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Old 06-13-2021, 07:54 PM   #1
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Shower Box pump

I bought a "internal float shower pump" 12v from West Marine - and could not make it work. I have power to the box just under 12 volt - checked with a multimeter. I took the pump back to West Marine - they desk tested the pump and showed me it spins.
I took it back to my boat and connected the wires as they advised me - still it does not turn on. I poured water into the shower box and submerged the pump - does not turn on.


I was going to try connecting direct to the battery to see if it is any help - drop it in a pail of water and see if the float will kick on the pump...



Frustrating when I think it should be working...
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Old 06-13-2021, 08:05 PM   #2
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Have you tried lifting the float by hand?
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Old 06-13-2021, 08:15 PM   #3
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It has an internal float - so it is buried in the plastic housing - not like the old ones with an external float.
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Old 06-13-2021, 08:27 PM   #4
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It has an internal float - so it is buried in the plastic housing - not like the old ones with an external float.
Usually there's a lever or small dial you can lift or turn to raise an internal float for testing.

Also, just because there's voltage registering, doesn't mean the connections are good enough to pass sufficient current. Yes, try direct connecting it to the battery.
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Old 06-13-2021, 10:55 PM   #5
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The comment that you had just under 12 volts on the power wire got my attention. By all means, run a temporary wire directly from your battery to see if it works. If it does, there is a problem with that dedicated power wire you need to trace back.
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Old 06-14-2021, 03:33 PM   #6
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So this is where I currently am...


I have 13.4 volts on the battery. The pump will work when I put positive and negative / ground on the battery.


I have fluctuating between 12.2 and 12.5 on the live leads. The pump will not work when I put positive and negative / ground on the pump from the live leads.


This is curious - when I have the positive on the live lead and negative / ground on the negative battery post the pump will not work.


I thought anything over 12 volts power would run the pump. Then I thought if I had a bad ground it may not work - but going to the battery negative did not help...


Any thoughts? I am not comfortable finding a better source and running new wires - I think the boat has too many loose wires as it is...
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Old 06-14-2021, 05:56 PM   #7
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A full volt drop from batty to bilge seems excessive.
You may have a corroded wire and/or connections. The V likely will drop further with a load (I'massuming your 12.2-12.5 V was w/o load). I would try a temp wire to the pump connection to see if that does it.
Also check connections to the breaker servicing the sump pump.
Usually shower sumps are wired to bypass batty switches similar to bilge pumps. If you have a bilge pump closer you might try temp power from there to see if it operates better.
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Old 06-14-2021, 07:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by LovetoBoat View Post
So this is where I currently am...


I have 13.4 volts on the battery. The pump will work when I put positive and negative / ground on the battery.


I have fluctuating between 12.2 and 12.5 on the live leads. The pump will not work when I put positive and negative / ground on the pump from the live leads.


This is curious - when I have the positive on the live lead and negative / ground on the negative battery post the pump will not work.


I thought anything over 12 volts power would run the pump. Then I thought if I had a bad ground it may not work - but going to the battery negative did not help...


Any thoughts? I am not comfortable finding a better source and running new wires - I think the boat has too many loose wires as it is...
You seem to have just eliminated every single thing but the dedicated positive 12-volt wire for the pump. Not sure why you are not comfy running a new one, but that's looking like what you must do. Can you not just race it back to its origin and run a new wire making sure all connections are shiny and tight?
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Old 06-14-2021, 08:47 PM   #9
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What size wire and what is the distance of the round trip circuit? Small wire plus long run with hi-current will cause a fairly large voltage drop.

BTW- for boats where ground is usually in panel, you have to double the distance (autos usually have a ground near the appliance so one-way distance suffices) if you have 16-14 ga wire and more than about 10 feet from battery (20 feet circuit), would easily explain the voltage drop. A 1-1/2" 2000gph pump can easily spike at 15-20 amps.

Here's the Blue Sea wire size recommendation.

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Old 06-15-2021, 08:33 AM   #10
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Thanks all.



To summarize I think I have localized to the power side. The real issue is this is a new to me boat - I have owned it for about two months and I am not comfortable connecting and running wires yet. And with summer upon us I can not seem to find a shop that is not booked out 8 or more weeks...


The distance from the shower pump to to my panel is about 6 feet. I am not good at telling what size wire it is but both wires are different gauges - wire strand. Not sure that helps - I have looked under the dash and it looks daunting so I have been avoiding trying to run a new line. I guess push and shove are coming and I will scour youtube and google and see if they show how to wire to my auto bilge switch...


I appreciate the help.
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Old 06-15-2021, 09:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovetoBoat View Post
So this is where I currently am...


I have 13.4 volts on the battery. The pump will work when I put positive and negative / ground on the battery.


I have fluctuating between 12.2 and 12.5 on the live leads. The pump will not work when I put positive and negative / ground on the pump from the live leads.


This is curious - when I have the positive on the live lead and negative / ground on the negative battery post the pump will not work.


I thought anything over 12 volts power would run the pump. Then I thought if I had a bad ground it may not work - but going to the battery negative did not help...


Any thoughts? I am not comfortable finding a better source and running new wires - I think the boat has too many loose wires as it is...
Here is my 2 bits:

For the voltage to be lower at the "live leads" than at the battery, undersize wires or loose terminals are not enough. I think there must be something else on the same circuit drawing power. Try shutting everything off and see if the voltage goes up at the live leads to the pump.

This won't solve the problem but might help identify the underlying cause.
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Old 06-15-2021, 09:21 AM   #12
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Ignore my previous post on wire size. I was thinking for a larger bilge pump - shower sump pumps are small and do not take much current so you should be fine on wire size.

Having 13.4V at your battery but under 12V at the pump is important. If you're comfortable, open your panel and test voltage at the breaker (should be a brown wire for a pump). You should have battery-voltage (13.4). If you have 13.4v at one end and under 12v at the other without the pump running, the wire is the culprit. When the pump turns-on it will exacerbate whatever break there is in the wire and not run.

I feel your pain - these types of issues are indeed frustrating. But from your #6 post - sounds like all works fine when direct to battery. All is not fine when connected to the pump wire.

To get you going and enjoying the summer, suggest you run a new wire direct to the nearest battery to bypass the old wire that is suspect. Run an inline AT fuse holder such as THIS ONE FROM AMAZON (likely find one today at a NAPA Auto Parts) to protect the circuit. If you can find #12 Brown wire, run that - you will probably need a YELLOW 5/16" eye crimp-connector for the battery post.

Finally BoatUS has some decent how-to articles/videos

https://www.boatus.com/expert-advice...e-a-bilge-pump

https://www.boatus.com/expert-advice...roubleshooting

Good luck-

Peter
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Old 06-15-2021, 10:29 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by LovetoBoat View Post
Thanks all.



To summarize I think I have localized to the power side. The real issue is this is a new to me boat - I have owned it for about two months and I am not comfortable connecting and running wires yet. And with summer upon us I can not seem to find a shop that is not booked out 8 or more weeks...


The distance from the shower pump to to my panel is about 6 feet. I am not good at telling what size wire it is but both wires are different gauges - wire strand. Not sure that helps - I have looked under the dash and it looks daunting so I have been avoiding trying to run a new line. I guess push and shove are coming and I will scour youtube and google and see if they show how to wire to my auto bilge switch...


I appreciate the help.
I sympathize with your new-to-you-boat dilemma, and someday you will likely look back on this little issue as the simple fix it will turn out to be. However, for now you need a willing and able friend/dock mate to help you with this rather than the high-dollar "marine repairman" who is more than likely no more knowledgeable about your boat than you are but who is a professional simply because he is being paid to do it. Don't get me wrong; there is a time and place for calling the pros for help which seems more likely as I age.
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Old 06-15-2021, 10:02 PM   #14
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Try following the wire from the breaker towards the unit until you “can’t”. Then follow both the positive and negative wire from the unit back towards the breaker until it also “disappears”. (I mean where it disappears in a tangle of wires, underneath or through something.) if it doesn’t disappear, so much the better. Inspect the wire for any types of breaks, broken insulation, etc. take the connection loose at the breaker, and at the sump, and sand it a little, wipe clean and reinstall. Check the voltage. If no improvement, replace.

Look at the recommended wire size in the install instructions for the sump. Then, buy some tinned stranded wire the same color as the original wire, some connectors that are the same as what is on the old wire, some heat shrink tubing and/or heat shrink connectors, and replace both wires.

Start by trying the wires prior to running them though whatever chase they will be in. If they work, run them then. If that doesn’t work, I would replace the breaker/fuse.

Sometimes the inertia of “taking a chance” slows us down. The fear of the unknown also slows us. Your unknown is the concern about all the “loose” wiring around the boat. That is a concern. I am glad you are thinking about it. That is a big project which should come after you understand the boat a lot better. Don’t let it stop you from taking care of an issue that stops you from enjoying the boat now.

Just make sure the power is off at the DC panel while being “in there”. If it is shared with an AC panel, definitely cut the main breakers off for AC, also, and the power to any inverters, and go for it. With the right supplies, you are on the way. Should not take much time at all.
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Old 06-21-2021, 08:02 AM   #15
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Ok so this is how it ended up.



I cut enough wire ties to be able to follow the power wire back to the power block. So in looking at the block I noticed a wire moved. I tightened down every screw in the block about an 1/8 to 1/4 turn. Every screw was loose - had I not followed the wire back I would have never noticed - it was an auxiliary block.
I then tested the wire at the block and found a ground / negative - the volts were still fluctuating - from 9 to about 13 volts. So I took the wire off the post and double tapped to a post that was a solid 13.25 volts.

The pump works like a charm now.
A couple lessons learned for me - take your time and think about what you are doing and you can work through most of the issues. I also needed my wife (extra pair of hands) to follow the wires through walls and to hold the flashlight. Finally don't give up - this 15 minute project took me several days over a span of about 2 weeks. I did not have a solid couple days at a time to devout to the project. Oh and have the right tools if you can at the beginning of the project so you do not waste time running to the stores looking for tools on the fly.
Have fun and the little projects build confidence for bigger projects...
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:05 AM   #16
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Nice work.
I find these little projects also help you find the lay of the land with your boat and systems. This builds confidence in tackling new tasks and can help save the day on a cruise where something goes wrong and you can set it right on your own and be on your way.
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:52 AM   #17
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It also suggests that a bit of preventive maintenance may be called for.

From now on every time I come a terminal block on the boat I will check the screws for tightness!
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Old 06-21-2021, 10:32 AM   #18
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Well done, sir! Isn't this boating stuff PHUN?
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Old 06-22-2021, 10:47 PM   #19
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Return as defective. It should run at 11.5v
Note. You may have a large amp drop to the pump location.
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Old 06-23-2021, 06:20 PM   #20
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Ok so this is how it ended up.

I cut enough wire ties to be able to follow the power wire back to the power block. So in looking at the block I noticed a wire moved. I tightened down every screw in the block about an 1/8 to 1/4 turn. Every screw was loose - had I not followed the wire back I would have never noticed - it was an auxiliary block.
I then tested the wire at the block and found a ground / negative - the volts were still fluctuating - from 9 to about 13 volts. So I took the wire off the post and double tapped to a post that was a solid 13.25 volts.

The pump works like a charm now.
A couple lessons learned for me - take your time and think about what you are doing and you can work through most of the issues. I also needed my wife (extra pair of hands) to follow the wires through walls and to hold the flashlight. Finally don't give up - this 15 minute project took me several days over a span of about 2 weeks. I did not have a solid couple days at a time to devout to the project. Oh and have the right tools if you can at the beginning of the project so you do not waste time running to the stores looking for tools on the fly.
Have fun and the little projects build confidence for bigger projects...
Awesome work! The time you took to figure it out tsught you far more about the boat than just the pump fix. I learned the same way and it seems to get easier with each project.
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