Troubleshooting Whale Gulper shower sump pump

southofvictor

Member III
I can’t figure out where to go next troubleshooting my Whale Gulper shower sump pump. Any questions or ideas welcome!
Current situation:
Pump doesn’t run using either manual switch or float switch.
Pump runs when jumpers from battery led directly to it.
Leads from switch and battery test 12.75vdc when both manual switch and float switch activated.
In line fuse at pump good
Fuse at Rule manual / auto switch good.
Diaphragm clean, nothing blocking inlet or outlet.
Ground wire leading to pump had another black wire connected to it (double crimped with the ground wire leading on the switch side of the quick connector at the pump). This wire was disconnected at some point and cut so I don’t know where it previously led. I pulled it out of the system and it tests the same. 12.75v from either the manual switch or the float switch.
Thanks!
 

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Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
I had a similar situation on our boat, puzzled me for a long time. In final frustration and desperation, I decided that the 16 gauge wires might be too small to carry the required current well in an older boat. So I rewired this entire circuit with 12 gauge wire, and it solved the problem. Whether it was the increased wire thickness or something else, I can't say, but it's worked since then. :)
Frank
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
My shower sump only works when the pressure water was on. You cannot believe what I went through to discover this simple fact.
This one is very puzzling, but if the initial poster had a similar setup to yours, operating only when the pressure water is on, would he still get the 12.75 multi meter readings in the wiring, as he reports? I would think that should read 0 until he turns on his pressure water switch, if it's like yours.
But either way, it's got us thinking, and your setup explanation may also help someone else with a similar setup.
Frank
 

jtsai

Member III
I can’t figure out where to go next troubleshooting my Whale Gulper shower sump pump. Any questions or ideas welcome!
Current situation:
Pump doesn’t run using either manual switch or float switch.
Pump runs when jumpers from battery led directly to it.
Leads from switch and battery test 12.75vdc when both manual switch and float switch activated.
In line fuse at pump good
Fuse at Rule manual / auto switch good.
Diaphragm clean, nothing blocking inlet or outlet.
Ground wire leading to pump had another black wire connected to it (double crimped with the ground wire leading on the switch side of the quick connector at the pump). This wire was disconnected at some point and cut so I don’t know where it previously led. I pulled it out of the system and it tests the same. 12.75v from either the manual switch or the float switch.
Thanks!
I have the identical pump for the shower/mast drain sump. I had to clear the pump by blowing hard into the pick up hose (yikes). It was an emergency, bilge was full of water from compromised anchor well drain tube, far away from land and the main bilge pump also failed. That was the fastest solution came to me while pumping out most of the water with manual pump. No time to diagnose electrical issue at the moment and didn't care what put in the mouth. Thank goodness it started sucking after the blow. Never had problem again.
 

G Kiba

Sustaining Member
This one is very puzzling, but if the initial poster had a similar setup to yours, operating only when the pressure water is on, would he still get the 12.75 multi meter readings in the wiring, as he reports? I would think that should read 0 until he turns on his pressure water switch, if it's like yours.
But either way, it's got us thinking, and your setup explanation may also help someone else with a similar setup.
Frank
Could be that the ground connection is on the switch. My high-water bilge alarm is wired that way.
 

trickdhat

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
This configuration sounds odd with two fuses in the circuit. There should be a fuse as close to the battery as possible, from there it should feed the common pole of the switch. The float switch shouldn't have a fuse. in auto mode, the pump would still be protected by the main fuse. However, adding an extra fuse wouldn't cause your issue. Has the pump ever functioned correctly? Testing voltage at the pump would be a good next step to see if the wiring is undersized and causing too much voltage drop.
 

southofvictor

Member III
I had a similar situation on our boat, puzzled me for a long time. In final frustration and desperation, I decided that the 16 gauge wires might be too small to carry the required current well in an older boat. So I rewired this entire circuit with 12 gauge wire, and it solved the problem. Whether it was the increased wire thickness or something else, I can't say, but it's worked since then. :)
Frank

Good thought Frank. If I'm getting 12.75v at the pump I assumed that there wasn't too much drop but maybe not?
 

Second Star

Member III
"Leads from switch and battery test 12.75vdc when both manual switch and float switch activated."
What does this mean exactly? Are you measuring voltage right at the pump pos and neg terminals or wherever you jumped to confirm the pump was good? This would test the function of the float switch and on switch and confirm the integrity of the wiring to the test point. Or are you measuring at a point just after the float switch but before a length of wire going into the pump? This would leave that piece of wire as suspect. Final thought is where did you take ground for these tests? Right at the pump neg terminal or very close by tests the whole ground wire run. Good voltage results grounding somewhere else leaves out a piece of ground wire that could be suspect.
Good luck. It took me hours to finally decide the float switch was U/S and the switch panel was wired incorrectly!
 

Kenneth K

1985 32-3, Puget Sound
Blogs Author
In line with the prior post, try "mixing" your wiring tests: Use a positive lead directly from the battery, but take the ground from all the possible local ground connections on the switches/pump. Then swap it and take the ground directly from the battery while the positive is taken locally from all the the existing switch/pump positive leads.

If only some of these work, it might identify the faulty wiring
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
In line with the prior post, try "mixing" your wiring tests: Use a positive lead directly from the battery, but take the ground from all the possible local ground connections on the switches/pump. Then swap it and take the ground directly from the battery while the positive is taken locally from all the the existing switch/pump positive leads.

If only some of these work, it might identify the faulty wiring
Back a few years, before we replaced our OEM Universal diesel with its vintage (crumby) wiring, I once "fixed" a low voltage problem with our electric lift pump by running a new #12 positive wire. The measured voltage at the pump went from about 11 back up to 12.5.
Sometimes paralleling a new wired as a test will help.
 

southofvictor

Member III
I have the identical pump for the shower/mast drain sump. I had to clear the pump by blowing hard into the pick up hose (yikes). It was an emergency, bilge was full of water from compromised anchor well drain tube, far away from land and the main bilge pump also failed. That was the fastest solution came to me while pumping out most of the water with manual pump. No time to diagnose electrical issue at the moment and didn't care what put in the mouth. Thank goodness it started sucking after the blow. Never had problem again

Good idea. Cleared hose today but only water inside. No joy.
 

southofvictor

Member III
Got it. Corroded connection where the float switch tied into the ground wire. Thanks to my wife Chris for making me check it again, she thought it was the most likely bad wiring spot and she was right.

Question - why would I get good voltage at the pump end of the wires if this connection was bad? I assumed (incorrectly) that if my meter registered 12v at the pump end of the circuit the wires were OK.
 

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Dave G.

1984 E30+ Ludington, MI
Question - why would I get good voltage at the pump end of the wires if this connection was bad?
It's kind of like a loose connection. When you measure just voltage you get a good reading but as soon as you put any load on the line nothing as there is not enough clean contact area at the connection. Good job Chris !!
 
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