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Old 14-06-2015, 09:31   #1
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Adding second bilge pump

Planning to install a second float switch a few inches above the present one for a second bilge pump.

1. Is there a problem sharing the present outflow line between the two pumps
2. recommendations for bilge pumps
3. An alarm will be added to the second switch, recommendations?
4. Does anyone have experience with a simple cell based alerting system for this and other security needs?

Sorry for the blizzard of questions but last few weeks have been heavy work weeks.
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Old 14-06-2015, 09:45   #2
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Re: Adding second bilge pump

Why two bilge pumps with automatic switches? I don't clearly see the logic or advantage.

Why not one bilge pump on an automatic switch and an alarm that allows you to manually switch on emergency pumps?

Use one of these. Have not yet seen anyone complain about problems or failure with the Ultra switches.

TEF-GEL - Ultra safety systems - Home page

My setup.

Smaller, keep it dry and get out the incidental water, automatic bilge pump. Alarm installed on the Ultra switch that activates a few inches over the bilge pump intake in case it fails or too much water coming in for it to handle.

Two Rule 4000 emergency pumps, fore and aft, on a separate, fused but always on circuit.

One manual Whale pump in the cockpit. One emergency, gallon per stroke, manual in the main cabin.
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Old 14-06-2015, 09:47   #3
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Re: Adding second bilge pump

Regarding the cell phone basic alert system. I've been researching that and found several options but haven't decided yet on which one. All seem to have fans but also serious detractors so no clear choice has emerged.
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Old 14-06-2015, 10:24   #4
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Re: Adding second bilge pump

Putting both pumps on the same outlet reduces your flow. you also have to use check valves, reducing your flow further. Standard procedure is to have a small bilge pump in the bottom of the bilge( cheaper to replace if it cycles constantly and a smaller hose means less flow back) and a high capacity bilge pump with an alarm, higher up. The reason to have two pumps with two separate switches is for backup.
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Old 14-06-2015, 11:35   #5
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Re: Adding second bilge pump

I just overhauled my bilge pump system. It already had a Jabsco heavy duty diaphragm pump with 3/4" hose. It will run dry for a long time and has excellent self-priming capability. The pump is remote from the bilge. The system was already setup with another Whale Gusher 220 pump used for the graywater tank. There are two Y-valves so that either pump could be used to pump either the bilge or the graywater. A bit complicated but there is redundancy that way. It also has two bronze gravity type check valves which I didn't really want but kept in because of having two pumps. They also prevent some of the backflow from the t-hull back in to the bilge (but very little since they do not seal tight).

The pump is 6 gal/min but is steady and reliable. I have an inline strainer just above the bilge and a wide flange in the bilge at the end of the hose. It pumps very well with a good stream of water, at least as strong as previous 1500 gph Rule centrifucal pump and an 1 1/2" hose.

I installed a dual Water Witch model 257B "float" switch. It has two sensors (not a float mechanism) and is highly reviewed (but like all these gizmos some hate them some love them). I have had Ultimates in the past and had excellent experience with them as well. But one of the things I like about my WW is that it will open a separate circuit (to activate a backup pump or an alarm or ?) after the primary circuit runs for two minutes. It also has a backup sensor a bit higher than the lower one as another backup.

Above that I installed a Water Witch High Water Alarm. I ran new wire from the panel to the switches and alarms that is separate from the bilge pump wiring power wiring. Of course the "auto" and "manual" wires are connected when the switch is on. I heat-shrinked butt connectors on to the Water Witch 30" leads and put the wiring terminal block up higher still (behind a settee actually) well above the bilge waters.

I've attached a photo. I just buttoned it up yesterday and it works great. I also used the 100% s.s. AWAB hose clamps for all of it. Expensive but worth it for a mission critical system in the harshest environment on the boat.

The first photo is the pumps: fresh water in foreground, bilge on the right, graywater on the left.
Second photo: wiring at the pumps
Third: check valves mounted on starboard to keep horizontal and vertical (they were just laying on the bilge pan prior)
Fourth photo: wiring for bilge switches and alarm. I removed the solenoid shown as it created a short circuit for some reason. I decided it was overkill and removed it. I mounted the terminal board and alarm sounder with Velcro behind the settee seat.
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Old 14-06-2015, 11:36   #6
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Re: Adding second bilge pump

I put the discharge of a small auto pump into my cockpit , I knew when the boat was making water because the water ran on your feet . When we went ashore we put a 2 gallon bucket under the discharge and could tell upon return if we had a leak . Of course I had several other pumps installed . i do not trust alarms and whistles , I trust wet feet .
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Old 14-06-2015, 12:40   #7
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Re: Adding second bilge pump

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perstarebob View Post
I put the discharge of a small auto pump into my cockpit , I knew when the boat was making water because the water ran on your feet . When we went ashore we put a 2 gallon bucket under the discharge and could tell upon return if we had a leak . Of course I had several other pumps installed . i do not trust alarms and whistles , I trust wet feet .
Understand not trusting alarms as a first line of defense but how would you know if the auto bilge pump quit for some reason and the bilge was filling up with water?
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Old 14-06-2015, 15:27   #8
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Re: Adding second bilge pump

Never combine bilge pump plumbing or electrical.
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Old 14-06-2015, 15:29   #9
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Re: Adding second bilge pump

if both on the same hose the lower one will just pump thru the higher one back into the bilge.
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Old 14-06-2015, 15:43   #10
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Re: Adding second bilge pump

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
if both on the same hose the lower one will just pump thru the higher one back into the bilge.
Either pump would pump back through the other. That's why you have to add a check valve on both pumps.further restricting the flow
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Old 14-06-2015, 15:46   #11
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Re: Adding second bilge pump

Never install a check valve in a bilge pump line.
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Old 14-06-2015, 15:59   #12
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Re: Adding second bilge pump

I would install the largest bilge pump you can justify (say Rule 3900 gph) with a 1 1/2" hose. Mount the pump high enough in the bilge so it doesn't get wet in normal conditions. Any switch will do since it also won't normally get wet or be cycled (although do test it occasionally).

For the cell service I have had this unit for several years.

GSM GPS Alarm Autodial SMS Pager Vehicle Car Boat Moto | eBay

There now are much cheaper units available but I don't know if they work as well. I use the alarm in the US with a T-mobile pay-as-you-go SIM. It also worked with a SIM for Batelco in the Bahamas. There's no monthly fee and you pay less than $0.10 a text message. I have mine set to send me a daily text even if there's no alarm (I enjoy hearing from the boat). In the text it tells me:

a) Voltage (e.g. that the batteries are above 13v meaning the float charger is working)

b) Temperature in the boat

Alarms are sent immediately if a) the voltage drops below 13v (boat unplugged or someone started the engines). b) the boat goes outside the GPS "geo-fence" area. c) A motion detector goes off. d) the temperature is out of my set range e) the 2nd bilge pump turns on.

I can also call it and see if the 1st bilge pump is running at that moment as well as "listen" inside the boat for other alarms sounding. I haven't figured out a way for it to tell me number of bilge pump cycles which I'd really like.

Has been working great. Costs less than $50 a year even with the daily SMS status message.

Carl
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Old 14-06-2015, 16:10   #13
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Re: Adding second bilge pump

I'm with Sparrowhawk on this one. Use separate discharge hoses and thru-hulls. Avoid check valves. Do use two automatic switches, you might not be aboard when you need both pumps running. Small pump mounted lowest helps avoid cycling caused by water left in the hose when the pump shuts off.

If you have to use a single discharge, it will have to be big enough to handle the combined capacity of both pumps and you'll need check valves in both lines before they are combined. This is a complicated and problem prone way to do it.
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Old 14-06-2015, 17:18   #14
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Re: Adding second bilge pump

In reply to Skipmac , How do you know that your alarm is working ?
Many boats will leak for a long time until the alarms go off or the batteries fail .
My auto pump is always mounted higher than my " wet Foot " indicator pump !
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Old 14-06-2015, 19:18   #15
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Re: Adding second bilge pump

When I rebuilt our bilge pump system, I was more in line with HopCar. One small autopump down low, one much larger autopump with a higher pickup. Each with separate discharges and on separate circuits. Then, being somewhat paranoid, I also have a cockpit-mounted manual pump with a high pickup and a very large edson manual under the nav seat with the pickup down low next to the lower autopump.
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