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Bilge switch Johnson Ultima vs Water Witch 230

Jul 23, 2009
489
Beneteau 31 Oceanis Grand Lake, Oklahoma
I have never been able to trigger the bilge switch on my new to me Beneteau Oceanis 31. It looks to be a Johnson Ultima. I tried cleaning it, shaking it, and flooding the bilge with water. It seems to be defective although I have not checked the wiring yet. The pump does work in manual. The space I have to work with is limited. I am considering replacing it with the same Johnson Ultima switch but I'm concerned about its' reliability. I have used a Water Witch switch in another boat, it was fine for the five years that I had it. The Water Witch should also fit into the available space.

So which one would you install and why?
 
May 24, 2004
6,765
CC 30 South Florida
A manual switch operation is all you need to clear the incidental water that collects in the bilge. For safety periodic inspections of hoses, clamps and thru-hull valves are recommended. The automatic feature that a bilge pump switch offers is nice and either of those switches should offer adequate reliability. My fear with them is that if they get stuck in the closed circuit position they can discharge the battery bank.
 
Jul 23, 2009
489
Beneteau 31 Oceanis Grand Lake, Oklahoma
A manual switch operation is all you need to clear the incidental water that collects in the bilge. For safety periodic inspections of hoses, clamps and thru-hull valves are recommended. The automatic feature that a bilge pump switch offers is nice and either of those switches should offer adequate reliability. My fear with them is that if they get stuck in the closed circuit position they can discharge the battery bank.
My boat is connected to shore power so discharging the batteries isn't really a concern, water damage is. My other Beneteau sprang a leak in the fresh water system and flooded the bilge. I was lucky and only suffered a little damage to the floor boards. I'm trying to avoid water damage from a small leak not a major event.

I am a little concerned about the switch failing closed (pump on) and damaging the pump.
 

CarlN

.
Jan 4, 2009
577
Ketch 55 Bristol, RI
I've tried them all - including the Water Witch. The Ultima is the only one that never fails. It's not as big as it looks. Get the JR. Will fit fine.
But realize that you may have a wiring problem too. Follow the instructions exactly. And use a multimeter to check for voltage as you go.
 
Jul 23, 2009
489
Beneteau 31 Oceanis Grand Lake, Oklahoma
I've tried them all - including the Water Witch. The Ultima is the only one that never fails. It's not as big as it looks. Get the JR. Will fit fine.
But realize that you may have a wiring problem too. Follow the instructions exactly. And use a multimeter to check for voltage as you go.
The Ultima is a Johnson product.
The Ultra is the Ultra Safety Systems product.
They are easily confused.
I will look into the Ultra a little more.
 

Blitz

.
Jul 10, 2007
609
Seidelmann 34 Atlantic Highlands, NJ
FWIW; I got about ten years out of the water witch switch before acting up. By saying acting up it would cause the Bilge pump to run excessively. Replaced in kind.
 
May 17, 2004
3,424
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
We have a Whale BE9006 electronic switch in our 37. No complaints. No moving parts to jam.
 
Jul 23, 2009
489
Beneteau 31 Oceanis Grand Lake, Oklahoma
These are the connectors that Beneteau used to connect the bilge switch. The other ends, on the switch, were somewhat corroded and they pulled off easily.

I really thought connections in the bilge were supposed to be water proof.

The switch is bad.
 

Attachments

May 17, 2004
3,424
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Yeah, probably isn’t supposed to look like that inside.

They used similar looking spade connectors on the 37. The connectors sit high up in the bilge, above the sump area, so if water gets that high it means the bilge pump isn’t keeping up anyway. Still, you’re right that it would be nice to have something more robust there.
 
Jul 23, 2009
489
Beneteau 31 Oceanis Grand Lake, Oklahoma
The connectors were pretty low in my boat. I will at least pull them up higher and secure them.
 

CarlN

.
Jan 4, 2009
577
Ketch 55 Bristol, RI
If those connectors ever drooped into bilge water they could set up a galvanic current that would corrode away your prop and thru-hulls in a remarkably short time. Bilge pump wiring is the most common reason for this corrosion. Always replace a pump or switch if there's any possibility of a crack in the insulation exposing bare copper to bilge water. Keep any splices far above the water surface.
 
Nov 6, 2020
33
Mariner 36 California
happy Water Witch user. The Water Witch is potted so water cant get in it and corrode it. Every few months i wipe the metal sensors clean. I do have a dripless though so it doesnt go on/off very often. Only when i test it.
 
Jul 23, 2009
489
Beneteau 31 Oceanis Grand Lake, Oklahoma
If those connectors ever drooped into bilge water they could set up a galvanic current that would corrode away your prop and thru-hulls in a remarkably short time. Bilge pump wiring is the most common reason for this corrosion. Always replace a pump or switch if there's any possibility of a crack in the insulation exposing bare copper to bilge water. Keep any splices far above the water surface.
Galvanic corrosion was what I was worried about too. Glad you said something.