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Old 02-13-2015, 10:53 AM   #21
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Been there, done that. When we bought our boat, it came with an air whistle and and an electric dual trumpet horn. The horn was not working, so I took it apart to see if a good cleaning woud get it going. No good, even when connected diretly to power. Installed a new stainless horn and all was good for that first season. Winter came and went, and when we took the boat out for the first trip of spring, the new horn wasn't working. I checked power at the switch, all is good, checked the switch, seemed to be working. Checked power at the horn, no power. Reconnected everything and tried again at the switch - no dice. Hit the button again, and it was working. This was two years ago, and we haven't had a problem since. The switch is in the pilot house, so no corrosion issues. I figure it had to be a dirty connection in the switch that worked itself out through use, but cannot confirm. Funny how most of these "fixed itself" issues seem to be electrical.
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Old 02-13-2015, 11:25 AM   #22
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Greetings,
Mr. C. Atta boy. I knew it wasn't just me. Interesting observation about the seeming majority to be electrical. Could be in that case due to not being able to "see" the electrons flowing...
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Old 02-13-2015, 11:33 AM   #23
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The really good news is that it's your generator and not your engine!
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Old 02-13-2015, 11:47 AM   #24
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I once had a solenoid that acted intermittently. It was for a time hard to find a replacement so I dismantled it. The internal terminals had eaten away at their contact points. Pulling them out and turning them 180 degrees revealed new contact material that reset the clock so to speak on its age and wear. Not a common repair procedure but I had nothing to lose on this one.

If it were me, I would immediately shoot it with a handheld flir camera such as the seek thermal or similar. Don't have one? Immediately buy one. I have no idea if it will help diagnose where the resistance point is at, but it's the perfect excuse to buy a new tool and will give you something to do while waiting for it to give you trouble again.
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Old 02-13-2015, 12:00 PM   #25
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Head Scratcher

So with my memorable troubleshooting effort I finally solved it but it took literally a few hours... and trip back to my winter storage yard.
Immediately after launching in the spring and moving to our marina dock I proceeded to hook up dockside power & water and began to flush pink from all the FW lines. After some time I shut faucets etc down & pressurized the system... all OK except the dockside water kept running so I proceeded to put some water in the FW tank & put the FW pump on to see what happened... again got flow to faucets OK but pump wouldn't shut off. Checked bilge and no sign of water anywhere it shouldn't be... same under cabinets in galley, head and FW washdowns at bow & stern. I must have spend another hour turning pump on / off & shore water on/off while listening & again searching bilge & cabinets. Sound of water running while either on & no sound while off!

So lets try a little boater click & clack -
Anyone have a theory??? or better yet had this experience???
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Old 02-13-2015, 12:24 PM   #26
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Mike, it was I and Tom Overs that started the bilge ferrets thread and you'll be doing us no favours by importing that here!

But there is no other explanation, RT has bilge ferrets!
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Old 02-13-2015, 12:40 PM   #27
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RT, you are not so "special." Figure this one out;

I proceed to take a shower. Turn on the water and in a minute or two, the float switch rises and the shower sump pump turns on. So far so good. The pump (which is in the bilge--float switch is in the little sump in the shower pan) runs continually. When the water is turned off, the pump keeps running. It doesn't shut off UNTIL, I lift the teak grate from the shower to investigate and it then shuts off instantly. There is no contact between the grate and the float switch. The grate does not even come near the float switch or its wiring, at least 3 inches of separation. Hand operating of the float switch reveals perfect operation.

Must be gremlins. I give up.

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Old 02-13-2015, 01:59 PM   #28
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Lifting the teak grate causes enough vibration to cause the float to drop?

Have seen where just stomping a foot will do it for awhile.
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:04 PM   #29
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If we are going with the high resistance theory why not open the solenoid. If it is the kind where the solenoid both pulls in the drive gear and closes the circuit to the starter that can be c cause of intermittent operation.
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:16 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by RT Firefly View Post
Greetings,
Leads in the wrong place? NEVER...OK, maybe once...Not in this case though.
Thanks for all the feedback. So, from all the responses, other than Mr. Art, none of you have experienced this phenomenon? Astounding. I guess I really am "special" OR you're just not 'fessing up. The title is somewhat rhetorical and confession is good for the soul.
100% Agreed!
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:21 PM   #31
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Lifting the teak grate causes enough vibration to cause the float to drop?

Have seen where just stomping a foot will do it for awhile.
No, the gremlin runs away from the light of day when hatch is lifted. Simple explanation.
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:23 PM   #32
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Greetings,
Mr. b. The solenoid was engaging every time. Currently (intended) I'm leaning towards the sticky brushes theory...
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:18 PM   #33
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Back to the shower pump. Tried the chicken dance a number of times but the foot stomping did nothing, pump kept running. Lifting the grate gently as can be still stops the pump. Yes, learned about the ferrets on another forum and they do hide from daylight. That must be it.
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:47 PM   #34
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Speaking of beasts in bilges, 15yr ago I had a wooden Harkers snapper boat, abt 33'. Leaky old thing, built in 1960. I was "down there" cleaning out bilge by reaching between stringers and ribs scraping out paint chips, oily gunk, gunk in general.

And something BIT MY HAND!!!

Talk about backing up fast out of the hole!!

Turns out it was a stone crab, juvenile.

Apparently in the fall I was running crab traps, and this little bugger made it out of the trap and out of view and into the bilge. This was spring so the critter spent all winter in the bilge.

He was healthy and apparently well fed. On what, well it's a 40yr old leaky wood boat. Smorgasbord, I guess. Was repatriated.

Just keep this in mind when you reach into dark places down there!!
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:07 PM   #35
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Hi all,
I recently had my fairly new hour meter stop working for no apparent reason. I checked all the connections, cleaning and tightening everything. The hour meter is still oos, but my tach is now working, after being out of the game for months.

This is on a sailboat, mind you, but we have our gremlins too. I will try again on the hour meter next trip to the boat (currently in Mexico).

Cheers, Bill
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