We get a lot of questions about the Jabsco Timer Module, especially from Mastercraft owners as they are installed from the factory on 2007 and newer boats. Most commonly we're asked what does a timer module do, is it necessary, and why doesn't my timer work correctly?
To answer those questions, first, we need to cover a little background on Jabsco (and all flexible vane impeller) pumps. By design, this type of reversible self-priming pump relies on water flowing through the pump to cool and lubricate the impeller. It's for that reason that we want to make sure the pump is not running without water flowing through it, which most often happens in a ballast system when the ballast tank or bag is empty but the pump has not been turned off. With that information out of the way, let's get on to answering the most common questions regarding timer modules.
What Does A Timer Module Do?
A timer module limits the amount of time that a pump is running "dry" by automatically turning off the pump after a programmed amount of time (which is set to allow the ballast location to be fully filled or drained). In the case of Jabsco's Artificial Intelligence Timer Modules, additional functionality, such as monitoring for fault codes and dangerous operating conditions is also included. All of this is designed to help extend the life of relatively expensive flexible vane impeller pumps and their impellers.
Are Timer Modules Necessary?
They are definitely not necessary, but they can add considerable convenience by eliminating the hassle of having to turn the pump off as soon as the ballast is done draining. Flexible vane impeller pumps rely on water flowing through the pump to cool and lubricate the impeller. The concern is that when draining the pump can run dry if it is not turned off when the bag is empty. A timer module will take care of managing all of that for you to help prevent the risk of damage.
Currently, timer modules are only available for use with Jabsco Ballast Puppy Reversible ballast pumps, so if you're using a Johnson Ultra Ballast pump, unfortunately, you're out of luck, at least for now.
UPDATE: WakeMAKERS now offers our Exclusive Timer Module for use with all reversible pumps! More information is available here: WakeMAKERS Reversible Pump Timer Module.
What Timers Are Installed in my Mastercraft Boat?
If your boat was made prior to 2007 then you have no timer modules in your boat, and can expand, reduce or change your ballast system without having to worry about the timer modules.
If your boat was made in 2007 or very early in 2008 (within the first two months of production), there are timer modules in your boat, and they can be set to run for a maximum duration of six minutes. That means that if you want to add additional ballast in the form of auxiliary bags that are connected to your factory system then you'll need to replace the timer module with an updated version that can run for longer, or deal with cycling the switch multiple times to achieve a complete fill.
If your boat was made after the second month of production in 2008 you have the 20-minute timer modules already, and can easily reprogram them to run for as long as you need. Instructions for programming the modules will be included with the ballast upgrade you purchase from us.
You can also download instructions for programming and troubleshooting Jabsco AI Timer Modules here: Jabsco AI Timer Module Instructions
This information is current as of the publication of this article (May 2011), but may change for future model years. Contact us if you're unsure what you have in your boat.
Do Timers Come Preprogrammed?
No, because of the variables involved, there is no way for us to know how long to set the timer to run for, so they will need to be programmed to your specific scenario upon receipt. The programming process is straightforward and can be done entirely from the dash of the boat using the factory ballast switches.
If you want the additional peace of mind that your Jabsco Ballast Puppy pump will be protected from damage due to negligence on the part of the operator then adding a Jabsco Timer Module can help provide that, while at the same time automating the filling and draining process of your ballast system, so you have one less thing to worry about on the lake.