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Author Topic:   Wire For Bilge Pump
modenacart posted 02-04-2009 04:31 PM ET (US)   Profile for modenacart   Send Email to modenacart  
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?


seabob4 posted 02-04-2009 06:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for seabob4  Send Email to seabob4     
14GA would be fine.
modenacart posted 02-04-2009 06:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for modenacart  Send Email to modenacart     
great, thanks.
Chuck Tribolet posted 02-04-2009 06:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
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.


Dick E posted 02-04-2009 06:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick E  Send Email to Dick E     
Use heat-shrinking connectors
modenacart posted 02-04-2009 07:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for modenacart  Send Email to modenacart     
How are these?
TransAm posted 02-04-2009 09:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
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.
jimh posted 02-04-2009 10:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
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.

jimh posted 02-04-2009 10:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
See:; sid=a31f9db592e93947ed3d72f58ba34aee;rgn=div5;view=text;node=46%3A4.0.1. 3.14;idno=46;cc=ecfr#46:

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]

Dick E posted 02-05-2009 05:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick E  Send Email to Dick E     
Modenacart:Heat-shrink wrapping- They are the same ones ones I used last time they work good.
modenacart posted 02-05-2009 10:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for modenacart  Send Email to modenacart     
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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