Battery 1 not starting engine - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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  • 1 Post By btrayfors
  • 1 Post By erps
  • 1 Post By donradclife
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Old 09-22-2011
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Battery 1 not starting engine

I have a Mariner 28 equipped with 2 brand new batteries. Under normal operation I start the engine with the battery switch on "both" and then switch to battery 2 while under sail for house power preserving battery 1 to start the engine.

Recently I left battery 2 on overnight and drained the battery. Went to start the engine on battery 1 and heard the awful "click" sound. Engine would not turn over.

Luckily I keep a unit on board to start the engine in just such a circumstance. Both batteries fully charged via the engine.

However, the engine will not start with battery 1. Not even a "click" sound. Battery 1 will supply house power and reads fully charged. I have an AC charger on board as well and battery 1 reads fully charged.

Battery 2 starts the engine just fine.

Any suggestions?
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Old 09-22-2011
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Bad connections in circuit between battery #1 and the switch, a bad switch, or a bad ground connection.

Another possibility: if you connect the batteries together only while starting then immediately switch to battery #2, battery #1 may not be getting enough charge to overcome it's self-discharge rate. If it's been less than fully charged, it could have sulfated badly and lost a great deal of capacity....even if it's "new".
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Last edited by btrayfors; 09-22-2011 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 09-22-2011
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I agree with Bill. To test that theory, switch to battery 1. Turn on a house lamp. Crank the motor. If the house lamp does not go out or very dim, the circut between #1 and starter has high resistance. If the lamp goes out, #1 may be shot.
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Old 09-22-2011
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Better yet, put a voltmeter across the terminals of the battery--not the terminal wires, the posts themselves. Have a friend try to crank the engine for two or three seconds.

If the voltage drops below 10v, replace the battery. If the voltage is above 10v, start moving the positive meter probe up the wiring to the starter, and test on each side of every junction and switch. Wherever you find that the voltage drops more than 0.4 volts across a junction, wire, or switch, you need to clean or replace it. If you don't find the voltage drop on the positive side, look on the ground side.

Another clue is that the problem area will get warm.
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Old 09-25-2011
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Turned on battery 1 then turned on the lights. Cranked the engine and the lights went out. Laid a volt meter across the terminals had the wife crank the engine. Voltmeter went to zero.

Took the battery to West Marine Where they tested it an determined it was bad.

Bought the battery in June 2011! Bad by September. Exide was the brand name.
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Old 09-26-2011
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Our start battery went bad after only 16 months. Took it over to the point of sale, they tested it, it was bad, rep came by later in the day and left a new battery, no questions, no money or paperwork changed hands. Great customer service from both the store and the battery maker... a thing of beauty.
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Old 09-26-2011
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While batteries can fail I would double check your system wiring to make sure the switch is doing what you think it is doing.

You very well could have been using that starting battery as your house bank without knowing it and this can lead to very short life with thin plate batteries..? Either way that battery should be well within warranty..
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Old 09-26-2011
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The boat was in Maine at the beginniing of the season. Handy Boat put the batteries in. Boat is now in the Chesapeake. Bought the new battery from West Marine at Herrington Harbor. In the process I am sure I managed myself out of the warranty. Can't expect West Marine to make right what Handys installed. I am too far away to take the issue up with Handy's.

I have verified that both batteries are getting properly charged via the engine and AC charger I use at the slip.

Thanks for all the comments.
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