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Bilge pump

Old 11-09-2005, 05:34 AM
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Default Bilge pump

I have a 25 Steigercraft, I have two bilge pumps. The forward pump will not prime properly. When I wash the floor in the pilothouse, water will collect, pump will start and just run. If I work the float switch by hand, on,off,on,off, it will eventually pump the water out. This concerns me as it could run my batteries down, when the boat is unattended.

Thanks in advance,

Jim
Old 11-09-2005, 07:42 AM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

Jim, From the way you describe it, it sounds like you have a bad float switch. I would suggest you replace it with a quality replacement switch. Float switches have been discussed here quite a few times in the past, but the one I would recommend is the totally solid-state switches made by Material Sciences Corporation called the SensaSwitch.



http://www.sealandservices.com/sensaswitch.htm
http://www.onlinemarine.com/cgi-loca....htm?E+scstore
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...category=26449
Old 11-09-2005, 12:44 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

Megabyte,
I just installed one of those bad boys. They are gr8.
Old 11-09-2005, 04:37 PM
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Default RE: Bilge pump

interesting possibility. am i reading their web site correctly, that this thing has a constant draw, even when there's no water? "less than 1/4 amp," they state.
Old 11-09-2005, 05:11 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

I doubt that there is a draw when no water is present, but a phone call to MSC could answer that question.
I've notice no apparent draw from mine, and I have 3 of them.
Old 11-09-2005, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

Kevin,

The switch seems to be working and the pump does kick on it just doesn't pump any water unless I turn the pump on and off a few times, as if it needs to be primed.
Old 11-09-2005, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

Those switches are awesome and should be standard equipment on all boats.
Old 11-09-2005, 06:32 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

Megabyte - 11/9/2005 5:11 PM

I doubt that there is a draw when no water is present, but a phone call to MSC could answer that question. I've notice no apparent draw from mine, and I have 3 of them.
directly from their web site:

The SensaSwitch system when powered draws less than 1/4 amp when the bilge pump is not running.
Old 11-09-2005, 06:48 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

1/4 amp is a big draw but if kevin has 3 of them and notices no draw that's good enuf for me that they work and don't draw down the batts...I'll bet they draw nothing when no water is present
Old 11-09-2005, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

It sounds to me that the switch is mounted too low if it works by manually raising & lowering it. Could it be that The pump is just sucking air & that makes it hard to prime?
Old 11-09-2005, 07:40 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

landlubber - 11/9/2005 7:32 PM



directly from their web site:

The SensaSwitch system when powered draws less than 1/4 amp when the bilge pump is not running.
Well, I can neither confirm or deny that could be a potential problem. So far, that has not been an issue for me.

In my case, I have a pair of 2 year old Optima Group 27 Blue-top batteries powering everything on my boat. That includes 3 bilge pumps totaling 4860 gph with SensaSwitches on all three of them. One switch is located in the forward bilge, and the other two are in the rear, connected to a pair of 2000 gph pumps.
No issues to-date.



As for the pump failing to prime... if it worked at one time, and does not now, I'd replace the pump with a premium replacement and see if that does the trick. There really is little that can fail in these situations... the switch or the pump itself.

My OEM rear pump was a 'standard' 1500 gph Rule which was replaced with a pair of '5-year' Rule 2000 gph Gold models. Cheap insurance in my mind.

Sorry... but it's difficult to diagnose your issue in an online forum, especially without photos. If you consider that the OEM equipment was operating properly at one time, only two items could be at issue. The pump or the switch. Even if you have to replace both to resolve the issue, you'll be better off in the long run.
If you replace the OEM parts with better than OEM items as suggested, all the better for the future.

Good luck!
Old 11-09-2005, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

i'm just way cynical on all float switches, and i refused to replace mine in the spring after god-knows how many failures. the rule models, w/ the casing. alas, the surebail doesn't fit so nicely, and not worth trying to wedge it in down there.

so, i've gone w/o. my scout 185 sf did just fine in a couple of situations while left overnight in the water during some nasty downpours.

worst case was in the keys when dennis hit (the first of 3 major storms this year down there). it was only tropical storm winds and few nice gusts, BUT an awful lot of rain dumped on us one night before i trailered the boat.

the rain went right out the back via scuppers. in the morning, my bilge wasn't even in the yellow zone.

of course, when i'm on the boat, i can just flick the bilge switch on the accessory panel.

Old 11-10-2005, 07:41 AM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

landlubber,

I hope you do not keep your boat in the water when not in use. What you are doing is just asking for trouble. God forbid you have a hose spring a leak. Your insurance company is going to deny your claim. Can't understand people who have a signifciant sum of money invested in their boats, who take foolish chances. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you, but recommend you resolve your problem sooner than later.

Salty
Old 11-10-2005, 07:52 AM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

Take the pump apart and check for debris. There should be some sort of strainer so check it also. It's not the switch, the pump runs.
Old 11-10-2005, 01:00 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

Thanks Ron,
I agree it can't be the switch if the pump is turning on. This weekend i'll pull the pump and check it and the hose for debris.
Old 11-10-2005, 01:12 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

1/4 AMP draw sounds like a lot to me, especially if you have multiple switches.. is that number correct?

Its not a problem if you use the boat frequently, but lets say you leave it sit for a couple weeks.. that would be 84 AmpHours per switch.. whats the capacity of a Group 27? Around 95-100AH?

Doesn't sound right, if my math is correct

-- Tom
Old 11-10-2005, 03:38 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

stripertom - 11/10/2005 2:12 PM

1/4 AMP draw sounds like a lot to me, especially if you have multiple switches.. is that number correct?

Its not a problem if you use the boat frequently, but lets say you leave it sit for a couple weeks.. that would be 84 AmpHours per switch.. whats the capacity of a Group 27? Around 95-100AH?

Doesn't sound right, if my math is correct

-- Tom
That's about what most CO detectors draw. I believe there's a newer model that draws considerably less current.
Old 11-10-2005, 06:22 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

Found this link on BoatUS site.. claims current draw is only 16 micro-amps, which is a HUGE difference.. for once, I hope BoatUS is right

http://www.boatus.com/news/techno11_05.htm

-- Tom
Old 11-10-2005, 07:15 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

well it sounds like its not priming the pump, its getting air in the line check your hose to see if its too high also if its an old pump some times the impeller gets a little worn and it does not perform as new making it suck air
good luck
Old 11-19-2005, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: Bilge pump

wellv20 - 11/9/2005 5:13 PM

Kevin,

IMHO:
The switch seems to be working and the pump does kick on it just doesn't pump any water unless I turn the pump on and off a few times, as if it needs to be primed.
Sounds like debris like a fish line or hair inside impeller. Opener up and clean it out. If switch turns it on and it wont pump it's either debris like hair or fish line or pump impeller is worn out, spinning in shaft. A new pump should cure it.

Sorry I flunked typist class..

Wish it would stop raining..

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