Automatic bilge pump current requirements - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 12-01-2017 Thread Starter
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Automatic bilge pump current requirements

All,
I am getting ready to install a new bilge pump in my N28-2. I will be installing a Rule Lopro900 automatic pump. This is the type of pump with an electronic sensor instead of a float switch. The paperwork for the pump lists how much current the pump needs when running, but not how much current the electronic sensor needs. So I got out my trusty DVM and measured the current. According to my DVM, the electronic sensor needs 1.4 milliamps (0.014 amps). The reason I wanted to know what the current requirements are, is my boat will not be hooked up to shore power at this time, and I currently do not have a solar maintainer/charger installed. The solar is a near future project, and the shore power will have to wait until I rewire the boats AC circuits. Anyway, I will be installing a new set of Optima Blue Top deep cycle batteries in the coming weeks, and the bilge pump will only be connected to the house battery, so I will only have approx. 65 amp/hrs of capacity for the bilge pump. I was concerned that there would be enough current loading from the pump electronic sensor to deplete the battery in a fairly short period of time. That will not be the case. Doing the math, and only discharging the battery to 50%, and the pump motor not running, the battery will be good for 2321 hrs or 96 days, or a hair over 3 months. That means the pumps electronic load is for all intents, a non issue. Of course, this ignores the battery self discharge, or the pump cycling.

Anyway, I figured someone in the group would be interested in the results of the test.

Mitch
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-01-2017
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Re: Automatic bilge pump current requirements

... and presumably you'll be visiting the boat more often than that and perhaps running the engine now and then??

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post #3 of 14 Old 12-01-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Automatic bilge pump current requirements

Yes, at a minimum, I plan on visiting the boat at least once every couple of weeks. Probably more like once a week. Once I get permanent power available, I will feel a lot better about leaving the boat for a couple of weeks at a time. I will not be running the engine as it has been winterized to protect the raw water system. I do not expect to start the engine again until sometime in March. Not what I prefer, but it is one of the limitations of where I am located. Also, with permanent power comes the ability to run an electric heater so the engine could be run more often without having to worry about stuff freezing.
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-01-2017
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Re: Automatic bilge pump current requirements

Just a thought...

May want to disconnect everything from battery power that will not be needed while it's in 'floating storage', eliminating any stray draw.
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-01-2017
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Re: Automatic bilge pump current requirements

I've got one of those damned things and hate it. It's coming out tomorrow. Its nerve wracking to hear it come on every three minutes. It frequently comes on to test then shuts off .... when it's completely submerged ! Then there are times you realize you have not heard it for an hour. The solution seems to be give it a bloody good shake and it starts to work again.
I simply don't trust it.
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-02-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Automatic bilge pump current requirements

Registered,
By force of habit, I always turn the master battery switch to the off position when I leave the boat. Even if I know I am coming back a short time later. That way the only thing connected to the battery is the bilge pump.

boatpoker,
Not good to hear that you are having trouble with your automatic pump. The reason I am going to the Lopro with automatic switch is the lack of space in the bilge. The bilge on my 28-2 is pretty narrow, and the present pump and mechanical float switch is up on blocks above the bottom of the bilge so the switch has room to move. That leaves at least three gallons of bilge water that the pump can not remove. I know this volume of waater is fairly accurate, as I have been using a shop vac to suck the bilge dry about every week or so. That's also why I have been trying to eliminate water in leakage to the extent possible. I think with the stuffing box adjustment I just did, the bilge should stay much dryer.

Mitch
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Re: Automatic bilge pump current requirements

Quote:
Originally Posted by MitchK View Post
Registered,
By force of habit, I always turn the master battery switch to the off position when I leave the boat. Even if I know I am coming back a short time later. That way the only thing connected to the battery is the bilge pump.

boatpoker,
Not good to hear that you are having trouble with your automatic pump. The reason I am going to the Lopro with automatic switch is the lack of space in the bilge. The bilge on my 28-2 is pretty narrow, and the present pump and mechanical float switch is up on blocks above the bottom of the bilge so the switch has room to move. That leaves at least three gallons of bilge water that the pump can not remove. I know this volume of waater is fairly accurate, as I have been using a shop vac to suck the bilge dry about every week or so. That's also why I have been trying to eliminate water in leakage to the extent possible. I think with the stuffing box adjustment I just did, the bilge should stay much dryer.

Mitch
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Re: Automatic bilge pump current requirements

I would repeat the suggestion above to remove all other loads from the bank, if you're going to be away, with no charging source. Parasitic loads can add up quickly and do a number on batteries. Personal experience here.

Why not just get a temporary, inexpensive solar maintainer, put it in a salon window and clip it to the battery. It likely won't provide sufficient charging to run the pump much, but should keep the micro loads from being an issue.

I would also join the chorus on ALL pumps with built in water level sensors. Hate them. Granted, even the external float switches can be fickle, but better than internal. I have yet to install an ultra float switch, but it's expensive and seems to be the only one that is fully reliable.


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Re: Automatic bilge pump current requirements

I installed a Johnson Ultima switch a few years ago. Has worked fine. I like that it is completely sealed with no moving parts. And with an external switch, you can easily test it and wire it up for manual as well as automatic operation.
https://www.defender.com/product3.js...6131&id=344412

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post #10 of 14 Old 12-02-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Automatic bilge pump current requirements

All, I looked at the pump switches you referenced. Nice switches. Not sure if there is room in my bilge for one. Got to get the current pump and switch out and verify just how much room I have.

boatpoker.
In reading the manual for the Rule lopro, it sounds like you have the periodic run feature enabled. According to the manual, there is a plastic slider on the sensing unit that can be positioned for that mode, or float switch mode. On mine it is the white piece with grip ridges that slides back and forth on the sensor. For float switch mode, it is slid and locks into position to the rear of the sensor, at which time you should be able to see an H or L on the top of the sensor. If the piece is slid toward the pump body, you will see a symbol that looks like a clock. That means it is in the mode that turns on every 2.5 minutes for some period of time.

It could also be that the pump is faulty and need replacement.

Mitch
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