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Old 16-01-2007, 20:50   #31
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I have five bilge compartments. The forward are small and have a 500GPM in each. The mainengine room has a hughe bilge volume and all the through hulls are located there. So I have an 1100GPM as the main pump and a 3500GPM as a backup. The 3500 can also be used as a deckwash pump as it has a Y valve connecting it to either a through hull or bilge. I have a controll panel that shows each bilge compartment and has two LED's and a three position switch for each compartment. The switch controls the pump for that bilge from Auto/Off/Manual. A green LED iluminates when the pump is active and there is a Red LED that activates for a highwater alarm. I have no audible alarm on the high water. I sometimes think I should as I have caught a high water once. My float swtich failed and the pump didn't come on. When I noticed it, the water level had already gone over the starter motor. That would be approaching 100cubic ft of water by that stage in that bilge area. Took awhile for the 1100 to move it all.
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Old 17-01-2007, 01:25   #32
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Something I haven't noticed mentioned yet is an hour meter for an automatic pump. A minor leak from something like a cracked hose that has a small enough flow that the batteries aren't drained when you come back to the boat could go on without you noticing until complete failure which sinks the boat when the batteries die. With the hour meter each time you go to the boat you can see if the pump has been running more than normal, and then become aware of the problem before it is catastrophic. I believe that tidbit came from Pascoe.



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Old 17-01-2007, 03:18   #33
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OK, an honest answer, please - How many people have so much stuff stuffed into there bilge that it would clog there pump quickly?

Remedy?
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Old 17-01-2007, 09:06   #34
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Originally Posted by Lynx
OK, an honest answer, please - How many people have so much stuff stuffed into their bilge that it would clog their pump quickly?

Remedy?
I was helping a friend on his Morgan OI 41 by rebuilding his manual diaphragm pump. On the third time I had it apart after testing it each time and having it fail with a cut tyrap lodged in the valve I started cleaning out his bilge. There was a another 10-20 cut off tyraps, pieces of wood small enough to enter the intake and a lot of other junk. He also had no strum box. So I guess the remedy in his case was find a friend dumb enough to clean his bilge for him.


Some weeks later he caught me putting water in my bilge as I do every few months to test the pumps and asked me why I was doing that. I was a little surprised by his question after his pump failure experience.

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Old 17-01-2007, 11:36   #35
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Remedy?
Simple, keep the bilge clean. I vacum mine where I can to ensure even dust build up is even out. I have had a situation of a float switch accumulating dust and dirt and sawdust and what no under it and then the float did not fully drop and the pump remained on even thought he bilge had pumped dry. so the pump was running for days pumping nothing. Many of the larger pumps need the water to keep them cool. So I wa lucky it was a small one. Plus i was lucky it was in the marina connected to shore power.
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Old 17-01-2007, 13:21   #36
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Originally Posted by Lynx
OK, an honest answer, please - How many people have so much stuff stuffed into there bilge that it would clog there pump quickly?
Honestly?.........I keep nothing in their that would do this.


My Father used to have a wooden boat which he kept in immaculate condition. To do so he put in hours and hours of work. But he enjoyed it, so it wasn't called "work". Unsurprisingly he was a very familiar face around the harbour, including to those he only nodded to 2 or 3 times a year.

One day he encountered one of these twice yearly "Nodding Aqaintences" who asked him "do you think you will ever fix the leak?"...........the Old Man was puzzled.........seems that over a number of years he was always seen to have his head in the bilges often with a bucket and was presumed to be mopping up a leak.............the truth was - he was dusting the bilges .........water in the bilges??? he was mortified at the thought .

Unfortunately I never inherited his "attention to detail" on boats.
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Old 23-01-2007, 10:50   #37
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I had false starts with contaminants in the water. Upon initial installation the pump started and ran as it was supposed to, but it did not shut off.

I figured that there may be something in the water that faked it out. I poured some concentrated bilge cleaner in, added some fresh water and went sailing. That cured the problem, but it has returned intermittently over time.

Cleaning has worked every time, but I rely on the old fashioned float switch on the secondary pump when not on board.
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Old 23-01-2007, 11:06   #38
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I had a quick look at a Jonson(Johnston?) Electronic float switch yesterday. Looked very promising and will be what I buy next time I need a new float switch.
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Old 23-01-2007, 12:36   #39
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Bob,

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but with a solid state sensor.
FWIW, I would not put much faith in these things. I know they work great when they are new, but I had a two week period last year when I had one boat I was watching, and one I was delivering both take water over the floorboards when two different brands of solid state bilge switches failed.

The floats have disadvantages too (they can jam) but for my boat I have two of them. Maybe a good strategy if you want a water sensing switch is to put that on your smaller primary pump, and have another type of switch on your secondary pump.
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