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Old 04-04-2010, 15:18   #1
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Water Witch Won't Work

Just wondering what I'm doing wrong. I purchased a Water Witch sensor to replace my unreliable bilge float switch. The Water Witch has 3 wires. The current float switch (since removed) had two wires.

I followed the installation instructions precisely: 1. Disconnect battery (two in my case). 2. Connect tan wire to positive. 3. Connect black to negative. 4. Connect red to positive. 5. Reconnect battery.

The pump should run a couple of seconds. It doesn't. I tested the sensor as recommended by applying a wet rag across both sensors. It didn't work. I called the Water Witch people. They said try the red wire, then the tan wire. I tried that. All I can get out of the sensor is a click every time I connect the positive wire. Any ideas?...
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Old 04-04-2010, 15:21   #2
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return, replace, reinstall?
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Old 04-04-2010, 15:47   #3
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I'm assuming in your post that you meant - tan to positive (bilge pump), black to negative (bilge pump), red to positive (battery). You also need a black to negative (battery). This usually means that you have three black wires coming together at a splice.

As a cautionary tale, I installed a Water Witch only to have it fail (stuck on) after one year. When I asked around, many people seemed to have had the same problem. I switched to the Ultra switch and have been happy. On their web site it looks like the Waterwitch design may have changed since that time so things may be fine now.

Carl
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Old 05-04-2010, 04:24   #4
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Carl, thanks. I have two wires entering my bilge area that were attached to the old float switch. The red is positive, and the black is negative (of course). I hooked the three Water Witch wires up to those: tan and red to the incoming red, black to black. "Click" is all I got.

BTW, I just searched for "Ultra Switch," and can't find any info. I found a Rule Super Switch. Is that what you mean?
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:30   #5
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Regular everyday bilge switches dont have a positive and a negative. They are only meant to make and break a circuit, and dont have polarity. They are usually installed to make and break the positive side of a bilge pump circuit. The instructions you have (and I dont) are asking you to wire your new Water Witch to both BATTERY positive and negative, and then send a positive feed to the bilge pump. You will also need to attach the negative lead from the bilge pump to battery negative. I hope this is clearer. As the Water Witch is not a mechanical switch, like your old unit, it needs BOTH a positive and negative feed to work. Just like any other electronic device onboard... Hope this helps!
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:37   #6
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Thank you, Christian. I'm trying my best to understand. It's sounding like I need to rewire my boat to install this thing. I'm a newbie to boat maintenance (can't you tell?), but I'm trying to learn. It sounds like the best thing for me to do, however, is to go with some device that will work with the two wires I already have. If I understand you correctly, what you are saying is that I would need to add special wiring back to the battery that doesn't currently exist. Is that true?
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:38   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisM View Post
Carl, thanks. I have two wires entering my bilge area that were attached to the old float switch. The red is positive, and the black is negative (of course). I hooked the three Water Witch wires up to those: tan and red to the incoming red, black to black. "Click" is all I got.

BTW, I just searched for "Ultra Switch," and can't find any info. I found a Rule Super Switch. Is that what you mean?
Usually a float type bilge switch is only a circuit interrupter, it turns the bilge pump on and off by supplying positive current from the battery to the pump. The red wire needs to come directly from the battery, the tan wire needs to go to the bilge pump. Wired together like you describe is either not allowing positive current to flow to the pump, or not supplying positive current from the battery. Either way the switch isn't able to complete a circuit.
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:50   #8
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Hmmmm... thanks, Mi2. Wish I had known some of this before I plunked down the money. As they say, "OH NO! Not another learning experience!"

I think I'm going to have to return the thing, if they'll take it back.
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:55   #9
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OK, here we go. Grab the two wires coming from the bilge PUMP. Should be a black and a red. Attach (with a good, adhesive lined shrink tube covered butt splice) the red pump wire to the WW BROWN wire. Next, attach the wire coming from the battery that was attached to the red wire on your old bilge switch (this should be battery positive, and it wouldn't hurt to check this with a meter) to the RED wire on your new Water Witch. Dont forget that shrink tube covered butt splice! Now, here's the hard part. The BLACK wire coming from the WW is supposed to be SPLICED into the negative, or BLACK feed wire to the PUMP. This means that they dont want you to cut the old wires and remove them...they want you to somehow attach this wire to the old wire going to the BLACK side of the PUMP. Do not use wire nuts or cheesy scotch squeezy crimps to do this. As you know, this circuit is IMPORTANT, and you cant have corrosion getting into these connections. If I were wiring this circuit, I would use a TERMINAL BLOCK to make ALL of these connections, and mount this terminal block out of the wet areas of the bilge. See here: Blue Sea Systems 30 Amp Terminal Blocks
All these connections to a terminal block should be made with adhesive lined shrink tube covered plated ring terminals. Does this help?
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:57   #10
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If you have a multi meter, verify that that the red wire is indeed a battery positive, and that the black is truly a ground, i am willing to bet that it's not, and that it's the feed for the positive from the switch to the pump. If that's true, then all you need to do is connect that to the tan wire, locate the ground for the bilge pump itself, and connect the black to that. The red wire from the switch goes to the battery positive. Should then work.
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:59   #11
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Christian got it to ya before I could, I guess i'm typing to slow this morning.........
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:03   #12
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Great minds...
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:05   #13
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Great minds...
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:11   #14
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Thanks very much! I'm certainly willing to try switching the wires around. Installing a terminal block, etc., however, is way over my head at this time. Yes, morons own sailboats, too... *sigh*
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:29   #15
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Solder and heatshrink

Once you establish the the correct connections, simply soldering and heat shrink should be sufficient. For wet areas like the bilge, my procedure would be to solder the wires together, wipe on a little dielectric grease after the connection cools, slide the wrap over and shrink it. I've never had a circuit short, even submerged, doing it this way.
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