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Old 03-10-2011, 05:56   #1
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Bilge Pump Doesn't Turn Off

It's a new bilge pump, only put in a couple of weeks ago. Apparently coincidentally, it started not turning off while I was dealing with a grounding (which didn't turn out too well -- my rudder is now HORIZONTAL).

Anyway, my ice cooler drains into the bilge. It gets to a certain depth, and then automatically comes on and pumps the melted ice out. But now it doesn't turn off. To turn it off you have to open the bilge, and pull the pump out for about 15 seconds. Then when you replace it in the small amount of remaining water, it doesn't kick back on.

A friend suggested raising it up an inch, but I think that would just result in more water accumulating in the bilge before it acted in the same way.

The pump appears to be wired directly to the battery. Turn of the main DC circuit breaker and it keeps running. Turn off the circuit breaker labeled "bilge pump" and it keeps running.
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:18   #2
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Re: Bilge pump doesn't turn off.

Sounds like a finicky switch. Try pulling the end with the slots for water off and see if you can find anything that might make it stick in on position. Maybe something got in there during your grounding.

Bilge pumps are frequently wired direct to battery so that they will run when needed regardless of main switch position.
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:21   #3
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Re: Bilge pump doesn't turn off.

Bad float switch, or the small amount of water that remains in the bildge when the pump starts pumping air is too high for the switch to get to the off level!

If the first need to replace the switch
If second raising the pump up a little wouldn't change the level that the float sees and you need a different type of switch
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:31   #4
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Re: Bilge pump doesn't turn off.

If it is one of rhe newer "Automatic" pumps, it works by sensing the pump motor load (Amp draw), It will run for 2 .5 min after the load dissapates. (Water gone)

What pump do you have and is there an external switch?
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:40   #5
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Re: Bilge pump doesn't turn off.

woops, correction. It will run for 1 second "every 2.5 min" and sense the load. If no load it will turn off then do it again every 2.5 min. Do you have a foot valve? sometimes known as a non return valve?
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:53   #6
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Re: Bilge Pump Doesn't Turn Off

What is the make and model of the pump and switch? There are so many variations of pumps and switches there's no point in guessing.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:59   #7
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Re: Bilge Pump Doesn't Turn Off

occasionally i have to reset my rule fully automatic pump at the breaker as it remains on after water gone.
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:18   #8
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Re: Bilge Pump Doesn't Turn Off

I am assuming that the pump has an unaccessable internal float switch. If this is the case, and you say it's new, take it back to the place where you purchased it and they will replace the unit.
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:37   #9
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Re: Bilge Pump Doesn't Turn Off

Ever since the mercury tilt switches were banned and discontinued they have been replaced by several different systems. The magnetic switch which is often internal on some pumps is prone to hanging up, which requires a tap on the pump to drop the switch magnet. I find these very unreliable. I would love to see the return of the mercury switches which lasted forever and were very reliable.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:42   #10
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Re: Bilge Pump Doesn't Turn Off

I had the same situation with an internal float pump. Turned out that tie wrap which had been wound in and out of the strainer grooves to secure the pump to the rod which kept it to the bottom was preventing the internal float from flipping down when the water was gone.
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