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Old 01-17-2014, 08:08 AM   #21
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Testing the bilge pump without water tells you that the pump is running but it doesn't tell you if it will actually pump water out of the bilge.

I was cleaning my bilge once and used a hose to put water into the bilge. The pump came on and ran as expected but I eventually noticed that the water level wasn't changing. It turns out. the plastic impeller broke where it attaches to the pump shaft and wasn't spinning.

Other faults could be a kinked or plugged discharge hose or debris clogging the intake screen of the pump.

My message is - check your bilge pumps with actual water from time to time. See if they actually pump the water out.
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Old 04-16-2017, 11:52 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
the rolling ball ones...especially the RULE ones for the last decade or so have been problematic in 2 areas...the balls themselves get dead spots on them...probably from arcing and the floats themselves if subjected to typical bilge slime do get sticky enough to "not float".

I agree that the air ones and some of the electronic ones do have their advantages but alas they too can have failures (even though you have not experienced one - yet).

My solution is just buy a couple of the cheaper ones...whatever suits your fancy or even try 2 different styles....connect both to the pump, one higher and out of the goo so to speak...the higher one should not suffer the same fate of the lower one and be a backup just in case.

Of all the safety precautions we as boaters take...I'm not sure why this simple yet effective solution isn't explored more.

Hook the higher one to the high water alarm system as an added benefit.
2 switches works for safety, but 1 more switch plus 1 more pump is better.

I just bought a SPX-Johnson AS888 rolling ball switch cheap off ebay.
I plan to use a 40 amp cube relay to reduce the load on the switch for a Rule 3700 pump.
Switch was said to have a microswitch that the rolling ball whacks.

You have to loop the wire which allows float to lift. I did not like their solution of a small slot under the base, wire can fall out of place.

So I drilled 2 small holes, passed wire thru then hotglued to secure so when I screw it down wires wont be out of place.

Other thing, this may have issue shutting pump off. When float falls down, it has to be almost touching the surface it is mounted on. A pump can not pump that low. So I will put something under the switch mount screws to lift it higher to ensure a turn off.
I figure the relay will take the load and lengthen life of the switch.

This switch design is better than the sealed shaft switch that seal can fail and water leaks into the float where it has electrical points. I had two of those type fail. The shaft seal leaked, shaft corroded, one float stuck, other one switch points rusted.

This SPX switch, a weakness is wires can break over long time float moving. At least there is no rubber seal sealing metal shaft.
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:04 PM   #23
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Assumed a bit to fast there chief.
A properly done crimp is more reliable than a soldered connection. This goes double for Joe Average who doesn't know how to solder in the first place.
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:12 PM   #24
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My bilge switches seldom operate. The only time they operate is if I dump water tanks to the bilge. I put a small automatic Rule 500 gph in the bilge. It cycles every 2.5 minutes for about two secounds and detects load on the motor if it is pumping water. I put it in to maintain water in the bilge as low as posible. I dont have a bilge sump, its just a trough that runs the partial length of the keel. Water level is less than 1/2".
The first one failed at two months but the replacement has worked for over three years.

Rule Pumps Automatic 12 Volt DC Bilge Pump, 500 GPH 25S
I did the same thing, as you with the pump that runs on a couple minute cycle. I ran the hose to the shower sump, in the engine room. I also put a one way valve , on the larger pump, so no water returned, back down the hose, from when pumped overboard.
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Old 04-16-2017, 01:14 PM   #25
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The failures I have had with the rule switches. And there have been many is that they turn the pump on but will not turn it off therefore burning up the pump as well as a switch. I no longer by Jabsco products ,as almost everyone I have owned has been of poor quality
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Old 04-16-2017, 04:17 PM   #26
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Joe average can solder fine, it is Joe Spaz that cant.

Same with most wiring jobs and crimping with proper tools if they take a few minutes to learn the basics.
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Old 04-16-2017, 08:19 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
....I just bought a SPX-Johnson AS888 rolling ball switch cheap off ebay.
I plan to use a 40 amp cube relay to reduce the load on the switch for a Rule 3700 pump.
Switch was said to have a microswitch that the rolling ball whacks.

You have to loop the wire which allows float to lift. I did not like their solution of a small slot under the base, wire can fall out of place.

So I drilled 2 small holes, passed wire thru then hotglued to secure so when I screw it down wires wont be out of place.

Other thing, this may have issue shutting pump off. When float falls down, it has to be almost touching the surface it is mounted on. A pump can not pump that low. So I will put something under the switch mount screws to lift it higher to ensure a turn off.
I figure the relay will take the load and lengthen life of the switch....
This SPX switch, a weakness is wires can break over long time float moving....
I like a bargain, but the item has to be worth having. Work seen as necessary in the hope of making the bargain item work, and keep working, says false economy. Rightly, you don`t trust the switch as designed and built.
Design has progressed, there are better reliable switches. In the event of switch failure, what an insurer says of a switch, custom modified before installation, could be a major concern.
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Old 04-16-2017, 09:35 PM   #28
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For my money, the best switch/s by far are the diaphragm types by Groco and PAR. They last for decades and no wires in the bilge water just to mention 2 of their many selling points.
Electronic switches can either stick on due to hair, oil, or soap in the bilgewater or stick off b/c some don't sensepure rainwater. I have kept my boat on a mooring for 30 years and would not have any but the diaphragm type switch.
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:58 AM   #29
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For folks with time to play perhaps a self powered bilge pump to remove small water as it accumulates.

THe simplest I have seen was a bracket that held a large car mechanical fuel pump .

The operating arm had a bolted on lever with a weight that operated the pump on each rock of the boat.

Discharge into a sink and the bilge can be very dry if the suction hose is well placed.

The hardest part is finding THE low point in the bilge to suck the last drops from.

Good hunting,the local scrap yard has cheep pumps.
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:15 PM   #30
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I like a bargain, but the item has to be worth having. Work seen as necessary in the hope of making the bargain item work, and keep working, says false economy. Rightly, you don`t trust the switch as designed and built.
Design has progressed, there are better reliable switches. In the event of switch failure, what an insurer says of a switch, custom modified before installation, could be a major concern.
I have 5 bilge pumps so of a necessary precaution since I dont want it to just sink maybe if something weird happens, many pumps lower the overall risk.
I have a sealed compartment aft with 2 pumps. The main bilge has 3 pumps. There is also a small 350 gph shower pump. So boat has two compartments that water cannot flow between. I flooded the aft compartment deliberately to see what happens. At first the flow coming in is strong, but as it floods, it slows a lot and just about stops. So it would buy me lots of time if a strut cracked open the hull. something pierced the hull, hose failure, etc.. Took several hours to flood and pump out.

I agree with you, it is a cheap switch. All my other switches are Rule non rolling ball style switches. It hopefully will work for at least 5 years.
Doing the mods to me is just common sense to make it work better.
Some of the Amazon reviews had said the pumps would come on and not shut off, could be due to it's float not falling far enough down. And in small boat the angles might not be helping that either.
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Old 04-20-2017, 05:03 PM   #31
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I've been on the water for 60+ years and have found cheap items give cheap results Only 3 switches have shown to be reliable. The enclosed Lovett pump and the ball in the tube type, see pic. Also mercury switches were reliable. That's probably why we can't buy them anymore.
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