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Old 28-11-2020, 12:55   #1
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Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

My bilge pump just runs and runs. I have to turn off the breaker to make it stop. I replaced the pump and the float switch but it still does the same thing. It pumps water just fine when there is something to pump.
I have a toggle switch for auto vs manual. That's my next place to look for the problem. Any advise would be appreciated.
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Old 28-11-2020, 13:08   #2
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Re: Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

Only two possible problems.
Wired wrong or faulty float switch.
Float switch unlikely as when they fail they fail 'off" , and of course you replaced it.
So, your setup is wired wrong.
Look at the diagram that came with your switch to see where it is wrong and rectify.
Or call someone who can do it for you.
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Old 28-11-2020, 13:43   #3
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Re: Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

Thanks. I installed the new pump and float switch as they were before. I've owned the boat 6 months and this only started recently so I figured that was done correctly.
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Old 28-11-2020, 14:28   #4
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Re: Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

If the wiring is correct it has to be the float switch. I have separate switches for my pumps. Both recently quit after half emptying the bilge sump. Pulled the mechanical float switch and it was hung up which was a mystery how that could happen with the bilge still half full of water. Anyhow, cycled the paddle a few times and it loosened up and is working fine now. The other switch is a non paddle type and haven't got around to trouble shooting that one. Will try a little gentle tapping before unscrewing it to look further into it.

Both pumps had sat for a year without power. Had a medical emergency and had to leave town in a hurry. Of course the solar battery charge controller decided to malfunction and boiled all the water out of the batteries leaving me with no bilge pumps. Good thing boat is almost totally dry.
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Old 29-11-2020, 09:20   #5
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Re: Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottmc59 View Post
Thanks. I installed the new pump and float switch as they were before. I've owned the boat 6 months and this only started recently so I figured that was done correctly.
So you replaced something in a "new to you" boat and it's not working correctly.

I wouldn't assume it was installed or wired correctly by PO. To the contrary, I'm amazed at how many times the problem IS the installation by PO!
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Old 29-11-2020, 09:21   #6
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Re: Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

Three wires for bilge pump. One hot wire that is interrupted by float switch, one hot wire that gives power through the panel control switch when held in manual position and third wire is common ground. Both live or hot wires must pass through your control panel switch because this is the location of the safety fuse. I think you have made an error with wiring.
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Old 29-11-2020, 10:03   #7
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Re: Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

On my Johnson pump with Johnson electronic float switch I find that wiping down the switch once a year solves that problem. It seems to me that dirt muck can affect that switch.
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Old 29-11-2020, 10:14   #8
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Re: Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

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Originally Posted by Siberian Sea View Post
Three wires for bilge pump. One hot wire that is interrupted by float switch, one hot wire that gives power through the panel control switch when held in manual position and third wire is common ground. Both live or hot wires must pass through your control panel switch because this is the location of the safety fuse. I think you have made an error with wiring.
Three wire pump. Two wire pump is different.
Battery+ w/ inline 10 amp fuse, connect the Brown /red stripe from the pump to the pump float switch, and the other side of that pump switch to the Brown to your pump and switch at panel+, these two brown share the same connections with the pump brown.
Black to ground.
Some panels have a safety fuse, this protect only the hot from the panel, the inline 10amp fuse from the battery hot at the battery protects the hot from the Battery direct. Your switch panel should only work when the Battery switch is on.
The pump has continuous power from the Battery for when the Battery switch is off.

Test. Lift the float switch, pump should run, go to panel and switch on, pump should run.
Be sure to pin all connection up and out of the bilge.
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Old 29-11-2020, 10:28   #9
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Re: Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

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Originally Posted by pitlaw View Post
On my Johnson pump with Johnson electronic float switch I find that wiping down the switch once a year solves that problem. It seems to me that dirt muck can affect that switch.
Those electronic switches fail all the time, change it out regularly, it's why their only clipped to the pump body. Easy removal.
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Old 29-11-2020, 10:29   #10
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Re: Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

Float switches are usually the problem. Water intrusion and fouling by debris is common. That is why I don't use them. I only use the solid-state sealed switches like this one for my two pumps. Only one failure in thirty years.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/johns...16bdfd2bf4301d
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Old 29-11-2020, 10:39   #11
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Re: Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

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Originally Posted by jmschmidt View Post
Float switches are usually the problem. Water intrusion and fouling by debris is common. That is why I don't use them. I only use the solid-state sealed switches like this one for my two pumps. Only one failure in thirty years.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/johns...16bdfd2bf4301d
Agreed, the switch you show is a better style than the Johnson type which is enclosed, they short and get mucked up inside.
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Old 29-11-2020, 10:53   #12
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Re: Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

There are very few areas where I am emphatic that one product is better than others. Most preferences are just that, preferences based on personal experience. In this case, after 4 decades in the industry and experience with hundreds of boats and many more bilge pump systems there is only ONE pump switch we sell and install, the Ultra Safety Switch. Expensive, but it's a buy it once, install it well, and rest assured for the rest of your boating time. We have had exactly one failure and the manufacturer replaced it at once, just asking for the old one back for failure analysis. A truly better product in a mission critical system chain. https://www.ultratef-gel.com/ultra-pump-switches/
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Old 29-11-2020, 11:01   #13
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Re: Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

Most of these float switches are garbage and fail without warning. Switch to a switch like the Par diaphragm or Ultra pump switch.
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Old 29-11-2020, 14:50   #14
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Re: Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottmc59 View Post
My bilge pump just runs and runs. I have to turn off the breaker to make it stop. I replaced the pump and the float switch but it still does the same thing. It pumps water just fine when there is something to pump.
I have a toggle switch for auto vs manual. That's my next place to look for the problem. Any advise would be appreciated.
Unless you have a hole in your boat my guess is you have to long a run on your discharge hose and it is running right back, a check valve may work but shortening to run would be my preference.
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Old 29-11-2020, 15:57   #15
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Re: Bilge Pump Runs Constantly

As Cadence points out this may be an issue with a check valve.

The position of my bilge pump requires a check valve, when one failed, it exhibited the same symptoms you describe. Have you followed the hose from the pump overboard to see if there is a check valve currently installed? If so, it may have failed, and needs replacement.
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