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I wrote this to provide instructions on how to easily and inexpensively repair a Purewick Dry Dock station once the pump has failed or is not working at full strength. You only need to purchase two items-a new pump and a length of plastic hose. The fix should be done in less than 2 hours if everything goes smoothly and future repairs (if needed) will take minutes.


It is important to note, even if the pump is still working one of the rubber ballasts inside the pump may have ripped. This would mean the pump is only running at 50% capacity at best. I found this out when I removed my pump after it burned out. I had noticed a different sound for a couple months and it must have been running at 50% for quite a while.


The Purewick Dry Dock is powered by an inexpensive aquarium vibrator air pump. When I discovered this is the component used in what is supposedly a medical device, I was shocked. Add that to the fact Liberator (the only supplier) charges a couple hundred dollars for the Dry Dock station and everyone should be outraged.


I used to have an aquarium and used these types of air pumps. They would always burn out after about a year or so. Therefore it is not surprising they would quit after a few months of hard use. Aquarium air pumps are designed to push out air and not suck air in. In order to use these as a suction pump they have to be used in a manner for which they were not designed. In all probability this causes far more stress on the pump than it was designed to handle. Nevertheless, because aquarium pumps are inexpensive, replacing the bad pump with another is an easy fix and should last for quite a while. Plus, once the fix is done, it is a matter of only a few minutes to replace the pump in the future.


If my unit is like most, if not all, of the other Dry Dock stations, these instructions will be an easy step by step procedure. Any differences in design should be minor. My unit was made in 2018.


Once the repairs are complete, I chose to keep the replacement pump external to the Dry Dock station. If you choose, you can install the pump inside the unit and connect it to the switch. That will require extra work and something I choose not to do at this time. Leaving the pump external does have advantages such as being able to see the tubes and replace them easily if needed.
The tools required are as follows:
1. A couple Phillips head screwdrivers
2. A Torx screwdriver (these have a star designed head)
3. Box cutter or other sharp cutting device
4. Electric drill (3/8" or better) and drill bits
5. Files
6. Duct Tape (maybe)
(tip from the Admin: Sort by oldest first to keep this post in numerical order)

18. Now the trickiest part -either drilling holes in the pump cover for the two 5" tubes or cutting a large hole in the cover. I chose to drill holes. I messed this up but still got everything working - it's just not as pretty as the original. The hardest thing to do is to get the holes exactly where they need to be.

The O.D. of the plastic tubing is 3/8" and that is the largest drill bit my drill can handle, so that is the largest hole I can drill. That may sound okay, but it means the holes have to be in perfect alignment with the input ports of the pump and that is nearly impossible to achieve. So what you will want to do is drill the largest hole you can and then open it up with a file until the tubes can freely pass through the cover without being pinched or bent.

After my first pair of holes was way off the mark, I ended up drilling two holes for each tube very close together so that they looked like a figure "8". I then took a file and opened the combined holes until I had a slot. This allowed the tubes to pass freely and did not require me to be "spot on" with either hole.

If you can find a replacement pump exactly like the original you can use the old cover and avoid having to drill the cover of the new pump. If you have to buy a different model, use the old cover to do a test drilling so you can get the feel of drilling into this plastic.
19. Once the holes in the cover are drilled, take the two 5" pieces of tubing off the "Y" connector but leave them connected to the pump. Replace the cover of the new pump with the tubes sticking out through the holes you just drilled. Reconnect the tubes to the "Y" connector and you are all done with the repair.
20. Figure out where you want to keep the pump. Because the pump is sucking air from inside the canister, it is going to suck in moisture. That moisture will be visible in the clear tubing.

In order to keep as much of that moisture away from the pump, the pump should be placed higher than the canister. Because the pump and tubing are now external, you will see water condensing in the suction hose, especially just above the metal connector. This is hidden from sight when the pump is inside the unit. In fact, every day after using the pump all night, I disconnect the 6" tube from the metal connector and let it air dry. Unless I want to disconnect the 5” pieces of tubing from the Y connector, any moisture in the 5” pieces of tubing may not evaporate as easily.

I place my pump above the unit on a table. You have lots of freedom here because if you need a longer hose, just replace the 6" piece of hose with whatever length you need. If any of your replacement hoses need replacing, it should only take a few minutes.

21. As long as you do not intend to put the new pump inside the Dry Dock station, you are done. Replace the Dry Dock cover and relax. So that is it. Should the pump ever go bad again, it would only take you a few minutes to replace it, especially if you can use the same cover.
22. If you choose to place the pump back inside the Dry Dock station, you will either need to connect it to the switch or run the electric cord outside the station. I leave that up to you.
One note. Because the pump is sucking air from inside the canister, the output ports are pushing that air out. That implies the output air is coming from inside the canister so there is going to be some urine smell and there is no way around it. It's the same whether the pump is inside or outside the Dry Dock station.

I hope this helps save you money by not replacing the entire unit every time the pump fails. Good Luck.

 Joe
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10. Now order new tubing. You want tubing which has an inside diameter (I.D.) of ¼” and an outside diameter (O.D.) of 3/8”. I needed to purchase the tubing in a 25 foot length which means I have enough tubing to fix this thing into the next century.
11. If you want to mimic the way the original tubing is done, cut two lengths of tubing about 5" long, and one length of 6". Push these onto the "Y" connector with the 6" piece at the base of the "Y". If you are going to keep the pump external, these tubes can be any length. The required length of these tubes will depend on where the pump is located in relation to the Dry Dock station.
12. When you get your new pump, remove the cover being careful not to break any wires as there are wires attached to the underside of the cover. You will want to keep the variable speed dial if the new pump has one.
13. Once the pump cover is off, note there are two intake openings in the same location as the original pump (assuming you bought another Fusion pump). These intake openings are where the pump takes in air so it can push air out from the ports at the rear of the pump. With one end of the 5" tubes already connected to the "Y" connector, you will be connecting the other end to these input openings. This is where you are using the pump in a manner in which it was not designed. The pump is designed to take in air freely, not suck air from inside a canister. The outside diameter of the input openings is smaller than the 1/4" I.D. of the replacement tubing so you have to do something to get a tight fit. I simply wrapped some duct tape around the intake ports until I got a snug fit with the tubing. I believe on the original pump they used glue to take up the slack. You could choose to find an adapter but it's not necessary. My pump has been running well over a month with no problems.
14. Now you are ready to test with the pump cover off still off. With all three pieces of new tubing already connected to the "Y" connector, push the two 5" pieces onto the intake ports of the pump.
15. The metal connector at the top of the Dry Dock station is used to connect the 6" tube from the "Y" connector to the suction tube which attaches to the center of the canister. Because I will be keeping the pump external to the Dry Dock station, I removed this metal fitting from the Dry Dock cover. To remove the metal connector from the Dry Dock station, loosen the nut on the underside. With the metal fitting removed, push the 6" hose and original suction tube onto the appropriate ends of the fitting so they are connected. Basically, the metal piece acts like an adapter between these two tubes. Connect the other end of the original suction tube to the canister as usual.
16. Get a container of water to use for testing. Connect the tube which normally goes to the patient to the canister cover. Place the other end (which is normally where the wick would attach) into the container of water.
17. Plug in the pump and you should see the water being drawn into the canister. You can use the dial on the pump to increase or decrease the suction power.
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The replacement parts and where I purchased them:
1. New aquarium pump. I purchased mine from Fish Tanks Direct (www.fishtanksdirect.com). In looking at their website today (6/2020), only the Fusion model 600 and 400 remain.
2. New tubing with a ¼” I.D. and a 3/8” O.D. I purchased mine in a 25 foot roll from McMaster-Carr (www.mcmaster.com). Part number 5233K56
1. Obviously, unplug the unit and remove the canister.
2. Disconnect the center suction tube from the Dry Dock station by pulling it off the metal connector. Do not damage this tube, you will need it.
3. Remove the cover of the Dry Dock station but be careful not to disconnect anything yet. There are wires connecting the pump to the switch and a plastic tube connecting the pump to the metal fitting on the underside of the cover. Remove the Dry Dock cover by removing the two Torx screws at the rear and the Phillips head screw holding the front leg. Gently lift the cover.
4. You will now see the aquarium pump connected to the switch. You will also see two plastic tubes coming out of the pump into a "Y" connector. The third leg of the "Y" splitter is connected to the underside of the fitting on the cover. You will need this "Y" connector so don't destroy it.
5. Pull the tube off the fitting on the underside of the cover. You will not reuse the plastic tube so don't worry if it gets deformed. If you can't pull it off, cut it off. You will be using the metal connector so keep it safe.
6. Pull the two electric wires of the pump off the switch. If you can't remove them, just cut them. We will not be using the switch unless you choose to connect the new pump to the switch.
7. Inside the Dry Dock station, the pump is held down by a piece of plastic hose screwed down at three spots. Remove the screws holding the tubing and remove the pump. My pump was a Fusion model 500. You may have a different model. Note the two openings in the pump cover. The small opening is normally the location of a speed control dial. However, this dial has been removed and the wires connected directly to each other to provide full power at all times. The large circular hole cut in the pump cover is to allow the plastic tubes to extend out of the pump. You will need to do something similar to the replacement pump.
8. You now need to remove the tubes from the "Y" connector. I could not simply pull the three tubes off the connector so I needed to cut them off. Use the box cutter, Exacto knife or other sharp tool and cut the tubing. Try not to go too deep and potentially ruin the "Y" connector. You can then put the old pump aside and discard the old tubing...if you find another pump of the same model you will want to use the cover.
9. You will need to order a new pump. I was unable to find anyone selling the model 500 but did find the model 400, 600 and 700. I ordered all three hoping at least one would have the same size outer casing as the model 500. Turns out all four pumps are different sizes. The more powerful the pump, with 400 being the smallest and 700 the biggest, the larger the outer housing.
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