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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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  #11  
Old 06-08-2012
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Re: Battery Charging Assistance

What's the advantage of turning off the switch, vs. turning all breakers except the bilge pump one off?

If the bilge pump is wired through a fuse, how will you know if it blew the fuse (unless the boat sinks)?

It's good to have an indication that the bilge pump has failed, that is provided by a tripped breaker.
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Last edited by MarkSF; 06-08-2012 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 06-08-2012
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Re: Battery Charging Assistance

While not everybody turns the main switch off when leaving the boat many do. If the bilge pump was on a breaker it would be off with the rest of the panel.

The bilge pump should be fused for the pump used, usually between 3 and 10 amps. This avoids the issue of a sticky float causing melted wiring or worse. Most panels like Blue Seas use 15 amp breakers which is too large for most bilge pumps while appropriate for the 14 awg wiring commonly used.

Many powerboats are delivered with the bilge pump(s) wired direct to the batteries and fused with a momentary switch for manual operation installed in or near the panel.

Confirming that the bilge pump works with the manual switch should be done regularly.

Many use the Rule type of bilge pump switch with internal fusing and manual/off/auto positions. The addition of a breaker before this is not necessary.

Many advise the VHF be installed direct and appropriately fused as well, the theory being that in an emergency situation it will work even if it is the last item to do so.
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Last edited by mitiempo; 06-08-2012 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 06-08-2012
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Re: Battery Charging Assistance

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
What's the advantage of turning off the switch, vs. turning all breakers except the bilge pump one off?

If the bilge pump is wired through a fuse, how will you know if it blew the fuse (unless the boat sinks)?

It's good to have an indication that the bilge pump has failed, that is provided by a tripped breaker.
The idea is that you can flip the main battery switch and walk away from the boat knowing that everything that should be off is off. Otherwise you rely on yourself to remember to flip all the individual switches to the correct state (on or off) and you might mess that up. You could leave a light on in the V birth and kill the battery, thus killing the bilge pump, or forget to leave the pump on with the same result.

The breaker/fuse indication is an issue if you're worried about it. One option would be an indicator LED. Bluesea sells small ones that use about 2mA, you could wire it to the bilge pump circuit all the time if you wanted. There is also nothing stopping you from wiring a discrete breaker not fed from the panel and putting it in a visible spot.
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