Sunday, July 31, 2011

Johnson bilge pump wiring, "Splained to Lucy."

Lets start with the fact that Johnson bilge pumps are excellent pumps. Good, now that's out of the way. My issue is only with some less than crystalline wiring documentation. Let me take that back, it's not that the wiring diagram is incorrect, it's just poorly labeled. When you have two wires, and one is labeled brown #1, and the second is labeled brown #2, some inherent confusion will result. In reality there are not two brown wires, there is a brown wire, and then there is a brown/red wire. Why the wonky nomenclature? Just call one brown, and the other brown/red?

So I have taken the liberty to modify their wiring diagram to clear this up. When you buy the stuff, there are small labels on both of the brownesque wires, but if the labels are missing, or were cut off, the drawing then becomes inscrutable, and which is which? So I think you should save the money you spend on the labels, and just change the diagram to say brown wire, and brown/red wire, and the issue becomes mote. This seems to me to be simple solution, or am I missing some piece of minutia. 

My other small gripe with the diagram is that it does not show you clearly, or at all how to add a dash switch. I don't have a problem with doing this, but if you are not Mr. Electricity's master, there is some ambiguity in how to do this. I think the reason this is done, is to encourage you to buy their little dash panel switch. It's not that their panel is a bad thing, it isn't, but if there is an existing bilge switch on the panel, the drawing should show you how to use it, so I added the connection.

I feel better now, I just had to get this off my chest. The devil is always in the details, and no charge Mr. Johnson for the technical documentation clean up, and the label savings, it is a good pump.


  1. Maybe weird labeling makes sense to swedes?

  2. Thanks Robert, I just hope the Swedes don't do their fighter jet's documentation the same way.

  3. Bill,
    I recently had a discussion with Johnson Pumps on wiring their switch in a shower sump where there is ONLY two wires - Black and Brown, and there is not a good way to connect TWO brown switch wires into one pump wire. In the end, I installed a Rule switch instead.

  4. Finally, an easy to read diagram. 50% or better of the boats I am on have a simple on/off switch on the dash but try a find and diagram for that. Thank you!!