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Author Topic:   New Battery for Montauk- or charge?
Keith Silliman posted 06-01-2002 07:14 PM ET (US)   Profile for Keith Silliman  
My son called from up North-- the battery is dead on my moored Montauk. It is entering its third season. I have two options before I go up next week-- buy a charger (and run it off a generator) or buy a new battery. Suggestions? Recommendations on (1) a charger or (2) a battery? Thanks.
JBCornwell posted 06-01-2002 08:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
You have a third option, Keith. Take a battery and a set of jumper cables. Use your vehicle as a charger.

That will cover you if the battery in the Montauk is bad, and it will cover you if the wiring in the Montauk is killing the battery.

I recommend the Wal-Mart Everstart Marine Max or Extreme dual purpose batteries and the best quality jumper cables you can get.

Good luck.

Red sky at night. . .
JB :)

gunnelgrabber posted 06-01-2002 08:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for gunnelgrabber  Send Email to gunnelgrabber     
you didn't say if this is a temporary or permanent situation.
another (temporary) solution is the "use the one in the vehicle" know it's ok. it's just that it limits the vehicle's use somewhat when you remove it...lm
compounder posted 06-01-2002 08:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
Keith, this doesn't answer your question, but I suggest you go ahead as soon as possible and install dual batteries with a 4 position switch. They will seldom go bad together and it allows you to use inexpensive batteries. Since I installed the dual battery set-up I've used Auto Zone's cheapest automotive batteries equipped with marine adapters and haven't been stranded yet.
mbking1 posted 06-01-2002 09:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for mbking1  Send Email to mbking1     

No matter what your choice is, I suggest a Perko switch. Run everything thru the Perko, and when you leave the boat,throw the switch and the battery is totally isolated from any potential drain. Inexpensive piece of mind. Mark

mbking1 posted 06-01-2002 09:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for mbking1  Send Email to mbking1     

I just noticed you said the Whaler is moored. Of course, this arrangement will void the bilge pump, but it really does not matter if you pull the plug when you leave. Another thought. The price of solar trickle charger panels have come way down. You could buy one for about $30 and feed the battery a bit while you are away. Mark

jimp posted 06-01-2002 09:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimp  Send Email to jimp     
Keith -

The battery on my '82 Montauk and '82 Evinrude lasted for 7 years. I had it on a trailer, so it never had to pump rain water. You should get better than 2+ years out of your battery.

Another possiblity is that your battery connections are not tight. Tighten 'em up.

1. Does your boat have the bilge pump set on "auto" and the reason you're dead is because it has rained a lot? Is it killed dead?

2. Had your battery been in good shape? Do you have a multi-meter to monitor your battery's condition?

3. Do you have an emergency pull start cord underneath the engine cover? Have you started it by hand before (turn the ignition on, wrap the cord around 1-1/2 times, pull as hard as you can)? I tried starting my old 90 that way and it worked as advertised. I also used to start my Dad's 1981 Merc 150 by hand (actually easy).

My recommendation is to start it by hand.

If not, I'd try to jump it with jumper cables and monitor it with a good multi-meter.

Last, if absolutely necessary and if it sits on a mooring pumping rain water, get a new battery.

Nothing ruins a good weekend as much as a boat that doesn't work, or an unwilling crew!


andygere posted 06-02-2002 01:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Check the following:

Is there enough electrolyte in the battery cells?

Buy a hydrometer (a few bucks at the auto store) and check the condition of the cells to see if the battery is truly "dead" or just discharged.

What is the condition of the cables and connections? follow them from the battery to the starter solenoid, and from the charging system back to the battery.

Is the battery in a clean battery box with no water beneath it or moisture on top? These are sources of battery drain.

If all of the above check out ok, I'd take the battery out, and give it a good charge and see if it holds. A decent charger is less than 50 bucks and they really come in handy.

Keith Silliman posted 06-02-2002 06:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for Keith Silliman    
Thank you, everyone.

One problem I have is access to the boat (the nearest point where I could get my truck close enough for a jump is 3 miles away--I paddle canoes, not whalers..)

I do have an automatic bilge and it normally works great-- should not drain the battery. I need this feature. I have a 75 HP Merc 4 stroke on the back end-- it sits low and with the plug out there is a lot of water in the stern. I may change my mind about this if I have continued problems.

I am normally on the boat at least once a week for several hours-- which gives the battery time to recharge.

I think I will do one of two things: (1) remove the battery and charge it; (2) do #1 but buy a second battery (so I can use the boat right away this weekend-- hmm. My wife's birthday is Tuesday: "Honey, look what I bought you...). If I do buy the second battery-- I will install a switch at the end of the season.

I appreciate the quick response-- I looked back about 100 days and did not see a comparable topic. You all gave me good things to think about. Thank you.

jimh posted 06-02-2002 08:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you have a totally flat battery, I would recommend removing it from the boat for recharging. Connect the dead battery to an AC-powered battery charger and set the current to a low charge rate (like 2-A.). Let the battery slowly recharge for a day or two.

You want to get the dead battery back to full-charge and good health, before you subject it to a long period of sitting and being discharged by the bilge pump again.

This will also save your outboard motor charging system the strain of trying to pump 20-A. of current into the battery for the next 2-3 days of operation.

I had a similar problem this spring when I got my Crown Vic out of the garage it had been sitting in all winter. The battery was flat. I charged it for a couple of hour and got the car started. I drove the car about 20 miles. The next day the battery was flat again. Then I let the external charger trickle charge the battery for 2-3 days. It has been working find ever since.

Your decision to buy a second battery is a good one. Take that with you, and put the old battery on a long trickle charge. Check its water level, too. Then I would leave the charger and battery "up North" so that if this happens again you can switch out the batteries. You'll always have a fully charged battery ready to go.

For the cost of a battery ($50) and a little charger ($30) you will save yourself a day or two of lost boating, and that is priceless!

Keith Silliman posted 06-02-2002 10:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for Keith Silliman    
Thanks, JimH.

I already have a trickle charger on my generator battery. I will use that on the dead boat battery, and put a second (new) one in the boat.

Again, appreciate all the advice.

Keith Silliman posted 06-09-2002 05:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Keith Silliman    
Put a new battery in; started right up and fished all weekend. Old battery went on a trickle charger-- it is now good to go as a spare.

Thanks, everyone, for the the advice.

Ed Z posted 06-09-2002 09:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ed Z  Send Email to Ed Z     

You stated it was "up North", is this where the boat stays year round.?? I.E. did the battery freeze last winter.?? I have used a Guest brand battery isolator with two batterys (one for electronics and the other for the motor) for many years now with no problems... If the motors battery ever dies I can just swap it out with the other battery in just a few minutes...

Keith Silliman posted 06-10-2002 05:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Keith Silliman    
The boat is stored indoors all winter. The battery is disconnected, removed and placed on a trickle charger during storage.

Now I did put the boat in quite early-- last week of April/First of May-- the next day we had 4 inches of snow-- We have also had several cold nights through May (frost advisories. This may have affected the battery (?).

Only had the Montauk now three years, and still am learning quite a bit. Do appreciate this forum.

Salmon Tub posted 06-10-2002 03:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Salmon Tub  Send Email to Salmon Tub     
I would venture to say that Andygere hit the nail on the head. My battery goes dry once every few months or so. Running the boat more often helps a little, but I carry a bottle of distilled water with me every time I go to the boat. It is simple enough to check the level, and if low, fill each one of the chambers. They dry up if you don't use them for a while and they just sit. Happens to boats, secondary cars, and RV's alot it seems.
simonmeridew posted 06-10-2002 07:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
Depending on what type of battery it is,(auto, dual purpose, or marine deep cycle) I would disconnect it from your boat and...whoops, I almost said, drop it overboard... actually, you might connect the bilge pump to the old battery, let it go dead or whatever it wants to do, and keep the new battery disconnected to run the boat when you get there. A marine deep cycle battery can deal with a total discharge a few times, but the other two types can't. They'll never be the same again because of internal shorts due to large lead sulfate chunks breaking off and falling to the bottom of the case.


bajabreeze posted 06-14-2002 05:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for bajabreeze  Send Email to bajabreeze     
One of the problems with leaving our whalers in the water, is they are not self draining, that's why they call them Boston Bailers ! Anyway I digress. In my experience what has happened with mine is that although I keep mine on a trailer, I also dry store and batteries and charge in the winter, I get about 27 months from them. I've switched from 24 to 27 series batteries, use an isolator and a 4 position Perko switch. Best it to hard wire your bilge pump to one battery and at least you can use your hydrometer (correct way of measuring battery capacity) and add water, you can start on your second and then while running charge the bilge battery back up to snuff.

I run a GPS, Depth Sounder, DGPS receiver, 2 radio's, flux gate compass, 200 Watt stereo, cellphone charger, running lights nearly continoulsy and also search lights if I'm doing SAR work in my boat, never had any problems until 27 months, then they fall apart.

You may also want to try the new spiral batteries as well. I hear they are very good.

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