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  Installed my electric Bilge pump
  Posted by: dc9mm on Apr-02-13 11:49 PM (EST)
   Category: Kayaks 

I thought some people might be interested in my bilge pump install on my NDK Greenlander Pro kayak. I didnt weigh the parts but my guess is around 3.5 to 4 pounds total. One key to light weight is the battery. Its a LIPO or long version of name Lithium Polymer. Battery is only 13 ounces yet 14.8 volts and 2.450 amp hour. It does require a specialized charger which I allready owned for my RC planes.Less than $200 for whole setup. Everything I got was ordered online so shipping charges added up since everything came from differant places yet still under $200.

If you needed to buy a charger setup for LIPO battery I got mine from Hobbyking which is a place for RC planes and helos in Hong Kong, charger will set you back about 30 bucks for HobbyKing brand charger. It measures voltage of each cell as it charges battery.Battery was about $24 at same place. Under $200 doesnt include battery charger.

Youtube video of it pumping here

Pictures of setup here

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Messages in this Topic


  Posted by: clarion on Apr-03-13 9:23 AM (EST)
The LIPOs are interesting. I'd be surprised if the whole thing weighs 3-4 pounds though. I think that's about what my lead acid battery setup weighs. But I never actually weighed it.
  Looks good
  Posted by: booztalkin on Apr-03-13 11:04 AM (EST)
What is the black material holding the tubing & wiring in place?

I take it the switch, without relay, is handling the load. That's good news to me, since I bought the same battery and switch. Mine are still sitting in the shop waiting for me to get to it.

On another subject, I have a North Water backband in my boat. The mechanism for adjusting the backband is worn and no longer holds the backband in place. I was planning on replacing it. I like the foam backrest shown in your pictures and might try something like that.

Thanks for posting your result!

  Material is
  Posted by: dc9mm on Apr-03-13 11:54 AM (EST)
The material holding the tubing and wiring is Neoprene closed cell foam 1/8 inch thick. Glue used was Lexall. Link to were I got foam

Yes the reed switch is doing all the electrical current no relay. I did wire in two reed switchs in parallel so in case one switch failed there is a backup. Plus then this does cut the amount of current flowing through each switch.I incased the glass reed switches in epoxy glues. Used 15 minute epoxy so it would poor nice.

I should give credit to both
and also
for install ideas and how to do this. Being a avid RC flyer I new the best battery would be a LIPO as they are the lightest most powerful battery I know of.
  how fast does it pump?
  Posted by: RubricOfRuin on Apr-03-13 1:29 PM (EST)
Not to be a pain in the you-know-what, but I don't see the use of an electric bilge pump. imo, it does not pump fast enough to empty the boat full of water quickly in a sticky situation, electrical things and water do not mix well even when isolated - salt water has an annoying tendency to get everywhere, batteries tend to go flat over time and most importantly, if you don't have the skill to empty and re-enter without aids you should be placing yourself in sticky situation and put your faith in a machine. I don't carry a pump either, because found it useless in training. Much easier to flip the boat upside down, kick with your legs, raise the bow and flip the boat over, emptying it in the process and then cowboy scramble into it. Given, never done that with a boat loaded with gear.
  Faster than hand pump
  Posted by: dc9mm on Apr-03-13 2:25 PM (EST)
I guarantee this Rule 500 gph pumps faster than ANY hand pump. As far as safety its way better than a hand pump.
Sure I would to try to empty kayak by pushing up on bow while upside down to get most of the water out first before re-entry. BUT your assuming you will be able to dump most of the water out in rough conditions.

But in really tough conditions before you can even get your spray skirt back on you will get alot of water back in the main compartment of kayak. Then what? Try to stick that hand pump around your spray skirt and pump it even though large waves are trying to tip you over requiring you to have both hands on paddle to keep from getting flipped again.

What IF conditions are so rough your cowboy scramble FAILS and your better option is to re-enter and roll. Again kayak full of water. I have even tried in rough stuff putting paddle float on and re-enter and roll with float attached. You will get upright every time that way but kayak full of water.

As far as salt water, does your day hatch leak? if so it still has to get past the Pelican case to get to battery. Switch is a magnetic reed switch sealed in glass tube which is encased in epoxy sealing it again along with solder wire connections. Not seeing salt water as a problem if done like I did. Gnarlydog has info on his use with this setup.
  not saying it does not work
  Posted by: RubricOfRuin on Apr-03-13 6:49 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-03-13 6:53 PM EST --

but I would not go paddling in conditions where my "brute force only" approach will not get me out of trouble. Just like I find it amusing seeing people go into the woods with GPS and no paper map/compass or even a watch(only mobile). Tech is a nice way to make yourself comfortable, but I'd never trust it to keep me safe in a boat. Call me a caveman :). And as to cowboy scramble in rough water - I "know" it works since I practice it whenever weather is bad enough and I can find people to go rescue training with me.

But nice set-up, nevertheless. Do you know how long battery holds it charge/how much pumping (gallons) you get on one charge? just curious as to specs/possibilities on long trips.

  There is a place
  Posted by: rjd9999 on Apr-11-13 1:40 AM (EST)
for an electric pump in kayaks. It doesn't mean you don't bring your manual pumps as well, it just means that, when it is working, you have the ability to empty the boat and still have one's hands free for other activities.

I've seen pumps work very effectively (though most systems I've seen installed direct the water out the side) in rescue simulations. The speed with which an assisted rescue puts the paddler buttoned up into the boat as the system drains it is MUCH faster and efficient. For self rescues, or especially paddle float rescues, the kayaker can re-enter the boat and spend their time getting back under way much more quickly (pumping a boat out by hand or foot takes a long time and the stability is usually compromised until it is more than 50% empty).

If you are concerned about becoming dependent upon a system that has a decent probability of failure over time, that is a potential concern, so even with such a system, you need to practice with the backup rescue systems that have the advantage of being more reliable (though I've had hand pumps fail, as well).

The reason I don't have an electric system on my boat(s) is due mostly to the maintenance issue. As has been pointed out, salt water is hell on metals and worse where electrical connections are involved. Each time you open a waterproof system, you risk compromising its integrity. Inspections and maintenance are necessary, however, so you have to open them up every now and then.

This is a common problem for SCUBA divers. Cameras, cases, flashlights, and the like all have seals which can be fouled. The subsequent leaks are often fatal (flashlights, for example, are opened a lot, often in sandy environments). O-rings are subject to wear and tear and need to be inspected and maintained. Sometimes, they are in perfectly good shape, but they get out of their track and pinched and leak.

So, if it works for you, that's great. I think systems like this can provide a definite safety advantage, but it's not without its cost.

  nice work
  Posted by: nickjc on Apr-03-13 3:21 PM (EST)
I built one in my old tiderace. The guy who created is a paddling partner of mine. Ours have lasted a long time with no issues. THe lipo battery stays charged for a long time. Probably 5-10 people in our kayak group have them now. We still carry hand bilge pumps behind the seats or under the deck as a backup. We get the most use out of them in surf sessions when waves constantly breaking over the boats slowly fill up your cockpit. And of course during rescue practice.
One thing to be cautious of is the gasket on the pelican case. Make sure to wipe that down to make sure it seals. You could also tuck a couple of dessicant packets in there and use some o-ring lube on it.
  Thanks for the tip
  Posted by: dc9mm on Apr-03-13 3:37 PM (EST)
Thanks for the tip on Pelican case. I have had this kayak only one summer but in that time have never gotten a drop of water inside day hatch and that's were my Pelican case with battery inside it is mounted.So not real worried about water inside case.But I will keep an eye on the case just to be sure. I could always have the day hatch cover off and get flipped. Ya never know.
  that long outlet hose
  Posted by: gnarlydog on Apr-03-13 6:32 PM (EST)
can I ask you the reason for the outlet hose running all the way to the front of the cockpit?
I use my outlets behind me to maximize pumping action (not really a problem with a Rule500) and minimize clutter/chance of snagging on the hose with my feet.
If there is no room between bulkhead and coaming then I route it through the bulkhead into the day hatch and then through the skin on the deck.
Shorter hose and cleaner cockpit....
  Posted by: dc9mm on Apr-03-13 8:38 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-03-13 8:46 PM EST --

It takes about 4 minute 40 seconds to pump out a full cockpit which is alot of water. I doubt I would ever have that much in there. It can pump out the cockpit about 17 times. The LIPO I used was charged 4 weeks prior to the test and it was used 3 weeks prior for just a few gallons to test it when I first installed it. I waited to for a full pump test when it finally warmed up here for 2 days.I have used LIPO battery for my Radio Controlled planes and they can hold a charge for many months. I was going to buy a 3 amp which was almost no bigger and only 1 ounce heavier but it was out of stock in the USA warehouse so I went with this 2.445 amp one. Its plenty.

Oh I could send you to a link were a guy that got CAUGHT out in a storm and his skirt was slowly leaking. He couldn't take hands off paddle for fear of capsize(not sure if he had pump either). Eventually his kayak was full of water. It had no bulkheads but did have flotation bags but was so hard to handle he eventually did go over. Had he had a electric pump he would have been in a much better position.(Sea kayaker magazine story online, there are a bunch of them) You mention you wont go out in conditions you cant handle. Well storms here in the great lakes rise up quickly and getting caught out can happen. Planning a trip to Georgian Bay this summer and it can happen there too. I also will have hand pump too.

Now to other poster as far as hose routing I had no room to put the discharge back by the pump. So like you mentioned I would have had to put it into the day hatch which would have been major surgery on kayak. Plus since my rear deck is flat I would most likely been in a shower every time I would use the pump, LOL. I wasn't willing to do that but sure it would have been a cleaner setup. If you checked out this link

he cut into rear bulkhead to make clearance so pump was behind seat. I would have had to do this too had I wanted it directly behind seat. My rear bulkhead is slanted and no room unless I cut into it for pump clearance. I have seen other pump installs were they routed the hose like I did and have had no problems. I do have to lean kayak too pump side to get the last amount of water out, not a big deal. Iam no fiberglass guy. In fact this is my first glass kayak.

So had I been willing to cut into bulkhead I could have put pump directly behind seat and also put hose into dayhatch which would have been best but beyond what I was willing to do and my skill level.

  not bad energy balance for the system
  Posted by: RubricOfRuin on Apr-04-13 3:36 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-04-13 3:40 AM EST --

Speed vs. amount vs. stand-by.

As to the guy in a storm - said once, said again - not sure you can handle it and not certain of your gear - don't go there. I don't go rock-gardening or head out in gale-force winds because I know I can't handle the conditions. Having a pump will not change the fact I can not handle those conditions. Saying storms "happen" is like saying there is no weather forecast and no common sense to wait it out instead of riding it out like Cpt. Ahab.

I'm not per se saying pump is bad - I just kinda see it as a redundant feature unless it's heavy expedition set-up with lots of gear in the boat. Regular paddler is more than likely to get a confidence boost from it (not saying you do) - and it might just not be the best thing, if that boost is not matched by skill.

  Please cut the guy some slack.
  Posted by: flynhi4u on Apr-04-13 8:09 AM (EST)
I am sure to catch flak for this. Do we always have to be so critical of everyone? It was his boat and he chose to modify it to better suit his needs. No one got hurt and maybe someone will even benefit from his post. What is wrong with adding more safety gear to his boat. Some of you carry spare paddles, why can't he have a an electric pump?
I have learned a great deal from this site but get put off by the beating people will take for sharing their mods and ideas if they do not fit a certain criteria.
As far as the pump mod goes I think it is pretty slick. Could it have been done differently, sure, but it works and suits the installers needs. As far as storms and forecast go. I am a pilot and fly for a living. Forecast to me are basically for entertainment purposes only. Certain times of the year any forecast beyond an hour is like looking in a crystal ball. I remember checking weather from two different sources before our first kayak trip down the river. No rain, no storms on the radar or forecasted. Just hot and humid all day. Thirty mins down stream I turned around to see a large roll cloud bearing down on us. We got lucky as it just sprinkled but the pilot of a powered parachute who checked weather and had record of it was not so lucky as he got slammed to the ground in a downdraft. So yes, storms do form out of no where at times.
  He who laughs last laughs best
  Posted by: Jaybabina on Apr-04-13 8:57 AM (EST)
All of these wonderful self rescue/draining methods don't work in the surf zone. It's reentry and roll and get the heck out of there with a boat full of water.

I always thought all the big shot kayak manufacturers have had their head in the sand as far as some of the realities of self rescue and draining a boat. Why not a battery pump? It doesn't mean you don't know conventional methods just in case. Valley tried the foot pump and it may present some awkwardness but it was a step in the right direction. At least they were thinking about things.

Nice job on the instillation and fortitude to do it (dc9mm). Hope you never really need it.
  not from me
  Posted by: RubricOfRuin on Apr-04-13 6:27 PM (EST)
I'm not critical of installing a pump or having a spare paddle or anything else for that matter. But the sad truth is that give a souped up kayak with an electric pump to a person with "average" skill and they will just might think that ocean is knee-deep. It's a good thing manufacturers are oblivious to some things - imho, it actually keep people alive by keeping them a bit scared (as they should be). Once they built an unsinkable ship and called her "Titanic". Overconfidence kills more often than complete lack of skill.

I'm quite impressed with energy management of the system though.
  different views
  Posted by: gnarlydog on Apr-04-13 11:41 PM (EST)
Here Downunder we often paddle in the ocean where landing, if a storm approaches, is not always so fast with cliff lines that stretch for miles.
Some limit their outings to perfect weather forecasts and miss out on the fun that textured waters can provide and the skill building that follows. As paddlers we all have different priorities and goals. It doesn't have to be expedition paddling to warrant the need for a hands free pump (foot or electric). Often is enough to have a bit of wind and waves to make the venerable paddle float rescue a total unachievable challenge that can lead to tragedy. A re-enter and roll still leaves the cockpit flooded that makes boat handling very tricky (in textured water, not smooth-water training scenarios) with the added problem of sitting in cold water. In view of all these shortcomings of self rescue without a hands free pump several kayaking clubs in Australia make the foot or electric pump a requirement for outings in ocean environments. Of course local warm shallow ponds dont require such set ups; the pump merely impresses the by-standers when I land and empty the residual water out of the cockpit with a stream of water shooting up in the air with the mere flick of the switch :-)
  Twelve Apostles?
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-09-13 4:42 PM (EST)

One of the places on my wish list.
  pro and con
  Posted by: booztalkin on Apr-04-13 10:52 AM (EST)
What I liked about the front-hose/outlet is that everything but the battery is in the cockpit. This limits the need to seal where the hose would pass through the bulkhead and the possibility of leakage.

A possible downside is that, absent a check valve, the long tube full of water is going to run back into the cockpit when the pump is turned off. This happens on my set-up, but my tube is only 14" long. But having a tube full of water in the cockpit is way better than having to hand pump the cockpit.

  Very nice! But switch position?
  Posted by: Kocho on Apr-05-13 10:40 AM (EST)
Don't you hit your knuckles on that slider in the off position? Also, I think you can add a knot or some other stopper on the bungee to limit the sliding so that you know where the switches are without looking. Lastly, if you put a paddle or pump or something else under the front bungee, won't the slider lift and not activate the switch?
  Posted by: dc9mm on Apr-05-13 12:04 PM (EST)
"Don't you hit your knuckles on that slider in the off position? Also, I think you can add a knot or some other stopper on the bungee to limit the sliding so that you know where the switches are without looking. Lastly, if you put a paddle or pump or something else under the front bungee, won't the slider lift and not activate the switch?"

I do have a stopper on the bungee line, take a close look at the pictures I posted, its a nylon zip tie I cranked down real tight. I wasnt sure if that would work but its quite tight. . No my knuckles dont hit the switch, its very low.I could have made the magnet switch even lower but its ok the way it is.

Yes putting anything very thick under last bungee were switch is might be a problem BUT iam making my own storm paddle holder this weekend so I wont need the last bungee to secure it.If it does present a problem I might put in a seperate bungee right near the last one so I can stick other things under it without effecting the switch. I did see another install were they put the switch behind the cockpit which I could do too. But I think I will be ok were its at. Good questions.
  electric pump in action
  Posted by: nickjc on Apr-05-13 12:14 PM (EST)
Here's a nice vid of commercial version of gnarlydog's pump in action at skook. And some hand pump action for comparison.!
  Pump in action
  Posted by: dc9mm on Apr-05-13 2:28 PM (EST)
Yes I saw that video before I decided on my pump install. Much better video than mine, lol. I did my pump myself(no kit) because they want 400 bucks for that kit plus it uses a Lithium Ion battery. Lithium Polymer is better battery.Plus I already owned the special charger for LIPO batteries.

But this was exact reason I chose to do the Electric Pump because I sometimes paddle along so no one to stabilize the boat when trying to use a hand pump. Plus I tried last summer to pump out my boat with my spray skirt on and it was very difficult to do with calm conditions let along rough. Skirt kept popping off when I tried getting it down the side and forget getting it down the tunnel as its half way up under my PFD. Oh and I got caught out in storm on Lake Ontario even though there was nothing in weather forecast about one. Helps to have a solid roll too.
  good info
  Posted by: old_user on Apr-06-13 10:39 PM (EST)
Been meaning to do this for a while. As several people mentioned, it's really best for higher level kayakers who can roll and re enter and roll. Even on a surf launch waves can get in before you get your skirt on. It's just one more layer of defense, just like rescues and self rescues the more options you have the better.
  And there is always cheap, down, and
  Posted by: DUUJ on Apr-09-13 3:49 PM (EST)
You can find a submersible battery powered sump pump (4 standard "D" cells) for less than 40 bucks. Mounting is only limited by your imagination.
  nice work
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-09-13 4:43 PM (EST)
Beautiful boat BTW. I love the color combo.
  like it BUT
  Posted by: jeffers on Apr-15-13 4:09 AM (EST)
i really like the pump very nice. tempting to let some water in to surprise some people going by. my only concern is the lipo. i have seen plenty of these burn up and exploded a couple of my old ones (on purpose). what do you have set up so you dont overdraw the lipo when it is low on charge or in case it stays on too long?

i had a buddy lose a $500 rc car cause it was on the wrong setting and the lipo drained down to low. i know on most videos you see people will shoot them but they make a fire proof bag for a reason. wouldnt want one going up in flames inside a hatch.

im not knocking your set up cause i really do like it, but plenty of time with lipo's one learns to respect them. so if anyone is looking at this, know what they can do please research and ask questions.
  Lipos are safe
  Posted by: dc9mm on Apr-15-13 12:06 PM (EST)
Lipo batteries have a possibility to catch fire when there being charged not in use unless you draw to much out of it too fast. I have a 3 amp inline fuse to protect from that. Battery doesnt even get warm for what I draw from it pumping.

Charging is done via a balance charger that monitors cell voltage as its being charged. I charge it in a large flower pot ONLY when Iam there to watch it. Never had a problem with balance charging. Its when people don't balance charge they have the risk of fire. they don't explode just go up in flames quickly.

So lipos are perfectly safe if you know how to use them properly. I have flown RC planes with them for several years now and others in my flying club even longer. Had one go up in flames after a bad crash were the battery was ripped apart which exposed contacts and shorted it out. Not going to happen unless I fall of edge of earth kayaking, lol.


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