Moderated Discussion Areas
ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Wire For Bilge Pump
|Author||Topic: Wire For Bilge Pump|
posted 02-04-2009 04:31 PM ET (US)
I have a RULE 500 automatic bilge pump. I want to run the wires [from the electrical motor in the pump] to the console on my Montauk. What gauge wire should I use to do this?
posted 02-04-2009 06:02 PM ET (US)
14GA would be fine.
posted 02-04-2009 06:33 PM ET (US)
posted 02-04-2009 06:38 PM ET (US)
14 ga is probably overkill. Check the current draw, then
go to the Ancor or West Marine websites to see what size is
appropriate for the the current draw and distance.
posted 02-04-2009 06:56 PM ET (US)
Use heat-shrinking connectors
posted 02-04-2009 07:40 PM ET (US)
How are these?
posted 02-04-2009 09:03 PM ET (US)
16 gauge will work fine. My 1100 draws only 3.3 amps at 12V and requires a 6 Amp fuse. The 500 should be a little more than half of that.
posted 02-04-2009 10:42 PM ET (US)
A bilge pump does not require any sort of specialized wire other than the normal marine grade insulated wire needed for all electrical work on a boat. All wire should be rated for marine use. Marine wire means it qualifies to the usually accepted standards.
Electrical conductors in cables on a boat should never be smaller than 18-AWG, and power and lighting conductors not smaller than 14-AWG. This is required in federal regulations, although those regulations may not directly apply to small open boats with outboard motors. A conductor of 14-AWG can handle 25-amperes of current in open spaces and when not in a bundle with other conductors. You should consider voltage drop in any circuit when calculating the wire size needed.
See this discussion regarding marine wire:
Therein you will find much more detail about wire standards, and where to buy marine wire at reasonable prices.
A good source of technical information about marine electrical wiring, including the current capacity, a calculator for finding voltage drop, marine color codes, and temperature ratings can be found at
It is not very hard, really. Use 14-AWG for everything, and if you think the circuit is drawing more than a few amperes, increase to 12-AWG. Use larger conductors for primary battery distribution and to feed to sub-panels.
posted 02-04-2009 10:55 PM ET (US)
for some federal regulations on wire material and size. An excerpt:
§ 111.60-4 Minimum cable conductor size.
Each cable conductor must be #18 AWG (0.82 mm2 ) or larger except—
(a) Each power and lighting cable conductor must be #14 AWG (2.10 mm2 ) or larger; and
(b) Each thermocouple, pyrometer, or instrumentation cable conductor must be #22 AWG (0.33 mm2 ) or larger.
[CGD 94–108, 61 FR 28280, June 4, 1996]
posted 02-05-2009 05:44 PM ET (US)
Modenacart:Heat-shrink wrapping- They are the same ones ones I used last time they work good.
posted 02-05-2009 10:16 PM ET (US)
Great, I think its going to work just fine. I plan on keeping the run long so I can move the pump around as I wish.
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