Sunday, 11 March 2018

Finding out why the bilge pump didn't work - stupid me

On Friday I disconnected the outlet hose from the bilge pump and lifted it out of position so I could get at the impeller. It seemed free enough but still only managed a pathetically slow speed when operated. Hmm. Broken, I thought. We were only 15 minutes by car from Streethay Wharf, so I drove there to buy a replacement pump. £83.90. Ouch! Back at the boat I swapped it over, switched it on and - yes - the same result.

It was only now that I had the bright idea of checking the voltage at the pump. Aargh! Only 6V! No wonder it didn't work! What an idiot! I followed the cables up to the control panel and checked the voltage on the lead from the starter battery whence the bilge pump gets its power. Yup, 6V. Not good for a 12V battery.

I disconnected the new pump, reconnected the old one and powered it from the domestic battery bank. This should be better as the solar panels should keep them charged. I jump started the engine from the domestic bank. It started first time, pleasingly, and we moved the short distance to Fazeley Mill Marina where we used the new Elsan point (viciously strong rinsing jet) and topped up the water.

By the time we'd gone to Fazeley Junction, winded and returned to the mooring it was almost dark. We had to be in Milton Keynes that evening, so we hurriedly packed the car, drained the water as much as we'd done previously and drove away.

Well, now I have a spare bilge pump. I read recently that the cabin bilge should also have a pump - has anyone done this?


Tom and Jan said...

Halfie.... Look for the simple things first! :-)

Elsie said...

Hi Halfie, Our cabin has a bilge pump under the false floor in a wardrobe at rear of the boat. In eleven years came on just once when a washing machine problem emptied water into the bilge. Elsie

Quaysider said...

I've got a pump FOR the cabin bilge... ahem, as yet it's still in the cupboard but I DID fit the cabin bilge alarm right at the back so at least I'll know WHEN I need to fit it ;-)

Nev Wells said...

Yep we had one on Sylph our old share boat. Not sure why but do recall it operated quite often so we must have had a leak someone in the system - not the best solution to a leak in hindsight.

Halfie said...

Tom, er ... thanks. I know you've given yourself the same advice so it must be good.

Elsie, I suppose it was worth it then.

Quaysider, you may well find your alarm never comes on - meaning you have saved yourself a job. Unless the alarm fails, of course ...

Nev, I suspect if I install a cabin bilge pump in Jubilee it will operate now and again too, although wouldn't there have to be a fair depth of water before it operates, assuming an automatic pump?