Bilge Pump Switch

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by steve123, Dec 9, 2015.

  1. steve123
    Joined: Dec 2014
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    Location: China

    steve123 Junior Member

    I would just like to find some opinions regarding bilge pump switches.
    For some reason nearly all bilge pump switches have an off position..why ?
    The bilge pumps can inadvertantly be left switched off in which case you dont know if you are taking on water. In my opinion its safer to have 2 position switches Auto(Via Float) and Manual (Momentry). These should be on a permanant feed to maintain operation when all power off and boat unattended.
    Can anyone give me a good reason to maintain an off position ?
     
  2. Poida
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Poida Senior Member

    So you can take the pump out for repairs without leaving live wires which can create a spark in the bilge. Turning the battery power off will turn everything off and you might have a fridge keeping your beers cold.

    Poida
     
  3. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Using that argument Steve, you could also leave the switch in the manual position and have the same issue.
     
  4. steve123
    Joined: Dec 2014
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    steve123 Junior Member

    The pump obviously has a fuse or circuit breaker that can be used for isolation if repairs needed.
    The manual position as i said is momentary so only on whilst being pressed.
     
  5. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    CDK retired engineer

    The reason is much more obvious: nobody produces "bilge pump switches".

    Companies that market marine stuff go shopping for most of their products and pick something cheap that is suitable for the purpose. In the switch business this type is labeled 1-0-(1) or 1-0-1 (not spring loaded). Assembly of such a switch is easier with a center position, so it is cheaper.
     
  6. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    They seem to be impossible to get any more without the off position. I bypass it so the pump can't be turned off by mistake.
     
  7. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    If you want to avoid the Off position, just wire the float direct to the battery and pump, and add a momentary switch 0-(1) that bypasses the float. One blade connection at the battery supplies both the float and the switch. Pretty common way to do things in small boats. You are allowed one unfused and unswitched bilge pump circuit. The pump and float should be labeled that they are direct-wired to the battery.

    <edit> As Gonzo said, if you have the 3 position kind, just remove the float's power wire from the "auto" contact and tie it to the hot.
     
  8. Poida
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Poida Senior Member

    Or, Super Glue the switch in the auto position.

    Poida
     
  9. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I don't understand the issue. You can't blame the switch for the inability of the skipper to tend it. It's like being pissed your paint has chalked up, because you haven't kept it clean and waxed. Ownership is much more than parking it in the carport and hoping it'll start next month, when you take it out again.
     

  10. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    I don't understand the original posters question either PAR.

    When I installed pumps I simply set them up as the manufacturer recommended. These are automatic pumps with integrated sensors.

    There are two manual on/off switches on the helm wired through a circuit breaker labeled "Bilge Pump".

    The pumps are also wired to a 24 hour breaker that is located on the DC main distribution panel.

    The pumps are always on via the 24 hour breaker but they do leave a little water in the bilge before the pumps activate. If I want to mop up the bilge I can turn on the pumps via the helm switches, manually. Of course if they failed to activate automatically I could also turn them on via the helm switches.

    The best course of action is to seal and address water getting into the boat in the first place but now I'm just being a wise guy.
     
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