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Old 27-02-2020, 08:21   #1
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internal float switch maintenance

I have several ordinary 500 GPH or so bilge pumps, a Seaflo and an Attwood Sahara on my bench at the moment. The problem is that the inside-the-basket float switches go up and do not come down. In one case this meant a dead battery and no more bailing on a small boat, because it kept running.

Lubricating the shaft that goes from the float into the switch housing does not seem to help. I can find no binding. They are expensive to throw away for such a simple problem. It's got me stumped, and I hope someone has wisdom on these things. Thanks.
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Old 27-02-2020, 08:35   #2
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Re: internal float switch maintenance

No idea

I view those float switches as disposable

I only use air switches for bilge alarm and pumping

They last forever
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Old 27-02-2020, 09:18   #3
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Re: internal float switch maintenance

I'd suggest use external float switches.
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Old 28-02-2020, 02:21   #4
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Re: internal float switch maintenance


I prefer the switch to be in a cage so that debris can't make the switch stick. I've read so many time that it is vital to keep your bilges clean
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Old 28-02-2020, 06:30   #5
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Re: internal float switch maintenance

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Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
They are expensive to throw away for such a simple problem. It's got me stumped, and I hope someone has wisdom on these things. Thanks.
The MBA's working for the manufacturer do not want you to fix it, they want you to buy another one. Wait until they implement the subscription model for all their products!
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Old 28-02-2020, 10:32   #6
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Re: internal float switch maintenance

I replaced my mechanical float switches with electronic style and very happy, they are able to distinguish oil/diesel from water and seem to be reliable, I also use one for shower sump.
They are more expensive but definitely worth it IMO.
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Old 28-02-2020, 10:45   #7
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Re: internal float switch maintenance

The original float switch installed in our boat is a standard low-cost level switch from a washing machine. After 40 years it is still working perfectly.
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Old 28-02-2020, 10:52   #8
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Re: internal float switch maintenance

I would suggest you try to find an old mercury float switch or an inexpensive industrial one on the surplus market. The next best alternative is the round bulb switches off a Harbor Freight or other sump pump. They just unplug and have a sealed 6 foot chord with good oil resistance. Be aware that they are very reliable but require a deep narrow bilge.
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Old 28-02-2020, 10:56   #9
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Re: internal float switch maintenance

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Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
I have several ordinary 500 GPH or so bilge pumps, a Seaflo and an Attwood Sahara on my bench at the moment. The problem is that the inside-the-basket float switches go up and do not come down. In one case this meant a dead battery and no more bailing on a small boat, because it kept running.
I bought an electronic bilge pump switch over 10 years ago from waterwitch. I paid $20 for it then and it has always worked perfectly and has outlasted three bilge pumps.
I see that my $20 bilge pump switch is now $50, but in my opinion it is still well worth it. Go to www.waterwitch.com

Al, S/V Finlandia
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Old 28-02-2020, 11:32   #10
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Re: internal float switch maintenance

Thank you all for good ideas. I may not have a way to repair these pumps, but you have inspired me with ways to avoid the problem.
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Old 28-02-2020, 13:42   #11
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Re: internal float switch maintenance

+1 on the waterwitch, that’s what we installed!
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Old 29-02-2020, 01:39   #12
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Re: internal float switch maintenance

Best you use float switches from a swiming pool with an relay. Nearly everything else I tried was scrap.
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Old 29-02-2020, 04:27   #13
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Re: internal float switch maintenance

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The original float switch installed in our boat is a standard low-cost level switch from a washing machine. After 40 years it is still working perfectly.
Yah

Those washing washing level switch’s were very common in the old days

Most have several terminals for wiring NO NC

They are very reliable

The problem is replacing when one gets damaged

These days repair parts are inventoried by computer with a proprietary part number

You ask the washing machine shop for a new level switch and it becomes impossible because the clerk can only search by model and part number
You must tie up the clerk with rope , lock him into the bathroom , then search thru shelves stocked with mountains of Repair parts yourself
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Old 29-02-2020, 09:36   #14
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Re: internal float switch maintenance

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I prefer the switch to be in a cage so that debris can't make the switch stick. I've read so many time that it is vital to keep your bilges clean
Do not substitute, one for the other, all internal bilge pump switches eventually gum up.
External pump switches can be inspected and cleaned.
Water level switches, externally mounted are your best choice for the $.
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Old 29-02-2020, 16:51   #15
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Re: internal float switch maintenance

We went through all sorts of different types - now use this. So far nil issues.

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