Pumps & High Pressure…With Manual Controls & Hi Pressure Switch


August 10, 2009 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ About,AC/Systems,Maintence Tips,Marine AC



Recently I was on a boating message board and came across a discussion about pumps and some troubles folks had experienced.

The original poster had a March magnetic drive pump that would not pump water, and after the usual back flush & priming sugguestions he could still not get it to pump water…Just before I read the thread he had found that either something had gotten past the strainer (or he didn't have one) and had lodged between the impeller magnet and the pump housing stopping the impeller from turning, but not the motor from running…

Then the questions & discussion centered around how their systems reacted to loss of water flow and how & when their pump ran…Some of it was info that was a bit misleading for others depending on what type of system & control they have…So I posted these two posts below to try to help out…It's good info so why not share it here on my own site too ?

 

  • My first post…

I'm glad the Chief Alen sorted out his pump problem but I thought I could add a bit of info to the thread…

If it is a single A/C system installed (not more than one compressor or control) there will be no need for a pump relay.

If it is a older Cruisair 3 knob type cabin control…Yes the pump will run with the fan and not cycle with the compressor unless it has been changed or is a newer digital control.

The thought back in those days was that when wired to the fan circuit…The owner could verify flow over the side before switching the system to run…They have since re-thought, and have changed that practice/wiring…

Yes it can also be wired to the compressor circuit so that it will cycle with the compressor…
It can be a simple change, but first you need to find where the pump wire runs to…Some run to the unit, and others are run to the terminal strip that should be within 3 feet of the cabin control….You then just remove the black pump wire from under the red terminal (Cruisair) and reconnect it along with the purple compressor wire…The pump should then cycle with the t-stat/compressor.

The other thing to watch for with the March Mag drive pumps is if they are run dry for very long…They will heat up enough to melt the plastic on the back side of the impeller around the ceramic shaft, and also the impeller mating surface of the plastic head itself…
The impeller may appear to rotate fine when the cover is removed but it won't when the pressure of the cover is against the impeller with the cover installed…If this is the case…The housing & impeller can be replaced, or you can also get the complete head without having to replace the whole pump.

Steve~

  • Then another gentleman posted…

"I guess I must have the ideal system. If the water flow is disrupted on mine…the breaker trips."

  • My reply…

That is a good thing…But not actually a function of design of the A/C system or control.

I'll try to explain…

Most Marine A/C units with manual cabin controls have what is called a "Line Voltage" automatic reset high pressure switch (meaning it is actually carrying the compressor current) that trips around 425 psi, but then resets itself at around 325 psi…

Mermaid was one exception…They had/have a Manual reset Hi PS Switch with a push to reset button…Anyway…

Normal system operating high side pressure is somewhere between 200-250 psi depending on water flow & the temp of that seawater…

Also…In a Normal startup (system has been idle for a few minutes) the low & high side pressures will be equal (or very close)
This pressure will depend on ambient air temp but it will not ever be much over 196 psi (that's assuming a 100 degree cabin)and usually much lower.

The compressor has a fairly easy time getting rolling against that kind of pressure….But at where the pressure switch resets (325 psi) it has a much tougher time and thus draws much more amperage (than normal) in trying to re-start against that High pressure…Therefore tripping the breaker…

Units that didn't come with a start relay & capacitor have a harder time starting than ones that did come so equipped…

The ones that came equipped usually will start on lower dock power, and also may re-start at that 325 psi if the breaker is not closely matched to the size system it is powering…

Breakers are most often spec'd for wire size & distance to any given piece of equipment (under normal load conditions) for that equipment…The wire is also sized to be able to carry that projected load.

So you might see…There are trade offs…

Tripping that breaker weakens it a bit every time…Yeah I know…It shouldn't happen that often…And it does protect my A/C & Pump…

But having a unit that did not come with start components can mean the difference of being cool, or not being cool with marginal dock power (Like at a lot of backwoods marinas, and behind many homes) It can also mean a given unit may or may not start on a smaller gen set or inverter with other essentials running…

Tanqueray…I'm not saying your unit does or does not have start components…I'd have to know what you have to know that, but I can also say to everyone that a start kit can be added very easily to most all systems that don't have a relay & capacitor already installed if your situation warrants it…

The reason most manufacturers didn't use them was cost…I can also add that up until a few years ago Cruisair had them on all their units.

Note: The digital controls of Cruisair/Marine Air handle Hi/Ps much differently than manual controls….But that's another post…

Edit Note: Since the time of this original post, Dometic Cruisair/Marine Air has come out with a patented SmartStart that far out performs a standard hard start kit, or even a real start capacitor/relay…I should also add that I have personally installed them and they really do live up to the claims.  Cool

We offer them in our store…Just click on the link below to see it, and it's info…There is even a video…

https://marine-ac.com/2010/11/0.....-assist-2/

Steve~