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Author Topic:   Battery Charge
jimh posted 03-11-2001 12:15 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
Please see:

This is a new article which has good information about your boat battery's

Comments on the article can be posted in this message thread.

Cruiser posted 03-11-2001 10:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cruiser    
Jim, nice article! Are there some diagrams you have available for those of us not having twin engines?? How about two batts and a single engine. Thanks,
coolruehle posted 05-14-2001 11:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for coolruehle  Send Email to coolruehle     

Battery Myth #2 Storing a battery on a concrete floor will discharge the battery.

There is not currently a strong reason for avoiding contact of a battery with a concrete floor. The battery's contact with the concrete should not create a problem with the material in today' s batteries. If the battery is not clean, but has a surface layer of acid or grime which is conductive, the battery can be expected to self-discharge more rapidly than if it was clean and dry. Many years ago, the batteries were constructed with a wooden case around a glass jar with the battery in it. Any moisture on the floor could cause the wood to swell and possibly fracture the glass, causing it to leak. Shortly after the introduction of "Hard Rubber" containers, which were somewhat porous and of a less than ideal design, there was a chance of current to be conducted through the container of a high carbon content if the moist concrete floor permitted the current to find an electrical ground. These are two of the older reasons for not storing batteries on a concrete floor. There is no reference to avoiding storage on concrete floors in the Battery Service Manual published by the BCI. Their suggestion is appropriate for the current state of the art batteries built by reputable battery manufacturers

Ed Stone posted 07-09-2001 09:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ed Stone  Send Email to Ed Stone     
Picture this: You've worked all week,
Saturday rolls around and you arrive at
the ramp before daylight to go fishing.
Your all prepared,gassed up,bait,ice.
It's going to be a great day.
Then you turn the key and nothing!
You realize you had the cabin light on
for three days!Your batteries are drained
for some reason or the other.
Do those solar battery chargers work
that are plugged into the 12volt plugs?
I have installed on board chargers on the
last two boats I've owned. I have not put
one on my current boat.I wonder if those
solar panels will maintain a battery.
I know,I know,They wouldn't possibly
work with lights and radios on.
Ed Stone
lhg posted 07-11-2001 08:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
For those who store their boats with access to power, I have invented a neat little system for keeping a battery charged.

I hard wired into the boat a 16 gauge pos & neg lead, permanently attached to the battery, terminating in a 2 prong flat connector, like a trailer conector, hidden under the gunwale. Then I bought a 1 1/2 amp trickle charger for $27 at Walmart (best price I could find), and installed the other half of the flat connector on it. Plug the contraption in to my on-board boat lead, and the 110V, and I always have a fully charged battery. This way I'm not continually opening up the battery box for charging (a real pain to re-cover and get all the wires reorganized). It's very simple and works well for me.

1987GTX posted 07-11-2001 09:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for 1987GTX  Send Email to 1987GTX     
i use a solar panel/trickle charger combi on my gtx, motorhome and goldwing. works fine as long as you have sun :>)
triblet posted 07-11-2001 09:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
I do something similar to lhg, but I use
the 12V power point (no smoking on my boat)
and just plug into that. I moved the power
point wire from the switch side of the
accessory switch to the unswitched side.

I do have to be careful not to short the
plug, but how much juice can one of those
smart trickle chargers put out? Heck it's
probably overcurrent protected, and the
plug has a fuse in it.


hauptjm posted 07-16-2001 10:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
I've gone the lazy way: an on-board charging system. For a couple o' hundred bucks, you can buy a nice multi-battery charging/maintenance system that's built into the boat. I located mine in the console. Just plug into the Hubble fitting, and forget it. It's also great when you pull into a dock and just hook up to shore power.
counterstrike posted 07-16-2001 07:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for counterstrike    
Cranking amps are the numbers of amperes a lead-acid battery at 32 degrees F (0 degrees C) can deliver for 30 seconds and maintain at least 1.2 volts per cell (7.2 volts for a 12 volt battery).
Reserve capacity is the time required (in minutes) for a fully charged battery - at 80F under a constant 25-amp draw to reach a voltage of 10.5 volts.
An alternator produces alternating current (AC). Electrical systems need direct current (DC). The diodes in the alternator do a good job of rectifying the alternator's AC output, but there's a good deal of ripple. The battery acts as a filter, filling in the valleys and smoothing off the peaks of the ripple, so that the electrical bus sees pretty clean DC.
If you happen to have a friend in the automotive field you could ask him/her to borrow a clamp on ammeter to check your true charging output in Amps and in Volts. I use a fluke87 with an optional clamp on DC ammeter probe (less expensive models can be had from radio shack)
The voltage regulator maintains voltage at a certain level by matching alternator output with the load and the charge level of the battery. Voltage drops when a load is placed on the power system, or when the battery discharges. The regulator then increases the amperage output of the alternator until the voltage level is restored, and then tapers output to a level that will sustain that voltage.
Note* Volts will increase as Amperage decreases. And Volts will decrease as Amperage increases. *

Checking the Starter:
Verify solid clean connections on all wiring, fully charged battery (if recently removed from charger you need to load the battery to take the surface charge off, 10 15 sec with carbon pile)
Batteries should have a minimum CCA capacity of at least 1 CCA per cubic inch of engine displacement; 1.5 CCA per cubic inch for reliable sub-zero starting and 2 CCAs per cubic inch for diesels. Bigger is always better.
Check your cranking amps on the starter with the fuel system disconnected or disabled (prevents wet cylinders), Crank for no more than 15 seconds to prevent starter damage.

Key off parasitic drain:
A current draw of 50mA or less indicates parasitic draw is not excessive.


jimh posted 07-17-2001 08:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Regarding ratings for "cranking amps."

The CCA rating is for "cold cranking amps", that is, current delivered at 32 degrees-F. This is used to rate automotive batteries.

The MCA rating is for "marine cranking amps" and is for current delivered at 70-degrees-F. At this nice warm temperature the battery has much higher capacity.

I guess the battery makers figure you won't be doing much boating with the temperature below 70-degrees, and certainly not much at all with the temperature below 32-degrees.

LarrySherman posted 07-17-2001 09:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
I installed the Link 10 bater monitoring system, $200 at Boat US. It uses a 500 amp shunt between the negative lead and the bank of batteries you are monitoring. It measures Amps in and out, voltage, and once dialed in, percent charge. It does some other stuff as well.


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