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Old 04-25-2017, 07:44 PM   #1
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Bilge Pump Inop

After ensuring my power panel is on, one of my bilge pumps will not operate when I flick the switch to the "Auto" or "Manual" position. All three pumps worked prior to winter lay up, but now the light on the panel for the one inoperative pump doesn't illuminate either. I'm wondering if someone could help me with this. If the pump is the failed part, shouldn't the light on the power panel still illuminate? I'm sure it isn't the bulb because the pump does not come on when I activate the switch. I'm wondering if the light not coming on is an indication that it could be a switch or breaker issue.

Thanks,
Alex
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Old 04-25-2017, 07:48 PM   #2
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Check any fuse/breaker protecting it, should be easy.


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Old 04-25-2017, 07:52 PM   #3
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Thank you Lou. I'll take a look at the fuse/breaker. A blown fuse, or tripped breaker would be ideal.
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Old 04-25-2017, 07:57 PM   #4
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if breaker and fuse are fine you can test the pump itself by connecting it directly on a battery to check if it is working.

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Old 04-25-2017, 08:02 PM   #5
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I was hoping the panel light not coming on was a clear indication of a blown fuse or bad switch. I'll swap out both (which I have spares of) and then go with the wire to the battery route. Thank you for the advise.
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:15 PM   #6
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If you have a multi-meter you can just check the resistance of your fuse/breaker without replacing them. If you have none you should buy one

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Old 04-25-2017, 08:31 PM   #7
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Lou, I have a multi-meter. It's not a "Fluke", but I'm sure it'll do the trick. I did check resistance on all three breakers a few days ago and noticed a change in the suspect pump. I'm not too confident with my electrical stills so I wasn't too sure about how to proceed. The readings seemed lower on the discrepant pump breaker. Does that sound right? How should the resistance read?
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:45 PM   #8
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If you put your multimeter on resistance measurement (Ohm), and measure between each "end" of your fuse/breaker, the reading should be a low value (low resistance). If the fuse is fried reading should be infinite (infinite resistance nothing pass through). For your breaker first check that it did not trip off. If the breaker tripped off try to switch it on and try to turn your pump on manual. If it trips off again you have a short cut somewhere. If not and pump does not work measure your breaker resistance ( same as for your fuse, reading should be low). If the breaker is correct great chance your pump is fried, test it by connecting it directly to a battery and see if it is running.

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Old 04-25-2017, 09:38 PM   #9
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I'm going to take a look at this tomorrow before work. Thank you again.
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Old 04-25-2017, 09:48 PM   #10
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YouTube has great multimeter videos for testing fuses and many other tasks. I've watched my fair share!

If the fuse did blow, make sure to figure out why. Was something jammed under the float switch causing the pump to run constantly? Did the pump short out? Or something else?
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Old 04-25-2017, 10:43 PM   #11
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I was thinking that as well. Considering it worked before I winterized, and now it doesn't, I'm not sure. One thing I do know after working on fighter Aircraft for 20 years (Again not a wiring guy), is that sometimes things just stop working. "But it flew perfectly yesterday!"

I hope this is a similar situation. Something to keep in mind though. Thanks for the advise Panhandler.
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:40 AM   #12
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If the batt set was removed for charging during the winter layup , perhaps they were not hoked up properly when returned.

Many boats will power the bilge pump directly from the batt avoiding the rest of the boats wiring. Its called "always hot".

If the installer did not reconnect the pump wire it will give your symptoms , as well as a blown fuse in the circuit.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:31 AM   #13
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I think I found the reason my aft bilge pump wasn't turning on. Click image for larger version

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Old 04-26-2017, 08:40 AM   #14
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You see, I told you it would be easy!

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Old 04-26-2017, 08:49 AM   #15
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The fuse holder disintegrated in my hands. Plastic was seized. Came apart like ceramic.
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:54 AM   #16
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New inline fuse holder and 10A fuse installed. Guess what? Works as advertised. Thanks everyone!Click image for larger version

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Old 04-26-2017, 11:02 AM   #17
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Congrats! One less thing to think about for you

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Old 04-26-2017, 11:34 AM   #18
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Now for the other 75 things on my list. This was a priority considering they are putting my boat in the water in a couple days. I know better than to ever rely on a bilge pump, but it's good to know they are all working.
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Old 04-26-2017, 11:59 AM   #19
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Indeed, I am in the process of cleaning one of mine that was very dirty, and rewiring it correctly. The PO changed it and did not connect the switch to force it on but only relied on the float switch and I do not like it. I want to be able to start it manually if needed.

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Old 04-26-2017, 12:44 PM   #20
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It's great to be able to test it without crawling in the bilge.
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