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Old 22-08-2009, 05:19   #1
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Automatic Bilge Pump Switches?

I replaced my Rule auto pump switch last year...this July I tested it and it did not work so I replaced it again and used perma ink to date it. 7/09. I figured if it went before the 2 yr warranty expired I'd have the bases covered. Last week I heard a noise, it was the bilge pump and it would not shut off I pulled it and did a continuity check and sure enough it would not shut off. I brought it back to the marina with the receipt and expected to just exchange it. I was told that if it got stuck on, or if diesel fuel or oil were in the bildge the warranty would be voided. I admit there seems to always be a tiny bit of oil in the bildge...I thought most bildges do...thats what they are known for. I mean 'tiny' as in a slight odor or film from minute drops that get in there from filling or whatever. So now I'm waiting to hear from Rule while they test it to see if I get a refund. The fellows at the marina said the auto switches were notorious for failing....often. [where have I been?] I've had the same one in my power boat for 5+ years.

What do you think? Is there a better way?
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Old 22-08-2009, 06:59   #2
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unfortunately the guy at the marina is correct, they die often! I have been told the more expensive the switch the longer they last.
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Old 22-08-2009, 07:27   #3
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Float switches go out all the time for a number of reasons. I have yet to find a good marine switch, what i have used are the Magnetically Actuated switch from grainger they have a number of them but keep in mind most are made for low volt low amp so with some you would need to set it up with another contact to handle the amp pull.

I work for more than 20 years making parts cleaning machines and we used anumber of floats until I came up with this idia and we started making them in house.

The only real way to have a lasting switch is to have the contacts out of any water.

here is the grainger page i hope this helps. Grainger Industrial Supply

Dutch
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Old 22-08-2009, 08:07   #4
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Which Rule Switch do you have?

IĎve NEVER had a problem with any of the Ultra PumpSwitches (installed dozens).

Ultra PumpSwitches:
TEF-GEL - Ultra safety systems - Home page

by Ultra Safety Systems, IncTEF-GEL - Ultra safety systems - Home page
3755 Fiscal Ct, Ste B, Riviera Beach, FL, 33418, USA,
Tel: 407-845-1086 ~ Fax: 407-844-8566 ~ Toll Free 1-800-433-2628

Email: rolandorortega@yahoo.com

I can also recommend the Water Witch Model 230 (20 Amp).
Anything Bilge- Bilge Switch, High Water, Float Switch Replacements

Iíve no experience with their 10 Amp Model 217, nor their budget version Model 101 (5 year vs 7 year warranty).

Iíve no personal experience with the Johnson Ultima Float Switch, but have heard good reports:
Johnson Pump
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Old 22-08-2009, 10:31   #5
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Call me strange, but I have a thing about putting the very equipment which is designed to keep the water out of the boat--under water when you most need it to work. I use 1" outlet, belt-driven pumps (with spare kits close by) servicable from my cockpit lockers.
Strainers are made out of 12" lengths of PVC pipe with adequate inlet holes drilled along the bottom edge, fitted with clapper type non-return vaves.
My Rule switches are mounted as high up under the cabin sole as I can get them on a vertical teak batten which has screwed into it 2 eye bolts which guide a f/glass rod attached to a float at the bottom. This rod lifts the pivoting switch actuator. There is no wiring in the water, and I can test the switches in a second.
Bluestocking has deck drains inboard of the toerails, and I high-looped 1 of the hoses into the drain so that if a pump kicks in, I can hear it gurgle.
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Old 22-08-2009, 10:37   #6
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++++++++++++++ on the ultra switches.
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Old 22-08-2009, 11:06   #7
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In bilges where there is usually some water, I like the automatic pump that runs every few minutes. There is no float switch at all to fail.
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Old 22-08-2009, 11:57   #8
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You are not alone--read the WMP user reviews on the rule switch.
West Marine: Rule-A-Matic Plus Float Switch Product Page=

The Rule switches used to a last a few years, but their new 'mercury free' switch is a dud.
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Old 22-08-2009, 12:55   #9
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another option,
Smartswitch
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Old 23-08-2009, 05:09   #10
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Done with Rule!

Great information...I'm moving on to one of the suggestions given. Thanks!
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A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, he said, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. But we do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again.

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Old 23-08-2009, 09:20   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
++++++++++++++ on the ultra switches.
I've unfortunately had an issue with one of the USS switches sticking in the ON position. The good news is that they can be easily disassembled and cleaned out.

Ask me how I know this.... be sure to clean and smooth the metal shaft that the float rides around as well as the surface of the plexiglass tube...
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Old 26-08-2009, 18:23   #12
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You can always try this.

Get your hands on an industrial limit switch, mount it at the top of the bilge sump, and make up an float and extension arm that will go down into the sump. As long as there is no water in the bilge the float will hang down. If water comes in, the float moves up and the limit switch is tripped. If the water gets so high as to be above the floor boards the switch may die but there are lots of industrial switches which are waterproof or resistant.

The sump on Espina is about 4 foot deep and full of tin cans with lead, old grinding debris and other junk that I can't reach because the keel is too narrow and too deep. This works for me.

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