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Old 17-01-2013, 09:28   #16
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Re: bilge pump functionality?

Originally Posted by DotDun View Post
Yes, a diaphragm pump.
These are great for eeking out the last bit of water from the bilge, but really not up to pumping much.... unless you've got a big motorized "whale" type...?

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Old 17-01-2013, 09:37   #17
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Re: Bilge Pump Functionality?

Nothing is perfect but the best way to do this is with a Auto-Off-Manual switch that is wired directly to the battery. Remember that these switches have their own fuses that protect the wire from the battery. Having a second switch or fuse between the bilge pump switch and the battery is setting yourself up for a screw up which might sink your boat...we all forget stuff like this on occasion. Dear Boat US Insurance, my boat sank because I was stupid and forgot to turn that switch back on that I have absolutely no need for nor to turn off.

Leave the switch normally in the Auto position. This way when you do get water in the bilge you don't even have to be aware that the water is there for the pump to do its job. It just does's a no brainer. A red light on the switch will come on to let you know the pump is running and to give you a subtle hint that you might want to investigate as to why. You can also put an audible alarm that yells at you on the same circuit as the subtle red light.

The Manual position is for when you want to see or hear the pump run for testing purposes, or scour some extra water out of the bilge that is too low for the float switch to activate the pump.

The Off position is for when you haul the boat and don't want the travel lift operators to get blasted in the face with your filthy bilge water or when you need to change out a pump. Or for some odd reason don't care if your boat sinks at the dock while you are not there.


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Old 21-01-2013, 08:05   #18
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Re: Bilge Pump Functionality?

Thank you for your responses. All the information and opinions have been helpful to me.

Here is what I have figured out about the electical hook up and functionality of the bilge pumps.

The 2003 St francis has 6 bilge pumps. 3 in each hull. They are rule manufactured pumps with a built-in automatic float.

The engine compartment pumps do have a three way switch. off-auto.-and mauual. I left these pumps switched to auto-mode.

The remaining four pumps appreared to be wired to the distribution panel meaning the bilge pump switch must be in the on position for the pumps to function.

Prior to my purchase of the baot the former owner made a complete battery bank upgrade. I am very happy with this improvement. But my concern was that the bilge pumps should have been wired (1) directly from the battery bank with an in line fuse or circuit breaker for auto function. and (2) to the distribution panel so that I could manually control the pumps. This does not seen to be the case. The only way for me to know for certain is to remove the distribution panel from the wall and see how the switch is wired. My guess is that I would find two wires connected to each bilge switch. I will do this in conjuction with another job that requires the panel removal.

Wishing you'll happy sailing days. My new boat is at Harbortown Marina in Fort Pierce, Fl. Our first excursion will be to bring her North to Annapolis this spring.

Ralph Hendry
2003 48' St Francis
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Old 21-01-2013, 12:03   #19
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Re: Bilge Pump Functionality?

Originally Posted by fishtrap View Post
A power switch is good to have even on an automatic switched pump if for no other reason there may be something in your bilge water you don't want pumped overboard. Fuel or bilge oil comes to mind. Sooner or later, even the most anally conscientious skipper will have that problem. Other reasons would be to over ride a fuse or breaker that didn't blow or to rewire any problem that occurs between the power source and the pump. Best to have an on/off/auto switch. Mount it somewhere it won't be inadvertently bumped to the wrong setting.
This. There are places where pumping your bilges is illegal.

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