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Author Topic:   Electric Bilge Pump
carlo2533 posted 05-12-2012 09:43 PM ET (US)   Profile for carlo2533   Send Email to carlo2533  
On a new 2010 Boston Whaler 190 MONTAUK the bilge pump works when the [BILGE PUMP] switch is ON but only when the battery switch is in the ON position. If battery switches are in OFF position the bilge pump will not go on automaticaly with water in the bilge. As soon as the battery switch is turned to ON, the bilge will kick on when water in bilge. It seems like the float switch has no power to it when batteries are in OFF position. How can I check, and how can I fix? For now I just leave one battery on so if water goes in the bilge from rain or whatever the bilge float switch has power and will work.
retired posted 05-13-2012 12:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for retired    
The float switch itself could be broken or some debris may be lodged in the float switch preventing it from turning the pump on.
jimh posted 05-13-2012 08:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
When an electrical device does not work, look for a simple explanation like a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker. The float switch is supplied with power directly from the battery. Check the 5-Ampere fuse for that circuit. It is in the breaker box. Let me know your findings after you locate the fuse or circuit breaker and check its condition.

Your boat wiring diagram is available on-line from Boston Whaler at

It only shows one primary power distribution battery switch. Your narrative suggests there are two. That sounds odd.

jimh posted 05-13-2012 10:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If your boat has two battery switches, it sounds like someone fooled around with the primary power distribution wiring. Check that the circuit for the float switch is connected to the battery upstream of the primary power switch, as is shown in the factory wiring diagram. Perhaps someone has unscrupulously modified the boat wiring.
carlo2533 posted 05-13-2012 03:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for carlo2533  Send Email to carlo2533     
the float switch does work because if i spin the knob on the float switch with my fingers the pump goes on. it only goes on if i have the batteries turned on though. with the battery switched to off position it doesnt turn on when i spin the knob. dont know what i have to check
ericflys posted 05-13-2012 03:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for ericflys  Send Email to ericflys     
It sounds like it is working as advertised to me. It simply is not wired directly to your battery and goes through whatever your electrical distribution system is. This prevents the bilge pump for draining your battery(s) when the switch is off, and prevents the bilge pump from burning up if the float switch gets stuck in the up position when the boat is unattended.

Your boat should be self bailing if you leave the plugs out.

You can of course rewire the pump to run directly off the battery, bypassing your battery switches. If you choose to do this, a fuse or circuit breaker is highly recommended.

carlo2533 posted 05-13-2012 04:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for carlo2533  Send Email to carlo2533     
eric you man the bilge shouldnt kick on if battery switches are off ..also witch plugs must be out for it to self bail thanks in advance for the advise
davej14 posted 05-13-2012 09:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
carlo2533, you are incorrect. The bilge pump should have a connection to the battery that bypasses the battery switch. Read Jimh's post and check the wiring diagram to verify. Either your boat is miswired or something in the current path has malfunctioned.
ericflys posted 05-13-2012 09:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for ericflys  Send Email to ericflys     
I see under detail 2 what is being referred to, but I don't think it necessarily has a connection to the battery that bypasses the switch. It looks to me like that was an option that was available but not necessarily installed. It should be fairly easy to trace the wires on your boat and see where they go from the pump and then you'll know for sure.

I believe the 190 Montauk will self-bail will all the plugs out. It's been a little while since I've been on one though. I think the owners manual address this.

jimh posted 05-14-2012 09:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Carlos--The great thing about electricity is that it obeys the same laws all the time. The current flows according as it is wired.

If you don't like the way the bilge pump works, you will have to change the wiring. There is no guarantee that the wiring you have now is exactly as it was wired at the factory. Maybe the dealer changed something. If you want the circuit to operate differently, you have to change the wiring. There is no post on the internet that can do that. You have to wire the circuit so that it behaves the way you want. The current just follows the path you create for it in the wiring. It is not self-aware or capable of decision. It just flows along the wires. Move the wires to change the behavior.

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