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Author Topic:   Dead Battery, paddled 2 hours to ramp
PeteB88 posted 07-23-2007 05:26 PM ET (US)   Profile for PeteB88   Send Email to PeteB88  
Just when you think you know it all and are so super careful double checking everything it drives your wife and passengers nuts you have a dead battery situation. Unbelievable.

The battery is 1.5 years old, deep cycle, rated XX and used with our Classic 13, Yamaha 40 hp (1992) power tilt, electric start. I run an older Garmin fishfinder, standard lights and have Minkota 32 pound thrust trolling motor clamped on the transom for occasional use. One older Atwood bilge pump - auto + manual switch on panel.

The boat is garage kept, launched and retrieved 95% of the time we use it. Last time out was about 30 days ago, mostly cruise and WOP and no trolling motor use.

Yesterday we launched the boat, motored w/ Yamaha for apprx 20 minutes, got to fishing grounds and fished for ~ 2.5 hours, moving once in a while w/ Yamaha. After the 2.5 hrs and wind died down I dropped the Minkota and used it for a few minutes, probably less than 20 on, various speeds on/off while fishing and moving.

As we were casting I noticed the Garmin screen went blank. I thought "oh boy! unit shot, now I can get my GPS sonar combo!)
I disconnected the cable, reinstalled after 30 seconds and it came on again then went out. I was using the troller at the same time - on and off, drift, on fore a couple minutes, off.

Then I realized - possible battery issue - I hit the power tilt and it barely moved the motor. I tried the key, er, er, er nothing. Dead battery.

We paddled the sucker to the ramp, Ellen and I taking turns and declining offers to be towed.

I put the battery on the charger this morning for two hours and took it less than fully charged to the Complete Battery shop - they put the load machine in it and said the battery appeared fine. They recommended that I fully charge the battery, connect it to boat, put a VOM on the batt, then check it under load (V drop) and see what's up.

Assuming everything checks out and the alternator system is functioning what should I do to prevent this from happening? I have no gauges on the Classic 13 and no master shut off for the boat.

your advice is needed.


HAPPYJIM posted 07-23-2007 06:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for HAPPYJIM  Send Email to HAPPYJIM     
It is pretty much impossible to charge a dead battery for 2 hours and have it checked out to be good with a load tester.

I suspect the trolling motor is pulling way too much of a load. The only way to check it is with an amp-meter connected in series with the motor.

How many seconds did he run the load test?

PeteB88 posted 07-23-2007 07:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Thanks Jim - he ran the test until the elements were glowing red hot, perhaps 15-25 seconds. Are you thinking the trolling motor is faulty? It's possible.

I am wondering if I should put gauges and a main power bus cutoff switch on the boat. I am not sure where to mount one of those Perko switches or equivalent


Taylor posted 07-23-2007 07:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
Is it possible to start a 40 Yamaha with a pull cord? Might be worth a try. I've started my 100 Merc this way, and knowing I can pull start it in case the battery goes dead improves my overall system reliability (boat + engine + battery + tools + me)
PeteB88 posted 07-23-2007 07:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
I was getting long winded and forgot to include other information. I ALWAYS keep an ammo can on board w/ tools, spark plugs, spark plug wrench and gap tool, various wrenches AND a pull cord. Guess what was left in the Breakfast Nook? the Ammo can w/ tools. I had one screw driver on board.

Bad, bad bad

Taylor posted 07-23-2007 08:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
Doh! Captain Jack Sparrow would have braided hairs off his back to make a pull cord. :) Is there pull cord inside the covers of the yammie?
PeteB88 posted 07-23-2007 10:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
I've looked, nothing obvious, didn't check, will tomorrow. Not only am I going to check I am going to practice pull starting. As I remember the motor I think I have to remove a shroud to pull it.
Buckda posted 07-23-2007 10:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Pete - Pull Cord. A spare should be in your on-board emergency kit.

Paddling serves as a good reminder....


You can put the battery on a float-charger when not in use (in the garage). That is a good idea.


Ranjr13 posted 07-23-2007 11:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ranjr13  Send Email to Ranjr13     
My vote is that what happened was you started out with barely a charged battery - sitting for a month, then starting a cold engine took most of it's juice. The charger on that size engine would need to run for several hours straight at a decent RPM to get the battery up to full charge - certainly not the running time you put on it. The start/short run, then off drained it more than what it recharged. Then running with the trolling motor, well that just sucked out the remaining volts.

I would trickle charge it to 100% for a day or so before using it next time, bring the emergency start cord, and with those two things working for you, I'd bet that you would be able to use it the way you did and even longer, without any problems.

One other thought - do you keep the battery warm during the winter - that will have a tremendous negative effect on battery life.


jimh posted 07-24-2007 07:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Somewhere many years ago I read the advice that a car needs to be driven about 20-miles in order to recharge its battery from the drain of starting its engine. While that was a very rough characterization, it does illustrate the point: the drain on the battery from engine starting is significant and will require the battery to be recharged to return it to its original condition before starting.
HuronBob posted 07-24-2007 10:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob    
geez, pete... we want pictures/video! I've tried to figure out how I would paddle the 13' and can't quite figure out how to do it without going in circles. :-)

Sorry about the ordeal, no fun at all..

Sounds like good advice here from folks that know this stuff. I would only throw in the thought that, whenever I've had a trolling motor installed, I've always used a second battery for it. If you've got room for it, and the weight wouldn't be a problem, it might be worth considering...

You owe Ellen a nice dinner out!

Tom W Clark posted 07-24-2007 10:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Why on earth paddle? Just rope start the sucker. It is very easy to do. I've rope started motors up to 150 HP with little effort.
PeteB88 posted 07-24-2007 12:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
No rope! I left the ammo can home w/ tools and pull rope - first time in my life! All lines on board were too thick. I didn't even have a fish stringer. You'd think someone who spent years running Central and Southern OR rivers for multiple days through Wild and Scenic sections would have had his stuff together.
PeteB88 posted 07-24-2007 12:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Hey Huron Bob - to tell you the truth, I sort of enjoyed the paddling. I used to row big heavy bag boats for hours and hours out West.

Then Ellen got way into it and was the first to refuse tow offers. However, she couldn't figure out how to keep the boat straight for some time. She kept looking at the paddle blade in the water as opposed to taking a fix and looking straight ahead. Her course would have made a GPS readout look like an EtcheSketch done by a four year old. IT was a hoot, she was totally into it and said she is going to join the local Oar and Paddle Club. Great for me - when she was paddling I was firing out casts for Mr Largemouth standing on the thwart seat.

I don't know about the trolling motor - jury is out on that. I think it is a pain. I can position the boat fine w/ 40 and use the wind to drift.

andygere posted 07-24-2007 01:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
The best thing about the Merc 40 on my old '72 13 was that it had a recoil starter as well as electric start. I don't know why every small engine (50 hp or less) doesn't have both. The best thing about my old '72 13 was that it had the integral oar lock sockets. These got plenty of use due to the Merc 40...
Whaler_bob posted 07-24-2007 02:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler_bob  Send Email to Whaler_bob     
After having to rope start my Evinrude 130hp (blown rectifier) with the 1/8" nylon string from my chum pot two years ago... I now keep a real pull cord stored in a ziplock bag tucked inside the engine housing on each of my outboards.
I think I still have the rope burns from that damn 1/8" cord!
Peter posted 07-24-2007 02:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
One of the best features of my 1985 140 Johnson V4 on my 18 Outrage that I recently used -- the emergency pull start rope. Just last weekend I got to the boat ramp ready to go out for a nice afternoon cruise only to find my battery too low to engage the fly wheel. Pulled out the emergency pull start rope, wrapped it around the flywheel, flipped the red lever up on the fuel enricher and yanked. One pull was all it took and I was out cruising.

On and off I have entertained the idea of upgrading this 22 year old motor on the Outrage for something newer and more fuel efficient and less smokey but this motor's delightful simplicity keeps getting in the way of that. ;)

RJG posted 07-24-2007 07:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for RJG  Send Email to RJG     
My advice is to take your wife out to somewhere very special. If that had happened to me and my wife I would have been shark chum;)
PeteB88 posted 07-25-2007 01:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
After she paddled the boat now she wants to join the local Oar and Paddle club - go figure! There isn't a week that goes by that she doesn't come up with something!

home Aside posted 07-25-2007 09:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
On the North Channel Rendezvous in 2004 I pull started my Evinrude 90 for the second half of the trip. The bolts on my Starter sheared off for some reason and that was it. I disconnected the electrical to the starter & threw it in my dry cooler.

It took me a couple of days to get it down to a science (Damn left hander) where I stood in the right place, got the proper foot placement for leverage. luckily I had the company of guys like Backlash & Gep (right handers) to help out and get me going. The good thing was I could still use the electric Choke feature on cool morning starts. I just had someone turn the key and hold it in while I pulled away

I thought most (especially smaller) outboards had the pull ropes stowed inside the cowling. Mine had a nice plastic envelope type holder with a snap closure.....


Chuck Tribolet posted 07-25-2007 09:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
My '97 Evinrude 90 does not have a pull start. Anybody know
when OMC dropped that feature on the V4s?


where2 posted 07-25-2007 10:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Chuck, I think my 1995 OMC TurboJet 115Hp V4 still has a notch for a pull cord. Ironically, there's a bulkhead in front of the engine so you cannot pull it in the direction it needs...
banana21 posted 07-26-2007 09:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for banana21    
"Why on earth paddle?". You could ask for a jump start, borrow other boat ' s battery or kicker.
Newtauk1 posted 07-26-2007 10:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for Newtauk1  Send Email to Newtauk1     
Buy a new battery and take the tow offer.
eportfolio posted 07-26-2007 11:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for eportfolio  Send Email to eportfolio     
My Mercury 90 will accept a pull rope, but it's REALLY difficult to pull it.
David1877 posted 07-30-2007 05:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for David1877  Send Email to David1877     
I had a Yamaha 40HP. There was a small rope inside the cowling ready for such an emergency.
PeteB88 posted 07-31-2007 05:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Thanks guys - I just got back from Boulder and have not pulled the cover off the Yamaha to check for pull rope. Remember, I had a pull rope in my ammo can but left it home - first time ever.

As regards paddling, Why not? it was actually pretty cool. I used to row drift boats and big whitewater rafts so it was a cool thing for me especially to find out what it takes to paddle a Whaler a long distance - this one was the 13, much more difficult than I expected (great paddle on board). If I had my way I'd install oar locks but then I'd have more stuff on board. IF this were big water like Lake Michigan I'd have paddled for awhile anyway for the same reasons - but would hae certainly accepted an offer to be towed in.

The battery tested just fine, we are suspecting the trolling motor drawing lots of amps or low batt to begin with. Earlier post was accurate that not enough time was allowed to charge battery and battery shop (where purchased and who tested) explained the world of batteries to me. I am going to buy their best charger/maintenance unit.

One thing I heard from a fishin pal and battery man confirmed is full charge can take a day or more sometimes. Agree?

thanks - more coming.

eportfolio posted 08-01-2007 04:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for eportfolio  Send Email to eportfolio     
Yep, same thing happened to me, but I accepted a tow in.

Took a day and a half to fully re-charge battery. The last couple of times I've used it, I've re-charged it again just to be sure.

an86carrera posted 08-01-2007 04:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for an86carrera  Send Email to an86carrera     
You must have had plenty of beer and other supplies or you would have looking for that tow;o]
Nice job.
L H G posted 08-01-2007 05:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
Come on Peter, you old cheapskate. Get rid of that ancient OMC gas eating 140, and put a nice DTS Gen 2 Verado 150 on that 18. Then you will finally realize that 4 really is greater than 2, and by 10 times, not just 2 times.
PeteB88 posted 08-01-2007 06:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
LHG - Love your message but my 92 Yamaha 40 is way beyond ancient OMC technology, well that's not exactly true - I still have the 9.5 Johnson I paid for with my own money brand new when I was about 14 and an old Johnson 25 that runs like a clock. I am looking for a Montauk or smaller Outrage with great power for reliability.

Thanks everyone - ya, Len we were pretty well provisioned for the paddle, hell man we could have spent the dang night out there if I had the forward shelter bolted on.

Peter posted 08-01-2007 07:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Hey Larry, have you actually taken the plunge yet and live what you preach or are you waiting for Gen 3 to come out in another 4 years when another round of planned obsolesence occurs?

Assuming you have, is your Verado 150 pull startable? Didn't think so.

I can just see it now, a dead battery tug 'o war contest with you in a boat sporting a new DTS Gen 2 Verado 150 connected to a dead battery getting pulled underwater backwards by me with my "ancient OMC gas eating" smokey, won't-leave-you-stranded-on-the-water-or-at-the-boat-ramp-with-a-dead-battery Johnson 140 connected to a dead battery. The only thing the Verado wins on that day is a race to the junk yard. ;)

Yiddil posted 08-02-2007 12:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
Last sumer, i had the T?t DasBoat, my 13 footer 12XXX 1964 not start after a 5 mile ride, so i pulled out the oars, stuck um in the oar loclks and paddled back to the launch ...didnt kill me, My 35 hp 81 evinrude seahorse had not been played with since it was bought and I just headed out that day without doing any maintenance...made for an interesting day:) She just wouldnt start back up that day..I never loked for a rope starter...had no idea what one was ...heh
Yiddil posted 08-02-2007 01:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
By the way, who do you recommend for a floast charger, whcih model???and price?
PeteB88 posted 08-02-2007 09:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Yiddl - I just went shopping for one before my trip outwest, we have a place called Complete Battery here, several locations, battery shop in backroom pretty cool. They actually fabricate batteries, take cordless drill power packs apart and rebuild etc and are quite reliable. I bought my marine battery from them (the one in question) and had them check it out.

In any case, they have several models of chargers/battery maintenance units they recommend including one for about $45 bucks that is tops in their world. Apparently it has a feature that "shocks" precipitate off battery plates which is a battery killer. I will get the info and post.


Yiddil posted 08-02-2007 11:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
Okay tanks pete:) Ive seen them for as little as 9.99 but why the difference in prcies Im not sure...????

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