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Author Topic:   2 parts - 1986 Merc Warning horn pattern and Tandem Batteries
Buckda posted 06-14-2004 05:57 PM ET (US)   Profile for Buckda   Send Email to Buckda  
Last weekend I took the boat for her maiden freshwater/great lakes cruise headed South along the Lake Michigan shoreline to Grand Mere State Park to enjoy a picnic lunch and some swimming, follwed by some sand dune climbing (I highly recommend this if you have a chance to boat out of St. Joseph Michigan).

When I left the boat, I turned off all the electronics (GPS and depthfinder), and switched the perko battery switch to "off".

When I got back aboard, for no particular reason other than to "see if it would start on one battery", I switched the switch to "1" and tried to start the motor.

For background, the #1 battery is a standard battery, #2 is a larger, AGM battery.

The ignition has a warning horn that beeps when youturn the key on, indicating that it is working, but when I tried to turn it over, it gave me a rapid beeping series of about 6 beeps and would not go. I tried again and it did not beep, and turned the motor over, but no spark. After several unsuccessful attempts to start to motor, I finally switched the Perko switch to "All" and she fired right up.

Here are my questions:

1. Was that series of beeps indicating a low battery/insufficient amps to start the motor? (Someone once told me that the Merc ignition uses a lot more current than my old OMC).

2. Since I've never boated with a boat equipped with dual batteries, does the motor charge both batteries when underway?

Motor is a 1986 Mercury Black Max 150 HP.

Thanks for any thoughts and feedback / advice.


LHG posted 06-14-2004 06:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
You get the intermittant beeps (oil injection malfunction) when then engine won't start, since the oil injection is not functioning either in that condition. The continuous horn is overheat. When you turn a Merc V-6 key to "on", every time you get Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep - Beep Beep, telling you overheat and oil injection alarms are both functioning.

Sounds like your #1 battery is a "goner". I don't use battery switches.

Remember also, you can pull start that 150 if you need to.
Be sure rope/handle is always in pouch under cowling.

Buckda posted 06-14-2004 06:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Larry -

Yes..thanks for the info..the long followed by two short beeps is what I hear everytime I start the that sounds good.

The #1 battery allowed the motor to turn over, and quite vigorously...I'll replace that battery with the one from my 15 this weekend to see if that changes things, and put the one that came with the boat on a charger for the weekend.

I did see the rope under the cowling when trying to troubleshoot...not sure if I'm "Beefy" enough to pull start that monster of a motor (but it is reassuring that it's there, nonetheless).

I'm going to be camping in the Les Cheneaux Islands this weekend and want to make sure everything is working properly, since we'll be overnighting on Govt. Island (no services).

Any advice on whether the switch will allow both batteries to be charged by the alternator, or if I should remove them and trickle charge them every week when I'm not using the boat?

Thanks again!


Peter posted 06-14-2004 08:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Dave -- I recommend that you give pull starting a try when things are good so you'll know that you can do it when you really need to. I also suggest that you try to pull start it when its dead cold so that way you also have to play the choke/primer game as well.

I never need for more than one or carried more than one battery on my 18 Outrage as I always had the pull start backup. Only had to use that once when the battery finally died more than 2 years past its due date.

Joe Kriz posted 06-14-2004 08:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     

If #1 battery turned over the engine "vigorously" then it sounds like the battery was OK.

When your Battery switch is set to #1, only the #1 battery is ON and being charged. If the switch is set to #2, then only #2 is working etc..
To charge both batteries when running, you must set the switch to "BOTH".

If you had no spark when the switch was set to #1, then it sounds like your wiring is not setup correctly from the engine.

Does everything work OK when the battery switch is set to #2 only?

Backlash posted 06-14-2004 08:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     

If your Perko battery switch is the "OFF-1-BOTH-2" type, I would recommend setting it on either 1 or 2, but not BOTH. When cruising, I alternate between 1 and 2, that is I use #1 one day and #2 the next day, etc. That way I always have a fully charged battery.

I don't believe most outboard alternators are designed to charge two batteries at once. Trickle charging every week shouldn't be necessary. That AGM will sit for months without any noticeable discharge.


Chuck Tribolet posted 06-14-2004 11:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Given you had a problem, throw a set of jumper cables in the
boat before you take off for the weekend, just for piece of


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