The boat has a wood battery tray which is sized for a Group 31 battery. The battery is held down by a bungie cord secured to the wood battery tray. There's nothing to contain battery acid if the battery happened to leak. The battery is located in a locker under a settee. It is connected to a 6 amp charger (ProSport6). There's only the one battery. The engine is a 9.9hp outboard, so it doesn't require much juice to start.
I see several problems with the current setup:
1. The battery should be in a proper battery box to protect against spills. I'm planning to buy a Tempo brand box.
You need to secure the battery box to prevent it from moving.
2. I'd like to have a second battery which would primarily be used as a back-up (I don't want to run out of juice for the VHF, running lights and GPS because we've been playing the radio for hours the night prior), but there isn't room in the locker under the settee seat for a second battery.
Try to keep the two batteries fairly close together. This will simplify wiring as well as charging them.
3. There may be an issue with accumulation of hydrogen from charging the battery in the current locker - it's an enclosed space. Last year I tried to just remember to take the cover off the locker after connecting to shore power, but it's not an ideal system.
Hydrogen is remarkably good at escaping any ventilated space. Put a small louver type vent in the side of the locker.
2. Given the limited space available in the current under-seat locker, could I install my second battery in the comparable locker on the opposite settee? (This would require a battery cable run of about 8 feet once all the corners were rounded). The batteries would be electrically connected by a battery combiner for charging and otherwise separated and selected by switch.
3. Would I need a more powerful charger in this scenario?
Closer would be better. If you could find a central location that would fit both batteries that might be even better, since it'd get the weight of the batteries down lower and that is always good.
Yes, a more powerful charger is probably a good idea. You probably want at least a 20 amp charger, since your battery bank will be about 200 amp-hours (100 or so per Group 31 battery), and the charger should be at least 10% of the battery capacity in amperage. A 40 amp charger would be better, since it would allow you to re-charge the batteries more easily, and the price difference isn't that big.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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