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Old    Rob Andrus (robandrus)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-16-2008, 4:35 PM Reply   
In the past I've only built ballast systems using simer pumps but I've decided to try the aerator route. I'm doing it myself and I'm doing it on the cheap. Here's what I've got so far.

Tsunami 1200 aerator pump for filling $27
Attwood 500 aerator pump for draining $15
a 1&1/4" thru hull for filling $5
a 3/4" thru hull for draining $5
2 3/4" pvc check valves $12
all the pvc pipe, T's and elbows I'm gonna need.
An old fly high fat seat that only has two drains on the top of it.

Here's a pic of what I'm thinking.

Oh, and I'm putting it in a 95 sunsetter dd so I only want one line entering the sack and I want it on the drivers side.


My worry is that the check valve after the intake will cause a vacuum. So, since I've never done this before any help you can give will be appreciated. I was planning on putting a check valve after the exit pump, but if the exit is high enough I don't think I'll need to.
Old    Tallredrider (talltigeguy)      Join Date: Sep 2003       04-16-2008, 5:47 PM Reply   
I wonder if there will be enough pressure to force water out of the "T" into the Attwood 500 and out of the boat instead of filling the seat completely. Or will you be connecting and disconnecting that part for filling and emptying?

I assume that the fill will be on top of the seat, not the bottom?

Make sure the discharge point is higher than the highest point of the seat and it will probably be fine.
Old    Rob Andrus (robandrus)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-16-2008, 6:41 PM Reply   
I'll probably put the valves on the bottom side of the bag so that I don't suck air into the lines. I could put a check valve after the attwood 500 but I'm not sure I need to.

Any opinions on the whole aerator vs reversible argument. Should I just give up and buy a simer?
Old    TigeMike (chpthril)      Join Date: Oct 2007       04-16-2008, 6:50 PM Reply   
Just to clarify..........the sac you are using only has 2 valves, and both are on the top?

If so, the 500gph pump will probably not drain the sac from a top fitting and with your current config, the drain pump will struggle. They like to push water, not draw (suck) it
Old    Rich (rich_g)      Join Date: May 2003       04-16-2008, 8:26 PM Reply   
you really need a bronze shut-off valve right after the first thru-hull. If a fitting comes off or the pump comes apart, your bilge pump cannot handle the water coming in. This would be true for any type of system.

Attach the drain pump to a different opening on the bag and also tie a vent line from a 3rd opening (on top) back into the drain line. Put a check valve on the vent line before it goes into the drain line; you don't want water being pumped out to come back in thru the vent line.
Old    Show (bigshow)      Join Date: Feb 2005       04-16-2008, 8:45 PM Reply   
Looks like trouble. With the pumps off but while underway water will flow in to the scoop, past the Tsunami and in to the sack. Water will also go past the Attwood. So while underway pressure from the scoop will work its way out the exit.

The sack doesn't have a vent, our your not using it. Suppose you have a 10 gallon air bubble. You'll lose 80 pounds of ballast. I think you need to start over.
Old    Rob Andrus (robandrus)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-16-2008, 9:28 PM Reply   
Intake is not a scoop, just standard thu-hull fitting. Only two openings on the bag, both are on the arms of the fat seat and located on the top. I'm planning on turning fat seat upside down. so I will only have two valves on the bottom. There is no third valve for a vent. Also I have a separate thru hull for the drain.

My thinking is that if the drain pump (the 500) is the lowest point in the system then it should maintain its suction. With the lines coming into the bottom of the fat seat there should be pressure pushing the water down to the drain.

The biggest problem I foresee is the check valve stopping air from coming in through the intake and reaching the tsunami.

As for burping the sack, I don't have a lot of options as the fat seat just doesn't have enough openings. (Funny thing is that some fat seats do have lots of openings and others only have two)

So my question is do you think that I'll really get much more water flow by going with the aerators over the simer. I believe the simer is rated at around 600, but seem slower to me. Not to mention the extra power drain.--a concern as I only run one battery--

I hear a lot of people say that they like the aerator setup better, that's why I'd like to go that route.....but I may be wrong.
Old    TigeMike (chpthril)      Join Date: Oct 2007       04-16-2008, 9:38 PM Reply   
If you flip it upside down, it wont vent the air.

The biggest problem I foresee is the check valve stopping air from coming in through the intake and reaching the tsunami

This is a good thing! Aerators dont like air.

So my question is do you think that I'll really get much more water flow by going with the aerators over the simer. I believe the simer is rated at around 600 1200gph sounds about like 2x faster to me, do the math.
Old    Dizzy Jenkins (dizzyj)      Join Date: Jul 2003       04-16-2008, 9:48 PM Reply   
I used airators for my tsunamies and I love the outcome, but I put a lot of work into getting it just right. Things would have been easier with simmers. And would have had near he same results
Old    Rob Andrus (robandrus)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-16-2008, 9:49 PM Reply   
Sorry I said that wrong, I'll try again.

The biggest problem I foresee is the check valve stopping WATER from coming in through the intake by creating a bubble in the tsunami.
Old    Nacho (denverd1)      Join Date: May 2004       04-17-2008, 7:12 AM Reply   
I like aerators vs. reversibles. Less power draw, more capacity, quieter, cheaper. They do take a bit more planning and design but I think the pros outweigh the cons.

For the sac, you can add a vent in the top, side, bottom, whereever you want. Buy a thru-hull and cut the sac. glue it in. I added a port to each sac in my boat (3).

not sure what you mean about stopping water coming in thru the intake... The check valve won't be able to do that effectively. You need a valve in there somewhere. for two reasons: safety shut off and keeping air or water from being forced into the system once its full. I have a valve on each fill line AND one on the intake thru hull just so I do'nt have to pull the motor box up to flip the valve. The thru-hull valve stays open, unless there is a problem.

also, you don't want the vent line T'ing back into the drain line. Vent is for air, drain is for water. Use a thru hull to add a port for vent, then run the vent to either another thru hull exit, or just manage it on each sac with the added port.
more later..
Old    Rich (rich_g)      Join Date: May 2003       04-17-2008, 7:30 AM Reply   
even without a scoop, this system will be filling while underway if there is no shut-off valve. Trust me, I did a system using the center drain hole and it still has the scoop effect.

the check valve after the 1200 will not keep water from entering the system. the tiny amount of air in the line will be pushed thru the cv and into the bag. Each time you take the boat out of the water and then put it back in you will introduce a small amount of air into the system. Thus the need for the vent.

quote from Nacho: "also, you don't want the vent line T'ing back into the drain line. Vent is for air, drain is for water"

Nacho, this is how my system is set up and it works perfectly. it saves you from drilling another hole. as the bag fills up the air has a place to escape; it enters the drain line above the drain pump and exits the system; the air can't return to the bag because the drain pump and drain line below the T are full of water as the bag is filling. A CV on the vent line keeps water from circling back into the bag during the empty cycle.
Old    Rob Andrus (robandrus)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-17-2008, 8:17 AM Reply   
Thanks nacho & rich,

So, I'll be ok, just need to add a little safety and a vent on the top side of the sack.

Tell me more about how to add a port to the sac? do you have any pictures of the type of thru hull you used for the port?
Old    Nacho (denverd1)      Join Date: May 2004       04-17-2008, 8:27 AM Reply   
This is close, but not exactly it. What you want is for the flange and the nut to match up tightly
This looks like it. You cut a hole in the sac smaller than the flange. Then put the flange into the sac with the threads pointing out. put a bit of marine silicone or sealant on the flange and tighten the nut down.

Rich, interesting that works. i guess I don't see how air would escape the bag with water in the drain line, but if it works, awesome.
Old    Rob Andrus (robandrus)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-17-2008, 12:07 PM Reply   
Nacho, I just happen to have an extra one of those lying around. I'll give it a try an see what I can do. Let's hope it works.
Old    George Aslinger (mobv)      Join Date: Jun 2002       04-17-2008, 12:39 PM Reply   
Aerator pumps cannot overcome pressure. Every check valve I have seen will require more pressure than the aerator pump will overcome or will severly reduce flow.
Old    Fro-Z (froese)      Join Date: Jun 2005       04-17-2008, 1:34 PM Reply   
George - while aerator pumps have lower pressure, that is not the case.

I built an aerator system (6 of the tsunami 1200's) in my boat to fill/drain 3 sacs. (see pics here: incorporated ball check valves on each of the fill lines and have no flow reduction. Some check valves are more sensitive than others and require more pressure - just gotta get the right kind.

Rob - I don't know why more people do not do it this way, but I would highly recommend putting the intake on your transom. This eliminates the pressure issues when the boat is underway. The ONLY drawback is that you can not fill while the boat is at speed. However, you can still drain to balance the wake. As long as your intake is below water line and the aerator pump is at the same level (not higher), it will prime no problem.

The schools of thought between the two pumps basically comes down to:

Aerators: higher volume capacity, lower pressure, NOT self priming, easy to replace cartridge.

Impeller (reversible/self-priming): lower volume capacity, higher pressure, self priming, harder to replace (or more expensive to fix).

Connecting an aerator to the bottom of a sac may put too much back pressure on it, but it may not - you'd just need to test it out. One additional thing to consider is the siphon effect. I had to add check valves to keep water from siphoning back out my fill lines... once it starts, the whole bag will get sucked dry.
Old    Rob Andrus (robandrus)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-17-2008, 2:28 PM Reply   
Fro- That is a sweet setup! Excellent work and the boat really looks great. I'm really torn at this point, one of my main reasons for wanting to switch is it seems like it's hard on the impeller pumps to push the water out the bottom of the boat. I don't want to give up too easy but I think I'm gonna give up on the aerator route and just go back to a simer pump. The plumbing is just so much easier to setup and I don't have to worry about air bubbles in the line or sack. But thanks for the really good input.
Old    Fro-Z (froese)      Join Date: Jun 2005       04-17-2008, 2:40 PM Reply   
Rob - I think you are visualizing the pros/cons well. It may be worth it, but you'd have to test it out.

I can fill 1700lbs. of ballast in about 4 min. :-) That's what put me over the edge in going with the aerator style. I do have more plumbing (right at 100' of hose in the boat!!), but it works well.

LMK if you have any other specific questions, i'd be happy to put in my $.02.
Old    Dizzy Jenkins (dizzyj)      Join Date: Jul 2003       04-17-2008, 4:42 PM Reply   
ugh, my last post sounds like im retarded.

I used swing check valves from for my setup. There is no restriction to the flow. I also automated an rv waste gate to open and close based on the needs of the pumps, so my aerator setup is completely controlled by the 3 fill/drain switches. There is no manual portion to filling the sacs.
Old    Tallredrider (talltigeguy)      Join Date: Sep 2003       04-17-2008, 9:33 PM Reply   

Tige has mounted their ballast to the transom.

Tige had some problems with the transom mount when you put the manifold below the level of the intake. The pumps would not prime. It sounded backwards to me, but after much debate on and a lot of real experience, it is for sure that the pumps need to be level or ABOVE the intake but they must be below the water line. If the pumps are below the intake, an air bubble forms and it does not let water in despite the fact that it is downhill.

Filling while on the fly is not a big advantage. With any decent aerator, the bags fill within 5 minutes, about the time it takes for a boarder to get all ready.

(Message edited by talltigeguy on April 17, 2008)
Old    Fro-Z (froese)      Join Date: Jun 2005       04-18-2008, 7:15 AM Reply   
talltigeguy - that's interesting about the pumps being below the intake level. I think mine are pretty level, which may be why I haven't had any issues.

I know Calebria has a gate system on the transom that basically floods the tanks in under 2 minutes - then you open the gates and drive and they drain back out.

Basically, I sat down and thunk to myself - 'fro-Z, bass boats have been doin' the aerator system for a long time, which is basically pump in/drain out. why not take their design lead?'

I also agree with you that filling while on the fly is not necessary.

dizzyj - have you had any electrical hassles with adding a gate valve into the mix? I know a lot of people do this, but I didn't want any more wiring than was absolutely necessary... more things to break down - right?
Old    Nacho (denverd1)      Join Date: May 2004       04-18-2008, 9:25 AM Reply   
Fro Z, that is a VERY nice setup. What do you have under the bow for weight? And whats your surf setup? I DOES take some hose and wiring to get an aerator system perfect.

But its money when you do..

Froz - Back pressure: the only sac I have a problem draining, the pump is about 5 inches from the drain port on the sac. you're saying the pressure from the sac is causing it to lose its prime?

(Message edited by denverd1 on April 18, 2008)
Old    Fro-Z (froese)      Join Date: Jun 2005       04-18-2008, 10:23 AM Reply   
thx, nacho. i love how it works, but i NEVER want to build a ballast system again! i looked like i got in a fight with a herd of cats afterward!

initially, i didn't put check valves on the fill lines - i figured that since the lines ran above the level of the sacs that I wouldn't have a problem. but, once they started siphoning, i would start loosing water out the intake.

weight in the nose: i have about 200lbs. of stereo equipment and 3 batteries. The tower has 100lbs. of speakers on it, so I figure that to about 400lbs. in the nose??? I don't run any sacs up there... nose is as low as I want it as is...

surf setup: leave the 750lbs in front of the rear seat fill one of the side sacs and toss the other side sac to that side towards the front seat and fill it most of the way up. that setup runs the rub rail down to the water when underway and puts a small curve of water going across the back corner (again, when under way). it's fine as long as you know how to drive it, and I surf my 6 footer behind it...
Old    Rich (rich_g)      Join Date: May 2003       04-18-2008, 10:58 AM Reply   
Fro Z, another option if you want to add a shut-off is a manual RV waste gate valve. I added one right after my bronze shut-off, because I don't want to have to ask people to move so I can raise the hatch to get to the valve. It has a cable-actuated handle from inside the boat. It is the only manual part of my ballast system. The pic below is without the back seat; the handle is fairly hidden when the seat is in.
Old    Rich (rich_g)      Join Date: May 2003       04-18-2008, 11:01 AM Reply   
wrong pic in previous post
Old    Rob Andrus (robandrus)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-21-2008, 4:37 PM Reply   
I received the pumps in the mail now I'm just waiting for the check valves to arrive. I think I've decided to go with the simer after all, but I will put the through hull on the transom, that way I can fill while I wait, but it will empty faster while I'm driving home. I guess that makes my boat a girl cause when I empty it on the ramp it will pee out the back.
Old    KEVIN (kko13)      Join Date: Jul 2006       04-21-2008, 6:00 PM Reply   
you will need to vent the air out of the bag to get it all the way full.
Old    Trace (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-21-2008, 7:11 PM Reply   
I've built a few Simer systems, and switched to aerators a couple years ago. There is no comparison IMO, aerators are totally the way to go.

Rich, dizzyj, myself, and several others on this site are running very similar shameless copies of the Rival system, and I'd venture to say we're all completely happy with the performance and reliability. Fill or drain any sack independently, underway or stopped, no priming issues, quiet, low amp draw, and fast - mine moves ~2900 lbs in right around 6 min. (8 T-1200's, 1" line everywhere)

You're on the right track with the layout. You need a vent line coming from the highest port on the sack, and connect the drain pump directly to the lowest port on the sack. The vent and drain line thruhulls MUST be higher higher in elevation than you want the sacks to fill. Otherwise they will siphon down to the level of the fittings (unless you have a vented loop on each line). You can also save thruhulls and tee the drain and vent lines together, if you use a check valve on the vent line (to prevent the drain pump from pumping right back into the sack).

There is no issue with where the fill line enters the sack; it's actually better to come into the bottom because it won't have to move up and down with the sack.

The intake shutoff valves are fairly easy to work out. The simplest solution IMO is electric (Drain Master) or manual RV dump gate valves. The advantages of being able to fill underway far outweigh the additional complexity. No issues with self filling, as long as you remember to turn the valve. dizzyj has even built an idiot-proof black box controller for his, which he has YET to send me the circuit for! ;)
Old    Trace (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-22-2008, 10:58 AM Reply   
I had never thought of the priming issue with the pumps being below a transom intake, but that makes some sense. I think the problem would come from any kind of loop in the line, much like a P-trap on a sink, but in reverse - air in the high spot. If it was a straight shot, which is unlikely, the air would burp out backwards.

There's another great reason to use a bottom scoop intake, though. I NEVER have priming problems. All you have to do is get the boat on plane, and as we all know it will force water through the system. All you have to do is be able to shut it off.

Having the drains come out the sides of the boat instead of trying to run them back out the bottom has three clear advantages that I see. You can fill and drain simultaneously, you get a visual indication of flow, and no extra valving required if the thruhull exits higher than the top of the full sack.

I actually put my thruhulls for the rear sacks up underneath my windshield to keep them under the rubrail and still ensure no siphoning issues. Below the rubrail and aft of the back seat is not going to be high enough in most boats.
Old    Dizzy Jenkins (dizzyj)      Join Date: Jul 2003       04-22-2008, 2:00 PM Reply   
I second what trace said about putting the drains up front. If I could do mine over I would do that.
Old    Nacho (denverd1)      Join Date: May 2004       04-22-2008, 2:16 PM Reply   
3rd. Got a drain on my transom. no bueno. Hopefully, I can stick a transom remote there...
Old    Tallredrider (talltigeguy)      Join Date: Sep 2003       04-23-2008, 1:58 PM Reply   

Why would I ever want to fill and drain the same sack simultaneously?
Old    Trace (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-23-2008, 2:39 PM Reply   
I was talking about filling and draining different sacks at the same time - balancing the wake, switching to surf setup, etc. Looking at the diagram in the first post again, though, I guess that would be possible with that setup. I'd still be worried about possible priming issues if the drain pump isn't connected directly to the sack.
Old    Tallredrider (talltigeguy)      Join Date: Sep 2003       04-24-2008, 1:40 PM Reply   
Of course, I think he is just going to use the seat sack, so balancing weight is not a priority.

One guy on Tigeowners has recently installed a couple of ballast systems using Ballast Puppies and they can have one fill and one emptying at the same time, although water will be flowing both ways out of the through hull. I assume it would work fine when switching from boarding to surfing.


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