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juggleandhope 07-18-2013 11:04 AM

Dead Battery?
After buying my first sailboat last year I mistreated the battery. I never charged it off the boat (I'm on a mooring) and barely ran the outboard engine to power the alternator. This year it wouldn't start (luckily it has manual pull also). I bought a plug-in recharger and let it run a couple days but it still wouldn't start the engine. I bought a multimeter and it shows 12.6v when touched to the 2 terminals. Should I buy a new battery or is it possible I've got something hooked up wrong?

I plan to monthly do a day long plug-in and also to use a 5w solar cell for trickle-charging once I've got a working battery.

Skipper Jer 07-18-2013 11:23 AM

Re: Dead Battery?
When you say it won't start, does the engine go er-er-er or just click click click? ;)

Does the engine turn over slowly or not at all? Are all of the contacts between the battery and engine clean and tight? Are the wires between the battery and engine in good shape? Sometimes the copper corrodes inside the insulation to a point where there is a large voltage drop across the wire, ie, the juice doesn't flow.

Before you send the battery to the great recycling center in the sky, take it off the boat, check the water level in the cells and if needed add DISTILLED water to the battery then charge it.

az_r2d1 07-18-2013 11:29 AM

Re: Dead Battery?
Check voltage while you try to start it and see how far it drops.

Also, try to find out how old the battery is. Should have some sticker on it with manufacture date.

juggleandhope 07-18-2013 11:36 AM

Re: Dead Battery?
Thanks for the replies and the help trouble-shooting.

The battery was bought new in July of last year.

When I turn the key on the electric start there's only silence.

Will try the distilled water fix if it's clear how to get the top open. Will go look at it again today and also use the multimeter while someone else turns the key.

Skipper Jer 07-18-2013 11:58 AM

Re: Dead Battery?
Silence at the turn of the key? That sounds like an open circuit. Measure the voltage at the starter solenoid, I think that thing has 3 or 4 terminals, 1 terminal connected to the battery by a heavy wire, one connected to the starter again by a heavy wire and one connected to the key switch. Measure the voltage at the small terminal as the key is
turned, probably takes two people, a key turner and a measurer. Also measure the voltage across the battery when you turn the key, it shouldn't drop to zero when the key is turned.

If you decide to use the ohm function on the multimeter, disconnect the battery first.

Capt Len 07-18-2013 12:20 PM

Re: Dead Battery?
If still silent, try jumping the solenoid directly./ The heavy wire from battery to the wire or post to starter.If only sparks ,its the starter. If it whirrs, look at the solenoid or wire from key.Test the solenoid by shorting big wire to start terminal.Usually a 25 cent coin works.

Skipper Jer 07-18-2013 12:24 PM

Re: Dead Battery?
He could take the battery out of his car/truck and try it on the boat.

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