December 10, 2014

Fixing a faulty bilge pump switch

My old bilge pump switch finally crapped out. The wire contacts looked like they had far surpassed a tolerable level of corrosion, so it's now in the garbage can. I'm leaving soon for a Mexico road trip that will last through December. The last thing I want is to leave my boat unattended in the rainy season of San Diego with a faulty bilge pump switch. 

So, I went down to the boat store and got one of these new switches with the metal ball rolling around like a can of spray paint. Long story short, the install went fine, except the switch didn't pass the test. As water filled in and over the switch, the switch floated up but not enough to activate the pump. 

DIY troubleshooting a bilge pump switch
my bilge, always swampy

Well, that's not good. I am going to blame this on a slightly un-level surface that the pump was mounted on. However, I'd like to think the switch would have a larger margin of error for activation.

I tried to rectify the situation by moving the switch to a new spot in the bilge, but as you can see I don't have much room to move in there.

Anyway, the point of this post, is that I did find a remedy that I like. I grabbed an old neoprene beer cozy and cut it up into pieces that fit on the end of my bilge switch. I then dried off the top of the switch, and epoxied the cut up beer cozy on the end. I epoxied three layers of neoprene beer cozy on top of each other.

Now, it has a lot more float.

fixing a bilge pump switch
chopped up beer cozy give more float to the bilge switch

I've tested it out many times and each time the bilge pump switch rises to the occasion.

I'm heading to Baja with my mind at ease...

Hopefully this is helpful to someone with a similar problem.

Incidentally, if you're looking for more articles written about DIY electrical fixes for boats, the Stingy Sailor features very well written tutorials regarding boat electronics.

Fair winds!


2 comments:

Kevin Curran said...

never underestimate the utility of the beer cozy....

Leslie Lim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.