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  #1  
Old 05-31-2009
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Rule fully automatic pump

I bought a Rule 800 fully automatic bilge pump. These are supposed to turn on every 2.5 minutes for a second, check the load against the impeller and, if there is a load, pump until there is not.

So I hooked up both the manual and automatic power lines and the common negative. Problem is, powering either line turns the pump on and leaves it on. No fully automatic.

Has anyone else run into this issue?
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Old 05-31-2009
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No, but I've deliberately stayed away from those pumps, because i feared something like that might happen now and then (often).
I don't know how they're measuring "load", but it is just another complication to go wrong isn't it? I realize that switches fail also, but at least they can be separate from the pump, and then disabled.

Having said that, it clearly must be defective, as it seems that you've tested it correctly (no power on the manual, power on the automatic, but it still kept running).
Have fun with the installation of a new pump (whether or not you're going with a new Rule)


Quote:
Originally Posted by jarcher View Post
I bought a Rule 800 fully automatic bilge pump. These are supposed to turn on every 2.5 minutes for a second, check the load against the impeller and, if there is a load, pump until there is not.

So I hooked up both the manual and automatic power lines and the common negative. Problem is, powering either line turns the pump on and leaves it on. No fully automatic.

Has anyone else run into this issue?
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  #3  
Old 05-31-2009
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Lightbulb

I have used two of these fully-auto pumps for over 10 years ago, and they both work well, but I have experienced a quirk now and then. I have one for the main cabin bilge, and one for the lazarette, with two different wiring setups. The reason I have the "fully-auto" pumps is so that if I accidentally leave the "auto" wire energized and go home, I don't have a dead battery and/or burned-out pump next weekend, since it only comes on for a second or two every couple of minutes. These pumps are also good if you have a relatively flat, shallow bilge, where a float switch won't trigger until you have a ton of water in the bilge, or sloshing might turn the pump on and off frequently.

I don't have anything connected to the "always-on" wire of the lazarette pump; just a toggle for the "auto" wire. That's because water in our lazarette is rare -- we only get it when surfing hard, but since the outboard is mounted in there, I want to be able to keep the motor above water in the event we go out and play hard, scooping water into the lazarette at the transom. We store so much junk in the lazarette that fouling a float switch would be a real problem, so the fully-auto pump works out very well.

The cabin-bilge unit is wired with a more complex setup. the "auto" wire is energized via a toggle in the panel, so it operates just like the lazarette pump. The panel is de-energized when the master switch is off (assuming I remember to turn it off when leaving the boat), so I wanted a "fail-safe" float arrangement per ABYC standards as well. So I have a separately-fused, full-time-hot, wire to a float switch that activates the "always-on" wire of the pump. I also went one step further, and mounted the float a little high in the bilge, and added a "high-water" alarm to it. So in the event of unusually high water in the bilge, the pump will run whether the master switch is on or not, and it will trigger the high water alarm if it does. The boat is pretty dry, so the only time the high water circuit has triggered has been when hosing down the bilge to clean it out.

As for the quirks I mentioned... First, if you get any debris in the impeller, it will add load to the pump, and the load-sensing circuit will think that it's still pumping water, so the pump will run continuously. Also, last year, I had one of the pumps run continuously, as in your case. I didn't find anything fouled at the impeller, but after cleaning everything, it's working fine again this year.

Since I have been selling these in our store, I have only had one return from a customer (who had the same issue as you do), and the warranty was honored, no questions asked. I would verify that your wiring is indeed correct, and if the pump is definitely running all the time, have it replaced under warranty.
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Old 05-31-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JomsViking View Post
I don't know how they're measuring "load", but it is just another complication to go wrong isn't it? I realize that switches fail also, but at least they can be separate from the pump, and then disabled.
I would think all it needs to do is measure current draw, which should be near foolproof. No moving parts. Even the FET switches can be fooled by stuff in the bilge.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvanv1 View Post
Since I have been selling these in our store, I have only had one return from a customer (who had the same issue as you do), and the warranty was honored, no questions asked. I would verify that your wiring is indeed correct, and if the pump is definitely running all the time, have it replaced under warranty.
This is what I figured. But as the other poster said, its really hard to screw up the wiring. Even if I got it backwards, all that would mean is that switching it to manual would make it be automatic and vice versa.

This pump was brand new out of its package when I installed it. Pretty disappointing really.

The bottom of my bilge is small. Its not really wide enough for the FET sensor (which needs an inch clearance on one side) because if anything gets down there its going to land against the sensor.

Thanks everyone, I'll call Rule Monday.

Pvanv, do I return it to Rule or to the vendor? I was unable to find one of these locally so I bought it online. My boat is now int he water and no working automatic pump
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Old 05-31-2009
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no input here just a question? how do this work with back flow out of the hose. what i mean is a rule pump will not pump a bilge all the way, due to cavitation, then when it shuts off water back flows. when it comes on again will it just keep trying to clear what will back flow every time
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Old 05-31-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyt View Post
no input here just a question? how do this work with back flow out of the hose. what i mean is a rule pump will not pump a bilge all the way, due to cavitation, then when it shuts off water back flows. when it comes on again will it just keep trying to clear what will back flow every time
I am hoping this won't be a problem but I don't know yet. It did occur to me. It's a 3/4 ID hose, which is why I bought the 800 (didn't want to change the thru hull) and a 15 foot run. If its a problem I'll put a high spot in the run. No check valve.

Also, I should mention that I don't expect this pump to save my boat if a thru hull gives way or if an errant torpedo from the testing area hits it. Last year when everything was leaking like a sieve I was down there every rain storm turning on the manual pump (the FET sensor had failed). Now that I plugged all the big leaks (that I know of so far) I am hoping to be able to not rush down to the boat every rain storm.
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Old 05-31-2009
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pump

I have one of these pumps and mine will not shut off. I tested it in my garage and it basically would not shut off no mater how I had it wired. I guess I am going to put a switch on it so I can turn it off since it has used up a couple of batteries already.

Troy
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That was that i thought too, but it does not change that a SEPARATE switch can be disabled, whereas the simple Op-amp or whatever they use are integral to the pump = the pump is toast. Also (as someone else has said here) what is the threshold (and hysteresis) of the circuit, what does it take to make it decide that there is "load"? Growth within the pump or grease in the bilge, or way more? So I would still prefer a separate switch. Johnson (which I think You've looked at) produces a separate switch, that we've had great success with in several boats (not just mine).. I've also made switches some myself with two pieces of metal and an op-amp covered in epoxy, but the stuff in the bilge sometimes fool these (although I used a similar circuit to measure - or rather estimate - the silver content within large pools of water)

/Joms

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Originally Posted by jarcher View Post
I would think all it needs to do is measure current draw, which should be near foolproof. No moving parts. Even the FET switches can be fooled by stuff in the bilge.
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Jarcher - if you call Rule and can send yours back, let me know what they say. I have the exact same problem you do.

I guess I will try another one? Perhaps something is wrong with the way these are made?

Troy
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