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Old 05-15-2014, 06:28 AM   #1
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Default Help with Auto Bilge Pump Wiring

Guys, I recently bought a 2008 model bay boat. Super clean, really like it. The boat has a Rule bilge pump with a built in float switch, but the bilge pump switch on the console is a 2position switch (only on and off). When I turn the swicth on, the pump runs full time. All of the auto bilge pumps that I have had in the past have been wired to a 3 position switch (on/off/auto). I'm pretty positive that I need to change out the switch on the console to a 3 position switch to get the pump to function in an automatic fashion. My question is do you think I currently have the correct amount of wiring ran to the back of the 2 position switch to change the switch out to a 3 position switch, or will I need to run an extra wire to the back of the new 3 position switch? Thanks in advance for any feedback.
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:41 AM   #2
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You need a 3 way switch.
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:54 AM   #3
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Before you make any changes...have you just tried to lift the float switch to see what happens?
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:03 AM   #4
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I dont have a three way switch on either of my boats.. On off turns the pumps on manually and the float switch turns it on automatically
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:07 AM   #5
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The float switch is built in, inside of the bilge pump housing. It sounds like a ping pong ball that moves up and down in there. If I turn the switch on the console to the on position with the bilge completely dry, the pump comes on and runs continuously. That tells me I need a 3 position switch, but my question is do I currently have the correct amount of wires going to the back of the 2 position switch currently on the console to properly connect to a 3 position switch that I plan to install. Thanks.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:07 AM   #6
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I dont have a three way switch on either of my boats.. On off turns the pumps on manually and the float switch turns it on automatically
Yup. Mine works that way.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:09 AM   #7
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You do not need a 3 pos switch. Pos from battery thru fuse or breaker, then to one side of switch. Also from fuse to float switch. From other side of switch go to bilge pump positive. Also from other side of float switch to bilge pump pos.. Bilge pump neg directly to battery or negative buss.

You are basically wiring 2 switches in parallel. When float switch floats it closed circuit and pump comes on. When you operate manual switch you close circuit and pump comes on. System is always in auto mode when manual switch is off.

If boat is wired this way and you manually life float switch and pump does not run, then float switch is INOP. Replace it.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:09 AM   #8
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Airbus, so it sounds like your pump will kick on automatically even if your switch is in the off postion? I can test that easy enough in my driveway by keeping the switch off and filling the bilge enough to raise the float, and see what happens.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck34 View Post
Before you make any changes...have you just tried to lift the float switch to see what happens?
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Originally Posted by Airbus A320 View Post
I dont have a three way switch on either of my boats.. On off turns the pumps on manually and the float switch turns it on automatically
My thoughts exactly.

My triumph and parker are the same way. I think many newer boats are coming this way.

The three way switch allows you to shut off the pump entirely, which can be good and/or bad.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:11 AM   #10
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Thanks for the feedback, guys. I will test it this weekend.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:11 AM   #11
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Airbus, so it sounds like your pump will kick on automatically even if your switch is in the off postion? I can test that easy enough in my driveway by keeping the switch off and filling the bilge enough to raise the float, and see what happens.
Yes you got it!
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:11 AM   #12
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IMO a three way switch is asking for trouble. For whatever reason you forget to leave it in AUTO or mistakenly leave it OFF you can find yourself in trouble. If you have a standard on/off switch and the auto feature is wired directly to the battery you can never forget to leave the "auto" on.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:15 AM   #13
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My bilge pump is wired directly to the battery. If the battery has juice the float switch will activate the pump. I also have a two position, on/off switch at the helm. It is wired to the manual override on the pump. Flip the switch and the pump runs regardless of the position of the float switch. This is a safety precaution should your float switch fail and you find yourself standing in water.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Airbus, so it sounds like your pump will kick on automatically even if your switch is in the off postion? I can test that easy enough in my driveway by keeping the switch off and filling the bilge enough to raise the float, and see what happens.

That's what I suggested.
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Old 05-15-2014, 01:01 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the feedback, guys.
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Old 05-15-2014, 04:25 PM   #16
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If you have a standard on/off switch and the auto feature is wired directly to the battery you can never forget to leave the "auto" on.

Nor can you turn it 'off' without disconnecting it from the battery altogether. Those who have had a float switch/pump malfunction know there's a place for 3 positions, nothing is foolproof ...
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:32 AM   #17
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Tested it yesterday with the bilge switch on the console in the off position. Filled the bilge and it kicked on just like you guys said it would. I had my battery selector switch in the "all" position, meaning both batteries had power when I tested it, which is the way the boat will sit in the water overnight at the camp. Thanks again.
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:40 AM   #18
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I hard wire my bilge pump to one of my batteries, that way I can turn the power off to the boat and still have the bilge functional.
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Old 05-16-2014, 07:23 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
If you have a standard on/off switch and the auto feature is wired directly to the battery you can never forget to leave the "auto" on.

Nor can you turn it 'off' without disconnecting it from the battery altogether. Those who have had a float switch/pump malfunction know there's a place for 3 positions, nothing is foolproof ...
I personally would rather have my pump stuck on than have some one bump the switch And leave the boat without automatic pumping capabilities. Worst comes to worse you can always pull the fuse for the automatic power lead to disable the float.
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Old 05-16-2014, 08:30 AM   #20
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Mine may be hard wired. I need to test it with the battieries switch turned to off to check.
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