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zornman

More Ballast Install Questions

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zornman

First, let me say that this site is great! I have found all kinds of useful information.

Now that I have been lurking around here for a while reading posts about several ballast installs, I'm hoping to get a little help.

It seems like most of the issues people have had are on the fill side. Here is a summary of what I have taken in from the posts I have read:

- Thru Hull with strainer either fills or empties tanks with pumps off. Raising the hose high in the boat seems to work sometimes.

- Two way pumps are expensive and slower than aerators, but don't have prime issues

- Manifolds create restrictions that slow fill times...apparantly dramatically in some installs.

These seem to be the major choices in most of the installs. I have an idea for my install and am hoping those of you with experience with these installs can throw in your .02.

I'd use a strainer type thru hull facing forward immediately attaching to a full port ball valve for that necessary safety factor. Then connect this to the Rule 3800 pump. Even if the pump loses prime, I should be able to move forward and prime the pump. Since this intake and outlet is 1.5", I would T or Y to two 1" lines connected to full port solonoid valves. Each of these would connect to one sac. The solonoid valve would function to stop water from entering the bag while moving forward (functioning as the loop many people have installed) and it will also function as a check vavle for water trying to exit the boat through the pump in reverse.

It seems like the drain and air relief connections are pretty straight forward and have worked in most installs posted here.

Please shoot holes in this idea before I put holes in the boat. :)

BTW - The final system will be in my 2006 Sunscape which has no factory ballast. I will end up doubling the system descibed above for 2-750s, 1 Ski Locker and 1 Bow Sac.

Edited by zornman

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vette-ski

Well, I haven't done my install yet, but I am curious what your thoughts are for the valves. It's a good idea if they are reliable, but I didn't know where to look or what exactly to look for.

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zornman

I know some people have gone with pretty high end valves (brass solenoid 12V) that often are over $100 each, but I don't see why full port irrigation valves won't work. You just need to invert 12Vdc to 24Vac which could be done for around $30 since very low current is necessary. Irrigation valves handle much higher pressures than this system would create. The only thing I don't know is how well they would act as a check valve in the reverse direction.

Edited by zornman

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wienrdog

That is approximately the setup of my friends Supra Launch. The primary difference is it has a sea strainer between the pump and the T. The strainer, T and valves are all together as a single PVC manifold.

It works pretty well.

He's had a few problems with the bags fully emptying and occasional issues with the solenoid valves opening correctly, but that's likely related to the components they used.

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zornman
That is approximately the setup of my friends Supra Launch. The primary difference is it has a sea strainer between the pump and the T. The strainer, T and valves are all together as a single PVC manifold.

It works pretty well.

He's had a few problems with the bags fully emptying and occasional issues with the solenoid valves opening correctly, but that's likely related to the components they used.

That's probably a good call with the strainer. Since the water is not clean, debris would likely hinder solenoid function. I wonder if the emptying issue was more related to the setup of the pump for draining and the vent rather than the fill setup.

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sunscapeJeff

I'd definitely recommend a separate hole for each pump. Others recommend going with the manifold approach, but it seems more complicated than it's worth. Once you drill one hole, it's nothing to drill a couple more. I certainly wouldn't do what I've seen others do, regarding teeing off the engine intake. Once again, drilling a hole is too easy to risk starving your engine of water. In my application, I used one Rule 1100 gph pump for the input of each bag installed directly at the thru-hull (one in each rear, and one in the center locker), and a Tsunami 800gph directly at the empty of each sack (I found them on clearance at Walmart for $4 apiece).

When I installed mine last year, I just used the 1" mushroom-style scoop. I didn't see any need to spend the extra cash on the strainer-style, unless you regularly boat in water with a lot of weeds. I don't. No matter what you do, I'd install a full-port manual shutoff valve right at the thru-hull. One of these days you may need to use it. Home Depot has them.

I've heard of people trying to use the irrigation solenoid valves, but I've never seen it in person. I would just make sure that there's no danger that any sparks or static electricity forms at the solenoid or inverter. Not a big risk, but a risk nonetheless. When you come up with a way of installing, please post the details. I'd be interested in it.

The only problems I've had are the center ballast autofilling ... I can't seem to get the input hose run high enough to get it above the level of water. A solenoid will help there. The other problem I've had is the rear ballast auto-emptying through the fill pump if I fill it too full. A check valve should solve that problem, but I haven't tried it yet. Other than those two problems, I've been extremely happy with my setup.

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vette-ski
I'd definitely recommend a separate hole for each pump. Others recommend going with the manifold approach, but it seems more complicated than it's worth. Once you drill one hole, it's nothing to drill a couple more. I certainly wouldn't do what I've seen others do, regarding teeing off the engine intake. Once again, drilling a hole is too easy to risk starving your engine of water. In my application, I used one Rule 1100 gph pump for the input of each bag installed directly at the thru-hull (one in each rear, and one in the center locker), and a Tsunami 800gph directly at the empty of each sack (I found them on clearance at Walmart for $4 apiece).

When I installed mine last year, I just used the 1" mushroom-style scoop. I didn't see any need to spend the extra cash on the strainer-style, unless you regularly boat in water with a lot of weeds. I don't. No matter what you do, I'd install a full-port manual shutoff valve right at the thru-hull. One of these days you may need to use it. Home Depot has them.

I've heard of people trying to use the irrigation solenoid valves, but I've never seen it in person. I would just make sure that there's no danger that any sparks or static electricity forms at the solenoid or inverter. Not a big risk, but a risk nonetheless. When you come up with a way of installing, please post the details. I'd be interested in it.

The only problems I've had are the center ballast autofilling ... I can't seem to get the input hose run high enough to get it above the level of water. A solenoid will help there. The other problem I've had is the rear ballast auto-emptying through the fill pump if I fill it too full. A check valve should solve that problem, but I haven't tried it yet. Other than those two problems, I've been extremely happy with my setup.

I agree with the anti-manifold argument, but I do have an issue drilling holes all over a boat that I will likely one day want to sell without the sacs in it. Then I've got a bunch of holes to plug or cap off. But that's just me.

Man, at $4 per pump, you should have bought all you could find. I would have given you $5 for the extras. Crazy.gif

Is your center ballast in the ski locker? I was wondering the same thing about how to get "loops" above the waterline. I'd rather not have to shut off the ball valves every time.....makes an automatic system not so automatic anymore. And I do a fair mix of skiing and boarding. Taking on ballast during a ski run wouldn't be a good thing.

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Mechmaster
The only problems I've had are the center ballast autofilling ... I can't seem to get the input hose run high enough to get it above the level of water. A solenoid will help there. The other problem I've had is the rear ballast auto-emptying through the fill pump if I fill it too full. A check valve should solve that problem, but I haven't tried it yet. Other than those two problems, I've been extremely happy with my setup.

sunscapeJeff,

Do you think your issues are caused by a siphon effect? Let me explain my thinking:

1. The pump fills the sacks, creating a continuous 'column' of water between the lake and the sack. This is due to the pump forcing water from the lake into the boat.

2. For the locker: This sack is lower than the surface of the lake, thus the siphon effect will cause the sack to fill. This effect does not depends on boat speed.

3. For the rear sacks: These sacks are higher than the surface of the lake. When the sack is completely full, siphon effect causes the sack to empty from high to low.

I would guess the fix in both cases is the same: break the siphon after filling. Venting the loop above the waterline to air would have this effect (this is like the stock setup in the MLS center bag). I would also think this is a simpler and more effective solution than 1-way check valves.

Comments?

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srud
The only problems I've had are the center ballast autofilling ... I can't seem to get the input hose run high enough to get it above the level of water. A solenoid will help there. The other problem I've had is the rear ballast auto-emptying through the fill pump if I fill it too full. A check valve should solve that problem, but I haven't tried it yet. Other than those two problems, I've been extremely happy with my setup.

sunscapeJeff,

Do you think your issues are caused by a siphon effect? Let me explain my thinking:

1. The pump fills the sacks, creating a continuous 'column' of water between the lake and the sack. This is due to the pump forcing water from the lake into the boat.

2. For the locker: This sack is lower than the surface of the lake, thus the siphon effect will cause the sack to fill. This effect does not depends on boat speed.

3. For the rear sacks: These sacks are higher than the surface of the lake. When the sack is completely full, siphon effect causes the sack to empty from high to low.

I would guess the fix in both cases is the same: break the siphon after filling. Venting the loop above the waterline to air would have this effect (this is like the stock setup in the MLS center bag). I would also think this is a simpler and more effective solution than 1-way check valves.

Comments?

I have experienced the very same thing with my center tank. It's not an issue until I fill it once while we are out. I can drain it completely and an hour later I'll notice that we're throwing pretty significant wake again. The center tank will be 2/3 full again. So, yes, I'm pretty sure it's a siphon effect.

I'm struggling with how you'd break the that siphon after filling. My fill line loops all the way up to the bottom of the back sun deck and still the center ballast fills by itself. I've contemplated an electric solonoid, but just haven't taken the time to research it.

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Mechmaster
I have experienced the very same thing with my center tank. It's not an issue until I fill it once while we are out. I can drain it completely and an hour later I'll notice that we're throwing pretty significant wake again. The center tank will be 2/3 full again. So, yes, I'm pretty sure it's a siphon effect.

I'm struggling with how you'd break the that siphon after filling. My fill line loops all the way up to the bottom of the back sun deck and still the center ballast fills by itself. I've contemplated an electric solonoid, but just haven't taken the time to research it.

The theory goes that if we vent the top of the loop to atmosphere, the siphon will be broken. For example:

Ballast2Medium.jpg

In this theoretical installation, the wye at the top of the loop is directly vented. This breaks the 'water continuity' between the sack and the lake, and prevents the fill/drain effects.

This is essentially a modified version of the standard marine vented loop assembly. See:

http://ca.binnacle.com/product_info.php?ma...roducts_id=2249

for a commercial product which does this.

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sunscapeJeff
I have experienced the very same thing with my center tank. It's not an issue until I fill it once while we are out. I can drain it completely and an hour later I'll notice that we're throwing pretty significant wake again. The center tank will be 2/3 full again. So, yes, I'm pretty sure it's a siphon effect.

I'm struggling with how you'd break the that siphon after filling. My fill line loops all the way up to the bottom of the back sun deck and still the center ballast fills by itself. I've contemplated an electric solonoid, but just haven't taken the time to research it.

The theory goes that if we vent the top of the loop to atmosphere, the siphon will be broken. For example:

Ballast2Medium.jpg

In this theoretical installation, the wye at the top of the loop is directly vented. This breaks the 'water continuity' between the sack and the lake, and prevents the fill/drain effects.

This is essentially a modified version of the standard marine vented loop assembly. See:

<a href="http://ca.binnacle.com/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=102&products_id=2249" target="_blank">http://ca.binnacle.com/product_info.php?ma...roducts_id=2249</a>

for a commercial product which does this.

It's definitely a siphon effect. I only notice it on the rear tank when I fill it completely full. Hence, like you said, the water column stays intact and it then siphons out. The drawing you posted looks like it would definitely work for my center ballast installation. Time to hit Home Depot for a Y! The other consideration for the check-valve in back is that we usually will throw another 400lb sac on top of the 400lb plumbed sac. Even if it doesn't autosiphon, the extra sac up there can squeeze water out through the fill port. Right now, I just shut the manual ball valve at the thru hull to keep it from happening. I may try the Y configuration there too and see if that solves that problem. Thanks!

EDIT: Another thing just popped into my head. The bag that I bought for the center ballast only has a fill and empty port, like what you drew. Do you think the Y will also serve a venting function so that it won't overfill the bag?

Edited by sunscapeJeff

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sunscapeJeff
I'd definitely recommend a separate hole for each pump. Others recommend going with the manifold approach, but it seems more complicated than it's worth. Once you drill one hole, it's nothing to drill a couple more. I certainly wouldn't do what I've seen others do, regarding teeing off the engine intake. Once again, drilling a hole is too easy to risk starving your engine of water. In my application, I used one Rule 1100 gph pump for the input of each bag installed directly at the thru-hull (one in each rear, and one in the center locker), and a Tsunami 800gph directly at the empty of each sack (I found them on clearance at Walmart for $4 apiece).

When I installed mine last year, I just used the 1" mushroom-style scoop. I didn't see any need to spend the extra cash on the strainer-style, unless you regularly boat in water with a lot of weeds. I don't. No matter what you do, I'd install a full-port manual shutoff valve right at the thru-hull. One of these days you may need to use it. Home Depot has them.

I've heard of people trying to use the irrigation solenoid valves, but I've never seen it in person. I would just make sure that there's no danger that any sparks or static electricity forms at the solenoid or inverter. Not a big risk, but a risk nonetheless. When you come up with a way of installing, please post the details. I'd be interested in it.

The only problems I've had are the center ballast autofilling ... I can't seem to get the input hose run high enough to get it above the level of water. A solenoid will help there. The other problem I've had is the rear ballast auto-emptying through the fill pump if I fill it too full. A check valve should solve that problem, but I haven't tried it yet. Other than those two problems, I've been extremely happy with my setup.

I agree with the anti-manifold argument, but I do have an issue drilling holes all over a boat that I will likely one day want to sell without the sacs in it. Then I've got a bunch of holes to plug or cap off. But that's just me.

Man, at $4 per pump, you should have bought all you could find. I would have given you $5 for the extras. Crazy.gif

Is your center ballast in the ski locker? I was wondering the same thing about how to get "loops" above the waterline. I'd rather not have to shut off the ball valves every time.....makes an automatic system not so automatic anymore. And I do a fair mix of skiing and boarding. Taking on ballast during a ski run wouldn't be a good thing.

Yeah, I bought all that they had (4 of them) at my local wally-world, then I drove around to every other one in town and couldn't find any more. It was strange, some of them had already sold every one, and then some had the same pumps but not discounted. I asked if they'd match, and they said that they wouldn't. Some stores just had to clear them out, and others didn't. I still swing through the sporting goods section every time I go there to see if I can find any more ...

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Mechmaster
EDIT: Another thing just popped into my head. The bag that I bought for the center ballast only has a fill and empty port, like what you drew. Do you think the Y will also serve a venting function so that it won't overfill the bag?

Apparently, this the way the stock MLS is plumbed up (with only (2) ports).

Air would collect at the top of the sack and vent when then pump was stopped. I suppose it could bubble up the water column if the pressure in the sack was great enough.

If you get a chance to try this let me know: I'm in the final stages of planning a ballast system myself.

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