Installed my electric Bilge pump

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

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
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
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?
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
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.

nice work
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
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
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…

not saying it does not work

– 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.


– 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

– 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.
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
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.

pro and con
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.


not from me
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
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 don¡¦t 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 :-)ƒº

Very nice! But switch position?
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?

"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
Here’s a nice vid of commercial version of gnarlydog’s pump in action at skook. And some hand pump action for comparison.!