Solar panel for my bilge pump - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-30-2007
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Solar panel for my bilge pump

I am particulary interested in looking for the "ideal" solution for my Catalina 27, since about two weeks the bilge started to fill every 48 hours. I am in the process of searching for the leak.

My ideal solution would be to install a second bilge pump a bit higher than the current one and wire it directly to a small solar panel (Power 1.2A, 15V (18W)) I could leave the power off when docked knowing that the solar panel will power the second pump continuously if necessary (during daylight hours)

Any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Last edited by apkaplan; 07-30-2007 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 07-30-2007
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Old 07-30-2007
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OK...the small Rule500 bilge pump draws 2 amps of current.
An 18 watt panel will provide around 5 amphours to your batteries on a sunny day.
If 2 hours of run time daily (4AH) will meet your pumping needs AND you have pretty sunny weather then this might work for you. I would prefer more of a safety factor myself.

The big question in my mind is WHY is your boat filling the bilge every 48 hours. That is wayyyyy to much water coming in and it needs to be stopped. Is it the packing gland or something else?
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1 question: If your boat is dockside, don't you have shore power that can help run a bilge pump instead of worrying about solar panels???

I personally think that if your boat is letting in that much water it is trying to commit suicide and maybe you should let it.
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He must have insurance, because if my boat was taking on that much water I would be in a panic. I would be tearing it apart to find it.

If the leak get worse and it probably will the pumps won't be able to keep up. If you can't get to it to find the leak have it hauled till you can. The bill for recovering it from the bottom will be much higher.
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Old 07-30-2007
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Somebody posted on an other thread that if god meant man not to sail he would have made Catalinas, or some statement like that. Check around all through hulls and sea cocks. Also was there any lightning storms before the leak? The boat could have been stuck by lightning, all be it rare, causing spider cracks in the hull (see article on Lightning in forums I think) . I had a problem with the row water side of the head, when I healed the water would go pass the hand valve but not fill the head. Look carefully at prop shaft packings and hose.

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Old 07-31-2007
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I would work on solving the leak before worrying about powering bilge pumps. Filling the bilge in 48 hours is a pretty serious leak.
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You'll want the solar panel charging a battery of some sort, and the pump running off of it. The battery will tolerate the starting amps of the pump as well as provide power during cloud cover.

I'm not sure what you mean by fill every 48 hours. But you imply this is a new condition. Which means something has changed, and not for the better. And possibly due to become worse. I'd be a checkin' while the checkin's good.
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