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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 03-13-2013
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cranking battery

The cranking battery on my 35`saga died over the winter, I replaced it and the new one died as well. The boat is on shore power. I can't think of anything that is drawing on this battery? Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks
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Re: cranking battery

What type of battery is it?

The simple answer could be that batteries do not have infinite lives and she's done.

Disconnected batteries all have self discharge rates, with flooded cell being the highest. They must be routinely charged over the winter. Gels and AGMs have slow discharge rates and, while still a good idea to keep topped up, are much easier to do so.

If you are saying that you left it plugged into shore power all winter, again, it just may be too old. If fairly new, I would begin to ask the compatibility of your charging system and battery type. Some mistakenly replace their battery without regard to the previous type and their chargers ruin the new batt.

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Last edited by Minnewaska; 03-13-2013 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 03-13-2013
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Re: cranking battery

If it's plugged in and on the charger you'll need to look to the charger, and pry open the caps and see if the electrolyte has boiled off.

Otherwise, you'll have to define 'died' so the experts can help.
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Re: cranking battery

Thanks, the cranking battery is new. The boat is on shore power which keeps the house batteries charged. Is it normal for the cranking battery to also be charged in this way? I think the cranking battery is only used for starting the engine? There should be no drain on it when the boat is not used?
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Re: cranking battery

Batteries self discharge 2% or so a month.

Still, it depends on how your charger 'charging the house bank' is set up - what keeps the charger from also charging your start battery (switch, no connection etc..).

If it truly is separate you need to look for a ground in your start circuit. Start with the mark 1 eyeball looking for bare wires, and progress through any and everything on the boat (bilge pumps are a prime source).
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Re: cranking battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by beefvet View Post
Thanks, the cranking battery is new. The boat is on shore power which keeps the house batteries charged. Is it normal for the cranking battery to also be charged in this way? I think the cranking battery is only used for starting the engine? There should be no drain on it when the boat is not used?

You need to explain how it is wired. And how the start battery is charged.

Try these:

Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams This is a very good basic primer for boat system wiring: Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams

This is another very good basic primer for boat system wiring: The 1-2-B Switch by Maine Sail (brings together a lot of what this subject is all about)
1/BOTH/2/OFF Switches Thoughts & Musings - SailboatOwners.com
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Re: cranking battery

Also what tyoe of batteries? Are they matched? All wet cells, AGMs or Gells? All deep cycle?
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Re: cranking battery

Sorry, the boat is a 1000 miles away, and kinda new to us. The batteries are all wet cell. 1 SB 12v , 4 HB 6v. They are charged through the in house inverter. I know the HB are being charged but I guess the SB is not. I will be at he boat in a couple of days to try and sort it out. Thanks for your help.
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Old 03-13-2013
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Re: cranking battery

The inverter /charger, at least any I have seen or installed, has a single DC output which is also its DC input. For it to also charge the start battery you would need to have a device like an Echo Charge, Balmar DuoCharge, or an ACR or other type of combiner. If you do not have one of these devices you would have to leave the main battery switch in both for the start battery to receive a charge.

Could this be the issue?
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Old 03-13-2013
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Re: cranking battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by beefvet View Post
Sorry, the boat is a 1000 miles away, and kinda new to us. The batteries are all wet cell. 1 SB 12v , 4 HB 6v. They are charged through the in house inverter. I know the HB are being charged but I guess the SB is not. I will be at he boat in a couple of days to try and sort it out. Thanks for your help.
I'm dubious. An inverter takes 12v DC from the batteries and converts it to 110v AC. If your battery charger is being run off of the inverter, you have a real problem.

As others have said, I think you should map out your charging circuit. I'm guessing that you have a battery charger in there somewhere, and what kind it is and how it is set up will make a difference.

More sleuthing is in order...
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