Auto-Manual Postions on Bilge Pump Control Panel

Electrical and electronic topics for small boats
donh
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Auto-Manual Postions on Bilge Pump Control Panel

Postby donh » Wed Dec 29, 2021 3:49 pm

I am confused about the meaning of the positions AUTO and MANUAL on a bilge pump control panel.

The pump being controlled is a RULE 1500 Model 02; it is not an automatically actuating pump. The 1988 Boston Whaler Outrage 18 boat has no float switch in the sump.

The pump is being replaced due to its age.

Q1: should a float switch be added?

If a float switch is added, then I do not understand why the OEM control panel would have an AUTO and MANUAL position on the basis that a pump with a float switch will be completely automatic in its operation.

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Phil T
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Re: 1988 18 Outrage bilge pump switch

Postby Phil T » Wed Dec 29, 2021 4:03 pm

I would replace the pump and add a separate float switch so you have manual and automatic.
1992 Outrage 17
2019 E-TEC 90
2018 LoadRite 18280096VT
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donh
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Re: 1988 18 Outrage bilge pump switch

Postby donh » Wed Dec 29, 2021 4:41 pm

That's likely the best plan, but still wondering why the OEM console switch had the two modes.

Was the pump possibly an option that wasn't in the original build?

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Phil T
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Re: 1988 18 Outrage bilge pump switch

Postby Phil T » Wed Dec 29, 2021 5:23 pm

Keep in mind, before 2000, it was the dealer that installed the engine and any accessories.

In looking at the 1988 catalog, the standard features do not include a bilge pump. It would be the dealer, other boat yard, or a prior owner that installed any bilge pump and switch.

[Moderator's note: You can read a list of the standard accessories on the OUTRAGE 18 in the REFERENCE section article on that hull. See https://continuouswave.com/whaler/reference/18Outrage/--jimh]
1992 Outrage 17
2019 E-TEC 90
2018 LoadRite 18280096VT
Member since 2003

Tom Hemphill
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Re: 1988 18 Outrage bilge pump switch

Postby Tom Hemphill » Wed Dec 29, 2021 5:25 pm

Or, better yet, leave the old, reliable pump in place, and add the missing float switch. That way you will be equipped for different use cases: With manual operation, you know your battery won't be drained in your absence. And with automatic operation, you can avoid water underfoot while underway, moored or at a slip.

jimh
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Re: Auto-Manual Postions on Bilge Pump Control Panel

Postby jimh » Wed Dec 29, 2021 5:47 pm

The standard arrangement for control of a sump pump on a Boston Whaler boat includes a float switch.

The circuit diagram is shown in my article about sump pumps. See

COCKPIT SUMP PUMP
https://continuouswave.com/whaler/refer ... ePump.html

Generally a THREE-position switch is used. I don't understand your description as you only mention two positions, AUTO and MANUAL. Usually there is a OFF position.

The function of the control switch is really rather straightforward:

    OFF--no electrical current is supplied to the pump.

    MANUAL--electrical current is supplied to the pump, but this switch is a MOMENTARY CONTACT, that is, you have to hold the switch in this position; the switch will not remain in this position unless held; it returns to OFF as soon as you let go of the switch handle, and the pump stops running.

    AUTO--electrical current is supplied to the pump at all times, but through a float-switch. The float-switch only passes current to the pump when the water level is high enough to exceed the threshold for the switch to close. This is called the ON-THRESHOLD. The float switch stops current to the pump when the water level drops far enough to open the switch. This is called the OFF-THRESHOLD. Generally in a well designed control system the ON-THRESHOLD and the OFF-THRESHOLD will not be exactly the same. If they were, the pump would tend to cycle on and off rapidly.

On the other hand, if you have a switch with only TWO position, AUTO and MANUAL, then the pump would have to be an AUTOMATICALLY operating pump that contained its own sensor for the presence of water. The switch would be left in AUTO and the pump itself would determine when to run. The purpose of the MANUAL position will be to override the automatic function and force the pump to run. Again, the MANUAL position will be a MOMENTARY CONTACT position. Also, I am quite certain that such a two-position switch would NOT have been installed by Boston Whaler in 1988; I don't think RULE made any automatically actuating pumps in 1988.

Finally, if the pump is not an automatically actuating pump, it makes no sense to have an AUTO position on the control switch.

Also, if you do install a float switch, there is very important consideration that MUST be given to where you place the float switch. Read my article linked above for a thorough explanation. You CANNOT just put the float switch in any spot you like and expect to have created a working system.

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Re: 1988 18 Outrage bilge pump switch

Postby jimh » Wed Dec 29, 2021 5:57 pm

donh wrote:Was the pump possibly an option that wasn't in the original build?
You can read a list of the standard accessory for the OUTRAGE 18 at

https://continuouswave.com/whaler/reference/18Outrage/

An electric cockpit sump pump was not included as a standard accessory.

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Re: Auto-Manual Postions on Bilge Pump Control Panel

Postby jimh » Thu Dec 30, 2021 6:56 am

If a Boston Whaler boat was delivered from the factory with a sump pump, the control panel for the operation of the sump pump will have the Boston Whaler logo on the panel. This is a simple way to deduce if the pump was installed by the factory.