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Blown Fuse on Bilge Pump System Found and Fixed!

Posted by Jonathan Banks on



A typical 15amp ANL fuse. Blown.
Absolutely nothing at all unusual or special about this fuse. Or the fact that it is blown.
It is the fuse for the automatic bilge pump system.

While installing a basic Pixie on a new customer's boat last week, along with the yard's head technician of 25 years, we came across a problem. No power at the 24/7 power bus. As most boats have, this boat had a circuit that powered things like the stereo's internal clock, memory on the electronics, the CO2 detection system and… the automatic bilge pump system.

Why the Bilge Pump System is "King"

All boats have unique electrical systems, and for that matter, every boat, unless it is one of the strict one-design racing classes, are different even among the same year, make and model. However – one thing most boats have in common, is a power source that is in-line before the main battery on/off switch. Commonly called a 24/7 circuit. This source is intended primarily for critical systems that should never be without power, and the automatic bilge pump system is king of all of these systems.  Being able to monitor the performance of you bilge pump is critical.

With the exception of burning, sinking is probably the worst thing that can happen to a boat, and its owner. Sinking, however, is far more common. It is in-fact, a worry that most boaters have at one time or the other when they are away from their boat, even if briefly, when the weather turns bad or there has been something "not quite right" going on. When we have not been to our boat in a few weeks, or maybe longer, which happens more than most of us like [that working thing constantly seems to get in the way of our boating time…], we tend to worry about our boats a lot more.

It is the automatic bilge pump system that gives us the most comfort while we are away from our boats. Sinking, the most common catastrophic threat that most boaters will ever have to deal with, is supposed to be protected against by the automatic bilge pump system. Even if your boat starts taking on water, the float switch should come on and pump out the water. At least for a while, while the battery holds up; but if, and only if, the fuse between the battery and the bilge pump system is good.

The boat that I was installing the Siren Marine system aboard, was a very expensive, top shelf manufacturer's boat. The boat was owned by a life-long yachtsman with thousands of sea miles and days on the water. However – this boat had a blown automatic bilge pump fuse, and no one knew it. And who knows how long it had been that way. The boat was in the 40' range and was heavily built with a lot of systems, and was generally a dry boat. No one had noticed that the pump had not cycled and there is no good reason why they would have, even with a good fuse, the pump didn't cycle often. But that is just the scenario when things go bad and boats have serious problems. None of us expect to have a burst raw water hose on the engine, a cracked seacock, a loose hose-clamp on a sink drain or maybe someone just forgot to put the plug in at spring launch…

This is why we recommend that our Siren Marine units be connected to the same fuse protected 24/7 circuit that your automatic bilge pump system is connected to. And – that checking that this circuit in fact, has a good fuse, be part of your regular boating routine.

The benefits of having our system installed in this way are as follows:

  1. Our systems run on their own internal battery. The external power connection does two things:
    1. Charge the internal battery
    2. Measure the voltage of the boat's battery system
  2. If power from your boats battery is lost, our units continue to work – monitoring your boat.
  3. If the boat's battery gets low, if the boats battery goes flat or the fuse protecting the bilge pump system blows, you would get an alert.
  4. You would know that either you boats batteries were dead or the fuse had blown, and you would still be monitoring your boat's status on the Siren Marine system running on the internal battery. If your boat was taking on water and sinking, our high water alert would still let you know with a text message.

Boat ownership is a tremendously rewarding activity, no matter if you are a weekend family boater, an avid racing sailor, fisherman, rental operator, cruiser or live-aboard. We invest untold resources and time into our boats, and they often become considered part of the family. Regardless of our diligence and efforts to maintain and keep our boats in top condition and looking good, the marine environment is a harsh place for electronics, mechanical pumps, motors and wiring to exist. We all know the constant challenge it is to stay ahead of the maintenance curve. With a Siren Marine unit installed, you are several steps closer to staying ahead of that curve. And you have taken perhaps the most proactive step available today to ensure that your boat is safe, and ready to use the next time that you head down to the marina or out to the mooring for a day on the water.

Our systems are developed and manufactured by boaters, for boaters. We are boaters too, and we are proud to offer our systems to help make boating better. Even in the event of a blown fuse, Siren Marine helps keep you boating, and not worrying.

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