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Author Topic:   OEM Bilge Switch
JMARTIN posted 03-16-2013 09:26 PM ET (US)   Profile for JMARTIN   Send Email to JMARTIN  
I have four wires coming out of my switch and I want to hook up a Rule 1500 bilge pump with a float switch. The original configuration had all four wires going down the rigging tunnel and the power coming direct from the A/B switch under the gunwale.

I would like to hook it so I did not have to have a battery on like in Jim's Cockpit Sump Reference but I have too many wires?

What now?


jimh posted 03-17-2013 11:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
How many positions does the present switch have? What are they labeled? What is the switch action at each position?
JMARTIN posted 03-19-2013 10:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for JMARTIN  Send Email to JMARTIN     
Three position switch with a light and fuse.

UP-manual-spring loaded, brown wire out

MIDDLE-off red wire from fuse, other end of fuse red wire out

BOTTOM-auto, two wires, dark brown wire out, black wire to light, black wire from light out.


jimh posted 03-19-2013 12:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I take it the switch action is

ON-OFF-ON (Momentary)

Note that many toggle switches have an inversion in the layout of the terminals relative to the toggle position. When the toggle is moved toward the upper terminal, the circuit is usually made between the COMMON or center terminal and the lower terminal, and vice versa.

The RED wire is likely a source of 12-Volt power and likely connects to the switch COMMON, usually the center terminal.

The wire associated with the position of the switch that is labeled AUTOMATIC should go to the float switch, or, if the pump has a separate lead for automatic sensing, to that lead. The other lead from the float switch is connected to the pump lead for positive.

The wire associated with the position of the switch that is labeled ON should go to the pump lead for positive. This is usually on the momentary action part of the switch, so the pump cannot be switched on and stay running unless the switch is held in position.

The pump lead for negative should go to the battery negative, in some way, either by running back to the helm area or by going to a negative power distribution bus.

The pilot lamp is wired in parallel with the pump motor. It illuminates when the pump motor has power. If incandescent there is no polarity. You can generally wire one of the lamp leads to the switch terminal that corresponds to the ON position. The other lead must find a negative power terminal. It appears in your picture the lamp lead is spliced to a black conductor. That is probably the lamp negative circuit.

The preferred circuits are shown in

If you want the pump to be able to operate even when the main power distribution switch has been moved to OFF, you must supply power to the switch from a source that is wired to the battery without being affected by the main power switch. This is also shown in the article linked above.

JMARTIN posted 03-19-2013 06:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for JMARTIN  Send Email to JMARTIN     
Thanks Jim, I think I have it.


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