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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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  #1  
Old 07-14-2010
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Need a charger - recommendations?

Hey all:

Got a boat recently - Catalina 25 - and the battery seems okay, but the charger looks quite antique. I was charging the battery the other day and the meter on the charger was jumping from nothing to 4 amps then back again. This is truly a basic meter that is old, and I'd like to get something like I've seen that indicates the charge of the battery, has auto shut-off, etc.

My main question is do I need to pay more money and get a marine-specific charger via West Marine or somewhere, or would a charger from an auto parts store with the same apparent features be fine?

My battery is an Exide Nautilus, NC-24, 625 MCA, 500 CCA, 70 Amp/Hr. Because I am a wood-and-fiberglass kinda guy, I have a basic understanding of wiring stuff but the numbers don't mean a lot to me (I mean, i know that CCA is cold cranking amps, etc., but not sure how this info applies when looking for a charger and what I need.) So I'm shooting in the dark.

Would this O'Reilly Auto Parts charger (or something similar) be fine? Or what would you recommend I look for? I can't believe I need to get the latest thing at West Marine.

from the website.....


Schumacher - Battery Charger
Part Number: SS51A-PE
Line: SHU

* Ship 'N ShoreTM
* 10 Amp
* Fully Automatic

Detailed Description

This Ship 'N Shore model is a state-of-the-art charger for boats and RVs with deep-cycle batteries. Circuit-controlled, fully automatic. Never worry about overcharging. Use it for onshore charging needs. Can also be switched to manual mode for special uses. For conventional 12 volt batteries.

* 10 amp fast charge - for everyday charging needs. Charges a deep-cycle battery in 7 to 11 hours; an automotive battery in 3 to 5 hours.
* Fully automatic - will not overcharge batteries.
* Manual Operation.
* Maintains charge.
* LED - Full Charge indicator.
* Reverse hookup safeguard.
* Convenient carrying handle.

Thanks much,
Carlos
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Old 07-14-2010
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Get a Iota charger. Far more reasonably priced than the stuff at WM.
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Carlos,

It looks like you are looking for a portable charger. Both Schumacher and Vector make decent products that are reasonably priced. Try to find one that has an equalization charge capability if you want a well rounded charger. Batteries can become sulfated over time and an occasional equalization charge will recover them. Most manufacturers do NOT include an Eq charge because the higher voltage can be destructive, even hazardous if not carefully monitored.
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Old 07-14-2010
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If you want a portable charger, it's hard to beat the West Marine chargers, particularly the 30A model which has an equalization cycle option. They sell for about $129, but WM puts them on sale from time-to-time for $89. WEST MARINE Charger at West Marine

For a fixed charger, the Iota's are hard to beat, but if your boat has gasoline aboard I'd be a little hesitant to recommend an Iota (though they are wonderful and under normal operating conditions do not have anything which sparks).

Bill
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Just looked at the West Marine video from the link provided by btray - very nice charger. It looks like they were working with Schumacher a well regarded automotive charger manufacturer. I wish they were available when I bought my portable charger!

I would add to Bill's always thoughtful advise to look at the 15A version as well if you don't want to pay the price of the 30A. I find that even with my 70A fixed charger, there are very few hours that most reasonably cared-for batts (not discharged more than 50%) will accept much more than 20A anyway and that is in a 630Ah bank.
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Wayne...

Just a note re: the WM portable chargers:

Only the 30A model has the equalization mode. The smaller ones don't. For the minor cost diff, I'd certainly go for the 30A model.

B.
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BTW, the 30amp charger is probably overkill for a 70 amp-hour battery.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Wayne...

Just a note re: the WM portable chargers:

Only the 30A model has the equalization mode. The smaller ones don't. For the minor cost diff, I'd certainly go for the 30A model.

B.
Yep - I hadn't realized that it didn't have Eq. I wouldn't give up the Eq charge. I agree - it's a great portable charger, particularly if it can be had for $89.
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Old 07-15-2010
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I just picked one up from the Home depot. Cheapy black and decker model. Works for what I need, not many electronics on my boat. $50.
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Old 07-16-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Wayne...

Just a note re: the WM portable chargers:

Only the 30A model has the equalization mode. The smaller ones don't. For the minor cost diff, I'd certainly go for the 30A model.

B.
Thanks all for the suggestions. I just bought the 15 amp model which does have the equalization feature. Not on sale, though.

Feels like a lot of charger, but I'm sure it will be good for a long time. Sure beats the old hum-box with the jumping needle.

Carlos
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