12v Bilge Pump on Bucket Boat - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 09-11-2015   #1
 
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12v Bilge Pump on Bucket Boat

So I have been playing with the idea of putting a 12v bilge pump on my bucket boat. It would run off a 12v AGM Spiral motorcycle battery, mount an on/off toggle switch near the rowers seat and I would have a solar charger for it.

The battery would be mounted in a separate sealed box that would be secured to the wooden floor in the rear section of the raft next to the groover and below the dry bag pile to keep it safe and I would use a sealed AGM Spiral battery so that no acid would leak in a flip.

Being solo on a loaded with gear bucket boat can be a real challenge on some trips and I thought this could work......so..

Kinda sounds like a good idea, but having electricity on the water like that does not seem like a good idea at all if things really went to shit in a flip/pin situation.... Has anyone tried this before? Did it work? What do you think?

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Old 09-11-2015   #2
 
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
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It's nothing outlandish- every power boat out there has a bilge pump. Go to a marina and ask the mechanic about how he'd go about it. Rule makes a decent submersible bilge pump. The solar charger rate will need to be understood- with most battery charging (BIG batteries) they're underwhelming.

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Old 09-11-2015   #3
 
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Hi,

Very doable. I rigged a dual pump setup on an 18' Avon years ago for a GC trip, with 10 watts of solar and a garden tractor battery.

If you go to a float switch instead of manual activation, make sure to put in a mercury switch or similsr device to kill the circuit if you flip.

Rich Phillips
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Old 09-11-2015   #4
 
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mercury switch..... hmmmm.....

I realize power boats have them, but those boats generally are subject to pins/flips and yard sales and having live wires in the those circumstances could be scary... but a mercury switch would solve that problem! very good idea!! I guess a low amp fuse on the power wire inside the sealed battery box would also help to kill the circuit should anything really bad happen.....
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Old 09-11-2015   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richp View Post
Hi,

10 watts of solar and a garden tractor battery.

Rich Phillips
How long would your garden trac battery power the 2 pumps before you had to charge it?
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Old 09-11-2015   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Osseous View Post
Rule makes a decent submersible bilge pump. The solar charger rate will need to be understood- with most battery charging (BIG batteries) they're underwhelming.

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I saw the Rule 2000 and that caught my eye, seemed like a good price, moved a lot of water and had some good reviews.

For the solar charger, I would purchase a 12v automotive charger that is meant to trickle charge automotive batteries. I think this could be adequate for a small motorcycle battery and the short run times i will need out of the pump
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Old 09-11-2015   #7
 
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Hi,

I actually didn't do it very systematically. After a few days of use, i started leaving the panel on the deck on flat water, and stowed it for rapids. On layover days, if I felt like boosting the battery, I just let it and the panel sit out all day on a rock. My operating principle was to top it off whenever it was convenient.

IIRC, I had a 38 amp hour battery. You damage a lead cell battery if you draw it down much below 50%. I took the amp draw of the pumps, divided that into 19, and that gave me an approximation of what the system would do.

Unfortunately, I never really did any record keeping on actual use, but I used it on a number of Westwater and GC trips.. There was a company that sold a system, like that, but I think they folded. Sorry I can't be more help.

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Old 09-11-2015   #8
 
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Quote:
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Hi,

Sorry I can't be more help.

Rich Phillips

Thanks Rich! Mercury switch is a brilliant idea!

I'm pretty handy so I don't need too much help, just a push in the right direction!
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Old 09-14-2015   #9
 
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I did something similar with an old bucket boat and a bilge pump wired to a 12v battery. It was a deep cycle marine battery which was way overkill. But it's what I had on hand. It was heavy, but I also never had to mess with solar to charge it on the river. I also had the benefit of wiring in a 12v socket to charge any devices I ever wanted. Never ran out of juice. My box for the battery didn't need to be waterproof because the batteries are okay to get wet. So I used a plastic ammo can to contain the battery, fuse, and wiring, which did keep it dry in everything but a flip. I did install a waterproof on/off switch into the plastic ammo can. The pump itself was a rule bilge pump. Don't remember the capacity but it was inexpensive and got the job done. It would take a couple minutes to pump the raft but it wasn't a problem because most of the rafting runs in my area are pool-drop. I still had to bail in more technical higher water runs, but that was rare. I was into the project for well less than $100 not including the battery (which I borrowed out of a travel trailer). I was very happy with the results for the price.
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Old 09-15-2015   #10
 
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Running bilge pumps off batteries is common practice for open whitewater canoes. The ones I set up we simple, worked fine, and 12v power couldn't shock a hamster. I was running a 1200 Rule, and that thing would push enough water to turn my canoe around. It was also super fun to hose kayakers with. Float switches will cycle off and on continuously with minimal water, and the start up/shut down voltage draw kills a battery fast. Just run a manual switch and smooth bore hose - the corrugated bilge tubing adds too much friction to the discharge water and decreases the pumps efficiency.
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