The Boating Forum - Check your Float switches!!!
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I know this sounds redundant..... maybe but crawl down in your bilges and give those little suckers a test every once in a while. Not just at the beginning of the season either!.
We just had a customers boat partially capsize at the dock (off our premise) and the only thing that saved it was the radar arch from turning on its side. Freshwater use so its not that big a deal and the boat is up and back in service.........*but both bilge pump auto switches had blown fuses in them. Not*sure when that happened there but my point is to check those float switches. (or by*a Whaler, Mckee Craft ect) :grin:
Look at your thru-hulls too. Some boats do not have a lot of difference in deck height to deck drain hull fittings. Some extra weight in the boat and those scuppers go under the water and that's a great place for water to start coming back*in. Look at your bilge pump hose fittings. If they are close to the water line that's another great place for water to come on in. Most bilge pumps are displacement types meaning when they are not running, water can come back in reverse fashion. You would be amazed how fast water can come in a 1-18 hole.
Just thought I would mention it....
Good reminder. It is amazing that some boat mfg's locate the pump and switch out of reach.
Get to know your bilge!!!
If that is the case...how do you test the float switch?(boat is in the water)
06-28-2005, 09:46 PM
tell me about it my float switch has quit working and i have no idea how to reach it Hydra Sports Vector
test it by pouring water in to nthe bilge as long as you know the "on" switch works
06-28-2005, 10:09 PM
Almost sunk a 36 dakota this past weekend because of the float switch not being present. It kept the bilge running for some reason until the battery was dead and wouldnt stop, so we ended up cutting it out and making the bilge manual. You dont know how many times those autos spit water. When we went to turn on the stbd bilge, the water was already so high in there it had shorted out a bilge. The boat was taking on water because when we opened up the hatch to get in the bilge, the o ring that seals it fell out. I had to get the boat on step until we beached after a 70 mile run in. Everyone, please check these float switches, they serve more of a purpose than you would think.
Take a metal coat hanger and straighten it out so that you have just a "hook" left. With the rest of the wire, you can bend it into shape so that it'll reach any "corners" you may have. A quick lift, listen for the pump motor and you're done. Keep this high tech float switch tester in the engine room in a visible place and it'll be a good reminder.
You can also use this high tech device to remove the last bits of water left in hard-to-reach areas such as under the ac unit or the hot water heater. . . areas where there is no drain. Because when water sits in an area for a long time, it'll be mold/fungus city. Take the hook and place a few diapers flipped inside out and twist the hook around it so that it'll hold. Give the area a few good swipes and then let it sit for a few minutes. The diapers will do the rest.
06-29-2005, 07:07 AM
I always run abit of water into the bilge when I wash the boat. It will test the switches, pumps, and keeps debri from accumulating in the bilge that might clog up the works when you need it. :thumbsup:
06-29-2005, 08:41 AM
I test mine as part of my "walk through" everytime my boat leaves the house. I also check the pump screens for debris (a royal pain because they (Angler) put the pump way back under the engine. I plan on moving it foreward so they can be easily reached to clear debris in case of a real problem.. Arlon.
I don't have this problem but there have to be some other "trade" secrets for these hard to reach /unseen pumps?? ;?
Mine quit working last week. I checked the fuse at the block but is there another fuse in the actual switch?
I've never seen a fuse within the switch. I have seen a "inline" fuse / holder close to the switch.
06-29-2005, 10:05 AM
Whenever I scrub the boat down, any leftover soapy wash water gets tossed into the bilge The next time I get her up on plane, the water runs aft and the bilge pump does its magic. Keeps everything fresh and clean, and exercises the pumps as well.
Another thing that I did was to replace my old float switches with solid state switches from Material Sciences Corp. There are no moving parts so there is nothing to jam the switch in either the on or off position by debris.
BW23 - 6/28/2005 9:37 PM Good reminder. It is amazing that some boat mfg's locate the pump and switch out of reach. Get to know your bilge!!! If that is the case...how do you test the float switch?(boat is in the water)
This is the understatement of the year!!. I honestly think some boat manufactuers never actually spend anytime on there boats after they leave the plant. Most of these mechanical items are installed when the boats are split apart and there is a ton of room to work. Then they give you a*pathetic inspection hatch to reach your hand down into. Try changing bilge pumps and floats switches by feel only......... :mad:
Most float switches have a test feature. The mechanical float*types which are most common can be manually lifted and the pump should start when you do that.
06-29-2005, 06:06 PM
Thanks for the heads up, Andy.
If I only had one working pump of two (or God forbid they both failed) a few weeks ago, we might still be in the liferaft. :o
06-29-2005, 06:41 PM
Where do they sell this item?
06-29-2005, 06:55 PM
Where do they sell this item?
If you are asking about the SensaSwitch, go here: http://ebiz.netopia.com/msc_emd/
06-29-2005, 07:03 PM
Thank you, just bought 2 of them :thumbsup:
06-29-2005, 07:11 PM
Here is what they look like installed.
My neighbors boat...
06-29-2005, 07:22 PM
thanks for the reiminder.
me, i'm NOT replacing my &*)$%@#!_(&*^ float switch again. :mad:
manual switch works fine, leaving everything be. scout 185 sf. the storm in the keys couple of weeks ago dumped 2"+ one nite while docked, no problem at all.
it's a rule switch. i can't fit surebail, alas.
I just bought & installed a switch like Megabyte's that is labeled Johnson, same as the pump manufacturer. It was only $30 from Defender. The best part was that it snapped into the side of my intake screen so that installation was really a "snap". It kicks on when water covers the upper circle & stops when water leaves the lower circle. There is nothing to stick so the pump will never run dry. IMO this obsoletes the old style float switches. :) :)
P.S. The Johnson is rated for 20 Amps...