bilge pump blowing fuses - SailNet Community

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Old 04-25-2008
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bilge pump blowing fuses

So as the title says the bilge pump keeps blowing fuses, the wiring is getting wet so should I just try to rewire it, or install a new one?
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Old 04-25-2008
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What kind of pump? How old?

Very likely, you should replace the pump. But, before you do, you might cut the wires close to the pump, connect them to a good 12vdc source, and see if the pump spins OK. If not, replace it.

And, this time, be darned sure to wire it so bilge water won't get to the connections. And, be sure the wire is of adequate size (larger than you think it ought to be), and is properly fused.

Bill
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No telling how old the pump is but it does work for a short amount of time and then just shorts out. Also anyone have any experience with bilge pumps w/out float switches?
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Old 04-25-2008
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You might also check the bilge pump strainer to see if it's clogged.
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When I got my boat, the bilge pump kept blowing fuses. There was a small seed stuck in the impeller. Ironically, shortly after that, the switch on that same pump failed. I replaced that switch and the new one failed. I ended up replacing the whole shooting match with a Rule-Mate® Automated pump. It has a sensor that detects the water level rise and continues to run for a few seconds after the water level drops which makes it go longer between cycles. So far, I haven't had any problems with it.
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Old 04-25-2008
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Dan, I would remove the pump (unmount it) and remove the wiring. Then test the pump all by itself, with an ammeter (multimeter) to see howmuch power it is drawing. It is possible the motor is shot and is drawing too much current, in which case you trash it. (Bilge pumps seem to work for one or two years and then go belly-up no matter what you do.) It is also possible that the pump overheated, or picked up some debris, and it is jamming, and that's why it is drawing too much current. If you can clean out something that is making it jam--that might be all it needs.

But as to the wiring...that's pretty much simple. With or without the complications of switches and floats, what you need to a good waterproof connection to the pump (and for some reason, pump makers always supply cheap short wires so the connection is underwater) and from there a good run back to the power.

Cleanoff the wires, cutoff any black/green rotted wire. If they have gotten damp all the way back to the pump--throw it out. If you've got clean wire, splice it to the power leads using adhesive-filled crimps, and heat set the adhesive. That is a waterproof connection by itself, but since this is critical, test that it works, and then overwrap with 'self amalgamating butyl tape" or self-amalgamating silicone tape. Wrap is neatly and generously over the whole splice (degrease the splice and wire with alcohol first) and in 48 hours the tape becomes one solid mass--waterproof.

With that double waterproof splice and coating, you won't have to worry about the wires going bad. Just the anual pump failure/burnout, which always seems to happen.

Personally, I like the idea of using a small bilge pump all the way down in the bilge to suck up the first/last few drops. Runs frequently, can use a small hose so not much dribbles back. Then, mounted two inches higher up, you install the damage control pump--so it never really gets wet, or turns on, unless there is a real problem. That means the small cheap pump does all the routine work, and costs less to replace every time it goes out.
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Old 04-26-2008
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I certainly would no cut the wires close to the pump. What an invitation for salt water to get in there.
It sounds very much like the motor is drawing too much current.

They can last a long time.... 15 years+ and counting, and 10 years+ and counting for my two.
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Old 04-26-2008
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The impeller could be jammed and it is overloading the motor. Plus it could just be old and worn out also... a myriad of reasons... just track it down. And if all else fails replace the whole unit.
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Old 04-26-2008
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Buy a new one! cheapest insurance you can buy...also replace your fuse it my be worn out and tripping prematurely ..I have had a few go bad they are just like any other mechanical/electrical device in wet environments

Im a bilge pump freak...I have 4 on-board...3 electric and one manual...one of the electric is manually switched and big...the other 2 are auto switched one mounted slightly higher with an audible alarm ...
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Old 04-26-2008
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Unless the pump has a built in float switch the back-up pump does not have to be mounted higher than the primary only the float switch. If you mount the pump higher than the "off" point of its float switch it will not turn off.
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