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.

10 comments:

  1. Maybe weird labeling makes sense to swedes?

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

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  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.

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  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!!

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  5. I found this post trying to find information on changing one Johnson pump with 4 cables to a Rule-mate with 3 wires.
    Johnson pump has:
    1 x black wire
    1 x brown/white wire
    2 x brown wire

    Rule-mate has:
    1 x black wire
    1 x brown/white wire
    1 x brown wire

    I was going to just change the pumps but now I noticed I have one brown wire extra. What should I do in this case?
    I was thinking on just connecting the 2 x brown wires to the single brown on the rule-mate and black to black and brown/white to brown/white, but I don't want to burn the pump or anything on the boat.
    Thanks.
    Troy.

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    Replies
    1. Troy, you didn't say exactly what pump version you have, but here is some info. The Johnson pump Brown/Red wire goes to a switch on the dash that will power the pump in its "on" position, so don't connect that wire to the battery. For Rule pumps the Brown/White does the same thing. If it is a fully automatic bilge pump the Rule brown wire will go to the battery, and the black wire goes to ground. There are some variations.Some pumps cycle periodically to check for water presence and some don't. If the pump is the cycling variety it will over time wear down the battery. I think the simplest thing to do is to get a two wire pump, and a float switch. One float switch wire goes to the battery, and the other goes to the pumps brown wire. The pump ground wire (Black) goes to the battery. Float switch floats up, switch closes, pump runs until float switch drops down, and switch opens stopping the pump.

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  6. Bill, thanks for the reply.

    The new pump I want to install is Rule-Mate 1100.

    The old one I assume is a JOHNSON PUMP Heavy-Duty 1600 because it old and has no marking but it looks just like this one on the link below.

    http://www.westmarine.com/buy/johnson-pump--heavy-duty-1600-2200-4000-gph-pumps--P011_330_001_538

    This new pump has a test button and fully automatic sensor built in. The only reason that I am going with the Rule it is because I had it brand new and could not return it to the store because the box was open.

    Thanks.

    Troy

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  7. Thanks Troy, Brown to 12VDC power, black to ground, and you should be good to go. Tie the unused Brown/White up clear of any water. Bill

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  8. Bill,
    Actually it is easier, I just realized that the pump has a small float switch like the one you told me to install, the switch it screwed next to the pump and it looks like it was part of the pump, it has the 2 x brown wires coming out of it, I just found another switch just like that one at the store a while ago and installed it, they also took back the Rule pump.
    Back to normal again, thanks for your help and time.
    Best regards.
    Troy.

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  9. If you are looking for a reliable bilge pump switch, you should check out this new device that is solid state and mounts above the water.

    http://www.nauticalert.com/nautic-alert-platform/nautic-alert-nevata/

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