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New Electric Bilge Pump

Well folks...

I finally completed installation of the bilge pump. I changed my design in midstream and it think the new design is better. In the forward compartment, I put a 3.3 amp hr. SLA in an Otter Box (fits perfectly) along with a 4 amp fuse. The Otter Box is velcro'ed to the hull and secured by two D-ring plates that are glued to the hull. A small bungee cord goes over top of the battery box and helps prevent it from moving or falling if inverted. Putting the battery in the forward compartment helps keep the boat trimmed better.

I drilled two holes through the Otter box and ran the wires out to a couple of waterproof quick disconnects (for removing and recharging the battery). The wires then run through the forward bulkhead along the right side of the boat inside a 7/16' piece of vinyl tubing secured by several clamps along the inner hull so the wires can't move and are protected from being damaged. The wires come back to the rear of the cockpit where I have the Attwood 1250 pump velcroed to the floor of the hull. I used industrial strength velcro and completely covered the base of the pump with it. It withstands inversion and shaking. The velcro was glued to the hull with vinyl cement... seems to be the only stuff that will stick to the poly hull with any reliability.

The pump is directly behind the seat. The hose comes out the bottom, curves up to the starboard side. It then loops over back to the port side along the top of the cockpit. It then drops down about two inches and it connects of an Attwood thru-hull fitting. The fitting and pipe are all 1 1/8" ID. The pipe has a smooth interior for the least resistance.

The pipe loops around sort of in the shape of a light bulb. The advantage is that I shoot the water out the side instead of straight up (where I might get wet). In addition... The peculiar shape of the loop helps prevent backflow if I edge the boat so the thru hull fitting is submerged. It also prevents backflow if the boat is level and a wave covers the fitting hole. The reason is that the rise to the ceiling of the cockpit bring the pipe above the level of the hole... so I have no need of a check valve. I will stick a foam stopper on a lanyard in the hole anyway but it isn't necessary.

I decided to keep the switch under deck. I put a standard marine toggle switch in a small waterproof Stearns box with two leads running out the bottom of the box and sealed with epoxy. I covered the switch with liquid rubber to waterproof it and shot the space around it full of expanding adhesive foam. This further waterproofed it and suspended the switch in solid but featherlight foam. I encased the leads in a 7/16th's piece of vinyl hose and duct taped both of the the ends of the hose real well so the wires are secured to the hose and can't be torn away. The hose is about a foot long.

The whole switch assembly sits behind the seat and has a little string that hooks onto a thing attached to the seat pylon. I can just grab the string and pull up the switch box, flick it open, turn on the pump and flick it closed until I want to turn off the pump.

To test it we filled the cockpit with water submerging the switchbox and the pump as well as all the electrical connections and the bulkhead thru holes. There was no leakage thru the bulkhead (marine sealant and holes smaller than the wire prevent leakage). The pump shot a 1 1/8" stream of water straight out the side of the boat and cleared the cockpit so fast that Laura and I were just amazed as we watched. I am so happy I found the bilge pump thread on this board and got motivated to do this pump thing. I learned a lot doing it and it works!!!

Tomorrow we are going to take the boats out on Lake Michigan and test the pump under real conditions. We will do a wet exit and reentry and then pump out with the electric pump. I'll let ya know how it goes. But so far it works like a charm!

Safe Paddling!
Brianne

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