Click for Northern Lights Click for Yacht Lettering Click for Nordhavn Click for Nordhavn Click for YFYS

Sea cocks: Bronze or composite?

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by JohnHansen, Jan 27, 2020.

You need to be registered and signed in to view this content.
  1. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    7,080
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    There are things I will never buy when labeled “made in Commie China”: tires, underwater fittings, dog food and treats... :)

    two years ago I replaced all the thruhulls and sea cocks on my boat because they were 48 years old ... all bronze. I don’t think Marelon and other “plastic” fittings would have lasted that long especially when exposed to heat in the ER
  2. menkes

    menkes Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    99
    Location:
    Aretsou, greece
    Capt Ralph
    Just to be accurate , these cocks are not suitable for fuel and oils.
  3. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    14,074
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Add people food to that list to me. I try to avoid buying anything made in China. Rarely is their quality very good. Unfortunately some things you have to like Rule float switches.
  4. bayoubud

    bayoubud Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2017
    Messages:
    1,066
    Location:
    Florida
    Took my grandson and some of his friends to dollar store, told them they could all get a toy that was made in America.
    Yep, there were none!
  5. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    10,612
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Uh, Yes, I know. I thought we were talking about thru hull hardware.
    I'm guessing somewhere my S/E swamp accent is causing some translation issue with terminology.
  6. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    7,080
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    yeah human food too obviously:). I m replacing rule float switches with Ultra Switches. Pretty sure they re made in the US and much more reliable!
  7. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,648
    Location:
    Sardinia
    I hate Rule stuff, but I don't like Ultras, either.
    Imho, it's better to leave any electronic components nowhere near bilges.

    Not sure if by "I'm replacing" you mean that you already bought the things.
    If not, you might consider this alternative.
    You'll never find these switches in chandlers, since they are meant for industrial applications.
    But you must hit them with a hammer to make them stop working - no matter how harsh the working environment.
  8. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2015
    Messages:
    967
    Location:
    Chesapeake Bay
    Oooh, I like those! Good for water/poop tanks too!
  9. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    10,612
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Looks like the original Hatteras level alarm float switch.
    Always wondered why they were not use for the pump switch. Maybe no protection from bilge debris?
  10. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,648
    Location:
    Sardinia
    I wasn't aware that Hatteras ever used them.
    I've only seen them on very few boats, and they were all from Italian builders.

    Anyhow, yes, the fact that those components weren't specifically designed as bilge switches means that the builder (or anyone interested in retrofitting them) must put a bit of thinking in their location and installation, but their reliability is well worth the effort, imho.

    Below is just one example of a possible bilge installation.
    The two lower switches are meant to turn on/off the pump at different levels, and the third is an additional alarm, meant to go off if and when the level goes above what the pump can cope with.
    But they can be used in any configuration you can think of, since individually they are just extremely simple on/off contacts.
    [​IMG]
  11. bayoubud

    bayoubud Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2017
    Messages:
    1,066
    Location:
    Florida
    Those look good, like the multiple switch setup. Easy to check and clean.
  12. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,648
    Location:
    Sardinia
    Indeed. In fact, that photo was taken upon inspection of a 14 years old boat, with all the switches original and still as good as new.
  13. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2015
    Messages:
    967
    Location:
    Chesapeake Bay
    Like that a LOT.
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    14,074
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Yes, but if they're not UL rated or ABYC rated for bilge systems, then they probably won't pass classing or some insurance company issues. I like the Ultra switches, but they do hold more bilge water than Rules, AND there's no easy way to test them aside from seeing the green LED lit on them.
  15. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,648
    Location:
    Sardinia
    I'm not familiar with ABYC requirements, but I doubt that Gavazzi (the producer) bothered to consider them.
    Nautical market is meaningless for them, as all their components are meant for industrial applications.
    That said, I've seen the above parts also in a vessel built to Lloyd's +100A1 rating, FWIW.
  16. JohnHansen

    JohnHansen New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Denmark
    Thank you all for sharing your comments, thoughts and experiences. I have decided to 'stay traditional' and go for bronze, both through-hulls and cocks. The brand will be Guidi - it is available here in Denmark and from the recommendations in this forum
    and from 'my engine guy' (who I had with me in Italy for the sea trail and technical inspection), it stands out as a high quality brand.
  17. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    10,612
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Now, Send pictures of your ship and the hardware replacements. Fill us in on your other projects.
    Some of us like to watch...
  18. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    14,074
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Guidi is a quality brand. Just hard to find strainer baskets for them here in the U.S., much preferred over Maistrimi with tiny lid bolts, tiny sea strainer basket openings, lid O-rings that swell constantly etc.
  19. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2019
    Messages:
    1,258
    Location:
    Vero Beach
    I've used Ultra switches and alarms across the board. Old school float switches have always given me fits. Ultras, no issues in many years.
  20. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2019
    Messages:
    1,258
    Location:
    Vero Beach
    Yes. Bulky particles can cling and impact. In a sense it's the same technology as the Ultra switches, only without the protective housing.