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Thread: Bilge pump 101.

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    Default Bilge pump 101.

    Instead of hijacking the Ditch Bag post if anybody is interest lets start over.

    Primus:
    Would a on / off indicator run off the bilge switch serve? Depending on how much time we have, I can certainly understand having an additional water alarm. Although, I am not too worried because I compulsively check the engine compartment while I am on the boat.



    That would only tell you if the bilge pump is on, not if the there is water in the boat. If you had a blown fuse or a pump that was not working them what?

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    No, that is a good point. I guess another question then, where should the water alarm be mounted? I would think it should be at the lowermost auto bilge switch and if it goes off, it would be a good indication that the lowermost bilge or bilge switch is not functioning.

    http://www.yachtsurvey.com/bilge_pumps.htm This is a great article that led me to think harder about our bilge system. I am wondering if anyone has any experience with plumbing the raw water intake for an emergency bilge on their boat?

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Wouldn't the water alarm also be electric, thus a blown fuse would render it inoperable as well?
    BK

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    [QUOTE=Primus;1358186]No, that is a good point. I guess another question then, where should the water alarm be mounted? I would think it should be at the lowermost auto bilge switch and if it goes off, it would be a good indication that the lowermost bilge or bilge switch is not functioning.


    I would think having the alarm switch above the lower pump would keep it from having false alarms and still give you time to react.

    I mention having a light and a buzzer if there more than one person on the boat I would add a 10 minute timer that will reminded you the high water alarm is turn off. My experience with alarm systems is someone will turn off the buzzer because its annoying and not tell anybody.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkmail View Post
    Wouldn't the water alarm also be electric, thus a blown fuse would render it inoperable as well?
    BK

    True if you had it wired to the bilge pump fuse. But why would you do that? It needs to be a stand-a-lone circuit and that include the fuse. For that matter each bilge needs it own proper size fuse.

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    [QUOTE=MacGyver;1358215]
    Quote Originally Posted by Primus View Post
    No, that is a good point. I guess another question then, where should the water alarm be mounted? I would think it should be at the lowermost auto bilge switch and if it goes off, it would be a good indication that the lowermost bilge or bilge switch is not functioning.


    I would think having the alarm switch above the lower pump would keep it from having false alarms and still give you time to react.

    I mention having a light and a buzzer if there more than one person on the boat I would add a 10 minute timer that will reminded you the high water alarm is turn off. My experience with alarm systems is someone will turn off the buzzer because its annoying and not tell anybody.
    I wouldn't use something that is fancy enough to have a silence feature. Mounting it above the lowermost bilge only makes sense. If it were lower, you could set off the alarm and not be able to pump it off.

    That article I linked to actually says the only exception to wiring directly to the battery would be a fully submersible bilge pump, as more often than not according to that guy, blown fuses and circuit breaker failure is actually the root cause of a boat sinking. I could almost see putting everything bilge related on it's own basic switch with good access to the fuses. That way you could shut the rest of the boat down overnight but still have the bilge system powered.

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    All my bilge pumps are wired straight to the battery via the float switch. I can also turn them on manually via the dash switch. One of the two in the back of the boat is mounted about 6 inches higher than the other and it is only hooked to the battery. The lower is the switched or auto one. I think this is a standard set up.
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    [QUOTE=Primus;1358230]
    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post


    That article I linked to actually says the only exception to wiring directly to the battery would be a fully submersible bilge pump, as more often than not according to that guy, blown fuses and circuit breaker failure is actually the root cause of a boat sinking..

    I have the greatest respect for the person writing the article and would never claim to more than him.

    That said I have a hard time telling someone to not fuse/circuit breaker any circuit in a boat especially a DIY person.

    I've been reading about bilge pumps that are catching on fire because the auto-switch malfunction turning on the pump when there is no water to keep it cool. The last I heard was to use the manufacture recommend fuse size to protect the pump. Most people were using a 20A C.B. When 4A should have been used.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Primus View Post
    No, that is a good point. I guess another question then, where should the water alarm be mounted? I would think it should be at the lowermost auto bilge switch and if it goes off, it would be a good indication that the lowermost bilge or bilge switch is not functioning.

    http://www.yachtsurvey.com/bilge_pumps.htm This is a great article that led me to think harder about our bilge system. I am wondering if anyone has any experience with plumbing the raw water intake for an emergency bilge on their boat?
    Something like this a "crash valve". I had one set up on my bowpicker.
    boat crash valve.jpgcrash valve 2.jpg

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    That's the sort of valve you pray you never have to use... but what a good idea, so long as you don't run your cooling system dry or suck up a bunch of garbage.

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    [QUOTE=MacGyver;1358241]
    Quote Originally Posted by Primus View Post
    That said I have a hard time telling someone to not fuse/circuit breaker any circuit in a boat
    .
    Can't imagine any electrical device on any boat not fuse protected. I think that is asking for trouble.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Primus View Post
    That's the sort of valve you pray you never have to use... but what a good idea, so long as you don't run your cooling system dry or suck up a bunch of garbage.
    put a strainer on the suction end.

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    Install an in-line fuse, using the amperage recommended by the pump manufacturer, between the battery and float switch, at well above bilge level, at an easy to access area (mine are right up near the batteries above deck level). There is a reason that most recommend this- a burnt out fuse can be easily replaced (keep replacements on board), but a burnt up pump will generally take a little bit of time and swearing to replace (as long as you have a spare on board, and you can get to it with all the water sloshing around). If all heck breaks loose, a skinny bolt from your spare parts box might keep your bacon out of the frier. If you are concerned that you will not know that the fuse is burnt out and the bilge pump is not operating, blown fuse indicators can be installed. If you have an I/B or I/O, I generally would recommend an additional (third) bilge pump. Have seen more then a few times the raw water line punctured/ripped, pumping the water in the bilge- operator can't run the engine since the pumps can't or barely keep up. What's another $100 and an hour to install in this investment of yours.

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    So what do you do with a damaged raw water line? I would think there would be some kind of quick patching kit or wrap that would stem the leak. That sounds like a good investment.

    Thanks for all the good info guys!

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    A few rubber patch should be kept in the ole plugging and patching kit onboard- I would recommend silicone since they are high temp and oil resistant (raw water often runs with exhaust, and the vibration of the engine and the solidness of where it exits the hull or superstructure can cause issues). The silicone 'boots' sold for turbos can be purchased fairly easy, in a multitude of sizes (and colors for the import fans), at any auto shops, and cut down one side so it's a square sheet, a few hose clamps, can do wonders. Problem is often the leak is not that accessible, or near running parts that you don't want to get tangled up in (a rocking boat makes this task just that more difficult), so if your bilge pumps can keep up with the flow easily, you can get to a little more protected area to do what is needed to make it home safe (be it on your own power or someone else's). End result, get home safe, that is the most important thing, nothing is worth more then that- be it sweat, time or money.

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    Duct Tape has saved many a boat! Hose clamps and rubber gasket material works on hard pipes well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Primus View Post
    So what do you do with a damaged raw water line? I would think there would be some kind of quick patching kit or wrap that would stem the leak. That sounds like a good investment.

    Thanks for all the good info guys!

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    I second duct tape as a good short term solution on many issues, great product!
    I also keep a few assorted short pieces of metal tubing (3"-4") with outside diameter the same as inner diameters of a few hoses (fuel line and the hose from and to the water impeller are 2). If a hose has a short rupture or a hole worn against an edge, it can be cut square, tube inserted and a couple hose clamps, line wrapped around, or duct tape to secure.
    Back on the bilge pump- I have always kept my float switch to my alarm slightly higher then the float switches to the bilge pumps. Sometimes you get a good hard rain storm and I would rather the pumps get the power from the battery then to the alarm, until there is an issue. On one of my boats, since I kept it on a mooring ball, I had a car theft flashing light and siren on the dash hooked to that float switch so I could hear and see it from shore- that will wake you up in a hurry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Primus View Post
    So what do you do with a damaged raw water line? I would think there would be some kind of quick patching kit or wrap that would stem the leak. That sounds like a good investment.

    Thanks for all the good info guys!
    Close the seacock and fix the hose either with tape, rubber or the spare piece of hose you have laying in the bilge next to the seacock.

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    I haven't seen any one recommend this yet http://www.rescuetape.com I have used it a few times and it seems to work as advertised.
    When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.
    '08 24' HCM Granite HD "River Dog"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Music Man View Post
    I haven't seen any one recommend this yet http://www.rescuetape.com I have used it a few times and it seems to work as advertised.
    Made it home using this tape on a radiator hose on the airboat this past summer. It will not stick to a hose or itself if it has radiator fluid on it. Had to wipe off the hose thoroughly and then use clean hands to apply, but it worked.

    BK

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