Cruising is working on your boat in very nice places

Working on an old boat is like a full time job!

Cruising on the St John's River system ended for us in late May as we docked at Ortega Landing Marina. We enjoyed the American Amazon and all the little places to visit. The Marina at Ortega Landing is the nicest marina we have ever visited.

Everyday is a new adventure with things on this old boat. We are slowly replacing all of the lights with leds and repairing the wiring and fixtures along the way.

You trust your bilge pump to run on demand Right? You expect switches to turn on and off Right?

Jean noticed a bilge pump was running a lot and upon investigation we discover a new switch had stuck internally and the pump continued to run with no water in the bilge. I checked the other five bilge and sump pumps. A fairly new Sea Flo pump would not run, See picture. The switch was one of three I had bought on amazon. Well the warranty was up on the pump so I took it apart to see what failed. The switches were covered and Amazon refunded on those. I took one of those apart to see what was going on as when installed they failed to turn off the pump!

The motor is dry and looks OK. Further investigation reveals the problem.

These were bought over one year ago. How long should a bilge pump last? 

There is a tiny bit of green where the arrow point

The contact of the brush holder is Not making a connection due to the corrosion

A wiggle of the brush holder and the motor runs!

I take the holder apart, clean it and solder the connection. It was pressed together and that is it! There was NO solder on it until I soldered it!
Soldered for a good connection

Here are the pump numbers
All apart, very clean except the tiny bit of corrosion

Runs fine!

Brushes are like new. This pump sees very little use

These are the pictures of the problem pump switches. I had 3 from one order at Amazon. 
Here is the float switch I had three of these fail within hours of installation. The ball is supposed to push the contacts in the micro switch and then after pump runs and water level falls the ball returns and switch should open and pump stop.
In this picture with room for the arm to release the red switch the circuit is open
This switch does not return and open the circuit. The plastic touches the metal arm just enough to operate the contacts of the micro switch. Amazon refunded on these and I was asked to return one for them to check. 

Next up was the Par Max pump that failed during a shower. I called the tech service and emailed. A nice person emailed me and I sent them the pictures of the pump. A new one is on the way. My problem is this will be the 5th one replaced since we installed the first one in 2012. They last about 6-8 months and then quit. I took this one apart to find out what went wrong. The pump motor runs if you contact the motor bypassing the pressure switch.

I cut the pressure switch apart and exposed the tiny switch contacts. If it had been repairable I could have fixed it. In the second picture you can see the problem.

The contacts are arced from current flow being interrupted. Normal operation is that the contacts handle thousands of openings and not burn. These are like cheap ignition points on old model cars. The arrows point to the contacts

This is just like the previous pumps that have all failed after less than a year.  In the past 2 years I have replaced all three macerater pumps, Jabsco products and all the bilge pumps with Johnson pumps and switches. 

Cheap parts and cheap parts have no place on a boat.

 This clamp broke and allowed a hose to come off 
 These are stainless and sold by Lowe's 
 Made in China No marking except the A, Cheap junk!

My Raritan Electro scan switch failed and after a conversation with a very good tech service I sent the switch in and got a new one under the warranty even though it was a year old plus one month. Very good service from them! 

Sunrise at Ortega River another great day on the water!


  1. They just don't make stuff like they use to. Good insight to how electrical parts fail!

    Thanks for sharing Sonny!

  2. My brother crewed on a sail boat for a Pacific crossing a few years back. One of those hose clamps failed on the generator. The leak filled the generator clam shell compartment with sea water the governor stuck and they couldn't shut down the engine. Finely got the fuel supply shut off, 5 days from any port no power, no fresh water maker. All from a poor quality hose clamp.


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