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Old 03-11-2008, 20:02   #1
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Water pump messing with electrical....PLEASE HELP!!

Hola sailors!!

I have a Jabsco Par Max 4 water pump on my 30 foot boat, I use it for my water pressure system. The pump is only a year old at the most, but over the last month or so whenever the pump turns on it drags a lot of the battery power. The volt meter jumps from 13 to about 11 or so, and at the same time all the lights go super dim.
This used to only happen when the pump was being used, but now sometimes the pump will just kind of "click" and the lights dim down(and the volt meter drops) they stay like that for about 3-4 seconds and then the pump does another "click" and the lights go back to normal.
I like to think I am very good with my hands and have so far been able to fix most of my boat issues, but I am by no means an electrician.
Does any one have any suggestions? advice? similar experience? Does the problem sound fixable or do I need a new pump?

Thanks in advanced,
Amigo
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Old 03-11-2008, 20:14   #2
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I am not a big fan of Jabsco pumps. They used to make a good product that lasted for years, but not so much any more. The pump is either freezing up or shorting out and whichever it is you need to shut it down and disconnect it. Make sure the connections for the wiring are well connected. Take a look and see if it is still under warranty and if you want to replace it with the same do so as soon as possible. I personally would use a FloJet for the fresh water system.
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Old 03-11-2008, 21:36   #3
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I second Chuck's post.

Steve B.
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Old 03-11-2008, 21:59   #4
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I suspect your problem may be with the pressure switch, check it for heat. Then verify that you have the correct wire sized for the run. Check your wire connections and ensure that the pump circuit is protected with a correctly sized breaker or inline fuse, something should have broke the overload.

Be careful friend, more boats are lost at the dock due to faulty wiring fires.
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Old 03-11-2008, 23:35   #5
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Most likely it is the pump. But check your batteries. If your battteries are getting low or not holding a full charge it can do that as well. Low batteries might not have the kick to run the pump. I would also check for bad connections as bad connections can cause problems like that. It could be a corroded terminal on the battery bank.
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Old 04-11-2008, 00:41   #6
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Which Par-Max 4 pump do you have (there are 3 - 12V models)?
What size wire?
#14 would be adequate for a total of 16 foot cable ( 8 ft. from battery ~ pos. hot + neg. return)
#12 would be adequate for a total of 25 ft. (12.5 Ft from batt.)
#10 for total 50 Ft run (25 Ft from batt.)
Does the pump motor get hot? (motor has thermal overload cutout)
Is the inlet (tank pick-up) restricted, hose kinked?
http://www.jabsco.com/files/0753_31xxx_wps.pdf
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:22   #7
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My first thought when reading your description is similiar to Gordmay's, excessive voltage drop and not necessarily a bad pump. Might be worth wiring it direct to a battery for a few seconds to see if it's in the wiring.
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:07   #8
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Here are the basic steps to perform a Voltage Drop test:

1. Connect your Volt Meter negative lead to the battery's negative post.
2. Connect your Volt Meter positive lead to the battery's positive post and measure its voltage. Record this reading.
3. Connect your Volt Meter positive lead to the positive side of the load being tested, as close to the load as possible.
4. Operate the circuit, and record your measurement.
5. Connect your Volt Meter positive lead to the negative side of the load being tested, as close to the load as possible.
6. Operate the circuit and record your measurement.

If the voltage drop is more than about 0.200V (200mV), the wire or connections should be cleaned or replaced.

Although resistance-free connections, wires and cables would be ideal, most of them will contain at least some Voltage Drop. For 12VDC Circuits, I often use the following as maximum Voltage Drop limits:
* 0.000V across a connection
* 0.200V across a wire or cable
* 0.300V across a switch
* 0.100V at a ground
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:18   #9
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My only thought on the wiring being too small is that apparently the pump has been working for some time without this issue. So either the problem is in the pump itself or the connection somewhere has loosened of corroded, or even shorted. Newer Jabsco pumps are notorious for seizing.
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Old 04-11-2008, 08:04   #10
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Chuck:
It appears, to me, that the Pump always dimmed the lights (excessive Voltage Drop).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amigo
... This used to only happen when the pump was being used, but now sometimes the pump will just kind of "click" and the lights dim down(and the volt meter drops) they stay like that for about 3-4 seconds and then the pump does another "click" and the lights go back to normal ...
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Old 04-11-2008, 23:36   #11
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I can't tell u all how much I appreciate all ur advice and help. I will do a voltage drop test first thing tomorrow, check all my connections and terminals.
Thanks again to every one.
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Old 05-11-2008, 06:04   #12
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Amigo, Don't forget to come back and let us know how things worked out. Too often the question is ask, suggestions given and then we never hear how the problem worked out. It will be very helpful to the next person that has the same issue. Good luck.
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Old 05-11-2008, 06:53   #13
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Amigo,

A wise old automobile mechanic once told me that 90% of electrical problems in an automobile could be cured by simply replacing the battery. I've found that to be true not only in automobiles but in boats as well.

A tired or worn out battery will usually hold a high voltage until a draw in placed on it then the voltage will drop very quickly. A Jabsco water pump should not have a huge draw on your batteries however it could be enough if your battery(s) are in very bad shape.

Before I spent time, energy or money replacing wiring, pump, etc, I would test or have the battery(s) tested. Borrow a battery tester (if you don't have one) or take your fully charged battery(s) to any auto supply place and they will gladly do the test for you. A battery tester simply applies a very large load on the battery and measures how fast it is drawn down ..... whole test only takes a few seconds!

Just my thoughts ...... Good Luck!

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Old 05-11-2008, 07:02   #14
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I go through about 1 Parmax 4 per year. They have a fairly long warranty, so I just carry them into my nearest West Marine (where I bought it) and they give me a new one. They, of course, return it to Jabsco so Jabsco pays for the lack of reliability.

My set up is fairly easy to change out. Didn't use to be but when I found I was replacing them on a regular basis I reconfigured it to make it easy. Two snap in hose connections (Parmax pieces supplied with pumps, 4 screws and a couple of butt crimps.

I own two in case it fails while I am far afield.

I considered using Shurflow but other cruisers I know have similar results with them.

George
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Old 05-11-2008, 13:26   #15
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I will make sure to post my results and findings as I go.
Thanks again to everyone.
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