Attwood Automatic Bilge Pump Switch - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-26-2014 Thread Starter
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Attwood Automatic Bilge Pump Switch

I just saw a thread on the "Low Bucks Projects" page with an Attwood Automatic Bilge Pump switch and was wondering if anyone here uses them. I have twin Rule 1500 pumps, each wired to a separate 3-way ON/OFF/AUTO switch and with their own Rule-a-Matic Mechanical float switches. It seems like i am ALWAYS replacing float switches and I am tired of it (my bilge is pretty clean but very deep at the pumps and it is still a nasty and frustrating job), not to mention the uneasy feeling of such an important piece of gear failing somewhat regularly. One switch is down now and I am considering switching styles. Anyone switched to these and had a great experience? Online reviews are mixed...

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post #2 of 6 Old 01-26-2014
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Re: Attwood Automatic Bilge Pump Switch

Obelisk, I feel your pain. I don't really know what to say about your switch problem , but it would seem to me something is going on that is not right . A float switch is a pretty bullet proof thing , and if you are going through them I don't think the problem is the switch. One thing you might consider , a bilge pump with a internal float switch . Just a thought , actually there is clearly a problem . MainSail help Mr. wizzard !!!

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post #3 of 6 Old 01-26-2014
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Re: Attwood Automatic Bilge Pump Switch

I use solid state WaterWitch switches on both pumps. I'm happy with them. One failed at 8 years old and I replaced with the same. The other is 5 yrs old. The switches have outlived a number of pumps.

The water witch has an integrated relay.

Regardless of the switch you go with I'd suggest adding a relay to the mix. The switch will survive longer if it's isolated from the full current of the pump.

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post #4 of 6 Old 01-27-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Attwood Automatic Bilge Pump Switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markwesti View Post
Obelisk, I feel your pain. I don't really know what to say about your switch problem , but it would seem to me something is going on that is not right . A float switch is a pretty bullet proof thing , and if you are going through them I don't think the problem is the switch. One thing you might consider , a bilge pump with a internal float switch . Just a thought , actually there is clearly a problem . MainSail help Mr. wizzard !!!
That seems logical but I can't find any faults. The connections are all completely fine (good Ancor heat shrink butt connectors) and the pumps are 15 years old with no problems--both work just fine when i flip the switch to ON. Each pump is wired to a dedicated float switsh and draws about 7.5 amps when running so that really shouldn't bee too much for the float switch...rated for pumps to 14amps...

Seems like they are failing just outside that 2 year warranty period...

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post #5 of 6 Old 02-02-2014
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Re: Attwood Automatic Bilge Pump Switch

I've tried every pump switch on the market and have found the Sure Bail to be by far the most reliable and longest lasting one out there.
The electronic ones run can leak current (or the contacts can corrode) or cycle the pump needlessly, neither of which appeals to me.
The Sure Bail has a blue plastic cage which protects the switch but a tester outside the cage which is handy.

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post #6 of 6 Old 02-03-2014
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Re: Attwood Automatic Bilge Pump Switch

I fought the automatic switch battle a while myself...worst one was was a switch that would hang up and then run my pump dry and drain my main battery. I finally got to the point I decided I could do better and built my own sensor circuit with a small 12V relay and a few other solid state parts. It has a feature I love in that it has an adjustable sensor threshold that I can set with a physical knob to my own taste. Eliminated false triggering! I know there are lots of sensors out there, just did not want to wade through 10 of them until I found a brand that actually worked for me. I would love to market mine...I am not a business guru...wouldn't know where to start...could use the money though!

Your particular situation could be due to large voltage spikes arcing across the contacts when the motor shuts off...often called an "inductive kick" from the collapse of a magnetic field...eats switch contacts with erosion of the contact surface pretty quick from the heat of the sparking across the contacts.

Hope you get it resolved.
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