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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Custom Battery Enclosure
|Author||Topic: Custom Battery Enclosure|
posted 03-16-2010 03:08 PM ET (US)
I am considering moving the battery in our Striper 15 from the rear to the (small) console. An Optima battery fits my cranking needs (for a 1987 Evinrude 70) and is fairly compact.
Optima Batteries 8071-167 D51 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery
9 5/16" x 5 1/16" x 8 15/16"
Compared to a "normal" battery, it is about two-inches narrower. A normal Group 24 battery size is 10-1/4 x 6-13/16 x 8-7/8, I'd like to mount [the Optima battery] on the left edge of the console, longitudinally, so the long dimension runs bow to stern and the narrow 5-inch dimension is side to side. A savings of 2-inch may not sound like much to you, but it is a small console and it is not trivial in space consumption.
However, if I use a normal battery box, I will not get a benefit, which leads to my questions.
Do I need to have the battery in a box? I do store items in the console, and I know I need to at least cover the terminals in some manner, but is a box really needed?
If a box is needed, any suggestions for sourcing or making a custom box? In doing internet searching, all the custom battery boxes I've seen are metal such as for in a vehicle.
Do you have other suggestions for a compact battery?
Thank you for your input.
posted 03-16-2010 04:05 PM ET (US)
If you do a Google search on battery boxes you'll find they also come in sizes that may work for you.
posted 03-16-2010 04:55 PM ET (US)
Go OEM http://newhaven.craigslist.org/boa/1643707513.html
posted 03-16-2010 07:45 PM ET (US)
Since you plan to use an AGM sealed battery, you really do not need to mount the battery in a box. You should provide protection against accidental contact with the battery terminals in order to avoid short circuits.
posted 03-16-2010 07:58 PM ET (US)
If space is that important to you I wuld look at the Odyssey PC1200 - Smaller size with a larger reserve at about the same price. Weights about 12lbs more because of increase of lead content.
Plus you can find some Stainless Steel hold down boxes for them if you want to spend the $$:
posted 03-16-2010 09:31 PM ET (US)
jimh, that is very helpful to know that a box is not really needed for an AGM battery. That would save some space also. I realized I'll still have to protect the terminals from being touched - I can think of a few ways to do that. What feature with the AGM makes it not need to be in a box?
Ridgerunner, thanks for the suggestion.
number9, I did not realize how many battery box sizes are available. I'd been searching on "custom battery box". The U1 size is appealing, but I've not found a good battery match that would fit that box. The U1 box is 8x5.75x9.25.
posted 03-16-2010 10:48 PM ET (US)
In an AGM battery there is no electrolyte in liquid form. It cannot spill out. Battery boxes are used with conventional flooded cell lead-acid batteries to contain the acid in the event of a spill or a fracture of the battery case.
posted 03-17-2010 07:52 AM ET (US)
Battery boxes are often sold with the notation that they comply with U.S. Coast Guard regulations 33CFR180.420. This may cause boaters to infer that such a box is necessary to comply with Coast Guard regulations.
The Coast Guard regulations regarding boat electrical systems are given in
Title 33, Part 183--Boats and Associated Equiment
Section 183.401 gives the applicability of these rules:
"This subpart applies to all boats that have gasoline engines, except outboard engines, for electrical generation, mechanical power, or propulsion."
These regulations do not apply to boats powered by outboard engines. However, the regulations make no mention of a battery box being required. The applicable subpart is § 183.420 Batteries. No mention is made of a battery box as being necessary.
There are also recommendations from the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), and many boat builders construct their boats to comply with these recommendations, although they are not legal requirements. On the topic of batteries, the ABYC regulations say:
--begin excerpt of ABYC recommendations---
E-10 STORAGE BATTERIES...
E-10.7.1 If the mounting surfaces of components of the boat in the immediate vicinity of the battery are of a material attacked by the electrolyte, a mounting means shall be provided that is made of material that is not damaged by electrolyte.
E-10.7.2 Provision shall be made to contain leakage and spillage of electrolyte.
E-10.7.3 Fasteners for the attachment of battery boxes or trays shall be isolated from areas intended to collect spilled electrolyte.
E-10.7.4 Each installed battery shall not move more than one inch (25mm) in any direction when a pulling force of 90 pounds (41kg) or twice the battery weight, whichever is less, is applied through the center of gravity of the battery as follows;
E-10.7.4.1 vertically for a duration of one minute, and
E-10.7.4.2 horizontally and parallel to the boat's centerline, for a duration of one minute fore and one minute aft, and
E-10.7.4.3 horizontally and perpendicular to the boat's centerline for a duration of one minute to starboard and one minute to port.
E-10.7.5 No battery shall be installed directly above or below a fuel tank, fuel filter, or fitting in a fuel line.
NOTE: This does not prohibit a battery from being installed directly above or below an uninterrupted fuel line. However, if a metallic fuel line is within the 12 inch (305mm) envelope of the surface of the battery, it shall be shielded dielectrically as required in E-10.7.8.
E-10.7.6 Batteries shall not be installed directly below battery chargers or inverters.
E-10.7.7 To prevent accidental contact of the ungrounded battery connection to ground, each battery shall be protected so that metallic objects cannot come into contact with the ungrounded battery terminal and uninsulated cell straps. This may be accomplished by means such as;
E-10.7.7.1 covering the ungrounded battery terminal with a boot or non-conductive shield, or
E-10.7.7.2 installing the battery in a covered battery box, or
E-10.7.7.3 installing the battery in a compartment specially designed only for the battery(s).
E-10.7.8 Top Terminal Battery - Each metallic fuel line and fuel system component within 12 inches (305mm) of a battery terminal, and above the horizontal plane of the battery top surface, as installed, shall be shielded with dielectric material to protect against accidental short-circuiting. See Figure 1.
E-10.7.9 Side Terminal Battery - Each metallic fuel line and fuel system component within 12 inches (305mm) of the terminal side of a side terminal battery shall be shielded with a dielectric material to protect against accidental short circuiting. If the battery has side terminals, the horizontal plane shall be considered to begin below the side terminals. See Figure 1
1. Terminal insulation or battery covers do not comply with this requirement since, during installation or removal of a battery, these protective devices are usually removed in order to connect the cables.
2. Any non-conductive material may be used for shielding as long as it is durable enough to withstand accidental contact by a tool or the battery terminals during servicing, installation or removal.
E-10.7.10 A vent system or other means shall be provided to permit the discharge from the boat of hydrogen gas released by the battery. See ABYC H-2, Ventilation Of Boats Using Gasoline.
E-10.7.11 Battery boxes, whose cover forms a pocket over the battery, shall be vented at the uppermost portion of the cover.
NOTE TO E-10.7.10 and E-10.7.11: These requirements also apply to installations of all batteries whether they employ removable vent caps, non-removable caps, are "sealed" or "maintenance free" batteries, or have pressure regulated valve vent systems with immobilized electrolyte (gel batteries).
E-10.7.12 Batteries shall be charged by means of an automatically controlled device, that is capable of supplying the current and voltage appropriate to the type of battery being charged. See ABYC A-20, Battery Chargers, and ABYC A-25, Power Inverters.
posted 03-17-2010 09:00 AM ET (US)
Thanks - that is interesting detail.
I may switch to the Odyssey Extreme Racing 40. It packs a lot of power in a narrow footprint.
With this, I would have ample CCA and would only have to give up 4" of floor width. The 10" length and 8" height would fit easily.
This appears to pack the most power into the smallest relative footprint. I would have to get adapters for the terminals, but that seems straightforward to get those and to shield them from contact.
posted 03-17-2010 12:10 PM ET (US)
I recently bought a small Odyssey for my dinghy to start a 9.9hp (up converted to 15hp). I found it online and went to my local motor cycle shop and had it ordered.
I installed it in a void the runs around the perimeter of the boat. No box, just strapped down, with some foam to protect the corners. (And a little liquid tape to seal the terminals.)
I bought a battery with 270 CCA, and the engine manual states I needed 350 CCA. (I have no problems, as of yet. But do have to figure out how to get a high current charger on it occasionally. AGM's like high charge current, which is limited on little engine.)
The motor cycle shop commented that the Odyssey batteries are 'strong' performers and seem to have a lot more CCA (reserve power) than specified on the label.
posted 03-17-2010 01:04 PM ET (US)
I believe that is only a starting battery, not sure it can handle deep discharges.
posted 03-17-2010 05:20 PM ET (US)
How many of us with center consoles and internal fuel tanks comply with this aspect of the regulations:
"E-10.7.5 No battery shall be installed directly above or below a fuel tank, fuel filter, or fitting in a fuel line."
This is pretty much impossible to comply with, especially with multiple batteries.
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