Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Let the Installations Begin

I'm juggling about 10 different projects on the boat right now and all are in various stages of completion, so I thought I'd post each one as I finish them (or almost finish them) even though there are a lot more things going on in the boat at the same time.  The one that will take the longest and tie them all together is the DC electrical system, but I found that once I got that underway, I needed to know what's going to be installed and where they are going, so I'm going to wait to discuss the electrical until I'm farther along.  

Aside from the electrical, there are 4 main systems going in; the high capacity bilge pump and float switch, the low capacity bilge pump, the shower and anchor locker drain sump pump, and the pressure water system.  Since the boat is a clean slate with no systems in it, I spent a lot of time deciding where these systems should go.  I've been through several iterations based on a number of factors such as:

  • Ease of serviceability and access
  • Efficiency of plumbing runs
  • Eliminate conflicts with other systems (ie. do hoses from the bilge pump conflict with water system)
I ran into a number of system conflicts along the way (mainly hose locations) that required me to relocate the planned installation of several systems. I think I've finally got it and started moving forward with all of them, but I mostly finished up the high capacity bilge pump and float switch today.  

The pump is a Rule 3700 Gold with a Rule 40A caged float switch.  Because this is a high capacity pump, it's intended to be used only when the water level in the bilge can't be removed with the low capacity pump, so the float switch is located about 6 inches above the bottom of the bilge (just below the bottom of the fuel tank.  If the water level reaches that point, this pump will kick on and hopefully drain the bilge.  

Once I had settled on the location of the pump and float switch, I decided to 3d print a platform to locate the float switch on.  I designed the platform to 'notch' into one of the keel boat riser plates. A few iterations later, I had the finished product and got it installed along with the float switch.  For the pump itself I epoxy coated and painted a small block of 1/4" mahogany and mounted the pump frame on it and then glued it to the bottom of the bilge with 3M 5200 and left it for the day to dry.  

After the adhesive had cured, I installed the pump and wired both the float switch and pump to a terminal block where the electric service will connect.  In the past I've generally half-assed most electrical work, but I'm spending the time on this boat to do things right. All the electric appliances will be wired to terminal blocks and the electric service will connect to the block.  Doing this eliminates dodgy butt connections or wire nut splices and makes troubleshooting much easier because voltage can be easily measured at the terminal block.

So even though this was a fairly easy project, finding the right location took quite a bit of time and taking other systems into consideration made the project a bit more complex.  All that's left is to run the hose to the transom for discharge and get the 10 gauge wires to the pump, but for those I'll wait until the electrical system is done and I can do some testing.

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