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Thread: Bilge pump wiring practices?

  1. #1
    Contributing Member II cagarren's Avatar
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    Bilge pump wiring practices?

    I'm rewiring our E 25 and am unsure of the standard practice of bilge pump wiring. Should its power come from downstream of the battery selector switch and this switch just always left on? Or wired directly to a battery? I can also see this dilemma as to wiring the little solar charger I just ordered.

    Thanks,

    Curt
    1976 E 25 "Kestrel"

  2. #2
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    I'm wired direct to the batteries.

    More than anyone really wants to know: http://www.ericsonyachts.org/infoexc...Considerations
    Thelonious II, E381 hull 513 (1984) Universal 5432
    Table of Contents for Thelonious Blog here
    Videos: http://www.youtube.com/c/ChristianWilliamsYachting

  3. #3
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    One thing solar really helps with is battery discharge paranoia. I now leave my battery selector ON all the time, on battery 2 (always the older one) and have the dodger-top solar panel keeping that always topped off. I wired the solar charge controller to the switch instead of the batteries direct because I want to always be able to keep the two batts separate, and I don't have a 2-batt output solar charge controller (although that's in my thoughts).

    This Spring I plan on wiring the main bilge pump direct to the battery (2) through a water-witch switch like Christian used, so it just keeps the bilge mostly empty all the time and even if the switch or pump breaks and remains on all the time I just drain out my weaker battery which is the downside of battery wired bilge pumps. If batt 2 dies, I always have the fresh batt 1 to start the motor. The current panel bilge switch will be just for manual-on then. The front (shower drain) bilge has its own diaphragm pump and float switch and manual/auto switch which will stay that way.

    I really enjoy having the peace of mind the solar panel brings. Even if I leave cabin lights on (all LED now) the solar provides more electrons than all the lights can take over a day, so I always have a good charge when I get to the boat.

    fyi my son had the brilliant idea of routing the solar panel wires from the dodger down through one of the traveller end-boxes on the cabin top, then under the headliner, then down the metal hand-hold pipe on the nav-desk/saloon bulkhead and right into the battery box by dremelling out a slot in the back of the metal tube and drilling into the battery box there. Its such a clean install.

  4. #4
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Electircal Wiring Notes

    I much prefer to have all major battery loads sourced from the main DC panel, where power can be controlled by our single rotary master switch. If you decide that you want to have a separate wiring run to the bilge pump, be SURE that you have it safely fused right at the battery.
    There is a small Blue Seas connection device that will do this, for several loads at a time.
    It looks full-up on our boat because several voltage sensor wires come to it along with the shore power charger input.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Loren Beach; 03-16-2019 at 07:06 AM.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Betamarine 25 (new 2018)
    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

  5. #5
    Curator of Broken Parts toddster's Avatar
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    I keep changing my mind about this. Currently its wired to a main hot buss after the battery switch, and that switch is left to the main house bank on all the time. The reasoning being if the house bank died Id want the ability to switch critical loads, including the bilge pump, to the back-up battery. Topologically, I guess this is the same as wiring it to the house panel. Except as Loren mentioned, as long as that wire is in the main panel, one could re-configure it just by slipping the wire terminal off the load buss and onto one of the battery studs. Not all boats have a separate main panel, but I dont like extraneous wires on the battery posts.

    BTW: My bilge pump did blow a fuse last month. It turns out that the fuse that comes in the little Rule switch panel is actually too small for the Rule 2000 pump. Now Im thinking of replacing that with a circuit breaker, since it took a week to source a new fuse.
    s/v arcturus E29 #134

  6. #6
    Contributing Member II cagarren's Avatar
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    Good info as always. I will probably wire the pump control switch to the main bus and leave it on. As long as everything is fused correctly it should be ok.
    1976 E 25 "Kestrel"

  7. #7
    Advanced Beginner bgary's Avatar
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    When I re-do mine (hopefully within the next few weeks), I'm doing "both"

    -- existing centrifugal pump will remain as it is, wired through the battery switch and plumbed from the forward bilge pocket where it sits on top of the keel-bolts

    -- new diaphragm pump will be wired directly to battery, with a fuse block on the battery post as Loren has done, and plumbed to the middle bilge-pocket with a water-witch switch as Christian has done.

    Partly because that means I can get the new system wired/plumbed/tested before decommissioning the old. But also partly because keeping the old one doesn't hurt anything, so (for the moment), why not.

    ObNote, that "should" mean that the centrifugal never activates because, if the new system works as expected, water will never get high enough to trigger the centrifugal's internal float-switch. We'll see. There's a "tee" fitting at the exit-thru-hull under the transom where the shower-sump plumbing used to connect, so I can easily run them both to that exit, but I do know that if there is ever a time that BOTH pumps are running, that single-exit will constrain the amount of dewatering that happens.

    Bruce
    "Makana" (ex-Thelonious)
    1985 Ericson 32-III #604
    Makana blog: here

  8. #8
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    So, what is left to "sink" me?

    Uh, forgetting to leave the bilge pump energized.

    Yeah, I'm wired direct to batteries, with fuse. But the wires go to a three-way switch --Manual, Auto, off.

    Occasionally I wake up (at my desk) with the thought: Say, did I leave it set to Auto?
    Thelonious II, E381 hull 513 (1984) Universal 5432
    Table of Contents for Thelonious Blog here
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  9. #9
    Contributing Partner kiwisailor's Avatar
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    Bilge Wiring

    I rewired by bilge pump wiring a year or so back during my panel rebuild. My bilge pump switch comes off the main DC selector 3 position switch: 2 (house), 1 (start), off. The benefit is that the bilge pump can be selected across to the start (G27) battery and when switched off all DC wiring is isolated and dead. One extra thing I did was install a small Blue Seas 12V green LED on the bilge switch itself that I can eyeball and see if the switch is in the auto position and is live, that is power is feeding to the bilge "water witch" switch. https://www.bluesea.com/products/817...2_24V_DC_Green

    The picture below shows the bilge switch at top left of panel with green LED on.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've also gone and installed a separately fed high bilge alarm using an Johnston Pump Ultima two wire electronic bilge switch. This activates both audible and visible alarms on the main DC panel as well as at the Navpod in the cockpit. In addition it latches a relay to run the bilge pump effectively bypassing the primary bilge switch. These circuits are all fused.

    The bottom line is though I always leave my DC panel switch in the 2 (house) position.
    Sherene & Mike Taniwha

    1981 E38 "KIWI"
    Hull #53
    Groton, CT

  10. #10
    Principal Partner markvone's Avatar
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    I've got two automatic bilge pumps that I always leave on. I don't want to accidently turn them off and I want to verify that they are powered when I leave the boat. Also I don't want to hunt for a replacement fuse in an emergency and then find the buried fuse holder somewhere in the battery compartment.

    I use two existing breakers in my DC panels wired direct to the house battery post of the main battery switch (not controlled by the switch). The big house bank feed cable is protected by a battery terminal fuse. I have added a pair of LEDs to indicate power 'ON' for the two bilge pumps. When I leave the boat I shut the main battery switch 'OFF' and expect to see two green LEDs on. Why leave power on to all DC circuits just to power the bilge pump? Using breakers vs fuses, you know where they are located and you can reset them quickly.

    To avoid accidental shutoff with the typical AUTO-OFF-ON bilge control toggle switch, I use a two way toggle AUTO-ON, with ON momentary for my normal bilge pump and ON full on for my emergency bilge pump but with a red ON LED at the switch. To depower the pumps I throw the breakers on the DC panels. Lastly, I mounted the switches and LEDs all together near the DC panels at the Nav desk so I have a little "bilge pump station" where I mounted my No Discharge Placard".

    If I were starting from scratch I would use this Blue Seas Bilge pump control/breaker panel wired direct to the house bank:

    https://www.bluesea.com/products/152...e_Pump_Control

    It has breakers, LED indicators. I would wire this direct to the house bank not through the main battery switch. I would use the two way AUTO-(ON) toggles for pump switch override.

    Mark
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    Mark & Ronnie Vinette
    E36RH #21 GLIDE
    Annapolis, MD

  11. #11
    Curator of Broken Parts toddster's Avatar
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    That is looking pretty complete. I like the idea of having green LEDs to indicate that everything is copacetic in automatic mode. The Rule panels have no such indicator and a couple of times I have not thrown the switch all the way back to "auto" resulting in it being left "off."

    Maybe the only thing missing from the discussion so far is a pump cycle-counter or hour meter, to let you know how much the pump has been running while you've been away.

    Hmm... and maybe an LED on the refrigerator to confirm that the light is actually off when the door is closed...
    s/v arcturus E29 #134

  12. #12
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    Mine is wired directly to the battery, in line fuse, as has been every boat before. This boat has a bilge pump panel, with three way switch (on/off/auto) and fuse in the panel. Switch left in auto position. Bilge pump under the sink. Pump never comes on as the bilge is always dry. Don't have a great pic of the panel, but it is upper left in these pictures. Has a light that turns on when the pump runs. I don't leave my battery switch ON due to that would keep power to the engine panel and someone could start the engine as there is no key, just the fact that with the boat close up and the battery switch off, that is the engine 'key'.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Leslie Newman
    E-380 #15 "Osprey"

  13. #13
    Contributing Partner
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    Bilge pump is under the sink. Input hose runs to a pickup in the bilge. Float switch is wired in series with pump of course.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Leslie Newman
    E-380 #15 "Osprey"

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