Battery mystery. Lost all power. Why? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 06-12-2014 Thread Starter
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Battery mystery. Lost all power. Why?

This is going to be hard to describe. I'll try to write it in order to be clear.

1. Removed two 98 ah gel batteries for winter
2. Took them to battery shop couple days ago to get checked and charged. One was at 12.39 other 12.80. Charged to 13.15. Ran load test, they both were good.

3. Installed batteries myself. Complicated system.
-has two red boxes with fuses next to 1,2,all switch.
-three fat red wires, one fat black wire. Labelled battery 1,2. Two fat red labelled 1, 1 fat red battery two. Fat black labelled 1.
-short double ended fat black wire. Unlabeled. Was told it connected the batteries.
- two sets of thin red and black wires. One labelled engine starter.
4. Attached two fat red and one small red on bat 1. One fat red one small red batt 2. Small blacks on both, one fat black on batt one. Short double ender connecting battery negative terminal.
5. Electric start and trim engine.
6. Turned red switch to all
7. Electronic lowered and started engine.
8. Motored to slip.
9. Turned engine off started trimming up and all power died. No lights, no motor no electronics.
10. Plugged into shore power. Charger glowed red(charging) or five minutes then turned green(ready). Still no power.
11. Tried red switch in 1,2 and all. Nothing.
12. Half hour later everything works. But I turned it all off out of caution so I don't fry anything until problem solved.

Detectives? I've said before I am poor at electronics. I do have a book on marine electronics I'm going to start reading.

Side note. Pull start motors seem superior at this point. My electric ignition came with emergency cord but still. Seems to me like there should be one permanently installed. What if you are anchored out and your batteries die?


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Last edited by northoceanbeach; 06-12-2014 at 10:30 PM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-12-2014
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Re: Battery mystery. Lost all power. Why?

The best thing is to trace all wires from the battery and battery switch and draw a picture of how they are connected and what they are connected to. That will make it easier to understand.

Do you have an electrical meter? It sounds like your 1/2/all switch could be failing. A meter testing for connectivity would be able to debug this.

My electric start outboard also has a pullcord. It was a Tohatsu/Nissan.

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post #3 of 16 Old 06-13-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Battery mystery. Lost all power. Why?

Ok. I'll draw.

Fwiw. I don't think anything is failing. I think it's me. I think I did something wrong. Of course we can't rule anything out, but I would guess I did something wrong.

Maybe with I connected the batteries together and made a 24 volt system?


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post #4 of 16 Old 06-13-2014
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Re: Battery mystery. Lost all power. Why?

Really could use pictures w/those labels to help.
On another note, is this the boat you want to sail to SF on? It has an outboard?

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post #5 of 16 Old 06-13-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Battery mystery. Lost all power. Why?

Pictures. Coming. Same boat. I'm told by people up here that the boat is up to the trip.


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post #6 of 16 Old 06-13-2014
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Re: Battery mystery. Lost all power. Why?

The 1-2-All switch would imply the two batteries are isolated from each other, but the short cable would suggest they are connected in series. One of the switch posts may be unused, but a good diagram and description of what you want (eg. batts isolated or not, is one the house and one the start batt and the switch to be able to start from the house, etc) is the only way anyone can debug this thing.

The symptom of working fine and then not at all would cause me to look for poor or corroded connections first. Start at the battery terminals you just installed. Did you clean them all first? Then keep moving backward, look inside switches, etc.


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post #7 of 16 Old 06-13-2014
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Re: Battery mystery. Lost all power. Why?

You have an outboard engine? I don't know if they can charge more then one battery. Yes, we need photos to see this mess.. I posted the whole project I've been doing on my boat. with a New Blue Seas battery switch that keeps the 2 banks isolated and I now have a blue seas Automatic charging relay that really is slick in operation!
Sounds like because you're using words like fat red, and black instead of positive and negative you may be confused. 2 -12 volt batteries need to in parallel. meaning the 2 negatives are black and both go to engine block, and house panel negative.

OH, and a warning! Many battery switches have a terminal marked "common" It's not common as in 120 volt where the white is common to neutral/ground It means common to both hot inputs "hot"

DON'T TAKE A BATTERY SWITCH COMMON TO NEGATIVE/GROUND IT WOULD BE A BAD DAY!

Does this help give you the mental picture?
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Last edited by deniseO30; 06-13-2014 at 08:41 AM.
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-13-2014
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Re: Battery mystery. Lost all power. Why?

Make sure your battery cables are tight. All it takes is for one to be a little loose, you'd be surprised.

edit: Bad battery switch is the other option, but it really sounds as simply as one of those, don't overthink it.

Last edited by CapnBones; 06-13-2014 at 09:05 AM.
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-13-2014
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Re: Battery mystery. Lost all power. Why?

This may help, seems like OP has an outboard

Denise, Bristol PA, Oday 30. On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
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post #10 of 16 Old 06-13-2014
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Re: Battery mystery. Lost all power. Why?

Difficult to tell for sure without diagram and/or pics, but it sounds like you connected things up right. You're lucky the wires were well labeled! And just to confirm, the short heavy black wire would go between the negatives on each battery (see Denise's drawing above). And it doesn't sound like you did anything wrong operations wise. It sounds like the alternator was powering things when you shut it down. My first guess would also be a bad battery switch.

Last edited by JimsCAL; 06-13-2014 at 09:10 AM.
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