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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    473

    Default Auto Bilge Pump Float Switch

    Bilge pump fitted with float switch. Manual pump also fitted, Both pumps use same overboard discharge pipe.

    Auto pump (wired directly to battery) is switching on for no reason, when on mooring. Now happened twice and new float fitted. There is no water in bilge and no other fluid, so float is not activated.

    Why is the pump turning itself on? Cannot turn it off, obviously, without cutting black wire...

    Is there an issue with air/vacuum forming from manual pump, as they are using same pipe? Electrical short?

    if we don't cut wire it churns away forever. Worried it could happen when away from boat and overheats/fire starts.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Live London
    Posts
    2,072

    Default Re: Auto Bilge Pump Float Switch

    Just replace the whole unit. Just like shower boxes ( work of the devil ) for some reason when they go wrong logic does not seem to help in their repair

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    4,986

    Default Re: Auto Bilge Pump Float Switch

    Is there a seperate circuit with a manual switch, malfunctioning ?
    Something has got to be feeding the pump some amps.
    Unless the pump has a float switch inside which is not working correctly .....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    west yorkshire
    Posts
    2,265

    Default Re: Auto Bilge Pump Float Switch

    often there is a manual override switch - have a look for that. Also the float switches are very poor - best to buy a few from e-bay. They are just as good as the branded switches etc, but definitely no worse and a lot cheaper. I tend to buy 3 or 4 at a time and treat them as a consumable.
    It could also be the actual pump itself is knackered and causing excess current spikes which will rapidly damage the "new" float switch.
    Check out what voltages you have on the wiring to the pump and switch.
    Unfortunately a lot of stuff sold as suitable for marine use is overpriced garbage.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Essex Bradwell UK
    Posts
    3,316

    Default Re: Auto Bilge Pump Float Switch

    gone through dozens of those mercury float switches and three rule mate pumps, got one of these, has been trouble free for five years, driving the rulemate direct.

    http://www.waterwitch.info/products/bilgeswitch.html

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    473

    Default Re: Auto Bilge Pump Float Switch

    No override switch. Separate float and pump.
    Maybe it's the pump and not the float switch having a hissy.
    Will check voltages etc and look at Waterwitch.
    Thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    ation, Loc: ation, Loc: ation.
    Posts
    13,088

    Default Re: Auto Bilge Pump Float Switch

    How can the pump work (get power) if the float switch circuit is open?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Live London
    Posts
    2,072

    Default Re: Auto Bilge Pump Float Switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Cashbuyer View Post
    No override switch. Separate float and pump.
    Maybe it's the pump and not the float switch having a hissy.
    Will check voltages etc and look at Waterwitch.
    Thanks
    What boat? Surprised you cannot manually trigger the pumps.

    Water has to rise quite a way for the float to trigger. On the S65 we always had AC water in the bilge ( never did find out why) and used to trigger the pump manually quite a bit to get rid of it.

    I would install switches if I were you. Not a sexy extra until the boat is sinking and the flat switch does not work.

    I was surprised that on the S58 they are not on the helm but on the electrical panel which strikes me as a less than obvious place to head if the damn boat is sinking!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    ation, Loc: ation, Loc: ation.
    Posts
    13,088

    Default Re: Auto Bilge Pump Float Switch

    Quote Originally Posted by jrudge View Post
    What boat? Surprised you cannot manually trigger the pumps.

    Water has to rise quite a way for the float to trigger. On the S65 we always had AC water in the bilge ( never did find out why) and used to trigger the pump manually quite a bit to get rid of it.

    I would install switches if I were you. Not a sexy extra until the boat is sinking and the flat switch does not work.

    I was surprised that on the S58 they are not on the helm but on the electrical panel which strikes me as a less than obvious place to head if the damn boat is sinking!
    +1 to all that. Our manual overrides are on the helm where they should be).

    Apropros of nothing....

    The wiring for our bilge pumps is quite complex. The float switch cables seem to go back to the helm where they sound the alarm and illuminate LED lights on the boat schematic below the main switch panel in the saloon. I think that if a bilge pump is triggered via the float switch then it should illuminate the light on the helm override switch as well but I need to check that.

    What's really frustrating is that I can't reach the aft bilge pump or switch as it's in between the engines and access is blocked due to power steering reservoir (that's on a stupid pole) and the hatch strut. I definitely can't access the junction box that the float switch wires go to as it's mounted on the inner side of the stern (between the engines and a foot down).

    Hey ho!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Auto Bilge Pump Float Switch

    I went through 3 float switches and 2 pumps in 12 months (all cheapest available) before biting the bullet and buying a decent all in one unit with manual over ride.

    Wish I'd done it 12 months earlier

    Andy

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