Bilge Pump Wiring - Page 2 - SailNet Community
View Poll Results: How to power bilge pump
Direct to Battery 14 100.00%
Via 1-2-Both-Off switch 0 0%
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post #11 of 27 Old 10-21-2015
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Re: Bilge Pump Wiring

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Originally Posted by overbored View Post
if you have a Disconnect for the battery why disconnect the battery wires when on the hard . don't need to disconnect the battery wire in the slip. whats the difference? battery does not know where it is.
Exactly. One might argue my failed switch is a reason, but that is a relatively rare situation. My battery switch, for the record, was in the "all off" position.
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post #12 of 27 Old 10-21-2015
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Re: Bilge Pump Wiring

Battery switches can and do fail, both in a "partial" and in a full on or off position.

Bilge pump switches can and do fail. Most of them are pure crap....I've tried and installed and tested just about every one on the market. The mechanical ones are the worst. The electronic ones fail, too, sometimes in a partial ON condition, sometimes in a full ON or OFF position.

The ONLY reliable switches I've come across in the past 40 years of active boating are those referred to above, i.e., the Ultra switches. I have an Ultra Senior and an Ultra Junior on my own boat, and never seen an issue.

Still, if you're on the hard it's a very good idea to remove one of the large battery cables to be sure there's no drain of any kind on the batteries, other than normal self-discharge.

Bill
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post #13 of 27 Old 10-21-2015
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Re: Bilge Pump Wiring

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Still, if you're on the hard it's a very good idea to remove one of the large battery cables to be sure there's no drain of any kind on the batteries, other than normal self-discharge.

Bill
That's also a good test to check for a bad battery. If it quickly self discharges with nothing connected it is toast and at risk for cell explosion during charging.

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post #14 of 27 Old 10-21-2015
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Re: Bilge Pump Wiring

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
Also: disconnect the battery during storage on the hard.
I wouldn't do that. Lead-acid batteries require regular trickle-charging during long-term storage if you ever expect to use them to start your engine again.

The best advice is to remove the batteries from the boat, store them someplace they won't freeze and put them on a trickle-charger (even a 5Watt solar panel from a camping store will suffice) to ensure they're still ok next season.

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post #15 of 27 Old 10-21-2015
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Re: Bilge Pump Wiring

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Originally Posted by Classic30 View Post
I wouldn't do that. Lead-acid batteries require regular trickle-charging during long-term storage if you ever expect to use them to start your engine again.

The best advice is to remove the batteries from the boat, store them someplace they won't freeze and put them on a trickle-charger (even a 5Watt solar panel from a camping store will suffice) to ensure they're still ok next season.
I'm guessing that you have not read this article from our friend, Maine Sail; Effect of Winter on Battery Self Discharge Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com
Quote:
...In cold weather the self discharge of lead acid batteries slows dramatically to the point of nearly stopping. The colder the temps the slower the self discharge

...I finally got a chance to perform an equalization and then conducted a 20 hour capacity test on this [6 year old, and for 9 months un-charged, but disconnected] battery. It completed the test with 88.4% of the 20 hour rated capacity! The rated Ah capacity is 125Ah and I got 110Ah's (technically 110.5) out of the battery at a 6.25A load before it hit 10.5V and the relay cut the capacity test. Considering this battery sat un-charged through an entire winter AND summer I find that pretty darn amazing.


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Last edited by eherlihy; 10-21-2015 at 09:09 PM.
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post #16 of 27 Old 10-21-2015
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Re: Bilge Pump Wiring

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
I'm guessing that you have not read this article from our friend, Maine Sail; Effect of Winter on Battery Self Discharge Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com
No, I haven't.. thanks for the tip. Since it doesn't freeze around here, perhaps it's simply that the battery self-discharges pretty rapidly.

Still, even if self-discharge rates are low in your neighbourhood, I'm not sure even Master MS hisself would recommend not trickle-charging a battery in long-term storage if you had the means to do so.

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post #17 of 27 Old 10-21-2015
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Re: Bilge Pump Wiring

Many (most?) marinas will not allow you to leave anything plugged into AC power over the winter. There are too few outlets to give one to everyone, and the fire danger, and the consequences of a fire with boats stacked several deep (inaccessible) is too great.


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post #18 of 27 Old 10-22-2015
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Re: Bilge Pump Wiring

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
Many (most?) marinas will not allow you to leave anything plugged into AC power over the winter. There are too few outlets to give one to everyone, and the fire danger, and the consequences of a fire with boats stacked several deep (inaccessible) is too great.
Sure.. that's what small solar panels are for.

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post #19 of 27 Old 10-22-2015
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Re: Bilge Pump Wiring

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Originally Posted by overbored View Post
if you have a Disconnect for the battery why disconnect the battery wires when on the hard . don't need to disconnect the battery wire in the slip. whats the difference? battery does not know where it is.
Because the vast majority of boats have phantom loads, LPG sniffers, electronic bilge switches, stereos etc. etc... In the winter your batteries will also have significantly less capacity due to the cold temps than they do in the summer so even a small load will deplete the battery in relatively short order..

It will also sit un-used for 6 +/- months where when in-season it is used frequently and the batteries allowed to re-charge. The same thing happens with antique cars run infrequently. My wife's classic has a battery shut off. If we don't disconnect the battery the car won't start...

Also most boat yards require that batteries be disconnected if stored on-board and almost all of them disallow unattended charging.

Proper storage of batteries on boats, while stored on the hard, is for them to be 100% disconnected from the vessel. A stalled bilge pump, due to frozen water, can create a real fire hazard. Seen this on multiple occasions. This can't happen with the batteries disconnected.

I have yet to have a bank of "murdered" batteries on a boat where they were 100% disconnected from the vessel. Can't say the same for batteries left connected while stored.....

On a boat that is properly wired isolating the batteries for winter storage usually takes under 3 minutes...

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post #20 of 27 Old 10-22-2015
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Re: Bilge Pump Wiring

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Originally Posted by Classic30 View Post
I wouldn't do that. Lead-acid batteries require regular trickle-charging during long-term storage if you ever expect to use them to start your engine again.
Sorry but this is just not accurate, especially in the climate we are discussing in regards to Fallard's post..

On of the only detrimental things that happens during long periods of not charging in colder weather is electrolyte stratification. However the vast majority of battery chargers do nothing to prevent this and are really poor at preventing stratification. A float voltage will not prevent stratification. Perhaps 90% of "smart chargers" will remain in float indefinitely which is pretty useless because this alone won't prevent stratification. Only a charger that periodically returns to an absorption cycle with enough voltage to "roll the electrolyte" will help prevent this. You are far safer to leave the charger OFF, when stored on the hard & unattended, and periodically, perhaps every 30-45 days, cycle the charger on for an hour or two and hit a good gassing voltage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Classic30 View Post
The best advice is to remove the batteries from the boat, store them someplace they won't freeze and put them on a trickle-charger (even a 5Watt solar panel from a camping store will suffice) to ensure they're still ok next season.
That is the best advice if you want disc surgery...

A properly winterized battery will NOT FREEZE until -70F or colder... Leaving batteries to "trickle" unattended is far more dangerous than leaving them connected. Just ask me about how many faulty chargers I see on a yearly basis... LOTS!!!!

I had a customer destroy a bank of golf cart batteries with a single 10W solar panel... By spring they were cooked dry because the 10W panel had no controller. If he had left them equalized and 100% disconnected, as I left them, they would have still been in service to this day.

I have also had customers leave solar panels on during winter but then become occluded with snow. The batteries drained well below the safe turn on voltage for the controller and it could not recharge them. The controller and phantom loads then murdered the bank.

In over 30 years of leaving batteries on boats, disconnected, but charged to 100% and equalized in the fall, if applicable, cause any of them to die prematurely. Seen PILES of boats left charging, while unattended, with dead batteries come spring.....


This may be of use to some:

Effect of Winter on Self Discharge (LINK)


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Last edited by Maine Sail; 10-22-2015 at 08:26 PM.
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