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Author Topic:   Two Batteries on MONTAUK
The Chesapeake Explorer posted 07-19-2006 10:39 PM ET (US)   Profile for The Chesapeake Explorer   Send Email to The Chesapeake Explorer  
I run two batteries on my 1987 Montauk 17 classic because I have a two-stroke and the maximum alternator output is 10 amperes on my new Yamaha 2004 90. I had a 1988 Evinrude that motor had a 6 to 9 ampere alternator. At wide open speed it was 9 amperes but mostly it put out 7 to 8 amperes. I have a marine radio, Hummingbird depth finder, not much really. But I feel better with the twin batteries out on the Chesapeake, I have a Cole-Herse-brand battery switch and manually switch to battery 1 or 2 for a day's outing. Whatever I set I usually leave it on that setting. The power trim uses a lot of battery power. In 18 years on the Chesapeake I have never been stranded by battery trouble with the twins, and I have had several batterys go bad over the years. In each case I would have been stuck but had the second. Once I went to the Wye River for some crabbing with a gal I brought along. I had set the battery switch set to Both and left the radio on for about a week. At the Wye Landing the motor would barely crank. I pulled two plugs on the Evinrude V-4 90 one on each bank and hand cranked it. Yes, I carry a pull rope. She started, I put the other two plugs back in set to a single battery to charge up good and ran it. I will agree that a motor that is running right will start, and 1, 2, or 3 batteries will not get a motor with serious [starting problems] going. All said, two batteries give me some leeway if I leave the radio on overnight or a couple of days. I was advised by a experience bay boater when I got my boat to carry [two batteries]. I took his advice and agree. Now, if I had a big single battery and a four-stroke with a 20 ampere or more alternator, I might go with the single battery only.
jimh posted 07-19-2006 10:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
An alternator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. An alternator cannot determine what produced the mechanical energy, that is, a two-stroke motor, a four-stroke motor, or water falling over a wheel. So there is nothing about a two-stroke motor which inhibits it from producing more battery charging current from its alternator than might be obtained with a four-stroke motor. It is common, however, as you mention, that older designs of outboard motors in modest horsepower ranges do not have extremely high-output alternators. However, this limitation has nothing really at all to do with the nature of the motor as a two-stroke or a four-stroke.
Joe Kriz posted 07-20-2006 01:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
I personally would never have two batteries on a small boat as long as the main engine can be pull started with the emergency rope, and that's up to 150 or 200 HP....

Twice the problems and twice the expense, maintenance, wiring, etc....

Unless, you are running an electric trolling motor and use that second battery for that operation.

My opinion.... and I'm sticking to it...

Chuck Tribolet posted 07-20-2006 01:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Joe, that's up to 150-200HP DEPENDING ON THE MOTOR. My 90HP
'97ish Evenrude caburated 2-stroke can't be pull started.
There's no rope, and no place to attach the rope. And some
of the more recent motors (Optimax?) requires some good
battery voltage to start.


bsmotril posted 07-20-2006 06:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
I'm with Joe, especially on a Montauk where storage space is lacking enough as it is. I've pull started 175-150 V6s, and 150-35hp of other various configurations. Once I learned the spark plug removal trick, I have no qualms venturing offshore with one battery. If I'm taking a portable livewell, then I toss a trolling motor battery in the stern corner opposite the main battery. BillS
bsmotril posted 07-20-2006 06:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
I wonder if the rope start notches were removed from the newer motors for liability reasons? You raise a good point Chuck, what works on the old stuff won't work on the new. Don't even try to pull start an Opti. I've tried it, and you can't get enough rotation to make the air compressor pressurize the air fuel rail. If anyone has pull started an Opti, I'd like to hear how they did it, and I'd hate to arm wrestle them too.
Buckda posted 07-20-2006 06:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I've pull started one of my 90 HP E-TEC motors. I followed the instructions in the owners manual and (at the ramp) pulled it started. It was running before I was even finished with the pull, and it pulled suprisingly easily.

Incidentally, that was a primary reason for my decision NOT to buy the Optimax.

But then again, I also have two main engines and two batteries aboard the boat, along with a paddle and three different drift socks and two anchors.

The boat's name is a misnomer. I'm not much of a Gambler at all, it seems.


Joe Kriz posted 07-20-2006 08:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     

I said, "as long as the main engine can be pull started with the emergency rope".

That would be ANY engine that CAN BE pull started...

I know your engine.
For some reason, many engines during the approximate years of 1996 to 1999 did not have the emergency rope start option... Don't ask me why.
What were these engineers thinking?
Obviously, they did not own boats or didn't think about going out in the ocean...

I have no idea about the newer 4 strokes of today. I have no interest in one.
I know the smaller 4 stroke engines can be rope started but don't know about the 70 hp on up...

The new E-Tec is a fine example of 2 stroke technology and can be emergency rope started.

I just happen to have a 1999 Johnson 175 hp on my 22' Cuddy that cannot be rope started.... However, I do have a kicker motor that is also electric start which has its own battery. Should something happen to the main engine battery, I can switch and use the kicker battery in an emergency.

Someday, I will be replacing both engines with the new E-Tec.
A 200 hp main engine and a 9.9 for a kicker... I will then remove my second battery and just have the one.

My Outrage 18 has just one battery and that's the way I like it.
I can rope start the Evinrude 150 in an emergency and I also have an 8 hp kicker that has rope start.

What is that old saying?
Keep It Simple Simon (or Stupid if you like that word)

I do realize some people with many electronics, including radar, electric stove, etc., may need a second battery. But that is generally on an 22' or 25' and above..

jimh posted 07-21-2006 08:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The relationship between mechanical power (horsepower) and electrical power (watts) is

1-HP = 750 watts

In a nominal 14-volt charging system, 750-watts corresponds to over 50-amperes of current. Assuming 70-percent efficiency, it should be possible for any outboard motor, two-stroke or four-stroke, to produce 35-amperes of charging current while using only about one horsepower of mechanical energy. With a 90-HP motor, this represents just a bit more than a one-percent reduction in power available for propulsion.

Older 90-HP outboard motors which have lower charging output were not constrained by the power requirements for generating the electrical current. They were more likely constrained by the cost of adding this capacity to the motor when most buyers of the motor would not require such high output.

swist posted 07-21-2006 08:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Ever since I downsized from a 24' ProLine with all kinds of goodies to a Montauk, I have continually been fighting the urge to install any number of "improvements" on the Montauk. I have done some but I have to keep telling myself that I am defeating the simplicity and attendant ease-of-maintenance.

It is a tough fight with myself everytime as installing accessories on boats is a lot of fun for many people.

A simple on-off battery switch is probably a good investment on a single battery boat, as you know that you have shut off all power when you leave the boat for a while, and need not worry about things left on etc. But dual batteries striks me as overkill for a 17' boat.

The Chesapeake Explorer posted 07-21-2006 11:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for The Chesapeake Explorer  Send Email to The Chesapeake Explorer     
Jimh, I mentioned the 2 Stroke vs 4 stroke because all the 90 hp or less 2stroke motors have alternators that put out less then then todays 4 stroke motors of like HP.
As you explained its not a power issue, its just what the manufactures equipped the engines with. As I stated if I had a new 4 stroke with lots of alt. out put I might run 1 battery to save weight, with any older 2 stroke .. naw. I'll run two batterys. I have both batterys together on the starboard side running to the cole herse switch. One is to the gunwhale, one is to the middle.I dont have nothing to put in that small space anyway...By the way I have gone thru about ..8 batterys since I got the boat in 1989. Oh well!
Binkie posted 07-23-2006 07:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie  Send Email to Binkie     
bsmotril, or some other knowledgable person.

Please explain the spark plug removal trick, when it come to rope starting v-6s.

andygere posted 07-24-2006 03:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I think it's more about how and where you run the boat than how big the boat is. There are plenty of guys that run their Montauks 20+ miles off shore, and I don't think any of them will tell you that dual batteries is overkill. The folks that use their Montauks on smaller lakes, bays and estuaries may have no need for a second battery, and in fact find that it takes away valuable space inside the boat. Folks that leave their boat on a mooring and rely on the battery to keep water pumped out may also agree that it's not overkill.+

My former Montauk had dual batteries and a kicker motor, and when I was salmon fishing 10 miles out of Santa Cruz, I never regretted either one. Sure, it's possible to rope start a 90 h.p. outboard, but would you want to do in a pitching sea, miles from the nearest harbor or possible tow?

Regarding high output alternators, E-TEC 90 puts out 75 amps (Net dedicated battery charging power output is 25 Amp) according to the Evinrude web site, and the Mercury website reports that the Optimax 90 puts out 60 amps, so good charging performance is not just the domain of the 4-strokes.

swist posted 07-24-2006 04:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Well I can understand that redundancy in any system is desirable particularly if you go far offshore.

But as far as the bilge pump goes.... that was something I worried about when I bought my Montauk, since it was the only possible battery drain when I wasn't on the boat. But so far my fear was unfounded. As you know we have been deluged with heavy rain in the Northeast and I leave my boat on a mooring sometimes a week between starts. The bilge pump is running plenty and I haven't seen the battery voltage go below 12V. And this is with the crappy starting-only battery the boat comes with. With the combo or deep-cycle battery it ought to have, it could deal with the pump even better.

The Chesapeake Explorer posted 07-24-2006 09:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for The Chesapeake Explorer  Send Email to The Chesapeake Explorer     
Rope starting in a emergency, 3 cyl, pull center plug V-4 Pull 1 plug on each bank opposed cylinders. V-6 Oh well I will say pull 2 plugs on on 1 bank top and bottom and the center plug on the other bank you will be pulling 3 cyls. After starting put plugs back in and atttach plug wires with insulated gloves if youve got any other wise wrap something dry around boots, I had crab gloves when I had to do it on the Wye River. A 3 cyl can be pull stsrted with all plugs in A V4 can also be but its tough, a V6 I dont even know if theres a slot for a pull rope. As stated above hope not to do this pitching in heavy seas.
Chuck Tribolet posted 07-24-2006 11:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
I've been on a dive boat where the tenders had 90 HP V6
two-strokes. No battery, no wheel. Pull start, tiller.
Now, the two dudes who ran the boats were called Big Mo and
Little Mo, and even Little Mo could play line in the NFL, but
they didn't seem to have to work at it at all. Pull. Start.

I don't think I'd want to be messing with pulling plugs at
sea. At least on my engine, which CAN'T be pull started,
and several others I've seen, the plugs are on the back
side, which is darn hard to get to at sea.


bsmotril posted 07-25-2006 03:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
It's not fun to pull plugs at sea, but it can be done by leaning over the top of the motor. The barf factor is pretty high. On a V6, the firing order is usually stamped on the top of the block near one of the heads. Pull out 4 plugs, leaving two in that are 180 degrees out of phase in the firing order. This would be firing order positions (not necessarily cylinder numbers) 1 and 4, 2 and 5, or 3 and 6. The motor will pull start easily and you can run at a fast troll while you charge the battery for about 20 minutes. Then shut her down, replace the plugs, and have a go at the starter again. Without some kind of rubber gloves, I would not try to put wires back on a running motor.
Joe Kriz posted 07-25-2006 11:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
Oh come on Bill.....

Where is your spirit of adventure...
If you don't use gloves your hair might get curly...
Hey, look at it this way... You will get a new FREE hairdo.... :-)

Binkie posted 07-27-2006 08:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie  Send Email to Binkie     
Bill, My V-6 Suzuki 150 Supersix has 12 spark plugs, This is starting to get complicated.
Joe Kriz posted 07-27-2006 11:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
One last comment on this subject from me... unless I change my mind... :-)

I don't care if you have 28 batteries on board.
If your starter bites the dust, you will not be able to start you motor unless you can use an emergency pull rope... PERIOD....

I suggest if you are worried about having a second battery, don't buy one...
Just make sure that your engine can be pull started.
If your engine doesn't have that capability.... Get rid of it...
That is my intention on one of the engines I have...
In the mean time I have a kicker for emergencies.
If you don't have a kicker, get one until your main engine blows up.
This will help keep you out of trouble until you can justify buying a newer engine that can be rope started.

Again, what good would it do me to have 2 batteries if my starter won't work..

There is nothing like a main engine that can be rope started in an emergency and also a kicker that has rope start only.... Batteries and Starters fail. This is a known fact. Get used to it. Be prepared. Buy a kicker.
I guess you could carry a spare battery and a spare starter.
How would that work changing out a starter on the high seas?

And again, Keep It Simple Simon.....

Don't buy those expensive batteries, buy a $2.00 rope instead for an emergency.
Much easier and much less weight in the boat not to mention the space an extra battery takes up. and wiring....

This is the end.......

Landlocked posted 07-31-2006 05:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
I've got one of those handy little jump starters with a self contained battery. doesn't take up much space, weighs very little, has an air hose for the trailer tires, and does a good job of jumping off my Mercury 90 (and my truck).

Cheap insurance and much easier than taking off the cowling on the water to pull start. I've got the rope too if it comes to that though.


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