SailNet Community banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
S2 7.9 Bear Lake, UT
Joined
·
2,886 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My bilge pump stopped working and because of a left open intake valve for the head the bilge got filled. The bilge was a mucky mess. I found both wires were broken. This is a group owned boat and some of the maintenance leave the boat in less than Bristol condition. Even the wire stripper on the boat would not strip the wires adequately.

It looks like the previous connections were made with some type of crimp. I used some wire nuts to get the bilge going and then left the wires hanging outside the bilge for a temporary fix. I am going back on Saturday to do it correctly.

My plan is to solder the wires, then put heat shrink tubing over the joints, then secure the joint above the bilge water level. My other plan is to do it the other way if you guys tell me there is a better method.

One other question is how to reduce the water level in the bilge? This boat is an Ericson 32. The bilge pump and float switch are on a piece of wood together and raise it up a bit. Would it be better to mount them right onto the bottom of the bilge? How do I do that?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
270 Posts
As regards the connections - I'd use a DECENT crimper (one of the ones from around $100) with decent heat shrink butts. That will be extremely strong and waterproof. A lot of people then put the connections in a junction box. Make sure they are as high out of the bilge as you can!

It may be worth getting an additional small automatic bilge pump (rule does a 500GPM one) and mount that right at the bilge bottom, with a check valve or a downsized outlet. That way it will take care of any nuisance water, while your other (hopefully vastly bigger) bilge pump will handle any major water ingress.
 

·
Registered
S2 7.9 Bear Lake, UT
Joined
·
2,886 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As regards the connections - I'd use a DECENT crimper (one of the ones from around $100) with decent heat shrink butts.
The boats tool box has a set of $1.99 stripper/crimper that was not even capable of stripping the wires I needed from it. I will be bringing my own tools next time and may be able to borrow the boat next doors really nice crimper that came with his boat. He says they are the really nice ones that cost like $30. Hopefully they are the $100 kind and I can do a proper job of it this time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
What you really want is a ratcheting crimper. Wire nuts are a no no on a boat but, any port in a storm. Soldering is not recommended for wire connections (there are numerous debates on the web about this). I think properly crimped and heat shrunk connections are the way to go.


Brian
 

·
██▓▓▒▒░&
Joined
·
13,641 Posts
You can indeed get good ratcheting crimpers for $35-40 and easily for $50. At the same time you want proper crimps to use with them, look for Ancor in the chandlery or something similar at the big box store. You'll pay between 10-50c per crimp in small packs. But the ones that are "500 for $5" should be avoided.

It isn't unusual to have the pump and float screwed to a piece of wood, and then have the wood secured to the hull. That usually gives you more options and fewer holes in the hull, i.e. you can epoxy the wood to the hull, and then still unscrew the pump when it fails--because they all do in a short time. Look for a way to get them further down in the bilge.

Solder will work, although if it gets wet at all there will be a galvanic problem and a failure. If you solder make sure the wires are tacked to the hull, so the soldered joints can't fail from vibration and flexing. And that you are using adhesive-lined heatshrink, which tends to be waterproof when applied cleanly. I'd suggest two layers of it, overlapped, to help that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,721 Posts
Apparently crimping is the way to do it today. Apparently that's because nobody knows how to solder.Pity! In 40 years of soldering wires and plumbing I've never had a failure that could be credited to faulty solder or silver solder. Choice !! What I do recommend is self vulcanizing rubber tape. Electricians use it for high voltage stuff. Peel the backing paper off and its permanent to itself and the wires insulation.I like it better than heat shrink even if it's over a crimp.
 

·
Registered
S2 7.9 Bear Lake, UT
Joined
·
2,886 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the suggestions guys.
I knew crimping was the way to go. I have even looked at picking up a ratcheting crimper in the past even though I did not have a boat with an electric system, now I have an excuse to buy the single most expensive hand tool I will own so I can do this right. I am a little rusty but have decent electrical skills and want to make sure things are done correctly.

It isn't unusual to have the pump and float screwed to a piece of wood, and then have the wood secured to the hull.
You mean the board should not be free floating in the bilge? Also I think the board is at least an inch thick, so maybe a thinner board secured would lead to a bilge with less water and less broken wires.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,446 Posts
Don't leave your new crimper on the boat, rust will destroy it.
I mounted the float switch about two inches higher than the pump in an effort to reduce cycling due to back flow. The pump is mounted on a 1/4 starboard with 5200 securing it in place. The float switch is siliconed directly to the bilge surface. I did not want to puncture the fiberglass surface of the bilge.
John
 

·
Adrift
Joined
·
46 Posts
I doctored a plastic solo cup so the connectors don't lay in the water that collects in the bilge.

Basically it sits upside down and the wire connector is threaded through it at the top with a decent coating of dielectric grease. So far my crimped connectors look as good as the day I put them in.
 

·
Registered
S2 7.9 Bear Lake, UT
Joined
·
2,886 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was looking at the splice joints today. They are wire gauge specific. I would guess the wire coming from the battery is 12 or 14 gauge the wire to the float switch looked like 18 gauge or smaller.
How do I join two different sized wires?

The electric bilge pump is plumbed through manual pump, is that correct?
 

·
██▓▓▒▒░&
Joined
·
13,641 Posts
"You mean the board should not be free floating in the bilge?"
Correct. Usually, the "board" will be oriented vertically, on the side of the pump and float if possible. So that the bottom of the pump is exposed and sitting in the bilge, and the board is then mounted to the side of the bilge.
Exactly what you do will just depend on the exact shape, the slope, etc. of your bilge. You may find a plastic or metal "L" stock or something else works better for you. Metal is likely to have galvanic problems or rust, so wood or plastic is better for this.

"The electric bilge pump is plumbed through manual pump, is that correct? "
If you mean the discharge hose? That should be separate in an ideal world. It should go all the way up to deck level, as a siphon break or with one installed there, and then come back down to whatever drain level. Again, you have to adjust that to match the reality of "I can't make a hole there" or "I can't get a hose through there".

"How do I join two different sized wires? " There are actually crimp connectors that are made for a different size on each side, i.e. 10/12 on one side and 14/16 on the other. But what some folks have been known to do, is simply double or triple up the skinny wire until it is now as thick as the thicker wire. And use whatever crimp fits that one size. If you've made a good solid crimp, there should be no problem with this.

Also, practice with your crimper. Take a wire, crimp it, and now pull on it with all your strength. If you can pull it out--something was wrong. If it stays in, you're ready for prime time.
 

·
Registered
S2 7.9 Bear Lake, UT
Joined
·
2,886 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Hellosailor for all the details. I have not owned a boat bigger than 22 feet so many of these details elude me and the maintenance so far has been half assed. Up to now I have just been enjoying sailing the boat but need to figure out to make things right when they break.

I knew it was not right when I saw the boards free floating in the bilge, that combined with the shoddy crimps, it was just a matter of time before a broken connection.

" There are actually crimp connectors that are made for a different size on each side, i.e. 10/12 on one side and 14/16 on the other. But what some folks have been known to do, is simply double or triple up the skinny wire until it is now as thick as the thicker wire. And use whatever crimp fits that one size. If you've made a good solid crimp, there should be no problem with this.
I checked out West Marine but could not find these. I believe the wires are greatly different in size. Do i triple over the exposed wire portion of it before inserting to be crimped?

I am not sure of the details but think the wire to the pump come from right from battery without a switch. I have seen Auto-off-On switches on other boats. Should I install one?

The discharge hose from the electric bilge pump takes a serpentine route to a hand pump in the cockpit locker that is mounted sideways so that when you pump the motion is horizontal, which I found out was very awkward. I am considering mounting a larger wood block and mounting this so the pumping motion is vertical instead. The hose then drops down a bit before exiting above the waterline. Should I make this discharge hose as direct as possible?
 

·
██▓▓▒▒░&
Joined
·
13,641 Posts
"Do i triple over the exposed wire portion of it before inserting to be crimped?"
Double or triple, as necessary. Or you can just cut a short bit of wire and stuff both of them (stripped, of course) into the crimp. That way there's no bulge where the wire has been doubled over.

"I am not sure of the details but think the wire to the pump come from right from battery without a switch. " Often a bilge pump is run directly to the battery so it can still work if the DC panel is turned off.

"I have seen Auto-off-On switches on other boats. Should I install one?" Again, a matter of personal preference. Whether it is one switch or two, and how you run the power through the pump and float, is all personal preference. The first time I tried to wire up one of those auto-off-on switches I just kept looking at the wiring diagram saying 'Huh?' because it wasn't the way you'd wire anything else, and on a hot humid day I'm not always there.

"The discharge hose from the electric bilge pump takes a serpentine route to a hand pump in the cockpit locker ..."
Well, sometimes installations are a compromise and sometimes they're just wrong. If you needed both pumps at once, and the electric one was discharging through the manual one...You'd still only have one pump really. Right? If both run separately, even if they share one discharge thru-hull, you still have two pumps working. And if something clogs the intake of the electric pump, you'd probably be happier if the manual pump was entirely separate too, right?
So it is a question of either doing it right, or deciding not to.

We had a similar problem of "there's no easy way to run a second hose" from the cockpit pump to the bilge. Compromised by coiling six feet of intake hose, with a brass strum box on the end, under the galley sink. If we needed the manual pump, we could always open the cabinet and pull the hose down into the bilge. Or, live with it under the sink and have a foot of water in the cabin. Either way beat nothing, and the floors were NOT coming up right then for that job.

Sometimes you flip a coin. Work until a certain point, and then it is time to go sailing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
709 Posts
ABYC standard is to crimp and not solder joints. As mentioned the issue is flexibility and corrosion. While a ratcheting crimper is the best a good quiality regular one will work. Just tug on the joint afterwards to see if it's a good crimp. Have enough slack in the wire so the joint's not taking any strain if things shift a bit. I'd use the heat shrink that seals over plain heat shrink in a bilge bilge or external area pricey but worth it. You can fiberglass a mounting fixture to the bilge for the pump and switch. Most pumps I've seen are mounted from the side so the bottom is in the bilge.
 

·
Registered
S2 7.9 Bear Lake, UT
Joined
·
2,886 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Solder is not recomeded:

1. Causes galvanic corrosion.
2. Vibration breaks the filaments in the cable because the solder moves inside the wire and stiffens idividual filaments.
Got a crimper on the way. Gonna do this right.

"The discharge hose from the electric bilge pump takes a serpentine route to a hand pump in the cockpit locker ..."
Well, sometimes installations are a compromise and sometimes they're just wrong.
I am going to go with just wrong on this one. There was a problem when I bought into this boat a month ago with the bilge pump system in terms of the old hose was kinking and not allowing the electric pump to work without being primed with the manual to get it started. Someone recently replaced some of the hosing and from what I saw did not cut the hoses to length. so there is excess that serpentines around the locker. One other detail of the repair was the hose clamp put on for the outflow of the whale pump has the barrel positioned just under the handle so that each pump gets you a slightly more bruised hand. All while being bent over pumping horizontally.

My thinking is if you do really need this pump, you want it to be as comfortable to use so you can be efficient with it. I got fatigued just emptying the bilge with it. What I'd like to do is mount this so the pumping motion is vertical. Right now the pump is mounted onto a stout piece of wood that is screwed into the side of the cockpit locker. If I was to mount it vertically I would need to mount an even larger piece of wood to support it and spread out the forces of the pumping motion. Is there a type of wood or other product I should use to mount this on?

If there is a one way valve on this setup near the through hull would it make sense to route a second hose for the manual bilge pump to a "Y" valve above the one way valve so each bilge pump has its own intake?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,184 Posts
Just wanted to mention that I found it useful to stock up on the common sizes of crimps - you can save a fortune at Amazon or whatever, buying an Ancor assortment, compared to the blister packs at West Marine.

Also this place is a good place for marine electrical stuff : genuinedealz.com

Personally, I like to have crimps, (including heat shrinkable butt connectors - very useful!) 14 gauge wire (2 core boat cable), heat shrink, cable ties, insulation tape, solder. and the tools (gas soldering iron, heat gun for heat shrink, crimper, wire stripper) all in a box labelled "electrical".

That way, when a repair is needed, I have the stuff to do it right.
 

·
Mermaid Hunter
Joined
·
5,686 Posts
I checked out West Marine but could not find these. I believe the wires are greatly different in size. Do i triple over the exposed wire portion of it before inserting to be crimped?
West Marine superstores will have them but smaller stores will only stock them if a manager adds them in. They can certainly order them for you.

Here is a start: Ancor, Reducing Butt Connectors

I haven't found any with adhesive shrink covers so you will want adhesive-lined shrink tubing to cover the crimp, ESPECIALLY in the bilge.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top