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Author Topic:   Batteries for a 18” outrage with 150 HP Johnson
dburton posted 05-09-2001 02:11 PM ET (US)   Profile for dburton   Send Email to dburton  
My batteries are six years old and one has just failed. I’ve made the decision to bite the bullet and replace both of them. I have read a lot of information the last couple of days but still am unsure of what is the best way to go. The info that I have read includes past threads as well as the battery article in the reference section.

I have what seems to be the typical 2 battery setup. That is, 2 batteries with a Perko switch. I do not seem to have an isolation device between the batteries.

My question relates to deep cycle batteries and starting batteries. Is it typical to have one of each type in a dual battery setup that does not have isolation circuit?

I have decided to go with lead acid type batteries. What batteries would you advise me to get?



wildeone posted 05-11-2001 08:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for wildeone  Send Email to wildeone     
Doug, I was just putting the batteries in my 18 also. I have one cranking battery (665 cca) and one deep cycle (775 cca). Perko switch between them and a Evinrude 150.

I use the smaller cranking one ONLY for starting, and the deep cycle ofr bilge pump and accessories when anchored and motor not running. Charging both while running.

I have marine type lead cells, got them at a local auto supply store, not completely satisfied though. On my last boat (Non Whaler) I had the Delco Voyager deep cycle and honestly the best battery I ever had bought a K Mart I think. I ran that boat with a single Voyager and the same amount of electronics without out ever a groan from starting.


lhg posted 05-11-2001 01:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Take a look at a West Marine catalog, if you can find one. They have a good discussion section on batteries.

This is one of those subjects where everybody has their own favorites, but generally you want a combination Marine starting/Deep cycle battery. This gives you the best of both worlds, with today's higher electronics draw. I use the conventional flooded ones, from Walmart, and have good luck with them. That way, no matter where I am, I can get a replacement under warranty if necessary. I gave up on the Sears brand. Found they didn't last long.

Do you really need two?

wildeone posted 05-11-2001 02:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for wildeone  Send Email to wildeone     
Agree with Larry, I am thinking I didn't need two, but the boat came with the second tie down system mounted already. So put another "just in case"
Tom W Clark posted 05-11-2001 11:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Here's my opinion, and it may not quite match up with West Marine or other members of this forum. You have an 18. You already have a dual battery set-up. You should get two dual purpose batteries. Buy them at West Marine, Sears, whatever, but take care of them and they will serve you well and not cost a lot. I further recommend that you leave the battery switch in the both position at all times. Heresy? Perhaps, but here's why: Two batteries in parallel act as one big battery. In other words, two batteries are better than one. You will be less likely to drain them dead in the first place. (I still recommend you switch them "OFF" when the boat is not in use) An 18 Outrage has plenty of space for dual batteries and you are already set up that way. Dual purpose batteries will tolerate being run all the way down. You will not have to worry about which battery is which and what position the battery switch is in. You will not have to spend money on an isolater. I know that you can get a Dual purpose battery on sale at West Marine for about $45 so $90 is a cheap investment (and I'm a cheap S.O.B.)

To care for them, try to keep them charged. Take them out of the boat in the off season and keep them charged while they're sitting in your basement. Check the eletrolyte periodically and keep it up. Invest in a hydrometer and learn how to use it.

whalernut posted 05-12-2001 07:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
I have an AC Delco Marine Dual Purpose Series 27 battery in 720CCA and am very happy with it! Have left it for 3 weeks and the bilge pump checkes itself every 10 minutes and did not drain the battery! Regards-Jack Graner.
Tom W Clark posted 05-12-2001 02:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Ah, I knew there would be a response like this. And you know what? Everything bigz says is true, but the implications may not be. Theory and the real world do not always coincide.

My recommendations apply to the question asked by Doug Burton about his 18' Outrage with a Johnson 150 and are based on ten years of ownership of an 18' Outrage with a Johnson 150. These recommendations do not apply to a Bertram 31 or other big boat.

If you have two batteries connected in parallel with the switch on both, you get what, in effect, is one big battery. This one big battery may some day go dead with no reserve. This is true, no doubt about it. If you have an 18' Outrage with a single group 24 or 27 battery (and I think this is perfectly acceptable) the exact same scenario applies! The notion that "putting yourself in a position where you could be caught with a dead battery is foolish and unacceptable" is nonsense. While it is not desirable, it far from the end of the world.

Do I hear the crowd saying "but Tom, I'll have to call for a tow or get someone with jumper cables to assist me if I get a dead battery!"? Not true. It is a terribly simple task to start a Johnson 150 by hand. All you need is a short length of 1/4" rope with a knot on the end of it. For those who do not realize this or have never tried it I strongly suggest you learn how. The skill will serve you well some day. I don't know this for fact, but I suspect Mercury and Yamaha outboards can be started the same way. Hell, my seven year old nephew could hand start a Johnson 150. I've hand started all 14 Johnson outboards I've ever owned. I have not tried to start a 200 or 225 but I'd love to try.

I guess my opinion is formed from my idea that simpler is better (KISS, "keep it simple stupid", words I live by). To rig an 18' Outrage with a house battery and cranking battery with isolater or combiner just seems like ridiculous overkill and an unneeded expense. No keeping track of which is which, no mistakes. But I do like the idea of larger battery capacity. When I had my Montauk it had a single group 24 battery as most do. When fishing I usually was running the kicker motor for trolling or mooching and the fishfinder would sometimes run the battery down. This got to be annoying. When I bought the Outrage it came with a single battery and that worked fine but I decided I wanted the greater capacity two batteries would afford. There was plenty of room in that boat and you know what? I never did drain those batteries down with the electronics ever again. For me this solution worked.

I did on occasion have to start that motor by hand. It was usually at the first launching of the season back when I was stupid enough to just leave the batteries in the boat all winter. There was always enough juice to power the ignition but not enough to crank. I was always able to start the motor with two or three pulls. I will even confess to the sin of not winterizing my motor a couple of times. No fogging oil, no fuel stabilizer, nothing. I know, I know...I would never do that now. That motor still started right up! My point is, I've learned from my own experience. I started out stupid and now I'm less so. It's good to learn the text book approach but sometimes there really is more to it than just following the "rules".

P.S. Pull your battery in the winter, store it inside and keep a charge on it. Flush and rinse all the salty water out of your motor and fog it, fill your gas tank, add the appropiate fuel stabilizer and grease the hell out of everything. All this, time has taught me.

lhg posted 05-12-2001 04:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
All Mercs come with a little hand puller cord under the cowling. I have hand pulled my in-line 6 115's and V-6 200's several times.
Very easy, believe it or not. Like Tom says. this is good thing to know how to do before you really have to.

I remember trolling about 6 miles off Lexingtom MI, on Lake Huron, late one afternoon in Mid April (cold air and cold water), in a Montauk with an in-line 6 Merc 90 on it( and no trolling motor). Not another boat in sight. Quite by accident, the owner hit the key switch with his leg (poor Dealer rigging job!) and turned off the engine. It would not re-start, since we later found out the starter motor picked this peculiar moment to die. You should have seen the look of terror on the Owners face. I didn't feel so good either, since we really didn't know what was wrong. Having a similar engine, I took off the little front cover, and found the pull rope. One pull, and off we went! What a relief! Then and there I decided my next offshore boat would have a second motor. I went out and bought an auxillary 7 1/2 HP motor for my Nauset the next week.

whalernut posted 05-12-2001 07:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
Oh, the memories! Sounds like old times eh! Except, this time I am just an observer! Regards-Jack Graner.
Tom W Clark posted 05-14-2001 10:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Whew [someone got] up on the wrong side of the bed Saturday or what? [some material elided] If I may get you back on topic, (and we are talking about batteries in an 18 Outrage), our basic disagreement is that you feel a single battery is foolish and dangerous and such a boat should have two batteries wired with a combiner (and I think this is a good system too). I say a single battery is adequate for such a boat. This single battery can take the form of a group 24 battery, a group 27 battery, or two group 24 batteries wired in parallel. My preference is for the latter for reasons I have already made perfectly clear.

Yes, a single battery leaves you vulnerable to a dead battery, but a dual battery with combiner does too, just not as great a chance. If one finds themselves in their 18 Outrage with a dead battery, so what? This is not some life threatening emergency. Just rope start the motor and be on your way. [some material elided]

As to [the] assertion that two batteries wired in parallel without an isolator or combiner is contrary to accepted practices, [that] could hardly be more wrong. The vast majority of small boats out there with two batteries in them have them wired with a Perko (or Guest or other) "off-1-both-2" battery switch and no isolator or combiner. I'd be willing to bet that Doug's boat has this very same system. My point is that if this is the case you will not be able to use and drain one battery and hold the other in reserve for very long. The batteries will equalize. You may as well leave the switch on "both".

And bigz? [some material elided].

lhg posted 05-14-2001 01:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I have a third opinion on batteries! As long as I have an outboard with an adequately sized alternator output, relative to electrical equipment being run, I'm a one battery per engine fan. I like to keep it simple, uncluttered and uncomplicated.

On my 13' & 16' Whalers, this always served me well, along with my starter rope. And I can't see why it wouldn't on a single engine 25 Outrage also. All V-6's have high output alternators. AS I said, I like to keep things simple, and wiring to a minimum in an open boat, as most Whalers are in the transom areas.

On my twin engine boats, same applies, and I keep each engine's system completely separate from the other, for the ultimate in reliability. No combiners, isolators or battery switches. What could be better to have on board than TWO independent charging/battery systems. A pair of jumper cables works just fine for me, if needed, and they have been, 3 or 4 times in the last 15 years. Once in a while I have to use these on my car, also. Most Whalers, 25' and under, are rigged for the "house" items to be run off the Starboard battery, and, for me, the engine that charges it can handle the load, especially if using a "combo" battery which can handle the charge/discharge cycles.

One battery per engine works for me in my car, along with a set of jumper cables, so why not the boat? And I don't even a "lawnmower" starter rope for the car.

Now, if I had a cabin cruiser, that's a different story. But aren't we talking Classic Whalers, Outrages and Revenges, here? Discussion does not apply to those with an electric trolling motor.

hooter posted 05-14-2001 03:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for hooter    
Boy! Ah look away for a few days and jus lookit you all, fightin lak junkyahd DOGS! An ova what? Friggin' BATRY wirin'. C'mon fellas. Cool ya'sefs down. Take a showr. TWC, ya's bright as a tree fulla owls, mose da time, but ya'might consider sayin "Sorry, Bud" ta ole Z-Man cause ya gots kinda persnal. As fo' me, ah carry a pair o' deep cycle battries from Sears to run mah 24V troll, an a sepret Sears crank jus fo' da motor. They're all connected to the alt'nator through a Perko switch, which I leave on "on-all" mos da time. If ah eva gits ta where the troll starts to worry me, the switch'll go to sep'ratin the crank. C'mon fellas, be Happy!
Tom W Clark posted 05-14-2001 05:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Ah Hooter, I love ya! And you're right of course.

I did get kinda' personal and... I'm sorry. I did not start out trying to offend.... But if you are going to say things about me....ah well, anyway. To drag out a tired old cliché of my own, I was merely giving you a taste of your own medicine. I've made the same terrible mistake Adam did in the Garden of Eden; sometimes the fruit is just perfect and ripe and tempting not to pick it and look where that led...

As to me being bright, I don't know. I don't own two 27' Whalers and some spares. I pound nails for a living and sweat the mortgage payment every month just like most working class Americans. But I sure as hell know my way around a boat.

And I definitely love this forum and the superb input from everyone here, including bigz. I think jimh should make Hooter the forum moderator.

lhg posted 05-14-2001 06:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Word is that "Hooter" holds a Ph.d in English from Oxford, and is Chairman of the Department of English at Harvard. He is also an expert on the native dialect of the ex-slave population of Daufuskie (the first key) Island, SC, just south of Hilton Head.
hooter posted 05-14-2001 07:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for hooter    
Tommy, mah boy, ya done well there. Ole Z-Man'll heal, as ah recon he's a tough sort. Sure lak 'is rigs an' genr'l wisdom 'bout all tings nautical. As to being raht, well, even a blind hog'll snuffle uppa truffle EVER now an' then. As to mod'ratin anathin, our man Jimbo's way outta mah league. I'll stick ta mod'ratin mah behavior much as posble. An' Larry, as mah Momma (bless her soul) told me about mah pedigree... the LESS said's prob'ly the better.
Tsuriki BW posted 05-14-2001 07:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
I'd say ol' hooter ain't got much of a pettygree, jus a mixed breed mutt. I had 2 of um, smartest gang dogs I ever had. I shuda had them learn me a thing or two more. Cud talk a bit more smarter if I'da done it.


likes the hooter

lpaton posted 05-14-2001 08:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for lpaton  Send Email to lpaton     
Try rope starting a 200hp Yamaha in a snow storm 60 miles north of nowhere. I just added a Hellroaring combiner and the biggest bejezzus battery I could find.If I'd a been stuck up there I was a dead duck! (auto bilge somehow froze open)
Tsuriki BW posted 05-14-2001 08:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
As ol' hoot wud probly say, a man's got ta do what a man's got ta do. Dif strokes for dif folks..


roots are a startin' ta show...

jimh posted 05-14-2001 09:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[This post is for administrative purposes]

I thought it best to make a few minor edits to the discussion, some at the request of participants and some on my own editorial decision.

The written word can sometimes come across more strongly than it was intended by the speaker.


jimh posted 05-15-2001 08:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
With an outboard engine, two batteries, and the classic OFF-1-2-ALL battery switch, should you leave the switch in the ALL position for normal use?

I think probably not, for several reasons.

First, in the ALL position the batteries are connected in parallel, without any isolation. The battery that is slightly lower in voltage is going to drain current from the higher voltage one until they are at the same voltage. So you battery bank will only be as strong as the weakest battery. If one battery has a problem, say a shorted cell, it will drag the other battery down to this level.

When a charging voltage is applied, you would hope that it would charge each battery equally, but it may not. Even when the batteries are identical types, identical ages, etc., they may accept charge at different rates. If the batteries are totally different types, say one is a cranking battery and the other a deep-discharge style, they may have noticeably different charging characteristics.

I think it is probably easiest on a open outboard type boat to use two batteries that are the same, two general purpose "marine starting" batteries.

When we used to cruise and live aboard the sailboat, we alternated batteries according to the day of the week. On ODD days we used battery 1, on EVEN days we used battery 2.
If we had occassion to run the engine we'd run on ALL for a while to charge up both batteries.

When we started the engine, we'd always begin with just a single battery. Since we were starting a diesel, the battery power needed was quite a bit more than for an outboard. Thus, starting cranking power was an immediate indication of the condition of the battery. If a battery could not crank the diesel by itself you knew it needed some charge right away. So we'd get the engine started with the other battery, then get the low one back on line for some charging.

After a while I decided I didn't like that battery management scheme, either, so we changed to using one battery as the main battery and kept the other as a reserve just for starting. To keep the off-line battery charged, I'd switch over to it while underway with the engine for an hour or so every few days.

There are plenty of different ideas about boats and batteries. The comment about keeping it simple is probably good advice. Running the boat around is supposed to be fun, so the simpler everything is the better!

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