Monday, April 18, 2011

Things that . . . . Don’t really Work: Jabsco Sensor Max water pumps.

We have now gone through two of the Jabsco Sensor Max Variable Speed water pumps.    The first one would at times seem to drop one of more of the pump chambers causing excessive pulsing in the water flow.  This would cause the tempering valve in the shower faucet to hammer loudly.  Even after disassembling the pump head and inspecting the valves to look for damage and/or debris the pump would just never work correctly all the time.    So late last summer I installed the Backup pump.  Today this one seems to have given up.  After powering the pump down for a short time to connect the feed-water into the hydronic system the Jabsco would not stop pumping upon re-pressuring the lines.  I tried adjusting the pressure sensor, and that worked for a while – but it soon went back to the same no-stop issue.

So, 0 for 2.

Too bad.  These are nice pumps.  Deliver a fair amount of water, and vary the pump speed to match water demand.  Slow for brushing teeth, fast for a nice shower.  However they are also pumps designed for the Recreational boating market.

This is one thing we have noticed on Viking Star – you need to be careful with equipment for boats.  See – a typical recreation boat might see several nights use a year, a few weekends, and perhaps a couple of weeks Vacation.  This is markedly lighter usage than full-time live aboard.  A key example is indeed the Hydronic heating system:  Many of the boilers are designed for light usage, and even the Hurricane boiler is perhaps on the fence.  For the rest of the hydronic system on Viking Star I have chosen to use an residential / light industrial components.  Example: 120v AC circulation pump and 24v  remote valves as opposed to the typical 12v ones more commonly used on boats.

Oh, and one more thing:  I actually violated a basic rule I have for backup components – I try (where possible) to purchase from a different supplier for my backups.  We have one Xantrex inverter and the backup is an old Heart.  Idea here is if there are any basic design issues which cause a failure, and identical backup will have the same fault.

Back to the Jabsco pump.   I need to look around and see what else we can use; a quick Google search is not promising.  Am thinking there might be a Paragon JR pump in the local 2nd hand store.  If so, that might be the answer.  Will see.

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