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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Final Tour of Forward Bilge Pump Installation

Ok, this sub-project is all buttoned up and ready to go. As mentioned previously, there are two bilge pumps in the forward end of the boat, under the forward salon floors, just aft of the main mast step. One pump is a small 500 GPH (gallons per hour) and is fully automatic with a integrated solid state "float switch". The other is a big 3700 GPH pump with an AquaAlarm float switch. See the previous post on how the pumps are installed to perform.

In the bilge, a "dam" was installed to effectively "deepen" the sump. The drain for the freshwater tanks empty into this sump to make for easy tank drainage (just open the valve and let the pumps do the rest).  A custom made bracket holds the 3700 GPH pump to the side of the forward floor support. The 500 GPH is secured via the intake strainer with tapping screws into Coosa cored glass underneath (laminated a long time ago, during the keel repair, just for this sort of purpose).
Electrical connections between the pumps and the long cable runs to the engine room are soldered solid (no butt connectors) and insulated/isolated with heat shrink, running through a split-loom conduit up to one of the bulwark conduits which leads aft to the engine room.

A "shelf" covers the entire pump assembly, resting on the dam and a cleat opposite, held by a couple tapping screws. Since one doesn't want to completely block off access to the pumps, for future servicing needs, the shelf is intended to be removed. Only removable storage items will be here, nothing permanent.
A hole is strategically cut into the shelf called the "last drop" port. It is intended for pumping out any water in the sump that the pumps cannot completely remove (there is always a little bit). The port is positioned right over the sump, between the fresh water drain valve and the 500 GPH pump. Insert one of those hand operated bailing pumps (made by the likes of Beckson and West Marine), and pump out into a small bucket to get the "last drop" out of the bilge. 
The discharge hoses are one 3/4 inch and one 1 1/2 inch from the 500 GPH and 3700 GPH pumps respectively. They follow the hull up the side to underneath the side decks. Both are connected to anti-siphon vented loops, then down to a tee fitting which combines the discharge, passing onto the thru-hull seavalve at the waterline.

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