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Author Topic:   How to regulate 12-volts?
specktrout posted 05-26-2002 04:30 PM ET (US)   Profile for specktrout   Send Email to specktrout  
I recently replaced my fish-finder. It now cuts in and out while under way. The self diagnostic program states the voltage is too high. Sure enough, when running at higher speed, the voltmeter is showing 14 to 14.5 volts. Right now, the unit is hooked directly to the battery with a single fuse. Is there an easy fix? My friend tells me there are voltage regulators, are these expensive?
jmp posted 05-26-2002 04:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmp  Send Email to jmp     
A better solution would be to have the regulator on the motor's alternator adjusted. The optimum charging voltage for a lead acid battery is 13.8 volts. Anything above 14.0 volts for an extended period of time starts to boil the electrolyte drastically shortening the life of your battery.


jimh posted 05-26-2002 07:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Many outboards do not have any type of voltage regulator in their charging circuit. They depend on the battery to hold the voltage down around 13.2 volts.
specktrout posted 05-27-2002 05:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for specktrout  Send Email to specktrout     
I just read an article at the west marine web-page. Although it was long and talked about multiple types of marine batteries, the main point seemed to be saying the best voltage to recharge these batteries is 14.4 volts. This is what my voltmeter is saying is comming out of my engine right now. Is there an easy way to control the voltage to just my electronics? Thanks again-
specktrout posted 05-27-2002 05:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for specktrout  Send Email to specktrout     

For those interested, the article I read was :

jmp posted 05-27-2002 05:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmp  Send Email to jmp     
What I believe the West Marine article is referring to are the large "House" type battery banks. These are generally charged through multiple stage battery chargers as referenced in the article. These chargers are capable of charging in multiple stages or voltages. While 14.4 is fine as the bulk charging voltage, it is not recommended as a continuous voltage level. As the article indicates the correct float voltage to be 13.2(as jimh indicated) 13.8 volts has commonly been accepted as a compromise voltage for lead acid cells when a multiple stage charger is not available, as is the case in most automotive or inboard systems using an external alternator. This might not be a big issue if your battery only lasts a couple of seasons.


Wreckdiver posted 05-27-2002 07:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Wreckdiver  Send Email to Wreckdiver     
The 14.4 volts you are reading may be the peak value, and not the DC average. The electronics would tend to respond to peak values, and give you trouble. I am running my depth finder off a separate isolated battery.
specktrout posted 05-27-2002 08:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for specktrout  Send Email to specktrout     
I have done a little more reading and still believe 14-14.5 volts is what my engine should be putting out. Specifically it states in The 12 Volt Doctor's Troubleshooting Book by Edgar J. Beyn it states "Regulator settings typically range from about 14.0 volt to 14.5 volt" He continues on the next page to say "Voltage settings under 14 volt would give serious trouble with battery charging by alternator, and settings over 14.5 volt would be like having no regulator at all." However, on the same page he does make a point that "above 13.8 volt the battery will begin to gas"
In The 12-volt Bible for Boats by Miner Brotherton, it states under regulator settings that "most voltage regulators are set at just over 14 volts. The best all-around setting is 14.2 volts"
I agree with what has been said in the posts above, I would never try to recharge with my plug-in-charger above 12-13 volts,but I think my engine is doing what it's supposed to do.
To clarify my original question, is there any form of cheap regulator that I can put between the battery and my electronics to keep the voltage down to 12-13 volts? Thanks again for any info-
whalerron posted 05-27-2002 11:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
I posted a very similar question awhile ago. Here is the thread pertaining to outboard motor voltage regulation:

- ron

triblet posted 05-28-2002 01:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Humminbird SureVolt will solve your problem.
Put in most any crummy DC, and nice clean
DC comes out. I had exactly the same problem
your had until I installed one.

They were on sale for I think $20 recently.


Wreckdiver posted 05-28-2002 08:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Wreckdiver  Send Email to Wreckdiver     
I just purchased one from the hummingbird web sit for $9.95 plus $6.00 shipping. They have it marked down from $69.95.

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