How to wire a #2 bilge pump along side #1; possible?

1911tex

Member III
Being an old pilot...I like redundancy. I have no idea if this is even possible. How do you set up a #2 bilge pump to work in tandem with #1....splice to #1 wiring and put a "T" on the water exit hose? If #1 dies, will #2 keep running? Potential fuse problem? Years ago, my single pump went out and lucky I noticed with only 4 inches of water in bilge coming down the mast foot after a 5" rain deluge. Excess water in the bilge freaks me out!
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Our 12 volt distribution breaker panel has one breaker for bilge pumps. We have two electric pumps each, with a float switch.
There is a terminal strip behind the panel where the incoming wires are joined by metal bridges, so that only wire goes to the appropriate breaker.

Each pump gets its power thru a separate control panel. This makes it easy to toggle a switch to 'manual' to test the pump operation.
I also reach down into the bilge and lift each float switch periodically to see if that causes the pump to actuate.
pump switch panel.png
 

toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
Probably both should be completely independent. Separate circuits, separate hoses. My idea is that pump number 2 empties the shower sump, which is several inches higher than the main bilge sump, so it will come on if pump number 1 gets overwhelmed or fails.

BTW, I found out that the Rule bilge pump panel, like the one in Loren's picture does not come with the right fuse for my Rule 2000 pump! Guess how I found out... :confused:
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Probably both should be completely independent. Separate circuits, separate hoses. My idea is that pump number 2 empties the shower sump, which is several inches higher than the main bilge sump, so it will come on if pump number 1 gets overwhelmed or fails.

BTW, I found out that the Rule bilge pump panel, like the one in Loren's picture does not come with the right fuse for my Rule 2000 pump! Guess how I found out... :confused:
Considering the number of "new condition" Rule float switches I have replaced over the decades, (sigh) I am not too shocked.

Also, EY did instal separate hoses and hull outlets for each of our pumps. i.e. separate systems.

Amps: I find a reputable vendor that states that these pumps draw 7.5 amps and should have a 10 amp fuse.
 
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nquigley

Member III
The pump in my main bilge is wired to the DC panel's 'Bilge Pump' switch - turn it off and that pump doesn't work.
But, the pump that's in the forward bilge, where mast water ends up, is controlled by a switch like the one in Loren's post above (mounted in the head). This pump remains active when the DC panel's Bilge Pump switch is off, so I suspect it's getting power directly from the battery (which is a good idea for at least one bilge pump) ... but I haven't traced that wire yet :-|
 

HerbertFriedman

Member III
The main bilge pump on my E34 is wired the same way, directly to the House Battery Bank but I put a fuse in that wire just in case. Make sure the choose the fuse for the wire size, that should exceed the pump amp requirements by a goodly a mount, say a factor of two.
 

cowlum

Member I
Make sure your plumbing doesn't cause an airlock.


apologies if I'm telling you how to suck eggs. I found it an easy mistake to make ;/
 
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Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
Make sure your plumbing doesn't cause an airlock.
I believe this is the same problem that occurs when a check valve is installed in the discharge line. When first installed (no water above the check valve) the pump works fine. But, on the second cycle, the pump can't build enough of a prime to push against the pressure behind the check valve, and the impeller just spins (dry) like in this video.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Very annoying and why I went to diaphragm pumps.

Hard to tell, too. The Rule pump is under the bilge water. It hums! It makes little bubbles! BiIge water sloshes around but level doesn;t go down.

In some typical installations airlocks are very common and you have to grovel in there, lifting and turning the pump to reestablish prime.
 

Tin Kicker

Member III
The main bilge pump on my E34 is wired the same way, directly to the House Battery Bank but I put a fuse in that wire just in case. Make sure the choose the fuse for the wire size, that should exceed the pump amp requirements by a goodly a mount, say a factor of two.
Wire and breaker sizing:
The circuit protection device is chosen to match the wire gauge (AWG) as you mention and not the device on the end of the wire. But from there the AWG of the wire is chosen by the amps required to power whatever is on the end of the wire and wires should carry no more than 75-80% of their rated capacity.

In practice:
The pump breaker in the E32-3 is 10A which was probably typical for our boats. My boat came with two Rule 1500 centrifugals which are 4.8A each. The main will be replaced with a Jabsco diaphragm pump when I get to it because the Rule looks ancient and I'd like to have one pump of each type; each type has a strength and a weakness. I like the Jabsco diaphragm pump that Christian went to at 8.4A (https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?id=2041398) and my second choice of the commonly used Rule 2000 centrifugal is 7.5A.

The existing 16 AWG wire for my current 4.8A main bilge pump has at least three automotive butt splices in it that I've come across and maybe more. Between the potential for corrosion in the old splices and greater amps needed by the new pump I'm replacing the whole wire to the panel. Bilge pumps are considered "critical" (3%V drop to heat) so applying 8.4A and the roughly 14-ish foot length of the wire to the BlueSea wire chart I'll be using 14AWG wire. http://assets.bluesea.com/files/resources/newsletter/images/DC_wire_selection_chartlg.jpg
fwiw - The 14 AWG can carry up to 35A so any of these pumps are far less than 80% and this fits from a common sense point.

Now that we know the AWG, ABYC says the circuit protection should not be more than 80% of the rated load of the device. Personally, I don't believe in consumable fuses in boats or airplanes because I don't want to search for a replacement on a dark stormy night. Dividing 8.4A/80% means that going to the Jabsco pump should ideally have a breaker of 10.5 A or if I installed a 7.5A Rule 2000 the original breaker would be fine. For now I'll leave the 10 A breaker (85% load) and replace it with a 12.5A (next size available) when I can.

btw - The existing 1985 design has a circuit breaker in the panel that is dedicated to the main pump and a fuse in between (in series), which adds a potential vulnerability. The new install will just have the dedicated c/b.
The pump for the head is on its' own circuit as the others have mentioned and the fuse is in the head, which is actually an ABYC violation because the protection is supposed to be near the source of power. The protection should protect the majority of the circuit, not just the device on the end. When rebuilding the head, that fuse will also be replaced by a c/b at the main panel.
 
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gabriel

Member III
K.I.S.S.

Use a single pump, keep an eye on it, replace it every couple years with a new one for peace of mind. My 02.
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
btw - The existing 1985 design has a circuit breaker in the panel that is dedicated to the main pump and a fuse in between (in series), which adds a potential vulnerability. The new install will just have the dedicated c/b.
Yeah, That's been a head-scratcher for me. Why the bilge pump circuit that starts with a breaker has a poorly butt-spliced, duct tape wrapped, mostly submerged wire with a somewhat waterproof inline fuse just prior to the pump.

My guess is that the rule pump instructions say to fuse the line so, by god, that's what the installers blindly did.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
FWIW... when our boat was finished out the factory bilge pump install scheme was the ($$) Jabsco pump. We have two of those, because the head could then be better-promoted as having showering capability. Actually, the pickup for the head compartment was in the main bilge with a float switch. Having the second 'fancy' pump switch panel in the head would reassure buyers that it was dedicated to that, along with a wrap-around plastic shower curtain in the head compartment.
It was an expensive way to finish out the boat, but then, it was an expensive boat.

I can tell from the location, wiring, and hose routing that this was a standard item. You might wonder if our boat was custom built for the first owner, just as EY would commonly do for all manner of deck hardware. In this case, there is ample evidence that ours was nearly ready to ship, with minimal gear, to be a dealer 'stock boat'. At the last minute they got a request to add a lot of extra-cost options for a new buyer with a super credit rating. :)

This boat had the primary Lewmar 43 cockpit winches relocated to secondary positions and 46ST winches put on where the 43's were located. (Both bolt patterns are noticeable from beneath.) Wheel replaced the tiller. Full spinnaker gear package added on deck. Likely, that's when the second water tank was added, too. All of this pushed the original price to 90K, per the broker.
Note that the large Whale cockpit manual pump was a "category one" equipment item for offshore prep, common to all of the 80's Ericson's.

While my guesses may be off, unless a first owner or more likely a subsequent owner replaced the factory bilge pump with a centrifugal ('Rule') pump, these boats came with a Jabsco pump. That said, a LOT of owners have been gulled by the overstated pumping performance of smaller centrifugal pumps over the decades. (For a season, until I found water back-syphoning in while in big seas, I made that error too.) :(

As it turns out, being mislead by a vendor predates the invention of internet commerce.... who knew? :confused:
 

goldenstate

Member II
Blogs Author
Novice question(s):

Should a bilge be completely dry? Is 1" of water okay? 2" of water? The prop shaft spinning should let water into the bilge, so even under 'normal circumstances' the boat takes on a bit of water.

Do fastidious owners dry out the bilge with turkey basters and sponges after every sail?

Or is the "acceptable bilge volume" of a choice by the user?

FWIW my boat has:

1. Diaphragm pump mounted in the the engine compartment. It clatters for about 1-2 minutes before it starts to draw water. When I flip the factory switch marked "Bilge Pump" on the panel, this operates. It looks original to the boat.

2. A sump-pump style (centrifugal, it sounds like) pump in the same bilge compartment. There is an after-market switch on the electrical panel labeled on/off/automatic and I believe this is also triggered by a float switch. I was told this is wired directly to the battery so that even if a clever sailor turns off his batteries to save power, the sump pump will wake up and get busy when the water triggers the float switch. If I have anything to add to @1911tex it would be to consider a similar fail-safe wiring plan.

3. The whale gusher Mk-3 manual bilge pump in the cockpit.

4. I have a bilge switch located in my head cabin. Nothing seems to happen when I turn it on, but I haven't worried about that yet, as it is low on my repair priorities. Is it connected to something? I hope so. @Loren Beach - If you have two diaphragm pumps, are they both located in your engine compartment? Where is the shower pump located?
 

toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
Re: Wiring. One detail that seemed like a good idea to me, when I replaced a bad float switch, was to get all the splices out of the bilge. Float switch and pump wires lead up to a screw-terminal strip high and dry in the engine compartment. Freely available for trouble-shooting, replacement, or whatever.

1581793429129.png
At least, it seemed like a better idea than the previous snarl of wet taped splices in the bilge.
The top wires go back to the Rule control panel. The bottom wires go to the float switch and bilge pump. I try to install any removable/serviceable equipment this way.
 

gabriel

Member III
The boat comes with 3* so I don't see the need to add, just upgrade.

* = main, shower/mast, whale manual
Yes I had it wrong. I mistakenly thought the OP wanted to add another pump in addition to the main for a “dual pump” setup :oops:.

Now that I understand his question, it’s a actually pretty good idea what he’s asking. My bad gentlemen.
 

wynkoop

Member II
My two cents on the redundant bilge pump.

1. Use a water witch, not a float switch. My first water witch was installed in 1984 and it is still going strong.

2. Install your water witches for the two pumps at 2 different levels.

3. Each pump gets it's own discharge hose with a check valve.

4. Discharge hoses go to different through hulls above the water line of course. Some folks like valves at the through hull.

5. Place both pumps as low as possible connecting the lowest pump to the lowest water witch, which should be near the pump in level. Mine sits on top of the pump.

6. Connect the higher water witch to the higher pump. It will kick in if the lower pair are overwhelmed or non-functional.

7. Connect the water witch power lines directly to different batteries properly fused. This way they never get turned off and if one battery is dead the other will hopefully still have a charge.

8. Wire each pump to a manual switch connected to your main panel/bus. This will allow either or both pumps to be run manually.

9. Do not freak out the first time soapy h2o in the bilge causes the water witch to keep the pump on long after the water is gone. Either remove the fuse until the witch is dry or reach down and dry off the water witch. Something about soap film can keep them going for a bit.

10. Have a whale gusher hand pump mounted on a board with a nice long handle so you can place the pump on the cockpit sole and pump by hand while running the boat. - I had to do this once in the dead of winter when the boat filled up after the batteries both decided to give up the ghost at the same time. Lucky I was at the dock, but I was glad to have the gusher on the board.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Golden,

Yes, a traditional stuffing box is designed to drip and means a bit of water in the bilge. Some choose a dripless shaft seal, which doesn't drip.

Even so, all keel-stepped mast boats have water in the bilge after rain, because it runs down the inside of the mast.

Water in the bilge is usually dirty (tradition calls that a very good sign, since clean bilge water means you're sinking), and after a hard sail sloshing around can excavate glop long hidden under the sole, and if left there forms goo. So it is natural to chew fingernails about it.

However, there's nothing more natural than a little water in the bilge, which is what it's there for. It is we who are unnatural.
 
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