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post #1 of 15 Old 07-08-2008 Thread Starter
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Bilge wiring

I have a 1983 Pearson 34. One issue I see is that the bilge is wired in such a fashion as the selector switch must be on #1 or #2 and the accessories breaker needs to be on too.

It appears to me that this is incorrect. I would like to "set it and forget it". what should I do?

Alan
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post #2 of 15 Old 07-08-2008
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I have a "hot" lead off the BOTH post of my selector switch, that I run to a bus bar mounted in the distribution panel area. I use this for bilge pumps and the memory (yellow) wire of the stereo.

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post #3 of 15 Old 07-08-2008
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Alan-

A simple solution for that is to have a small positive buss bar that is wired directly to the house battery bank and allows small parasitic loads, like a bilge pump, the stereo system's memory connection, and such to run directly off the batteries. This allows you to turn off the master battery switch and still leave these loads connected. I would highly recommend that you use a small fused panel to do this, so that the individual circuits can still be properly protected against overload.

BlueSea makes a small six fuse panel with no negative ground section that would work quite nicely for this.

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post #4 of 15 Old 07-08-2008
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Must have been an 80's thing, our Ticon bilge pump never did fire last year (our first). While winterizing, I realized that there was no float switch to be found, yikes! When installing the switch this spring I found that my pump was indeed wired thru the panel (like yours) Double Yikes! Until I can get around to correcting it, I have left the battery and breaker on, but I can see a direct (fuse protected) hot lead from the battery going in at next visit.
Who in their right mind would hook up a safety feature that requires a switch to be thrown to make it active??
Funny thing is, I had just assumed that that breaker was there for manual over-ride to the auto function, as it was in our previous Hunter.
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post #5 of 15 Old 07-08-2008
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jjns-

Never assume... especially when it comes to boats and what PO's did on them. I've seen some really remarkably stupid things done.

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post #6 of 15 Old 07-08-2008
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While you're rewiring those bilge pumps I'd recommend that you install a three way switch for them consisting of, "Off", "Manual-On", and "Auto-Float Switch". This will prevent you from having to rely on the proper functioning of your float switch under circumstances where you may be otherwise occupied from the necessity of figuring out why the float switch is not working.

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post #7 of 15 Old 07-08-2008
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Of course, this only applies to those bilge pumps that have the option for manual and automatic operation, not all of them do.

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Originally Posted by sailaway21 View Post
While you're rewiring those bilge pumps I'd recommend that you install a three way switch for them consisting of, "Off", "Manual-On", and "Auto-Float Switch". This will prevent you from having to rely on the proper functioning of your float switch under circumstances where you may be otherwise occupied from the necessity of figuring out why the float switch is not working.

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post #8 of 15 Old 07-08-2008
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Alan, it is a matter of philosophy. You COULD simply wire the bilge pump directly to the battery (one or two, you'd have to choose) but then, if you smelled gas or propane aboard one day, you'd have no way to make sure the pump didn't start and spark it off. Never happen? Maybe, but that's the logic of running it through the main switch, to ensure that "ALL OFF" means "ALL OFF" without exceptions.

A compromise would be to run it off the main switch--but install a separate switch (auto-off-manual) and fuse or breaker for it alone. That way "ALL OFF" is still "ALL OFF" but you the pump can be the only thing you choose to leave on.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Of course, this only applies to those bilge pumps that have the option for manual and automatic operation, not all of them do.
I'm unaware of any 12V bilge pump that cannot be retro-fitted to operate off either a float switch or manually. The float switch can be installed on the pump or anywhere else desirable and the rest is just a simple wiring job. Perhaps I'm missing something here?

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On my friend's boat there are a couple of bilge pumps that are two wire and have a built-in float switch. No way to manually override the float switch if it goes bad. She's going to replace them sometime...just hasn't yet.

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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