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  #1  
Old 10-27-2010
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Electrical wiring question

I just added a second bilge pump (2000GPH Rule), it works fine. During that installation I discoverd the float switch for the primary bilge pump was no longer working (timing is everything ).

I purchased a new Rule 1100GPH pump with the fancy water sensing switch. This pump is replacing a Rule pump with float switch. The pump is wired through a Rule 3 position switch (Auto - OFF - Manual).

The newly installed pump isn't working correctly -- when I select Auto the pump runs constantly. OFF is off, manual is as it should be.

Did some trouble shooting but couldn't find a smoking gun. I then hooked the 1100GPH pump to the wiring for the 2000GPH pump...the 1100GPH pump now works correctly -- when on Auto it only comes on with high water or pushing the test sensor. I think it must be the wall switch so I buy a new Rule 3 position switch and install it --- exact same problem -- with switch in Auto the pump runs continuously.

I switched the brown/white and brown wires on the back of the wall switch....no change.

Since I was out of time this week for working on the boat I headed home and about an hour into my drive I thought about polarity. Is it possible I switched the wires on the battery? If I did would it cause the issue I'm having? It's possible I did switch them. When I found the original pump malfunction I traced the wiring back to the battery and found the wires simply "twisted" and jammed under a wingnut. I crimped on ring connectors and reconnected to the battery...now I'm not sure I put them back the way they came off.


The question is would reversing the wires at the battery cause the pump to run continuously with the switch in "Auto"?


Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-27-2010
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those auto pump are a pain, it is probably bad. take it back and try another
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Old 10-28-2010
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It's possible you've got the switch wired wrong.

For a relatively good reason that escapes me right now (but not a good enough reason to make it difficult for people to troubleshoot!), many of the off-the-shelf 3-position bilge pump switches switch the negative. ie. the fuse is in the -ve line and the auto-off-manual switch connects the pump negative to the battery.

This makes it a bit tricky to check the float switch on it's own.
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Old 10-28-2010
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here is don caseys info on the matter, might want to check the schematic against your work.

Installing a Bilge Pump by Don Casey
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Old 10-28-2010
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Some of the newer rule pumps turn on briefly for a few seconds every couple of minutes and measure their power usage, which is higher when pumping than when running dry. If you wire them with reverse polarity, it is possible that the motor runs backward (thus not pumping), but there is sufficient extra power used to make the electronics think that water is being pumped out. Thus, if there is water in the bilge, the pump will run continuously, as none of the water is being removed.
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Old 11-10-2010
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Okay, got back to the boat finally. Switched the wires at the battery and now the pump doesn't run constantly when the switch is in auto. However it also doesn't shut off after pumping water out!!

Just shoot me.
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Old 11-14-2010
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Dump the auto thing.

I know, people get all worried about the boat sinking at the slip. But really, isn't it better to know there's a leak and fix it as opposed to letting some machine hide this from you?

I did my time working customer service at West Marine. One of the big sellers was bilge pumps. They seem to burn out all the time. I really think the culprit is the auto switch, not the pump itself. They run the pumps to death. I dumped the auto switch on my boat when the machine was new. It was installed wrong anyway. Same pump as everyone else Rule *something* and its on its 18th year still running strong.

I donno' just a thought. But they're a lot simpler to wire manually.

-jim lee
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Old 11-14-2010
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Bilge pumps usually have 3 wires. #1 is a Ground, #2 is a 12V directly from the battery (you should always read 12V on this line), #3 is a 12V from the DC switch panel (you should only read 12V when the bilge pump switch is "on"). The #1 wire should be connected to the Ground, #2 wire to the Auto wire, #3 connected to the Manual wire. If you wire it this way and it runs constantly in Auto mode then it's likely you have a bad float switch in the pump.
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Old 11-14-2010
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Wouldn't it be better to just make sure the float works? There are reliable float switches available.
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Old 11-14-2010
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THE most reliable float switch, and it ain't cheap, is the Ultra Safety Systems Ultimate Float Switch ~$100-$130



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