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2004 SANTE 226 Ballast power/switch problem

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  • 2004 SANTE 226 Ballast power/switch problem

    I've searched high and low for an answer to this issue and tore my boat apart to try and figure it out.
    That did not go as planned and my boat is currently in pieces so now I am here.
    I am hoping with all the knowledge people have around here that someone can point me in the right direction on where to look next.

    I purchased this boat at the end of the season last year and ran it a few times, everything worked well and I winterized and stored inside until this years season.
    The problem started out earlier this season, my ballast pumps started to act up at times.
    Note that this problem is both for pumping in and out and left and right hard tanks.
    Sometimes it would start, sometimes it wouldn't. Sometimes it would pump in but not out, sometimes the left would work but not the right and vice versa.
    The point being there was no single problem that I could hone in on to trouble shoot and start ruling things out, at least with my limited knowledge.
    Sometimes I would get a pump running, then try to start the other one and they would both stop immediately. This leads me to think maybe it is a voltage/amp power issue?
    I tried to leave the pump switch on, one at a time (I have the keypad controls) and sometimes it would start to work in the next few minutes.
    Other times it wouldn't start at all - I thought to myself I will try to limp through the season and fix it when I am winterizing this year.
    Fast forward a bit and now my breakers are starting to trip when I would try to run the pumps.
    The simple fix was to push the breakers back in to reset and the pump would start working the second time I would try run it.
    Eventually they stopped tripping the breakers and now the pumps rarely turn on, if at all.
    On my second to last trip out I got the right tank to pump out but not the left.
    Which makes it awkward to load the boat on the trailer but I made due.
    So, on my last trip out on the water I tried and tried to get the tank to pump out but had no luck.
    And as I am sure most of you owners are aware the valves to control water flow at the helm do not really work and let water in when you are moving.
    So now I have a completely full ballast tank that will not pump out but keeps filling up whenever I drive.

    Side Note*
    The filling up on its own is an issue I could live with if my pumps work but if anyone has suggestions on a better set up I'd like to hear it.
    The manual ball valves are blocked by some hoses or something on my Vdrive if I remember correctly and I can't turn it the whole way to shut it.

    Anyhow, cue winterizing and taking the boat apart - all seats are out, all dividers and flooring in the engine compartment are removed and my two hard tanks are out.
    I ordered all new pumps for filling and draining thinking that was my issue. Even if it wasn't they were due to be replaced, I think they were original so I started there.
    Before putting it all back together I began testing the pumps on their switches - now nothing is turning on. I check the voltage at each switch connection and it reads 11-12v.
    While I had everything apart I replaced the blower too, so I decided to test my pumps on that connection just to make sure they worked.
    All the new pumps work and to my surprise all the old ones did too! At this point I am extremely confused but am convinced it is an electrical problem some where.
    I begin tracing wires and they all look good, I started switching out breakers that I know work and that didn't fix anything.
    I am now at a point where I do not really know what to check or look for anymore.

    When I turn on the ballast switches at the keypad they show a voltage reading with my multi meter at the pump plug connection. But when I plug in the pumps and try to run them they do not turn on. My thoughts are it is either a relay and the pump is not getting enough amps (which I am not sure where those would be located or if they can be replaced), the keypad is malfunctioning or the breaker panel needs replaced.

    Sorry for the long winded post but I felt the more information the better someone may be able to pin point the problem. I am just looking for advice on what to try or check for next as I will have a chance to be back at my boat this weekend and work on it.

    Boat is currently located in Aberdeen, MD. If you can help me solve this problem and you are near by I'll gladly take you out for a few drinks or repay you in beer!

  • #2
    Start at the most simple -- Check the circuit breaker for the Launch Control System at the PME box. If that's tripped, reset it.

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    • #3
      I will double check that but I have swapped the breakers around with ones I know are working and it did not seem to fix anything.
      The breakers have not been tripping recently. Do you think its possible I need to replace the whole breaker box? It looks like there are relays on the board inside the breaker box but I believe they are soldered on. I didn't want to tear the box apart to get to the backside of the board to check if I didn't have to.


      • #4
        I would suspect the pumps themselves at this point, especially since the symptoms are all over the place. You could rule them out by running wire directly from the battery to the pump. Make sure there’s a fuse in-line on the + wire.


        • #5
          Hal, I thought the same thing initially but I have tested them directly to the battery and on my blower switch and they all run fine. Even the old ones I pulled out still turned on testing them this way. For some reason the keypad is not turning the pumps on even though I get a voltage reading at each connection when activating the ballast switches. I had someone mention that even though I am getting a voltage reading at the plugs they may not be getting enough amps to turn on, which could mean the relays are failing. Do you know where the relays would be on my model?


          • #6
            You can check the amps with a multimeter. It may be worth checking amps when running through keypad vs through direct/blower.

            Unfortunately I don’t know where the relays are. You’ll probably have to trace the wiring from battery to switch to relay to pump. The good news is that you can check voltage and amps at every stop and see if you can isolate the problem to a specific area.