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Old 04-07-2022, 11:29   #1
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Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

HI all, does anyone use variable speed freshwater pumps onboard?
We've used the Jabsco Sensormax VSD pumps (Now obsolete) for about 20 years with great success, even though they get lousy reviews online.
Typically last about 10 years apiece with liveaboard use.


Anyone found a decent, reliable replacement that is variable speed?
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Old 04-07-2022, 12:03   #2
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Re: Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

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Originally Posted by silverp40 View Post
HI all, does anyone use variable speed freshwater pumps onboard?
We've used the Jabsco Sensormax VSD pumps (Now obsolete) for about 20 years with great success, even though they get lousy reviews online.
Typically last about 10 years apiece with liveaboard use.


Anyone found a decent, reliable replacement that is variable speed?


Had 4 faulty 24V VSDs in a row. It was explained to me the mosfets were not cooling adequately

You could rig up an Ardunio based alternative I suppose.
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Old 04-07-2022, 12:22   #3
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Re: Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

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Originally Posted by silverp40 View Post
HI all, does anyone use variable speed freshwater pumps onboard?
We've used the Jabsco Sensormax VSD pumps (Now obsolete) for about 20 years with great success, even though they get lousy reviews online.
Typically last about 10 years apiece with liveaboard use.


Anyone found a decent, reliable replacement that is variable speed?
10 years. Wow. I never had lasted the last 10 months
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Old 04-07-2022, 12:25   #4
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Re: Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

Yup would be easy for mini raspberry or like. I’ve had two speeds they make a lot of sense. I think an accumulator is the key to a happy pump. My boat was wintered improperly when I found it. I put a single speed pump It would be pretty simple to change motors to a 4 wire motor.
I have a raspberry wired into the boat with a servo shield already on it to control servo stepper or relay. You’d need some sort of input. Can’t see it being worth it to be honest.
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Old 04-07-2022, 12:45   #5
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Re: Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

I did retain the accumulator and that probably helped quite a bit. Good connections and adequate voltage help also.


BTW, the last pump ran for about a week or two continuously dry while boat was on the hard and we were away. Afterwards worked fine for 2 months.
Pump still ran fine and the 4 diaphragms were perfect.



Sorry about everyone's woes with these pumps
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Old 04-07-2022, 13:03   #6
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Re: Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

I liked the VSD concept and I don’t believe the accumulator needed to be retained or had any bearing. I did have a 12v VSD that lasted longer, but in general Jabsco had a terrible design and it’s not expected they abandoned the concept. In my opinion it suffered buggy software , poor cooling and poor design , the electronics should have been separated from the pump.

PWM Control of any water pump is quite easy. Pressure sensors are widely available , so a diy design wouldn’t be complex. No accumulator needed , there’s enough elasticity in most boats plumbing to provide a soft pressure point
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Old 04-07-2022, 13:21   #7
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Re: Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

The literature does say no accumulator needed...I just left it in and forgot why, been a while. I installed pex plumbing which "gives " less than vinyl but hammer is not an issue with these pumps.


I think I'll try to repair this one and replace the diaphragms, there are still kits available online. Not sure about pwm, replacement. I'll see what Jabsco says, they have a really good technical, guy there.


Bearings are perfect after all these years , windings, etc just fine. I think its mostly a sensor issue.


Anyway, would like to se if there is anything comparable out there, maybe with better reviews.
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Old 04-07-2022, 13:42   #8
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Re: Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

Marco make a lovely range of VSD pumps , I like the Marco pumps

https://www.svb24.com/en/marco-up2-e...ater-pump.html
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Old 04-07-2022, 15:52   #9
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Re: Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

The accumulator maintains water pressure reduces pump strain and run time.
I worship them.
I use to be in this great club in Georgian Bay Area. If you had a pump running all week the old doll than ran the place would call you at work tell you to get right up here and fix it, your annoying guests. If she couldn’t reach you she’d pull the boat out.
She pushed a lot of float switches, faucet parts and accumulators from a great chandlery. She made us all feel guilty her Sperry shoe sale was going well so everyone cleaned out her stock. It may be her fault I worship accumulators.
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Old 04-07-2022, 16:00   #10
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Re: Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

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The accumulator maintains water pressure reduces pump strain and run time.
I worship them.
I use to be in this great club in Georgian Bay Area. If you had a pump running all week the old doll than ran the place would call you at work tell you to get right up here and fix it, your annoying guests. If she couldn’t reach you she’d pull the boat out.
She pushed a lot of float switches, faucet parts and accumulators from a great chandlery. She made us all feel guilty her Sperry shoe sale was going well so everyone cleaned out her stock. It may be her fault I worship accumulators.
Accumulators don’t reduce pump strain , the pump runs till the pressure switch trips in all cases , VSD pumps on the other hand can be programmed for slow starts and stops as the pressure sensor is analog not a digital switch , total run time for both pumps is identical for similar volumes of water delivered , duty cycles are of course different

VSD pumps are so much quieter and efficient , it’s a pity Jabsco make a balls of it. I’m seriously thinking of a MARCO VSD later this year

Accumulators are there because we have “ binary “ pressure pumps , change that and the need simply goes away, in a VSD pump solution , as they add nothing to the party.
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Old 04-07-2022, 17:53   #11
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Re: Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

Well all the boat builders come with them. The back pressure is maintained by the accumulator not the pump valve. Easy peasy and why they come with all boats for years.
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Old 04-07-2022, 18:23   #12
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Re: Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

Here’s is an explanation from Jacobsen which pretty much says exactly what I said plus some details.
https://www.xylem.com/en-us/products--services/pumps-packaged-pump-systems/pumping-accessories/jabsco-accessories/accumulator-tanks/accumulator-tank/

This is a photo of my manual.
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Old 04-07-2022, 19:33   #13
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Re: Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

There actually is a good reason for using an accumulator, even though the pump doesn’t need it, and is the REAL reason that they are installed in most new boat even with variable speed pumps.

The water heater.

In a completely closed system, if you fill the water heater with cold water and then heat it up, it expands. If the system is tight, the pressure can rise a LOT. The accumulator prevents this by giving the expanding water “someplace to go.”

In many cruising boats, the water heater can be heated by circulating coolant from the engine. This results in VERY hot water, up to 180F. This can generate pressures more than high enough to cause plumbing failures, or to open the over-pressure valve on the water heater.

And another vote for the Marco line of pumps. If you use them a LOT, you will want to replace the shaft seal every two years or so. An easy job, and they will just keep going forever if you replace the seal before it leaks into the motor.
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Old 04-07-2022, 22:41   #14
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Re: Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Marco make a lovely range of VSD pumps , I like the Marco pumps

https://www.svb24.com/en/marco-up2-e...ater-pump.html

Many thanks goboating, this Marco pump seems to be exactly what I was looking for!
Folks seem to like it from the translated reviews also.
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Old 05-07-2022, 00:28   #15
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Re: Variable Speed Freshwater Pump...Suggestions?

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Originally Posted by silverp40 View Post
The literature does say no accumulator needed...I just left it in and forgot why, been a while. I installed pex plumbing which "gives " less than vinyl but hammer is not an issue with these pumps.


I think I'll try to repair this one and replace the diaphragms, there are still kits available online. Not sure about pwm, replacement. I'll see what Jabsco says, they have a really good technical, guy there.


Bearings are perfect after all these years , windings, etc just fine. I think its mostly a sensor issue.


Anyway, would like to se if there is anything comparable out there, maybe with better reviews.
Headhunter X caliber IMO work great. But spendy. Probably a bit of overkill for sailboats under 60ft.
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