Electric bilge pump users?

JohnAbercrombie

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Hi-
I'm thinking again about electric bilge pumps for my kayaks.
I had one in a Mariner Express, but sold that boat years ago.
I used that pump only once in a 'realistic' situation in a class, but it was really helpful. I finally got back into my boat with a paddlefloat re-entry and roll (it was wavey..) and had to brace to keep the flooded boat stable. Hand pumping would have been difficult (solo).

Having a reliable switch was one problem, and I also found that the SLA battery needed regular recharging.

The Expedition Kayaks pump system uses a lithium battery which should have more capacity and less self-discharge than a SLA battery.
https://expeditionkayaks.com/collections/kayak-bilge-pumps

Thoughts? Experiences?

Thanks.
 

AM

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John, I’m curious why you would go this route. It seems like a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, while adding cost, weight, and the complication of extra maintenance. I’m not trying to be overly negative — I’m just honestly wondering.

Cheers,
Andrew
 

rider

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You should chat with some whitewater canoeists, they got the electric pumps worked out. The only difference is salt water that they don't have to deal with.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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John, I’m curious why you would go this route. It seems like a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, while adding cost, weight, and the complication of extra maintenance. I’m not trying to be overly negative — I’m just honestly wondering.

Cheers,
Andrew
If you always paddle with competent friends, it's not an issue.
Now that I can (sometimes) roll perhaps not exactly the same as 10 yrs ago.

Thinking of options for a large cockpit full of water, breaking 3(?) foot waves, paddle with a paddlefloat still attached and only two arms...and tired after 4 failed cowboy re-entries.
With the electric pump I was able to switch on the pump, attach the sprayskirt and concentrate on paddling and getting the float off the paddle blade. Location was Trial Island Victoria, 50m from the cliffside.

I have read that some kayak clubs in Australia or NZ require electric pumps in kayaks used on club paddles.
 

a_c

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I'm sure this fellow has put a lot more thought into this than I have, but a couple of things I see:

Toggle switch - seems like a weak link; easy to accidently snap off or catch on something. Wouldn't a rocker switch be a better choice?

Water exit point = water ingress point. He's used a standard bung plug, would a 45 degree elbow with a check valve work better? If you wanted an extra level of protection you could attach a PVC pipe cap on the end, with a piece of bungee cord to keep it in place. Of course, you'd lose the nice flush deck mount that he has going here....

This kind of setup always struck me as an overly complicated solution looking for a problem (John's example above notwithstanding).
 

cougarmeat

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John, I had a “BlueWater” (I think they are out of business) pump installed in my Mariner XL and it wasn’t perfect. The idea of safety was good as this XL had no built-in flotation and that’s a lot of water to pump out. And I’d only be pumping it out if I were paddling alone. BUT … it was mounted a short distance behind the (fixed) seat on the keel line. As such, it would interfere a bit with loading dry bags in the stern. Also, The Mariner seems to have either a “pocket” at the boat ends or that foam block under the seat keeps a certain amount of water separated, bow and stern. As such, the only way I could get the water to pool in one place was to edge the kayak. But with the pump mounted right on the keel, it wouldn’t pick up the water pooled on the side. Of course the boat doesn’t have to be completely empty but an inch to an inch and a half of water for the full length of the boat is not nothing.

The magnetic switch never failed. It was a small plastic block that was fitted on the diagonal deck bungee closest to the cockpit. I’d just have to slide that block from one side to the other and it activated the switch/trigger under the front deck.

I’m guessing that had I initially mounted the pump on one side of the keel line it would have 1) been more out of the way for sliding dry bags to the stern and 2) emptied the water more completely when I edged the boat to the appropriate side.

It did empty the XL in a matter of minutes and, if I had another fully open Mariner I’d be “… think’n about it…”. But the Mariner I have now has a rear hatch and when the boat is empty I usually also use a sea sock. They didn’t give that pump away - for me it would be a major expense. But if I did a lot of solo paddling, it would definitely be a consideration.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Toggle switch - seems like a weak link; easy to accidently snap off or catch on something. Wouldn't a rocker switch be a better choice?
It's hard to find waterproof switches that are ON-OFF or 'latching'. The Expedition Kayaks pump uses a latching pushbutton switch. I used a toggle switch with a rubber boot and it lasted OK. I think the eventual failure was due to corrosion from the inside - I had the switch mounted in front of the cockpit, and didn't put enough thought -or sealant- into waterproofing the switch back.
Water exit point = water ingress point. He's used a standard bung plug, would a 45 degree elbow with a check valve work better? If you wanted an extra level of protection you could attach a PVC pipe cap on the end, with a piece of bungee cord to keep it in place. Of course, you'd lose the nice flush deck mount that he has going here....
The newer Rule pumps have a backflow preventer, so setups with those probably don't need bungs or check valves.
 

Mowog73

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Backflow preventer is a fancy word for check valve. All check valves will leak or fail eventually, a bung/plug maybe a better solution.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Backflow preventer is a fancy word for check valve. All check valves will leak or fail eventually, a bung/plug maybe a better solution.
I've seen check valves that were variations of the 'ball in a cage' design.

The Rule pump has what we used to call a 'blabbermouth' valve when it was used as a transom drain in powerboats.
blabbermouth 1.jpg

mini-IMG_0481.JPG


The Whale LV1219 Non-Return valve has the same design.
blabbermouth 2.jpg

mini-IMG_0480.JPG


Any part can fail, but those valves have proved to be quite reliable. Debris tends to be pushed right through the valve.

The problem of water flowing back into the cockpit via the pump hose would depend a lot on the location of the exit fitting.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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@CaliPaddler mentioned the Expedition Kayaks pump.
I have a pump kit on order from EK in Australia.
I've dealt with EK before and had excellent experiences.
The problem is that the battery cannot be shipped from Australia.
There is a US supplier for the battery (mariner-sails.com) which has a Canadian 'warehouse'.
I'll post here once I manage to get the EK kit and the battery collected together.

I'd like to get feedback from paddlers who have set up electric pumps in their boats, since I think it might be possible DIY a working pumps system with a LiFePO4 battery at lower cost than the EK system.
@kayakwriter has an excellent blog writeup which I have mentioned already.

Others?
 

Kayak Jim

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I've long thought it would be great to have an electric pump/battery assembly that incorporated some of the advantages of a manual pump, those being portability and lack of a thru-deck fitting. After capsize recovery but before removing stability aid (paddle float or second paddler) stick the tubular assembly down through the sprayskirt tunnel or otherwise to the floor of the cockpit. Hose comes up through tunnel and extends over the side. Now hands are free for self bracing etc. Overall diameter could be about the same as the Rule pump if suitable dimension/capacity battery was available.

Not a contribution to your original search for those who have electric pumps installed John, sorry.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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I've long thought it would be great to have an electric pump/battery assembly that incorporated some of the advantages of a manual pump, those being portability and lack of a thru-deck fitting. After capsize recovery but before removing stability aid (paddle float or second paddler) stick the tubular assembly down through the sprayskirt tunnel or otherwise to the floor of the cockpit. Hose comes up through tunnel and extends over the side. Now hands are free for self bracing etc. Overall diameter could be about the same as the Rule pump if suitable dimension/capacity battery was available.

Not a contribution to your original search for those who have electric pumps installed John, sorry.
I'm trying to remember- I may have info here somewhere in my files. Years ago I read in a blog (?) about setting up a 'pump stick' with an electric pump and battery.
With new battery technology and the possibility of building battery packs from individual cells, getting a 'pump in a tube' could be a possibility.
Some sprayskirts can be ordered with openings for pumps, I think.
 
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JohnAbercrombie

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I like the push button switch that EK provides.
Have you used their switch, or is it the idea of a push button switch that's appealing?
I agree with you that a push button would be a lot better than a toggle switch- less chance of snagging.
Finding one from the usual electronics suppliers (Mouser, DigiKey) that will do the job seems to be a challenge.
It needs to be a latching switch. I found one by OTTO but it is quite small.
 

Mowog73

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No, I haven't used the switch. I think the use of a push button is good because it's 'flush', not sticking out like a toggle, which could get hit and broken.

Sometimes the search for a part can be so time consuming that its just worth paying the extra money and buying it from a known vendor.
 

AlphaEcho

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I clicked on the video above, but did not find it very enlightening. Thankfully YouTube listed this other video after it, which I found much more useful:


I think the "blabbermouth" check valve above would be effective and maybe a flap on the outlet to prevent junk from entering the outflow tube.
 
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