explanation but zoomed in to your photo and I think your switch will not work with your alarm.

The diagram for the alarm shows you need a simple switch between the orange and green wires. A float switch is just that, a simple switch that connects the in and out wires together.

The switch you have is a power output. When water activates the switch is sends 12V to the white wire.

You can make this work by wiring it a different way. Connect the green and orange wires together permanently, connect the white wire from the switch to the red wire on the alarm and the white on the alarm to negative as normal.

Then when the switch senses water it sends power to the alarm. Since the alarm is wired permanently on (orange and green connected) as soon as the switch sends 12V to the red wire the alarm comes on.
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Old 30-04-2014, 18:20   #4
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Re: Need a little help with bilge alarm wiring. Thank you!

Thank you so much. I'm doing my best to understand. Before I posted this thread I called Water Witch technical support and their tech Tony, did say this switch would work with any alarm. Although he was very hesitant to discuss wiring as he said different manufactures use different color wires... The only downside to the WW 101 float switch compared to the WW high water switch is that the 101 requires 8 seconds of submersion to activate and and additional 14 seconds to stop the pump or alarm. The WW high water switch activates in 4 seconds and shuts off immediately after the water lowers... I'm still struggling to figure out how to wire it correctly so the alarm activates. I've tried several different mach-ups and get the alarm to power up. I've then dropped the WW into a cup of water and after 9 seconds I can hear it click. So... I think I'm on the right track but I'm still unsure of what wire goes where
Thank you again for your time & advice. I truly appreciate it!!!
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Old 30-04-2014, 19:08   #5
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Re: Need a little help with bilge alarm wiring. Thank you!

The best setup is to use two pumps, a small working pump at the lowest point of the bilge, and a larger, high-capacity pump no more than six inches higher. Wire the system so that anytime the higher pump is activated, the alarm runs continuously.
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Old 30-04-2014, 19:58   #6
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Re: Need a little help with bilge alarm wiring. Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor Scotty View Post
Thank you so much. I'm doing my best to understand. Before I posted this thread I called Water Witch technical support and their tech Tony, did say this switch would work with any alarm. Although he was very hesitant to discuss wiring as he said different manufactures use different color wires... The only downside to the WW 101 float switch compared to the WW high water switch is that the 101 requires 8 seconds of submersion to activate and and additional 14 seconds to stop the pump or alarm. The WW high water switch activates in 4 seconds and shuts off immediately after the water lowers... I'm still struggling to figure out how to wire it correctly so the alarm activates. I've tried several different mach-ups and get the alarm to power up. I've then dropped the WW into a cup of water and after 9 seconds I can hear it click. So... I think I'm on the right track but I'm still unsure of what wire goes where
Thank you again for your time & advice. I truly appreciate it!!!
First, Bash offers good advise but I will try to answer your original question.

Water Witch

1. Red Wire - connect this to 12V positive, the red wire from the battery
2. Black Wire - connect this to ground or the negative terminal, the black wire that originates from the battery.
3. White Wire - connect this to the red wire on the alarm.

Alarm
1. Red Wire - is connected to the white wire from the Water Witch
2. White Wire - connect to ground or the negative terminal, the black wire that originates from the battery.
3. Orange Wire and Green Wire - connect together.

This is a work around because the Water Witch does not work the same way as a float switch. The Water Witch sends 12V to the white wire when it senses water. A float switch closes a circuit when it sense water. That means the wire coming in and the wire going out become connected to each other when there is water. When there is no water the wire in and the wire out are not connected.
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Old 30-04-2014, 20:06   #7
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Re: Need a little help with bilge alarm wiring. Thank you!

I totally agree but given my current setup & boat, a 1974 Columbia 34 MKII, I would really like to have an independent bilge alarm. The water witch is awesome in the fact that its solid state, has no moving parts, and can't get clogged with oil & debris like conventional float switches.

My current system starts with a Whale super sub 650 auto in the lowest part of the bilge. I have this wired directly to the battery bank bypassing all of the distribution panels. love the thing but just had to install another after 2 1/2 years of solid reliable use. The old one seemed to be having sensor/switch issues. I then I have a fully auto Rule 750 about 3 inches above the whale. The only reason I realized the whale wasn't working correctly was by the very different sound the rule pump makes. After that I have a jabsco diaphragm pump with a sea strainer in the lowest part of the bilge which is just under the companion way steps forward of the motor. Last line if defense is the manual whale bulkhead mount I have installed behind the helm...

I'm making arrangements to get a lift at the yard as soon as I can but I've been having some problems with the packing gland as well as a sneaky little leak at the coupling on the prop shaft. I live aboard and absolutely love my boat. I'm just trying to go the extra mile and have take care of her as much as I can. As much as I'm aware of how much time, money, and care that I put into her, she cares for me tenfold. I love living on the water.

Anyway, enough of that rambling sailing hopeless romantic stuff. Haha!!


So how in the hell do I wire this thing??

Thanks again my new friends!

~~_/)_~~
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Old 30-04-2014, 20:09   #8
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Thumbs up Re: Need a little help with bilge alarm wiring. Thank you!

I need to buy Skipmac a beer

Thank you so much fine Sir!! You have provided me with information that even Google seems to lack... May the wind always fill your sails!!
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Old 01-05-2014, 02:55   #9
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Re: Need a little help with bilge alarm wiring. Thank you!

Hi Sailor Scotty,
you said, "The water witch has a red, black, and white wire" - not so.
It has red(batt+), black(batt-) and brown(to pump+).

The alarm panel has red(+), white(-) orange(sw) and green(sw).

Skipmac's solution is, as he explained, a workaround in that the buzzer will sound when water is sensed.
Bear in mind though that the red & green led's on the panel won't light until the Water Witch senses water, at which time both led's will light.
The alarm panel's fuse is also redundant where it is.

The Water Witch red(batt+) is where a fuse needs to be. You could rewire the panel but it's more complicated.

Personally I'd use a normal float switch with the alarm panel and use the Water Witch with a pump.

Water Witch quiescent current is 4mA, about the same as the green led on the alarm which would be always on using a float switch.

Thanks for posting your question - I hadn't been aware of the Water Witch but it looks like a good choice - for a pump!
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Old 01-05-2014, 08:19   #10
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Re: Need a little help with bilge alarm wiring. Thank you!

I would go along with bornyesterday's suggestion. Use the water witch for a bilge pump and get a regular bilge pump switch for the high water alarm.

Since this switch will not normally be exposed to bilge water and all the junk that goes along with it a standard float type switch should be a safe reliable solution. However, since this is the high water alarm and one would want that to be bulletproof then you might want to go with something better than your plain, vanilla, Rule float switch. Something like one of these TEF-GEL - Ultra safety systems - Home page
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