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Old 11-18-2012, 08:02 PM   #41
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Bruce, I have had the same issues over the years, tried different models, all work for a while then they don't. I have always thought that the problem is the environment they work in.

Maybe it would be worth while to buy one of those diaphragm units on Ebay and have it shipped over. Just a thought.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:34 AM   #42
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Bruce, I have had the same issues over the years, tried different models, all work for a while then they don't. I have always thought that the problem is the environment they work in.
It is reasonable to expect they work in a bilge, they are designed and sold for nothing else.
I`d not thought of Ebay, might take a look.Can`t be any worse.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:11 AM   #43
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BruceK;"It is reasonable to expect they work in a bilge, they are designed and sold for nothing else."

I had an Austin 1800 Mk2 once. It was designed as a car, sold as a car, and was absolute rubbish.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:59 AM   #44
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As of late I been installing pumps with float switches built in. All the original pumps still have the rule float switch. However, being a worrier/what if, so I installed additional pumps with the built in float switch. Also use a small pump with built in switch in the shower sumps that have worked for the last 10+ years as long as the sump is clean out every once in a while. The shower sump is one nasty environment.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:28 PM   #45
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I use a water witch in the shower sump - after going through many rule lever type switches - since the change over, no problems - an excellent piece of gear. Only maint. is to wipe the soap scum off the contacts once in the middel of the season.

I use the lever type in the rest of the boat as I have a dry bilge and they do not get much actual use. I will test occasionally with a bucket of water as suggested.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:43 PM   #46
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The Water Witch can be mounted directly on the pump. The first one I bought stayed on until the battery ran down. The replacement has been working well for 3 years.

My boat is trailerable. After I retrieve it and take out the plug, I back it back into the water and watch for the discharge from the pump. My primary bulge pump is the diaphragm type that can suck almost the last drop out...especially since the Witch runs about 10 seconds after the sensor is uncovered.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:45 PM   #47
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Water Witch type of senson: Read carefully the instructions... They don't work correctly on fresh water, or if you have soap, oil, or dog hair in your bilge (among other things) Whomever invented this never had a boat...

Rule and other switches with wires in the bilge: N/G in IMHO

GROCO, JABSCO diaphragm types: super reliable and no wires in the bilge. Make your own out of a washing machine level sensor, that's what they actually use.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:00 PM   #48
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I have a Water Witch as well and am very pleased with it. As suggested an occasional wipe to clean the contacts and no problems.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:38 PM   #49
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BruceK
I have a Water Witch as well and am very pleased with it. As suggested an occasional wipe to clean the contacts and no problems.
Thanks Gemma. I`m still thinking how to go, appreciate the input.
Anyone able to report on Johnson Ultima experience?
(A side advantage, bought online from USA with air freight, a switch is 1/3rd cheaper than at local "Bi-Worth" chandlers. A friend saved $$ buying Aussie made Ronstan parts from a US chandler, despite the 2 Pacific crossings).
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:17 PM   #50
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Well...I boat only in fresh water (so far) and I have a dog and my bilge ALWAYS has Joy and usually fabric softener in it and since the original replacement, my Witch has been flawless. I guess I'm just a sucker for no moving parts?

PS
Lemon Fresh Joy lathers in salt water and keeps the bilge clean. The fabric softener contributes to a fresh scent. I'm not an advocate of the effort/expense to keep a bilge totally dehydrated...a little water down there for me is not only inevitable, but a good thing.
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:19 PM   #51
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Well...I boat only in fresh water (so far) and I have a dog and my bilge ALWAYS has Joy and usually fabric softener in it and since the original replacement, my Witch has been flawless. I guess I'm just a sucker for no moving parts?

PS
Lemon Fresh Joy lathers in salt water and keeps the bilge clean. The fabric softener contributes to a fresh scent. I'm not an advocate of the effort/expense to keep a bilge totally dehydrated...a little water down there for me is not only inevitable, but a good thing.
Inevitable I agree with to a point ....but unless you are a woodie...how can it be a good thing?
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:20 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooksie View Post
Water Witch type of senson: Read carefully the instructions... They don't work correctly on fresh water, or if you have soap, oil, or dog hair in your bilge (among other things) Whomever invented this never had a boat...

Rule and other switches with wires in the bilge: N/G in IMHO

GROCO, JABSCO diaphragm types: super reliable and no wires in the bilge. Make your own out of a washing machine level sensor, that's what they actually use.
Brooksie, when I put the rig together for the dink I read the instructions and was also worried about only rain water in the dink. It turned out to be a non issue.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:57 PM   #53
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Brooksie, when I put the rig together for the dink I read the instructions and was also worried about only rain water in the dink. It turned out to be a non issue.
Can't understand... My son killed his battery and nearly sunk his boat with Water Witch. My mooring mate had bad luck with the Johnson switch if the same type.
Bad luck I guess.
But no luck involved with diaphragm type switch, seldom do dish washers or washing machines overfolw any more.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:16 AM   #54
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The only hassle we have found with air style switches is really heavy oil.

If the owner dumps the oil into the bilge at change time , to pump overboard "later", the goop can plug the air line.

A modestly clean bilge is no problem.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:19 PM   #55
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Thanks to all, I`ve done the research I can, including at sailnet.com(can get bitchy there too). Batteries kept under water seems odd, but people do like their w/witch. The diaphram type, I wonder about debris lodging in the tube, and a made up branded one might be better than DIY out of washing machine parts; imagine telling your insurer when it fails/boat sinks "I got the switch out of a washing machine I found on the roadside, added a plastic tube...."
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:02 PM   #56
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Thanks to all, I`ve done the research I can, including at sailnet.com(can get bitchy there too). Batteries kept under water seems odd, but people do like their w/witch. The diaphram type, I wonder about debris lodging in the tube, and a made up branded one might be better than DIY out of washing machine parts; imagine telling your insurer when it fails/boat sinks "I got the switch out of a washing machine I found on the roadside, added a plastic tube...."
Or not having to tell your insurance company anything because something reliable kept your boat pumped out... as opposed to a store bought Rule float switch that has one of the worst reps of any marine product out there...other than boat fuel gauges of course....
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:42 AM   #57
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"other than boat fuel gauges of course"

For real failure try the holding tank monitors!
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:43 AM   #58
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"other than boat fuel gauges of course"

For real failure try the holding tank monitors!
yeah ...but you EXPECT pretty crappy readings from those....
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:17 PM   #59
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I too have replaced 4 Rule float switches over the last 4 years.
In fact, I just replaced (again) my sump pump float switch last week with yet another Rule float switch. The one that failed with the most expensive Rule switch that West Marine carries. I keep my shower sump clean all the time by scrubbing regularly and leaving "CP" in the sump when I am off the boat. The failure is NOT due to it "hanging up".

There has to be a better solution than these P.O.S. (piece of crap) Rule switches.

As a side note, I always keep the packaging and I returned the switch to West Marine. The last one was swapped out for free by West Marine.
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:07 PM   #60
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Good point on having to explain to your insurance company that you made your own switch... I was not so much suggesting that you make your own switch rather that the diaphram switch used is the same as found in washing machines and dish washers and close to 100% reliable.

The rule type switches, with wires in the bilge, are disturbing enough when they fail or stick on; but even while they still work (but have bad wires) they can leak current into the bilge water causing stray current damage to engine and running gear. Again, I personally would not have another one if they were giving them away.

As to the small hose on the disphragm type pluging up, not a problem; the hose has a 1" diameter 1-1/2" tall bell on the bottom and the water never rises more than 1/2" in the bell b/4 turning on the pump. So it never touches the small hose itself.
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