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Old 19-12-2011, 13:31   #1
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Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

Just had a call from a friend who is sailing a small yacht round the Americas. He is approaching Cape Horn as I write .www.sailingtheamericas.org
His boat is only 27' and often takes water aboard. The problem is his last electric bilge pump just quit on him. He has a manual of course but the electric one has been earning it's keep in recent weeks and if we can get it up and running again Great!
He has 12v at the pump. No blockage, any suggestions to other checks he cld try assuming the motor isn't fried???? Thank you ...
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Old 19-12-2011, 13:40   #2
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Re: Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

Put an ohm meter between the + - on the pump and report the results
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Old 19-12-2011, 14:08   #3
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Re: Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

Might want to try wiring it into the battery direct, but with different wiring. If it goes then you know where the fault is......I would start at each end and any other connections (clean connectors and refasten).
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Old 19-12-2011, 18:28   #4
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Re: Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

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Put an ohm meter between the + - on the pump and report the results
Will do Thanks....hes calling tomorrow morning. He just told me it is a Rule automatic with a built in float....doesn't sound too promising as he also said it was making a noise a couple of days ago..
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Old 19-12-2011, 18:58   #5
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Re: Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

After making sure it's actually getting power....

I would suggest tearing into it... if it doesn't work now, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Might be as simple as a bad float switch..... or, since it's making a noise, maybe a small piece of plastic is lodged in the impeller.
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Old 20-12-2011, 04:33   #6
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Re: Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

My experience with Rule is that the float switch fails and the pump is still good. I don't know how to fix one, so I always kept a spare switch.

p.s. tried your link, Simon, but it didn't work. I think the correct one is http://www.solotheamericas.org/
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Old 20-12-2011, 05:47   #7
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Re: Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

in an emergency teeing into the salt water intake on the engine works well .
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Old 20-12-2011, 06:02   #8
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Re: Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

Whether or not he can get it going again, and especially where he is going!, I would want another pump onboard - for the back of the mind comfort factor if nothing else.

and maybe an extra bucket
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Old 20-12-2011, 06:06   #9
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Re: Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

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Whether or not he can get it going again, and especially where he is going!, I would want another pump onboard - for the back of the mind comfort factor if nothing else.

and maybe an extra bucket
Oops!, just clicked on the website - he's going non-stop, so that advice not exactly helpful!
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Old 23-12-2011, 12:59   #10
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Re: Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

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My experience with Rule is that the float switch fails and the pump is still good. I don't know how to fix one, so I always kept a spare switch.

p.s. tried your link, Simon, but it didn't work. I think the correct one is Solo Around the America's Under Sail | An audacious attempt at sailing the Northwest Passage and circumnavigating entirety of both continents, to benefit Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating
Sorry for posting the wrong link there....
Bilge pump is a bust but he has jury rigged a second manual pump down below. he has been getting some big seas sweeping the decks and finding it's way below so there is a lot of pumping going on....
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Old 23-12-2011, 13:04   #11
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Re: Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

That's only going to get worse as he nears Cape Horn. Hope he can keep up with it. Can he put in to a port for repairs, or is this a "non-stop" trip?
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Old 23-12-2011, 13:10   #12
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Re: Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

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Sorry for posting the wrong link there....
Bilge pump is a bust but he has jury rigged a second manual pump down below. he has been getting some big seas sweeping the decks and finding it's way below so there is a lot of pumping going on....
I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but given where he is going (now and later) perhaps the prudent thing to do would be to go ashore and get a replacement bilge pump......and stuff the "record" (is it a record?). 1 stop / no stop - still an epic voyage.
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Old 23-12-2011, 14:46   #13
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Re: Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

The rule automatic bilge pumps have a clever bit of electronics that spin the pump periodically. If the pump meets resistance there is water and it will keep pumping if not it stops.
It is possible the electronics have failed, but the pump is fine.

I have never dismantled one, but it is a simple electrical motor. If he can break into the casing and find the wires that lead to the pump motor (they will be the thicker wires probably coloured red and black) connecting up 12v to these wires will make the pump run. He will loose the automatic shut off, but the pump will probably work if 12v is connected to these terminals
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Old 23-12-2011, 14:57   #14
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Re: Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

I don't see it being any more than a major inconvenience really. It's a small boat with a manual pump and the 12v was a very desirable piece of equipment, but not enough to interupt the voyage for. IMO
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Old 23-12-2011, 14:58   #15
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Re: Need some help/suggestions for a friend at sea

That was the last thing he tried, this morning so we figured the motor was fried.
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