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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 10-10-2007
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Battery Help

I had ordered 4 Interstate 6 volt U2200 Batteries. I canceled the order only to have the marina somehow re-order them. They tell me, they can't return them. Long story short. My plans to move aboard the boat and leave next month are now on hold, due to a heart problem that I am having. My new plans call for me to move aboard this spring and travel south then. Here is my problem, what do I do with these batteries until next spring. They are not on the boat which is on the hard. I need to upgrade the battery wiring. There isn't any shore power where I keep the boat. I do have solar panels which are not installed and fear if I did install them, they would grow legs and walk away. So my question is, where should I store them and how should I maintain them and keep them charged ? Thanks for the help.
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Old 10-10-2007
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Sorry about your health problems.

The most important thing to do is to keep the batteries fully charged. If you have room for them (in a basement or garage or friend's house or ???), I'd put them on a marine smart charger and leave them that way until you need them.

Check their fluid level every few weeks. An investment in 12 Water Miser or Hydrocaps would be well worth it as well, as these GREATLY reduce water loss.

If you don't already have a suitable charger, the Iota brand is an excellent choice. They come in a variety of sizes, from about 30A up to 90A, and are very cost effective. They use PWM technology which will keep your batteries in tip top shape.

For the purpose of just maintaining them, any size charger will do. But, if you need a charger for the boat, I'd buy one of the appropriate size. The 55A or 75A models would be fine for your 4 batteries (I'm assuming you're going to use them as one large house bank....about 450AH total @ 12VDC). You can find them on eBay, and Jackrabbit Marine had some good deals on them a few months ago. Be sure to get the IQ-4 smart charge option with any Iota charger you buy ($35).

Good luck with your plans.

Bill
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Take them home, keep them from freezing and maybe trickle charge them once a month over the winter. Get a good charger.

They don't have to be kept fully charged, just kept from discharging too much.
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Old 10-10-2007
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Freesail - hope you feel better soon and get on with your plans.

Why not ask the marina to keep them till the spring? It's a service the marina I'm at offers.
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The marina wants $35 per battery to keep them charged. It's the principal since they should have cancelled the order to begin with. I rather not give them more money. and Thanks for the get well.
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Ouch, $35 sounds high. I guess you're bringing them home and like it was mentioned, just give them a charge a few times from now till spring.
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I guess I need to make or buy some short battery cables to wire the batteries together to charge them. I sold my home so I don't have a basement or garage at present. I can make room in a closet and place the batteries in a battery box which I also need to buy. Looks like I may end up spending $35 per battery just to get them ready to charge.
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you don't need to wire them together. Actually that would be the one thing not to do. Just once a month put one at a time on the charger for an overnight charge. Trickle rate, low like 2 amps. They will be fine. They will slowly discharge themselves so a little charge once in a while is enough.

I would get some sort of box to put them in or on just to keep any thing from the battery from getting on the floor. Make sure they have sufficient ventilation when charging. The fumes can be explosive. Just don't leave a place for the fumes to gather such as in a box and you will be fine.

You can store them in a closet just leave the door open overnight when they are charging.
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They're 6V batteries. If you have a 12V charger, you'd better wire them together (2 in series) for charging. I'm not sure why you wouldn't want to wire them 2 in series x 2 in parallel and keep them all charged at the same time. If they're all brand new batteries, you shouldn't have a problem with that, AFAIK.

Last edited by CapnHand; 10-10-2007 at 03:59 PM.
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"a little charge once in a while is enough"

No, sorry, that's NOT enough. It might be OK for AGMs and gels, but flooded batteries have a high self-discharge rate and need to have a float charge kept on them constantly.

The thing which kills batteries fastest is sulfation. Batteries begin to sulfate from the time they leave the factory. Even brand new batteries sometimes vary greatly in their capacity, due principally to their state of sulfation.

The easiest way to prevent lead sulfate crystals (PbSO4) from forming on the positive plates of your batteries is to keep them FULLY CHARGED at all times. Flooded batteries need a float charge between 13.2 and 13.5VDC. Kicking the voltage up every month or two above 14.4VDC isn't a bad idea either. Some chargers do this automatically.

The PWM (pulse width modulation) charging design of the Iotas and some others is also helpful in achieving, and maintaining, a full charge.

These batteries are expensive. I wouldn't hesitate to spend $35 a battery to set up your storage/charging routine.

You don't need a special battery box, unless you need them for the boat. If so, Blue Sea systems makes nice boxes for golf-cart size batteries...about $80 each pair.

You will need proper connecting cables when you install the batteries on your boat. Why not get them now?

You'll need four cables, about 5 to 8" long. Size 00 marine battery cable is best. For each battery pair, connect a cable between the positive pole on one battery and the negative pole on the other. Now you have two 12V batteries. Now, connect the two pairs in parallel, using two cables: positive to positive and negative to negative. Now you have one big 12V bank.

Connect a smart battery charger, and you're golden.

Bill
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