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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems > Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?
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Thread: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-06-2012 01:27 AM
GrahamO
Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

Scotch Kote - that's the stuff!

Broco rods takes me back. We used to use them to cut 1/2" plate on deck - a VERY interesting experience..... That was before the days when going to the bathroom required a Job Safety Analysis.
12-06-2012 12:43 AM
Southron Spirit
Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrahamO View Post
It has been a while since I worked offshore but I think we used 3M (Scotch) then. We used to stagger the connections, twist wires together (crimps create a weak point when a lot of flexing is likely, NEVER solder), insulate each wire with adhesive heat shrink, coat the whole joint with a VERY messy goop similar to liquid electrical tape, and then use self amalgamating tape. This was good for 10,000' of seawater if done right so it should work in a bilge...... The liquid tape was to get all the air out of t.
we use to use scotch kote on underwater cutting rigs using broco rods we would have welding cables bolted togther scotch kote them then wrap them in rubber tape scotch kote them again and wrap them in electrical tape
at first i was really scared about getting shocked but it never happened
11-08-2012 05:35 AM
AlanF
Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

I've had one of the Ultra switches for about 16 years with great results. I never thought much about it until last month, hanging upside-down in a friend's bilge in rough seas trying to fix a flapper that was getting stuck in the "pump" position every hour or so.

For a bilge alarm - a completely independent battery-operated one is a good idea. I picked up a 9V one a long time ago - the battery/buzzer goes anywhere and the float I just epoxied to the side of the bilge. Would be easy enough to make one up. Just an extra layer of safety in case my neighbor accidentally kicks my shore power cord and a hose rots out at the same time and no one notices it pumping for three or four days. (I'm not paranoid if it could really happen, right?)
10-17-2012 10:49 PM
FarCry
Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by L124C View Post
You didn't mention if the strip is on the Pos or Neg side of the circuit (a pictures worth a thousand words BTW). Sounds like in an emergency situation it could be submerged, (potentially leading to a bigger emergency where the entire boat is submerged!). If it is positive, would this short it out (I don't know, had never thought about it)?
In any case, IMO, cutting crimping/soldering and waterproofing wires is easy enough. I want all wiring related to my bilge sealed. Bilge pumps and switches can be problematic enough, even when properly wired. No sense complicating the issue!
Regarding a second pump: I installed a diaphragm pump as a bilge maintenance pump. Worked out well. Search for my thread here if interested.
I used a dual type terminal strip that had continuity between the two lugs much like this IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. - Terminal Strip (.625 Spacing)

There is both positive and negative wiring (labeled) on the strip. I had it mounted just under the highest part of the sole (there is a 6" elevated area at the base of the companionway stairs that is above most of the sole) and above the highest point of the batteries. If the batteries are submerged Far Cry would have about 4' of water in her bilge, water over most of her sole and probably hundreds of gallons of water inside. At that point I believe I would have far greater concerns than whether the terminal strip was submerged. This system was in place for about 6 years and made trouble shooting and replacing the float switch very easy. I resprayed the terminal strip after installing the new conductors. There was no visible corrosion and it was still shiny. If one had to respray it every time a pump or switch failed, I could live with that. It may not work in other situations but I feel it was the best solution for me.

I do not have a simple way to measure humidity above and below the sole nor do I really care. According to the NWS this time of year the humidity is in the 90% range so I doubt another possible 10% will make much of a difference.

I no longer own Far Cry or I'd be glad to take a photo to post if there was further confusion. I do appreciate that it does not meet ABYC standards. If I had the smallest safety concern, I wouldn't have done it.
10-16-2012 10:49 AM
GrahamO
Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Any particular type or brand of self-amalgamating tape that you prefer?
It has been a while since I worked offshore but I think we used 3M (Scotch) then. We used to stagger the connections, twist wires together (crimps create a weak point when a lot of flexing is likely, NEVER solder), insulate each wire with adhesive heat shrink, coat the whole joint with a VERY messy goop similar to liquid electrical tape, and then use self amalgamating tape. This was good for 10,000' of seawater if done right so it should work in a bilge...... The liquid tape was to get all the air out of the join to make it pressure tolerant - not required for bilge use.

Interesting side tips: When connecting to terminal strips we never used heat shrink on terminals because they could get contaminated with salt water and then corrode through unseen. Also we never used ring terminals, always spades. This is counter-intuitive but it is MUCH easier to find a loose connection where the wire has actually fallen off than an intermittent open circuit caused by a loose ring terminal. If we could only get ring terminals we would snip them open before use.
10-16-2012 10:37 AM
denverd0n
Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrahamO View Post
Then wrap with self amalgamating tape. Cheap insurance. The other nice thing about self amalg is you don't need a heat gun.
Any particular type or brand of self-amalgamating tape that you prefer?
10-15-2012 05:58 PM
Maine Sail
Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by L124C View Post
I don't think exposed circuits in the bilge is normal practice in the marine industry. I certainly have not seen it.
It is not common practice as it is disallowed under ABYC.

"11.14.6.4 Current-carrying conductors shall be routed as high as practicable above the bilge water level and other areas where water may accumulate. If conductors must be routed in the bilge or other areas where water may accumulate, the connections shall be watertight."


"Shall be water tight" pretty much excludes any sort of bus bar. Adhesive lined heat shrink butts are a great watertight connection that hold up, long term in a bilge.. Heck they've been proven, 100% submerged, in water wells for nearly 35 years....
10-15-2012 05:23 PM
GrahamO
Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
... and this should be of interest;


- Courtesy of Ultra Safety Systems
Then wrap with self amalgamating tape. Cheap insurance. The other nice thing about self amalg is you don't need a heat gun.
10-15-2012 03:12 PM
eherlihy
Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

... and this should be of interest;


- Courtesy of Ultra Safety Systems
10-15-2012 03:09 PM
eherlihy
Re: Is this bilge pump wiring as bad as I think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by L124C View Post
Hmmm. Looks interesting. Thanks for that. Always looking for the "ultimate" switch!
Strange - my memory tells me that it was an "ultimate" switch. Looking at the image from my previous post I see that it is an "Ultra" switch... Whatever...

Also strange that they do not mention the LED on the top of the switch on that .gif, but there is an LED on the top of the switch in my bilge.

Full disclosure; this is the switch that I have:
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

 
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