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Old 04-15-2018, 10:18 PM   #1
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Another Bilge Pump Question

Hi all, I hope you can assist me here....

I have several bilge pumps that have a separate automatic float switch that can be manually activated at the lower or upper helm (via a toggle switch) or by the automatic switch, which is a manual test feature.

One pump was not functioning at the end of the last season so I looked into it today.

The Manual switch at either helm did not activate the pump, and when I tried to manually activate the switch at the switch, nothing happened.

I removed the pump and switch and replaced both with a Rule-A-Matic Plus Model 40A-floating switch and a rule 1100 GPH pump.

When I wired them up prior to installation I found:

When I activate the manual float switch that is on the float switch nothing happens. When I activate the pump via the remote helm switch, the pump activates.

Both switch and pump are new out of the box.

Does anyone have any ideas of why a new float switch would not activate the pump when wired exactly as the previous switch/pump (when it worked)?

I did strip back the wires to ensure I have a good connection.

Can anyone recommend a test using a voltmeter or any other test or thoughts?

Thanks,

JimL
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:40 PM   #2
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Yes. Flipper type switches are notoriously unreliable in general. Do a search for problems experienced with that particular switch.
Return it as defective and get a Johnson Ultra. No external moving parts to stick open or closed.
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:04 AM   #3
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a diagram of how the wires are hooked up would help.

a continuity check for the flipper (disconnected) could be done.
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimL View Post
When I activate the manual float switch that is on the float switch nothing happens. When I activate the pump via the remote helm switch, the pump activates.

Both switch and pump are new out of the box.

Does anyone have any ideas of why a new float switch would not activate the pump when wired exactly as the previous switch/pump (when it worked)?

Can you manually lift the flipper itself? If it's encased, turn it upside down or something? If so, does that activate the pump? In that case, I'd guess the float switch-- at least the manual toggle on the switch -- is defective from the git-go.

FWIW, last year sometime I did a market survey on a few forums, including here, about best float switches. The Ultra Safety Switch "won" by a wide margin. Good also-ran float switches were the Johnson Ultra and the Water Witch. Everything else is apparently crap.

Another interesting outcome was that old flipper switches got really high marks, whereas the seemingly same models now... are crap. That seems to be all about the mercury (before) and non-mercury (now).

-Chris
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:10 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
Can you manually lift the flipper itself? If it's encased, turn it upside down or something? If so, does that activate the pump? In that case, I'd guess the float switch-- at least the manual toggle on the switch -- is defective from the git-go.

FWIW, last year sometime I did a market survey on a few forums, including here, about best float switches. The Ultra Safety Switch "won" by a wide margin. Good also-ran float switches were the Johnson Ultra and the Water Witch. Everything else is apparently crap.

Another interesting outcome was that old flipper switches got really high marks, whereas the seemingly same models now... are crap. That seems to be all about the mercury (before) and non-mercury (now).

-Chris

Do you mean the Johnson Ultima switch?
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:23 PM   #6
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Typically, there is a 3 wire cable from the panel to the pump. The diagram should help you determine where the circuit isn't doing what it's supposed to do. If you don't have a schematic, make one from your wiring. Get it on paper to keep it organized, that will help guide you through a methodical troubleshooting process. Without a map, you have no idea of the route. Reading a schematic is intuitive, if you don't know how, spend a little time learning, it will pay dividends in understanding how stuff works. If you don't know how it's suppposed to work, you can't possiby determine why it's not working!!

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Old 04-16-2018, 03:29 PM   #7
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One problem with bigger boats is long runs of 12v lines. Voltage drops on long runs of 12v and causes the switch/float/pump to draw more amps. eventually burning out the item. In my boat I have 6 bilge areas and as wired by po's the 12 volts traveled from 15' to 80' in the trip from the battery-switch-pump.
I rewired all my pumps with relays after having a number of pump/float failures. Now the 12 volts goes from the battery to a relays near the pump/float. All the switch/float does is turn on the relay, I haven't lost a pump since the rewire.
In the old days, big boats had a 32 volt system, but 32 volt pumps, etc., are hard to come by now.
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ak-guy View Post
Do you mean the Johnson Ultima switch?
No, he means this:

https://www.tefgel.com/contain.php?p...mpswitch_price

I think there is a mis-wired circuit issue here somewhere or a faulty helm switch.
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
No, he means this:

https://www.tefgel.com/contain.php?p...mpswitch_price

I think there is a mis-wired circuit issue here somewhere or a faulty helm switch.
He does say" Good also-ran float switches were the Johnson Ultra and the Water Witch." As there is no such thing as a Johnson Ultra I though he probably means the Johnson Ultima.
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimL View Post
When I activate the manual float switch that is on the float switch nothing happens. When I activate the pump via the remote helm switch, the pump activates.
Here is what I would do first. disconnect the float switch and using a multimeter check to see if the circuit closes when you activate the float switch at the switch. If not, faulty switch. If it does, then you have a problem with the wiring elsewhere.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:08 PM   #11
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Thanks All. I do have the wiring diagram as Maerim has posted above. I hope to get to the boat tomorrow eventing and will try Dave's method. I'll let you know what I find.

Thanks again,

Jim
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:11 AM   #12
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Do you mean the Johnson Ultima switch?
Yep, sorry, thanks for the correction. We went with Ultra Safety. The also-ran was Johnson Ultima. Apparently my fangers got away from me when I was typing the original...

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Old 04-17-2018, 08:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
Yep, sorry, thanks for the correction. We went with Ultra Safety. The also-ran was Johnson Ultima. Apparently my fangers got away from me when I was typing the original...

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you know Fanger is a souther word?
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:36 AM   #14
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