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Old 11-05-2011, 10:35 AM   #1
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Bilge float switch

As I look for the reciept where I recently purchased my Rule Super Switch to get a warrentied replacement I am beginning to wonder if I need to consider upgrading to a more dependable product...... This is a pretty important item. Any suggestions??
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:58 AM   #2
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RE: Bilge float switch

http://www.wolfwire.com/tefgel/pumpswitch.htm

IMHO, these are the best there are. A true "install and forget" product. I've had mine (Jr.) for about 8 years with no problems. Actually I have two of them, but the other is on my high level emergency pump.
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Old 11-05-2011, 04:36 PM   #3
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RE: Bilge float switch

What Keith said.

They are more expensive than the "flopper" type, but made for easy servicing and longevity. I know of one that has been in continuous service since 2003. At least one model has a built-in hi-level alarm circuit.
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Old 11-05-2011, 07:37 PM   #4
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RE: Bilge float switch

The Ultra Pump Switches are very reliable. The Senior model has the built in high water alarm switch. The Junior is just a pump switch. If you decide to buy one, I would appreciate it if you would visit my website.
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:56 AM   #5
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RE: Bilge float switch

Quote:
HopCar wrote:
The Ultra Pump Switches are very reliable. The Senior model has the built in high water alarm switch. The Junior is just a pump switch. If you decide to buy one, I would appreciate it if you would visit my website.
You guys have a price too. I don't need the alarm- but the SR switch has a lifetime warranty for a few more dollars, so this would probably be the way to go????
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:53 AM   #6
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RE: Bilge float switch

The Rule switches are the worst product made considering how important they are. We have found that they seldom last more than one year if they get worked regularly. There are several options available and all are better than Rule. Chuck
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:07 PM   #7
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Bilge float switch

Identify some of them please Chuckster :-)

And is that true of the pumpstoo?


-- Edited by GonzoF1 on Monday 7th of November 2011 08:08:02 PM
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:17 AM   #8
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RE: Bilge float switch

The open Rule switches seem to have gotten really bad in the last few years...the Rule plus version that's enclosed in a cage*(at least the older models) seem to keep working for a longer time.* One of the*issues is the scum in your bilge water seems to make them hang up...either on or off.* If you don't get a lot of water in the bilge and they don't cycle that much...it's not the cycling issue that's the problem.

My plan is to mount 2 switches for at least the daily pumps (2), one high, one low with the highs attached to my alarm system.* On the couple Big (3000 gph pumps) I may only have one pump as if the switches rarely get used and are usually never in the bilge water...they should be fine.

All switches should be tested (exercised)*prior to trips and every week or so...

Pumps of all brands are hit or miss....I've heard early*failures, burnups, no pump situations with a lot of manufacturers.* The auto check pumps even get mixed reviews.*
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:40 AM   #9
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RE: Bilge float switch

Yes, I agree. I have had to replace about 3 Rule float switches in 10 yrs. I'd love to hear of a better design that didn't cost an arm and a leg.
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:30 AM   #10
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RE: Bilge float switch

these are a bit pricey, but appear to be long lived.

http://www.waterwitchinc.com/



I have used one in my shower sump box for 2 years now, with no problem. This after many rule style switch outs
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:20 AM   #11
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RE: Bilge float switch

I do not trust what ever the switch is so I installed a second bilge pump and switch.* At the minimum install a back up switch. The primary bilge pump is on the house batteries that back up is off the shared start battery.***

*

*
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Old 11-08-2011, 02:04 PM   #12
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RE: Bilge float switch

Quote:
bshanafelt wrote:


these are a bit pricey, but appear to be long lived.

http://www.waterwitchinc.com/



I have used one in my shower sump box for 2 years now, with no problem. This after many rule style switch outs
My shower sump switch (Rule) also went out a few months ago, the unit was about 14 months old at the time and it continued to run unless jiggled. My primary bilge pump hardly ever runs and that is the one that failed and would not trigger on. I found this out last weekend- the starboard rudder packing had a slow leak. Seems the Rule does OK unless you use it a lot, subject it to scum, or never use it.....:smile:
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:51 AM   #13
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RE: Bilge float switch

If it was still legal to use mercury switches, we wouldn't be talking about replacing defective float switches. A sealed glass tube with two contacts and a ball of liquid metal that moves when the tube is tilted. Trouble free.
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:37 AM   #14
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RE: Bilge float switch

Ron, I sell hundreds of bilge switches every year, most of them are Rule. Back when Rule used mercury switches we got far more returns than we do now. I took apart a bunch of the returned ones and the mercury switch never was the problem. The wires broke where they were forced to twist each time the float would rise and fall. We get far fewer returns on the new non-mercury switches. When we do get a return it's usually because the switch sticks and won't rise with the water. They seem to have addressed the breaking wire issue.
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:04 PM   #15
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RE: Bilge float switch

Quote:
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Ron, I sell hundreds of bilge switches every year, most of them are Rule. Back when Rule used mercury switches we got far more returns than we do now. I took apart a bunch of the returned ones and the mercury switch never was the problem. The wires broke where they were forced to twist each time the float would rise and fall. We get far fewer returns on the new non-mercury switches. When we do get a return it's usually because the switch sticks and won't rise with the water. They seem to have addressed the breaking wire issue.

If they had addressed the breaking wire issue, you would have seen few returns.

I used to service commercial fire alarm systems and many had mercury switches in the pull stations (I have no idea why).* At one time I had several of the switches, but I suppose I threw them away when I moved.
*
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Old 11-09-2011, 02:24 PM   #16
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RE: Bilge float switch

Update:
I went on to order the new Waterwitch that costs $34.00. Sorry Parks, but I will make sure to patronize your business in the future. I will post some info about the perceived quality, ease of installation, etc. after I get it. I hope it as good of a product as it seems. I have a high volume bilge pump a few inches higher than this one on a separate circuit, so I feel I can take a chance on this.
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Old 11-09-2011, 04:19 PM   #17
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RE: Bilge float switch

I'll be interseted to hear about Water Witch switches these days.* Back around 2001-2003 when I worked for a marine electronics firm...I think we had to replace every water witch switch that we ever sold/installed.
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Old 11-09-2011, 05:00 PM   #18
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RE: Bilge float switch

Quote:
psneeld wrote:


I'll be interseted to hear about Water Witch switches these days.* Back around 2001-2003 when I worked for a marine electronics firm...I think we had to replace every water witch switch that we ever sold/installed.
I hope they have improved on these by now. A couple of years ago a liveaboard dock neighbor sang their praises as I recall now. I have gotten two emails since the Admiral placed the order. One to say I had an account there now and could track purchase history, the other was to say the switch had shipped. The 101 I ordered seems to be a new item - geared to a price point for the "Boater on a Budget" I suspect. I would probably qualify for their target buyer. Until a couple of weeks ago I may not have considered it. That's when the Admiral said we couldn't afford the boat anymore and we need to sell her. I responded "How would you know?? You don't even work with a budget!" Turns out that the first step to being on a budget is me getting up early enough to pack my own lunch.... That's OK. So long as as the old Trawler is still down there at the slip to climb on and enjoy!
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Old 11-09-2011, 10:37 PM   #19
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RE: Bilge float switch

Steve, I look forward to hearing how the Water Witch works out. We tried selling them when they first hit the market but we got too many returns on them and then they stopped selling as word got around. That was many years ago and I'm sure they have improved. They were one of the first bilge switches without moving parts. There are a bunch of them on the market now. Johnson Pumps makes one that can be hooked to most bilge pumps and Johnson, Jabsco, and Whale make pumps with non moving switches built in. I bet there are others. I think with all bilge switches, keeping a clean bilge is the best thing you can do to prolong the life of your switch. My boat has a very narrow bilge so I can only fit small pumps. I have two small rule pumps mounted low in the bilge and one big (3000 GPH) Rule mounted as low as I can get it. Each is equipped with a Rule Float Switch. The switches on the small pumps seem to last between two and three years and I have them wired to a terminal strip to make them easy to change. The big pump has only come on twice in more than twenty years. The first happened when one of the small pumps failed and I stupidly ignored it for several months. Sure enough the second small pump failed. Heavy rain and a leaking stuffing box got the water high enough to turn on the big pump. The second time I was at a strange dock during an extra low tide. The swim platform got caught under a rub strip on the dock piling and when the tide came back in the boat couldn't rise with it. Water started coming in the freeing ports and the big pump kept it afloat long enough for someone to see the problem and give the boat a good shove away from the dock so it could float.
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:11 AM   #20
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RE: Bilge float switch

It would seem so easy to detect a rising water level and make a set of electrical contacts, yet this seems like one of the most common complaints about boat maintenance - failed float switches.

Where are the engineers? Where are the inventors?
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