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Old 05-05-2019, 09:24   #1
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Basic Bilge Pump Wire Conversion Question

In the rear most bilge of our vessel there is an original bilge pump that is controlled by a switch on our helm. Turn it on, bilge comes on. Turn it off, pump goes off. There is a float switch in there but I believe it to be dead since when the switch is on and no water is left to pump, the pump stays on.


Id like to replace the pump with a newer Rule auto water sensing pump which only has two wires. Assume the current pump and switch set up has three.


Any idea on best way to wire? This way I can leave that bilge pump switch on all the time and the pump will just do its thing. My confusion comes with the wiring and how to do this so that when I shut the batteries off, the pump still will work.


FWIW I have a smaller one of these on my forward bilge that is wired directly to pos/neg and its worked fantastic. Thank you!
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Old 05-05-2019, 10:52   #2
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Re: Basic Bilge Pump Wire Conversion Question

So the pump turns on when you turn on the manual bilge pump switch? Congrats. It’s working.

Now leave the manual switch off and go lift the float switch and see if the auto feed works.


An auto sensing pump should have 3 wires.
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Old 05-05-2019, 14:10   #3
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Re: Basic Bilge Pump Wire Conversion Question

Those rule speed sensing bilge pumps may not be the best pump to have.
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Old 05-05-2019, 17:53   #4
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Re: Basic Bilge Pump Wire Conversion Question

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Those rule speed sensing bilge pumps may not be the best pump to have.

why is that? interested to hear your opinion/thoughts. I have has a smaller 500GPM in the aft bilge of my whaler. Set it and forget it, as the say. Disconnect the negative wire in the winter, that all she wrote.


My goal is to get away from float siwtches all together. They fail, get clogged up with bilge junk and are ONE more thing to fail in my experience. Im curious as to your thoughts for sure.
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Old 05-05-2019, 18:16   #5
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Re: Basic Bilge Pump Wire Conversion Question

My understanding is that they break and or donít last, assumption is with the electronics.
I believe they work by coming on at a set interval, if resistance is felt then they continue to run until the load drops, signaling no more water.
I donít know how often they come on, if say itís every fifteen minutes and you get a big leak just after itís run, then I guess itís going to leak for 15 min before the pump runs again?

A good big simple bilge pump with a good switch, I like Ultra switches, but there are other switches that are good too, some sense pressure like a washing machine water level sensor, is apparently the most reliable set up.
I guess since mercury is no longer used, there isnít a good lever float switch anymore.
I like having a second pump, with a second switch set higher that should never come on, with an alarm also connected in line with the pump, so that if the water level rises high enough to turn the second pump on, it also alarms.
But then I have a bilge that is likely at least three feet deep too.
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Old 05-05-2019, 18:19   #6
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Re: Basic Bilge Pump Wire Conversion Question

The problem with say a factory boat bilge pump set up, isnít the pump usually, itís the cheap switch.
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Old 05-05-2019, 18:46   #7
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Re: Basic Bilge Pump Wire Conversion Question

I dislike our auto-sensing pump, it kicks in about every minute and I can't stand the noise. They fail as much as the float switch fails in my experience.
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:54   #8
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Re: Basic Bilge Pump Wire Conversion Question

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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
So the pump turns on when you turn on the manual bilge pump switch? Congrats. It’s working.

Now leave the manual switch off and go lift the float switch and see if the auto feed works.

An auto sensing pump should have 3 wires.



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Old 06-05-2019, 06:10   #9
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Basic Bilge Pump Wire Conversion Question

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Originally Posted by Privleoplag View Post
I dislike our auto-sensing pump, it kicks in about every minute and I can't stand the noise. They fail as much as the float switch fails in my experience.


How do you know the auto sensing pump has failed?
Is there a way to test it?
I have no experience with one, just heard a lot of complaints
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:09   #10
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Re: Basic Bilge Pump Wire Conversion Question

I'm with SMAC. Before you replace anything, test the float switch in place. Some are wired to constantly have power.


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Old 06-05-2019, 22:01   #11
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Re: Basic Bilge Pump Wire Conversion Question

I have replaced the Rule that has the automatic switch inside the pump twice in 4 years.It still works on the manual switch and I plan to install an external float switch switch now. I had one of the rule float switches on my previous boat fail when I developed a leak and did not notice till the floorboards were floating. Not impressed.
I wish we still had mercury switches available.
As mentioned above maybe the pressure type would be better.
Like having it in the bilge when I go away for the winter.
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Old 06-05-2019, 22:22   #12
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Re: Basic Bilge Pump Wire Conversion Question

I bought one of those rule sensing pumps 10 or 12 years ago and they just did not hold up at all I will not go back.. I'm using a water witch sensing unit no four of them board my catamaran, it's been about 5 years now and they are beautiful I also use 4000 gallon per hour pumps, one rule one Johnson and two sea flows I believe all of them are doing well
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Old 07-05-2019, 09:51   #13
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Re: Basic Bilge Pump Wire Conversion Question

well did some digging in the bilge of the current set up. After getting rif of all the water and junk and debris....and figuring out I could pull a lower drain plug to really drain the dam thing all the way, I traced the float switch wires back through a bunch of stuff, and they were just cut off!...however I also pulled the float switch and it was absolutely original to the boat (2003) and totally destroyed. my guess is it stopped working, previous owner was lazy and snipped the wires and just decided it was ok to have it on manual.


Ill still plan to see what the Rule 2000 does and if it works well. Like I said I have had good luck. This pump senses for water every min for a micro second. since its not a live aboard I believe the pump noise wont be an issue
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Old 07-05-2019, 11:09   #14
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Re: Basic Bilge Pump Wire Conversion Question

Rule also makes a 2000gph solid state switch pump. Only comes in when water rises. Think about how much service those auto pumps do when they comes on every min every day even if just for a second, thatís 24 min run time per day @ 1 sec, or 146 hours a year.
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