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Author Topic:   15' Dauntless - Installing Electronics - Help!
CorpSpace posted 08-31-2005 05:41 PM ET (US)   Profile for CorpSpace   Send Email to CorpSpace  
Hello, while I've read much here ... this is my first post/inquiry.

After deciding to install a Lowrance X51 depthfinder on our 1997 15' Dauntless, I started thinking that I may as well go ahead and install a VHF Radio (SH Eclipse+) & Stereo while I'm at it. Then I also thought to put in an electric horn & a utility outlet for a spot light.

So what was going to be a simple install of one item has mushroomed into contemplation of my electrical system handling several accessories. I assume that I should get a water resistant fuse block (6?) to install in the console and direct wire to the battery?

Beyond that I started to wondering if this these accessories are potentially an exessive drain on a single battery. Should I have two? and if so, would it be better to have them banked (or) to separate with an A-B (4 way)switch. I guess I was rationalizing the latter & thinking I'd be inclined to dedicate one battery for starting/running purposes & the other for non-running accessory use and then simply charge during run time w/o chancing depleting the essential starting battery? On this same note, would charging two batties tax the engine beyond normal use (75 Merc 2 stroke)?

Am I way off (or) on the right track?


jimh posted 09-01-2005 12:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
jimh posted 09-01-2005 12:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The most important factor in deciding how elaborate your battery system should be is the ability (or lack of ability) to pull-start your motor. If your motor cannot start without a fully-charged battery, you should put great emphasis on maintaining an engine starting battery which is isolated from other heavy electrical loads. On the other hand, I would not characterize an ampere or two of current to run a SONAR and a VHF Marine Radio as a heavy load.

Some outboard motors have accessories available which create dual charging outputs, but typically this is often seen only on higher horsepower (above 150-HP) models. Another way to implement dual charging is with a voltage sensitive relay, but, again, these often only work effectively if there is quite a surplus of charging current available to handle charging two batteries in parallel.

I guess is that most 15-foot boats have only a single battery. If you keep an eye on the battery's charge you probably won't be caught with charge levels too low to start in normal use of the boat.

CorpSpace posted 09-01-2005 12:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for CorpSpace  Send Email to CorpSpace     
Thanks for the input.

I have an emergency rope for manual start. I've experienced that with a 125 horse outboard and it was a real bummer.

You are right ... a sonar & vhf radio won't draw too much & we probably wouldn't ever have both on for any lengthy periods of time either. I guess that my bigger concern would be over trying to figure out how long I could safely leave a "music" radio (and maybe the sonar) on while adrift fishing for example. With one battery, I think I'd always be playing a game akin to figuring out how low you can run the gas tank before the arriving at next station.

I've been getting quite brave in how far out I'm willing to go on a calm day (part of the reason I want the vhf now) & I'm thinking that I want the security of a dedicated (or isolated?) battery for starting purposes & want to find a simple and convenient way to keep both charged.

This is new to me so the learning curve is straight up. Would the following switch/set-up be an acceptable solution for this basic 2-battery set-up? & Does anyone know if my stock '97 Mercury ELPTO 75 can handle the chore of charging both in this set-up?

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