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Old 14-03-2015, 18:35   #1
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Bilge Pump switch and alarm failure

The other day while motoring up the East Oz coast an alarm goes off.
Just an electronic alarm mounted somewhere between the Fly Bridge and Saloon (Exact location not found yet). Any way after running around looking at control panel and into both bilges the alarm just stops. Both bilges are dry and no water evident. Carry on for another 6 hours, that night at anchor I can here a very faint sound it turns out that Starboard Auto bilge Pump is still running and is very hot ( probably did not like running dry for over 6 hours.)
It appears that
a: Whale 9006 level switch is faulty on all the time.
b: The electronic alarm has failed (That was why the alarm stopped but pump did not)

Two questions
1: Has any body had this sort of problem and what did they replace the switch with. Same or something better this one is less than 2 years old.

2: Would not some sort of visual indication also be of use as well, eg light or something. Any body done something along these lines.
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Old 14-03-2015, 19:52   #2
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Re: Bilge Pump switch and alarm failure

On my 400 both bilge pump switches have failed twice.
My boat is a 2013 and I have had it for 10 months.
No problem getting replacements, lagoon has been great with all my problems.


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Old 14-03-2015, 21:03   #3
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Re: Bilge Pump switch and alarm failure

Scottster are you saying you have had 4 (Four) Whale auto bilge pump switches fail in 10 months.
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Old 14-03-2015, 21:29   #4
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Re: Bilge Pump switch and alarm failure

I am 66 and been on the water since I was 7. Small boat yacht type bilge pumps and float switches have become very short life and unreliable in that time. I assume some of that comes from moving manufacturing to places with cheap labor.
I have yet to have a bilge pump or shower sump with a built in switch go 2 years. Usually the switch fails 1st. This boat has 5 wt bulkheads and 6 bilge areas. While a wood hull, it has a copper bottom and almost zero seepage - water is from changing filters or wash downs. Now I buy commercial.
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Old 15-03-2015, 04:26   #5
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Bilge Pump switch and alarm failure

Hi PaulinOz,

Yes!! I have had significant trouble with false alarms and here is what I did and fixed (at the time 2 year old L450);

# both floated switches - which are by electric contact- failed due to fairly wet bilges. I bought the best switches I could find online and replaced.

# both warning buzzers had or were about to fail and shorted, they are hidden behind the port engine start controls in the flybridge and that was the only access I could get and replace.

# even after fixing all that I got the odd false warning. Label the circuit breaker to cut it if you have to. This is in the starboard aft cabin electrical locker.

# what has worker is I pulled all shower heads nearly fully out and sealed the hole that the cord runs through to the bilges and clipped the cord out of the way with a 3M clip. Now fully dry bilges and no further problems to date!

Cheers
Dave

PS I had 3 whale gulper pumps fail, the plastic worm drive fails. Batch problem. They gave me 4 free replacements out of the 6 I have onboard.

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Old 15-03-2015, 09:03   #6
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Re: Bilge Pump switch and alarm failure

Yes, mine too; switch failure, Rule pump failures and false alarms - there is a long history of these failures. And while my agent/Lagoon have been good about replacing it I believe it will just go on, past warranty, as its simply inferior equipment. As this is mission critical equipment, I have replaced the Rule and float switches for Jabsco 68800 diaphragm pumps connected to UltraSafeSystems float switches/alarms. Now I sleep soundly.


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Old 15-03-2015, 10:11   #7
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Re: Bilge Pump switch and alarm failure

My favorite cruiser's bar has a Wall of Shame. There are so many float switches, mechanical and electric, that the bar isn't accepting any more contributions. As long as we cruisers keep rewarding the manufacturers of lousy equipment by buying more of the same, the wall will continue to overflow. BTW, there are no float switches on the Wall of Fame yet, so I'm looking forward to answers.
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Old 15-03-2015, 12:24   #8
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Re: Bilge Pump switch and alarm failure

For the record only 3 failures, Lagoon sent a pair the last time when one was requested.
My plan is to replace the entire system with another manufacturer.
My guess is the reason they sent me an extra one was they knew I was going to need it.
Bilge pumps are kind of important, and my new system will have a back up and an alarm.
I don't want to rush into anything so I will take my time and make something work that will allow me to sleep soundly when I sail off on my trip.



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Old 15-03-2015, 18:48   #9
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Re: Bilge Pump switch and alarm failure

A couple of things we did on our new L400.

Problems
There were no bilge pump alarms
The pump switch is activated by a water sensor, not a float
The shower waste goes to a manifold that is connected to the bilge pump as well and also has a non return valve inline
The problem is some water can flow through the non return valve into the bilge when using the shower. This soapy water can film over the sensor and stop it sensing correctly.
Also I like clean dry bilges so if there is ever any water I can diagnose where it has come from quickly.

Resolution
Fit bilge pump alarms directly to sensor
Remove manifold and run shower wastes directly to additional dedicated through hull

Cost
About $100

Outcome
Dry bilges
Reliable system so far

The other day the water heater pressure release valve released some water. It's the second time it's done it. Maybe 5l of water. It happened around about the same time our water tanks ran dry so maybe something to do with that, but the point is I was able to notice and find the problem within 5 mins, which wouldn't have happened if the original system was in place. Also met a L450 owner that had his alarms going off shortly after showers. I assumed it was a similar system but Dave are you saying the water is somehow following the shower head hose from the shower down into the bilge because it's not sealed correctly?
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Old 16-03-2015, 11:58   #10
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Re: Bilge Pump switch and alarm failure

The problem with this sensor is not oil or soap film it is actually dusty. To my knowledge it has only operated twice when I tipped a bucket of water in the bilge to test it. It is less than 2 years old.

I can detect a slight discoloration of the wires where they enter the unit through the potting compound, also the plastic under the label appears to be bulging and irregular. My best guess it has cooked itself sitting waiting to do something. Remember these electronic sensors use a small amount of current all the time.
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