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Author Topic:   Battery Selection
NewportMe posted 02-08-2005 12:03 PM ET (US)   Profile for NewportMe   Send Email to NewportMe  
I plan to install new batteries on my recently purchased OUTRAGE 22 WD with a single 225-HP Evinrude.The boat has two battery boxes and a OFF-1-2-BOTH switch. It has a vhf radio, depth finder, and an am/fm cassette. I have narrowed my search to Optima blue top, or Life line by Concorde. What group (27 or 31) and do I use? Do I use one deep cycle and one starting battery? Or both starting batteries? I know they will be expensive but I dont mind spending money on quality parts. I am trying to start with a good setup. I am looking for first hand information.


kingfish posted 02-08-2005 01:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
There has been a lot of discusion about different types of batteries, multiple batteries, how multiple batteries can/should be switched, etc. so you will find a lot of information by searching the archives.

I have an Outrage 22 with a 225 HP Evinrude main and 8HP Yamaha kicker, and I am happy with two group 24 batteries; one Lifeline AGM and one top of the line WalMart automotive cranking battery.


NewportMe posted 02-08-2005 02:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for NewportMe  Send Email to NewportMe     
Kingfish thanks I did the search and some of that information was great but 553 hits came up thats why I narrowed it down and asked about "first hand experience". I am not trying to be wise, I just wanted some input before I spread the dough.
kingfish posted 02-08-2005 02:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
I think you're wise doing just what you're doing...I just wanted to make sure you knew there was a lot of data back there.

Good luck-

Rastuscrab posted 02-08-2005 04:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Rastuscrab  Send Email to Rastuscrab     
My advice is to have two batteries alike and age! This is real critical. For you boat I would buy Interstate Deep Cycle Marine/RV Batteries 27 series 600CCA.They will start your big outboard and run all your electronics and more!

I run these on my 17. Montauk with Electric Downriggers and all my electronics. I check the water level once a month and put a deep cycle charge on about every 4-6 weeks.

I also run these in my 31 ft. Carver! As a house and engine battery. I also have two huge 6-volt batteries for my inverter. The 27 series last about two years in the big boat! Lots of discharging and some poor owner maintenance. Nevertheless, with proper maintenance you can use these Interstate's for (2) or more seasons on your vessel. They will run you about $80.00/piece.

Rastuscrab (Matt)

bsmotril posted 02-08-2005 11:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
Not a boat installation, but I've got a pair of Optimas in my Cummins Diesel Dodge pick-up truck. They crank very strong still, after 3 years in the Texas heat. I was in Michigin over Christmas at -2 degrees, no engine block heater, and they cranked strong. I'd buy another pair over any of the other choices I have. BillS
LHG posted 02-14-2005 02:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
I have found good ol' Walmart to have the best batteries I have ever used in 35 years of boating, Everstart brand, in size 24, Dual Cycle (combination starting/deep cycle-important) Marine version, about $59. These things last and last if properly maintained. And you can replace one wherever you travel under the 2 year warranty. I see no reason to lug one of those size 27's into a Whaler. Nor does the tan Whaler battery box fit them.

I'm sure all these fancy ones are great, but where does the overkill begin? For what they cost, you can buy a new Walmart battery every year! I don't buy Racor fuel filters either.

jimh posted 02-15-2005 12:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The choice of battery type depends on the way the boat is used.

In my case, I generally start the engine and run it for several hours. I seldom use much current from the battery when the engine is not running. Some cabin lights when staying aboard overnight are about the only time I am draining current when the engine is not running. Or maybe I turn on the radio and listen for a while in the morning while having my coffee.

For that type of use I do not see a need for a deep-cycle battery, because the charge level on the battery is not subjected to deep cycles. I have two traditional lead-acid wet cell batteries, Group 24. They are the same age and I generally rotate between them.

If I were to change my battery set up, I would go this way:

--(A) one Group 24 Starting Battery used exclusively for engine starting and connected to the engine charging output; this is the "starting battery."

--(B) one Group 24-equivalent size Deep Cycle battery used exclusively for powering the house load, all electronics, and all bilge pumps, and not connected to the engine charging output. This is the "house battery."

Battery switching would be done with three switches:

--an ON/OFF master disconnect for battery (A);

--an ON/OFF master disconnect for battery (B):

--an EMERGENCY TIE switch to connect house bus to engine bus to allow engine starting from battery (B) or from (A) and (B) combined.

In addition, I would use a Voltage Sensitive Relay (VSR) to automatically connect battery (B) to the engine charging current whenever the voltage in (A) was at full-charge.

The advantage of this more complicated set-up is:

--electronics are totally isolated from engine starting loads and transients; the engine start battery cannot be run down from house loads (in normal operation).

--engine starting battery always gets primary charge current exclusively so it re-charges rapidly. The starting battery is always maintained first before any current goes to recharge the house battery.

In the event of a failure of the starting battery, the house battery can provide starting current, but in normal operation it will not be used for engine starting. In normal operation the starting battery will always get plenty of charge, and you should not be in a bind for starting unless you have a failure of battery (A). If this happens you just change to battery (B) for starting.

You can buy this whole lash up in a nice integrated assembly from BEP Electronics in New Zealand for about $150.

Now, I have not actually done this conversion. And I may not do it this spring. But I have studied the situation, and this looks like the best solution for a small outboard boat which has some electronics and house loads.

If your boat use pattern is totally different than mine, you may have different needs. People who start their engine, run for ten minutes, fish all day and night with pumps, stereos, trolling motors, etc., running for hours, may have different needs in their battery set up.

You can buy batteries at any price level, from the $42 Walmart battery up to about $500 for a very premium marine super-duty battery. It is just a matter of how much you want to spend on that battery.

If I were cruising for a year in a remote area of Patagonia and had to start a diesel engine when I was 500 miles from the nearest town that had a battery for sale, I might want to spend more for the batteries than if I am trailer boating and pass a dozen Walmart stores between my house and the ramp.

Sal DiMercurio posted 02-15-2005 11:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Hold on a second there partner.
It depends on the year engine your running.
If that 225 Evinrude is a FICHT or DFI, the manual says you "MUST" use a "PAIR" of group 29s with a minimum of 675 cc-amps.
I can tell you right now, unless my batteries are at or near full charge, my engine will not fire, will turn over as if there's nothing wrong, but if it dosen't spin at a minimum of a certain rpm or higher, it aint gonna lite up.
I know right away as soon as I hit the key if my batteries are full or low.
If the engine dosen't start in the first 1-1/2 revs [ 1 second ] , the batteries are not fully charged.
You can ruin the computer in the engine by using a lessor set of batteries.
Yes, I've always felt 12 volts is 12 volts no matter where the volts are coming from, but it's the cranking amps thats specified in the owners manual.
Maybe Seahorse can enlighten us on this subject, he's the real expert.
NewportMe posted 02-15-2005 12:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for NewportMe  Send Email to NewportMe     
Thank you all. These types of discussion are great for generating knowledge. The motor is a 1988 carbed 225 nothing exotic. I just want to make a sound well informed decision. Not based on price alone but factoring in many variables. Some of these variables I had not pondered thus my request for info. Thanks again and keep the info coming
David Ratusnik posted 02-15-2005 01:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Newport- I purchased 2 650 cc amp marine Starting batteries on 03/24/01 (01). Deka brand. I'd buy the same brand again. Total cost in 01 was $108. David
LHG posted 02-15-2005 01:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Wow, Sal, a pair of Group 29's to opperate a 200 HP Ficht?
That sure isn't a selling point. Will the new 200 E-tec's require this also?

My lowly Merc 200 HP EFI's only need the standard Group 24 Walmart batteries I mentioned above. I don't know what the battery requirements are for an Optimax or Verado.

David Ratusnik posted 02-15-2005 04:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
LHG- I believe you can start the EFI's with a rope. (?) David
LHG posted 02-15-2005 05:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Not sure of that, although I know the carbed versions will, and have done so.

I think the EFI system takes a little bit of juice, as I know a very weak battery won't start them, even though it has enough power to crank the engine.

David Ratusnik posted 02-15-2005 07:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Carb V6's will start with the rope. Kits available. I was curious on the EFI -- I'm going to look into it for both Yamaha and Merc EFI's. Thanks David
jimh posted 02-15-2005 09:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The E-TEC has a very sophisticated three-phase alternator which shifts the wiring of the phases to either series or parallel (using Silicon Controlled Rectifiers regulated by the Engine Management Module) in order to optimize the voltage and current available, depending on engine speed. The E-TEC electrical design is significantly more advanced than anything on other outboards. It also uses an under-flywheel alternator, so there are no belts or pulleys, saving space, saving power lost in the belt and pulley, and reducing noise. You can pull start and run an E-TEC without a battery. There is no possibility of doing this with an OptiMax. One of the reasons for this is that the magneto-style alternator of the E-TEC is totally self-exciting, while the automotive style alternator of the OptiMax is not; it needs a battery to provide some excitation voltage.

The coils generating electrical current in an E-TEC are stationary. There are no moving contacts or brushes.

The rotor coils in an OptiMax are spinning around at about 5,000 RPM or higher, and current flows through brushes to reach them.

The Mercury OptiMax has very strict requirements for batteries. Mercury blamed many problems it had with the OptiMax on the customer or dealer for use of batteries with insufficient capacity.

If you look at an OptiMax electrical diagram you will see that a V-6 engine actually has 12-injectors operating electrically. There are 6 fuel injectors and there are 6 air injectors. Twice as many electrically operated injectors means twice as much electrical current demanded by the engine. That is why the OptiMax has poor battery charging current at low speeds, and from what I have read, at really low idle speeds is a net consumer of current from the battery. It needs a lot of electrical energy to run.

If you have an OptiMax, you definitely want to have plenty of battery power in reserve so that during starting and low idle speeds the battery voltage maintains the minimum levels demanded for operation of the engine.

For more information about generation of electrical power by outboard motors, see my article in the Reference section:

Boat Electrical Power Generation

jimh posted 02-15-2005 09:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Speaking of selling points:

The Mercury V-6 Optimax engines require a MINIMUM rating on the battery of 750-CCA or 1000-MCA (Marine Cranking Amps). Compared to the 650-CCA rating of the Ficht, this is an increase of 15-percent more battery capacity needed to start the engine per the manufacturer's specifications.

I don't think any manufacturer specifies the group size of the battery--they just specify the current. The leave the physical size up to the battery people. However, to get a 750-CCA or 1000-MCA battery, you may have to go to a Group-27 size.

So the Mercury OptiMax requires a higher battery capacity for starting than the Evinrude Ficht. This makes sense because the Optimax has 12 injectors to operate (6 fuel injectors and 6 air injectors) , while the Ficht only has six.

The E-TEC is the only direct-injection engine that will start and run without a battery.

ivansfo posted 02-16-2005 02:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for ivansfo  Send Email to ivansfo     
Good write up Jim. I just went through shopping for replacement batteries for my 135 Optimaxes. The only battery I found which meets the cranking requirements is the Interstate 24M-XHD. Same battery rigged by the Whaler dealer. It's a size 24 starting battery rated for 800CCA and 1000MCA

I wanted to go with a deep cycle/cranking battery but found none wiht the CCA requirements in size 24 nor size 27.


Moe posted 02-16-2005 03:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
The blue-top Optima 34 starting battery meets that requirement. Note that this ISN'T the D34 dual-purpose.


ivansfo posted 02-16-2005 04:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for ivansfo  Send Email to ivansfo     
You're right Moe. I forgot I did take a look at the Optima blue tops. I wasn't sure how the a group 34 compared to the standard group 24. By the dimensions, it looks to be comparable in size.

After finding out the price of the Optimas, I decided to stick with flooded cells. Cost of the Optima Blue top was more than twice as much as the standard wet cell type. So for the same price, I prefer to go through 2 sets of the regular ones.

Sheila posted 02-16-2005 09:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
Our Suzuki 200 EFI will rope-start. However, the owner's manual explains that if the electrical system isn't operating, rope-starting won't help, as the fuel pump is electric. So I guess if your starter is bad, okay, but if your battery is dead, oh well...

Battery requirement is 512 CCA.

jimh posted 07-17-2005 06:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
anthonylisske posted 07-26-2005 12:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for anthonylisske  Send Email to anthonylisske     

as far as starting EFI with a rope, I just purchased a leftover 225 Vmax yamaha with EFI. They gave me a pull rope with it. I assume they meant I could use it to start the engine. Just FYI.

bsmotril posted 07-28-2005 12:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
My 98 Opti 135 only had 10 injectors on the V6, not 12. Two fuel injectors per air rail on each head injecting fuel into the air rail. Then, a cylinder injector for each cylinder (3 per head) injecting the fuel air mix into the cylinder.
jimh posted 07-28-2005 01:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Bill--Thanks for the information about your V6 150-HP Optimax and the number of fuel and air injectors. My reference was based on an electrical schematic which showed a one to one correlation between air and fuel injectors. Perhaps that was for a high horsepower motor. I do not recall the particular model.
LHG posted 07-28-2005 05:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
For those that may be interested, I just replaced a 6 year old Walmart/Everstart brand dual cycle (starting and deep cycle) battery on my 25 Outrage, Group 24 with 675 Marine cranking amps, $60.

Since I bought the last one 6 years ago, an Everstart "Extreme", I have noticed Walmart has changed suppliers, and the new version is taller. It is actually taller than the famous BW tan battery box bottom, a fit problem. I had to buy a taller black "generic" box to put it in. It is under my full transom deck, so it doesn't show.

Walmart's marine batteries used to be made by Johnson Controls, and now, just recently, they have switched to Exide, according to labeling on the battery. It is the Exide battery that is taller than the Whaler box. Hopefully the Exide battery will be as good as the Johnson Controls was.

Are all new batteries getting taller, or is it just this particular brand

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