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Electronic float switch recommdations


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I'd like to add an automatic switch to my bilge pump.


Not keen on manual float switches as they do seem to get stuck over time.


I've a Cruiser stern which generally has a dry bilge but if the rain channels block, rain water can enter the bilge.


Had about 6" of water in the bilge after about 6 weeks - this isn't normally the case though, looks like build up of mud had blocked the drain.


Any recommendations, for electronic style switches?


I looked at the water witch one but that has a warning about rain water not being sensitive to the device.

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The power usage is tiny, 0.003A on the water witch I mentioned. I've got solar so that would easily cover that.

42 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

if the bilge is clean what can jam the float?

Agreed, I just find over a period of years they jam up with dirt and become unreliable.

4 hours ago, Quattrodave said:

it works OK, but be careful, if you get oily water on it it won't turn off again

Does it eventually stop or permanently damage the unit?

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1 hour ago, PaulD said:

Stops when the battery voltage is too low to run it. Permanent damage will be to the battery bank.

Ok, so once the sensor is cleaned up it works normally?


That's why I liked the look of the water witch, as it doesn't trigger on oil or fuel, just water. However not rain water!!

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21 hours ago, stuart said:

Not keen on manual float switches as they do seem to get stuck over time.

Do you have an old fashioned grease and rope style stern gland, or one of the various types of greaseless glands? If the former, then the switch getting gummed up is more likely, due to the scum of grease on any water in the bilge. If the latter, then the bilge should be a more float switch friendly environment.


  • Greenie 1
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Thanks @Jen-in-Wellies it is a greaseless gland.


From the comments above, I think a "normal" float style switch is going to be the best option - I'd hoped that the electronic/no moving parts would have been a better option by now, but alas!


Next question - mounting the thing, previous float switch (from boat builder 15 years ago) was mounted on a flat steel plate and thrown into the bilge - this eventually rusted, broke up and clogged up the pump!


Any other ideas for fixing both the pump and float switch?

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