Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 25 Old 10-14-2012
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Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

On the subject of waterproofing those wiring connections....
I have been using some handy-dandy silicone sealant for this for over 20 years. Note that it's not just smeared on, but rather forced into the end of each crimp fitting and than massaged all over the crimp exterior. It sets up in short order.
After you remove the excess from finger tips with a paper towel, your hand will shed water for a while, too!

I have taken apart the wiring joints for external mast-base circuits after about 15 years and when I cut away the fitting to install some new wiring for new parts, the old wire was shiny-new.

While certainly not as nifty as the adhesive-melt ones, it's a good second choice / handy alternative.
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post #12 of 25 Old 10-14-2012
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Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by erps View Post
I'm currently with FarCry on this. I use heat shrink connectors pretty much everywhere on the boat along with terminal connectors. I hate butt connectors. Almost every failure I've had in old bilge wiring has been at butt connectors.

Will an open terminal connector short out if it goes underwater? I don't know, but I think it's easier for the electricity to pass through the pump and make it work than it is to jump a gap through sea water to bypass the pump.
This is due to improper use of tools, the wrong tools and the wrong butt splices.

The vast majority of artesian water wells in the country use adhesive lined heat shrink butt splices feeding the well pump some 100 - 300 feet down. They are 100% submerged in water for 15-20+ years before the pump finally fails.

I have never had one of my installed butt splices fail or leak. They are 100% water tight when installed properly. Problem is most are not installed with the right tools or properly shrunk to create a water tight seal. People over heat, use open flame or under shrink them and destroy them. They also cut them by using the wrong crimp tools.

If you want to use a bus bar I'd recommend making extensions for the switch and pump wiring and keeping it in a settee or other higher location above the cabin sole..

My personal rule is no open current carrying connections below the cabin sole. Some of the bus bars I've pulled out from below sole locations don't even resemble a bus bar any longer. To make the point to one customer I stuck a hygrometer in his bilge and closed the cabin sole. 30 minutes later it was reading 96% humidity. Inside the cabin it was reading 65% humidity... Bilges are nasty inhospitable places for an open connection so try to get them higher and out of the bilge.

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 10-14-2012 at 07:18 PM.
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post #13 of 25 Old 10-15-2012
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Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

Quote:
This is due to improper use of tools, the wrong tools and the wrong butt splices.....I have never had one of my installed butt splices fail or leak. They are 100% water tight when installed properly. Problem is most are not installed with the right tools or properly shrunk to create a water tight seal. People over heat, use open flame or under shrink them and destroy them. They also cut them by using the wrong crimp tools.
That's absolutely the case. All my boats have been used boats and some of the wiring has been horrible. On the other hand, our current 30 year old boat has a bus bar connector for the mast wiring under the sole and it looks like it was installed last month. It was after seeing how well that was holding up that I decided it would simplify things using these connectors. In light of GrahamO's experience with bus bars being able to short out underwater however, I'm going to bench test it to see for myself and then re-evaluate.

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1983 Fraser 41
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post #14 of 25 Old 10-15-2012
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Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

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Originally Posted by GrahamO View Post
Given that I would like the bilge pump to keep working as long as it can (even if thoroughly beaten.... I plan to ensure waterproof connectivity at least to the top of the engine compartment. I was just wondering why this is not normal practice (at least on my boat).
I don't think exposed circuits in the bilge is normal practice in the marine industry. I certainly have not seen it. Having said that, I have seen factory installations, boat yard work and DIY projects that just made me wonder Why, Why, Why?
For example; a friends power boat has factory installed through hulls with sea cocks beneath the engines. It is tough enough for a small person to access the valves on a calm day, dockside, while the engines are cool. For a larger person (like me), in big seas, with hot engines, in an emergency situation, it simply is not going to happen. Good practice would dictate closing these valves when the boat was unattended. However, I'd be willing to bet most of the owners don't even know the valves are there! Several more practical locations exist for the valves, but I have to assume the choice was made for the convenience of construction at the factory. I see this in cars all the time, however in this situation, it's certainly a safety issue.
Point being, even if the bus bar mentioned in the OP was installed at the factory (or by a PO), it don't necessarily make it right!

Last edited by L124C; 10-15-2012 at 01:28 PM.
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post #15 of 25 Old 10-15-2012
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Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
This is why I used an Ultimate Bilge Switch from Ultra Safety Systems
Hmmm. Looks interesting. Thanks for that. Always looking for the "ultimate" switch!
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post #16 of 25 Old 10-15-2012
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Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

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Hmmm. Looks interesting. Thanks for that. Always looking for the "ultimate" switch!
Strange - my memory tells me that it was an "ultimate" switch. Looking at the image from my previous post I see that it is an "Ultra" switch... Whatever...

Also strange that they do not mention the LED on the top of the switch on that .gif, but there is an LED on the top of the switch in my bilge.

Full disclosure; this is the switch that I have:
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Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

... and this should be of interest;


- Courtesy of Ultra Safety Systems
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post #18 of 25 Old 10-15-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
... and this should be of interest;


- Courtesy of Ultra Safety Systems
Then wrap with self amalgamating tape. Cheap insurance. The other nice thing about self amalg is you don't need a heat gun.

Graham and Janaki
Bristol 38.8

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Last edited by GrahamO; 10-15-2012 at 04:50 PM.
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post #19 of 25 Old 10-15-2012
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Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by L124C View Post
I don't think exposed circuits in the bilge is normal practice in the marine industry. I certainly have not seen it.
It is not common practice as it is disallowed under ABYC.

"11.14.6.4 Current-carrying conductors shall be routed as high as practicable above the bilge water level and other areas where water may accumulate. If conductors must be routed in the bilge or other areas where water may accumulate, the connections shall be watertight."


"Shall be water tight" pretty much excludes any sort of bus bar. Adhesive lined heat shrink butts are a great watertight connection that hold up, long term in a bilge.. Heck they've been proven, 100% submerged, in water wells for nearly 35 years....

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post #20 of 25 Old 10-16-2012
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Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrahamO View Post
Then wrap with self amalgamating tape. Cheap insurance. The other nice thing about self amalg is you don't need a heat gun.
Any particular type or brand of self-amalgamating tape that you prefer?
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