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Old 06-07-2022, 16:17   #1
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Why momentary switches on shower drains?

Random grumpy old person question, but my boat (since corrected) and every boat I've chartered has a momentary switch you have to continuously hold in to turn on the shower drain gulper pump instead of a switch you can just turn on at the beginning of the shower and off when you're done. Anyone know why? It's a big PITA to have to stop what you're doing mid rinse to hold the switch down to prevent the rest of the head from flooding, in most boats you have about 30 seconds of shower before you have to stop to pump. It's not like you could leave it on by mistake, the gulper pump is super loud, and they are all rated to run dry with no ill effects. They certainly make identical switches you push in once and they go on and push again and they turn off, I installed one several years ago with no ill effects so far. Best I can come up with is some kind of nanny enforced water rationing as determined by boat manufacturers, anyone have a better reason?
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Old 06-07-2022, 16:40   #2
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Re: Why momentary switches on shower drains?

the correct way to manage this is have the shower drain into a small sump, fitted with a float switch and small pump.

we never have to press any button in the shower at all

these come as a kit like https://www.whitworths.com.au/rule-1...in-kit-800-gph

naturally the sump needs maintenance - like everything on a boat - but that's a small price to pay for the convenience

the only reason not to have such is because some owners are cheapskates

cheers,
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Old 06-07-2022, 17:53   #3
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Re: Why momentary switches on shower drains?

There are 2 good reasons - that said, I replaced the momentary switch on mine with a normal SPST switch because it is a massive PITA.

1. Conserves water. Yes, you just explained why yourself when you said "It's a big PITA to have to stop what you're doing mid rinse to hold the switch down to prevent the rest of the head from flooding". And since your brain knows this, you use less water, so you dont have to spend as much time holding that damn switch. Yes, this is a real psychological phenomenon, I have proven it.

2. Prevents pump burnout - if you leave the pump on accidentally, the sump empties, pump can burn out. Problem solved!
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Old 06-07-2022, 18:16   #4
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Re: Why momentary switches on shower drains?

I replaced one shower "gulper" pump with a self-contained shower sump. I wish I hadn't. I've grown to love the gulper in my other shower.

That said, I do have an on-off switch, not a momentary contact. It's actually an old-style pull-out anchor light type switch. It's easy enough to slap it off if there's no more water to pump for a while.

Still, those things can chug along for quite a while without any water. I think it would be OK to just leave it on the whole shower.
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Old 06-07-2022, 18:45   #5
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Re: Why momentary switches on shower drains?

The whale gulper pumps are fine with running dry. Mine have on/off switches and just stay on for the whole shower with no issues.
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Old 06-07-2022, 21:28   #6
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Re: Why momentary switches on shower drains?

Owned a Seawind 1000 and now a Seawind 1160. Both have push/pull switches for the shower sump, i.e., pull to turn on, push to turn off. Dont have to hold pull. Gulper pumps can run dry, which only happens momentarily anyway.
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Old 06-07-2022, 22:01   #7
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Re: Why momentary switches on shower drains?

My IPY Packet Cat 35 has to showers. On/off switches for shower drains. Factory. My previous boat had a shower also with an on/off switch. Maybe they're building for the charter crowd whom don't have as much skill/sense as the rest of us here.
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Old 06-07-2022, 22:17   #8
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Re: Why momentary switches on shower drains?

I have a Gulper, they are happy to run dry. Pusbutton switch that activates a bistable impulse relay. The relay is connected to a timer, which is set at 10 minutes. Just push the button, pump will run for 10 minutes. If you want to turn off before that, just push again. No risk of forgetting the pump. The components are about 30$.
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Old 06-07-2022, 23:02   #9
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Re: Why momentary switches on shower drains?

On our Lagoon400, the shower drain pumps are on time switch.
Push once, it operates for 13 sec.
If there is water still, you push again.
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Old 06-07-2022, 23:36   #10
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Re: Why momentary switches on shower drains?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisr View Post
the correct way to manage this is have the shower drain into a small sump, fitted with a float switch and small pump.

we never have to press any button in the shower at all

these come as a kit like https://www.whitworths.com.au/rule-1...in-kit-800-gph

naturally the sump needs maintenance - like everything on a boat - but that's a small price to pay for the convenience

the only reason not to have such is because some owners are cheapskates

cheers,
Float switches get clogged a lot, that allows your pump to run dry.
Water witch switches work well, they have a delayed shut off as well.
This allows the box to empty completely.
Something a float switch never does.
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Old 07-07-2022, 02:45   #11
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Re: Why momentary switches on shower drains?

I fully agree. a real PITA to stand there having to hold yr finger on the button. I added a relay to both my heads and adjusted the time to 40 secs which is exactly enough to drain the sump and the floor before the water level gets too high. Got the relay from a company dealing in car parts.
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Old 07-07-2022, 02:52   #12
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Re: Why momentary switches on shower drains?

Yes it’s a PITA , I changed mine to a switch
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Old 07-07-2022, 03:52   #13
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Re: Why momentary switches on shower drains?

I had to both, remove the timer relay - jump the power pins and install a switch. Works like a champ.y
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Old 07-07-2022, 05:53   #14
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Re: Why momentary switches on shower drains?

Keep in mind, owner vs charter guest are wildly different animals.
- As the owner, you are more likely to be aware of odd noises (like a pump running), so the risk of leaving it on and burning out a pump or killing the battery bank is fairly low. Plus you likely have a solar array and big battery bank as a cruiser.
- As a charter guest, people tend not to worry and/or are unaware of what sounds mean. Ie: Daughter hops out of shower, jumps into dingy with the rest of the family and off they go. A few hours later, they get back to dead batteries and possibly burnt out pump. Now they are calling the charter base complaining about the lousy broken down boat they were given.
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Old 07-07-2022, 07:06   #15
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Re: Why momentary switches on shower drains?

As an owner you can set up your boat the way you want it and you will often disagree with the manufacturer or previous owners about their choices.

I installed a Jabsco filterless shower drain pump that can run dry with a waterproof on/off switch mounted in the shower. I hate shower water in the bilge so added a dedicated thru hull (with a high loop, of course) to expel the shower drain water directly overboard.
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