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  #1  
Old 02-12-2008
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Electrical system and battery questions.

Well, my girlfriend and I went back down to the boat last Friday for our second weekend aboard. When we got there, all was well and we stayed that night on the boat without any problems.

Then nest morning we got up to a beautiful day and a nice breeze. We decided to go out for a sail. I went to crank the engine to warm her up and when I did she tried to turn over a few times then quit. Uh-oh.

I tried a few more times and decided that thte batterries were dead. But how, she had been plugged in all week, or so I though. I first checked the shore power connection and yep, wasnt hooked in correctly. So the previous night, we drained the batteries.

Now I feel dumb, but the owners told me they always leave the battery selector on both. I know this is a no-no but for the first week I stuck to it till I could take a closer look at teverything. Now I regret it.

Well, I plug it in and we go for a walk and come back a couple hours later and they were not charged, I knew they wouldnt be but I had to try. I checked the water in the batteries and I'll be darned if they were dry. I know this is bad but does it ruin a battery?
I quickly filled them and prayed.

Well, I let the batteries charge overnight and still in the morning they were not back to life.

Went to Walmart and purchased a new "Everlast" or "Duralast" battery. The oversized one that is yellow. (sorry I cant recall) Brought ti back to the boat and hooked it up and still it wouldnt crank. Then an old geezer (my slip neighbor) told me that they done come charged all the way. So I left them there to charge all week hoping that they will be better this weekend.

So, one question:

If a battery runs dry (Im not sure how long it was dry, but they cranked her up last weekend) can I kiss them goodbye?
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  #2  
Old 02-12-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perithead View Post
Went to Walmart and purchased a new "Everlast" or "Duralast" battery. The oversized one that is yellow. (sorry I cant recall) Brought ti back to the boat and hooked it up and still it wouldnt crank. Then an old geezer (my slip neighbor) told me that they done come charged all the way. So I left them there to charge all week hoping that they will be better this weekend.

So, one question:

If a battery runs dry (Im not sure how long it was dry, but they cranked her up last weekend) can I kiss them goodbye?
If you went to Walmart, you got an Everstart AKA Neverstart. I own an auto repair shop, and I tell people that a Neverstart should come with free towing. I replace Neverstarts 2:1 over any other battery brand, and they never come in for a slow crank, it's a no crank with no warning.

Whether a battery lives or dies depends on how dry. Just down to the tops of the plates, it will probably live. Bone dry just makes it lighter when you haul it to the recycler.

If the battery boiled dry, you have to ask why. Make sure that your battery charger isn't overcharging. I would aslo bet that your no crank situation you have after replacing the battery isn't due to a discharged battery. Your neighbor is right, they don't come with a full charge. They do come with at least an 80% charge. If they sold discharged batteries, they would all come right back to the store as defective. The guy changing his battery in the walmart parking lot doesn't want to hear about his new battery needing a charge.
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Old 02-12-2008
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In my experience when a battery charges and the water "boils off" it generally leaves behind an ever-strengthening acid mix. I don't really know what would happen to this acid when it finally becomes pure.

If a battery needs topping up it should be only with distilled water and acid should not be added. If there is no more acid then whatever is in the battery should be drained and a properly constituted concentration should be put in. However, by this time the experts will probably want to start discussing sulphation and other similar terminal diseases.

Also in my experience, new batteries are generally charged enough to start an engine so I would reckon you have other issues such as loose connections or corrosion in the connectors or bad earths. A few years ago I bought a battery that was empty (no acid) and the acid was supplied in bottles. The instructions said to add the acid and leave standing for an hour and guess what? The battery hissed and boiled and after an hour it was able to crank the engine without being charged.

Good luck and I hope you don't return to another "dead" boat next weekend.

Andre
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Old 02-13-2008
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Ive seen a thread on batteries around here...some place ..
It can be a very detailed subject.

If you have or can borrow a volt and a milli amp meter to see if you may have a draw in the circut, Dry or very low fluid in a battery may not be a issue ..but it will take a very slow charge 2 amp or less to bring it back .

Do you have a charger on the batteries on the 110 volt side and have you checked to see if it is putting out ..13 volts give or take ....

If you have a volt meter not a amp meter is sometimes better ..you can kill the switch and see if thermight be a power draw . Trying to keep it simple for you .a meter out side the line is better to use .

See if some one around you has a battery tester . borrow ,rent .
disconect them and it will tell you the condition..most tester s will tell you if the charging system is working properly weather it be a outside source ,charger or the alternater.

If it has a 'trickle" charger is it working ?
Think of your electrical circuits like water pipes ..the electrons run in them instead ...they go in and in DC ..mostly 12 volts the electrons ( water ) has to come back to source aka ...battery .
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Old 02-13-2008
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Hello,

To follow up on Danny33's post, you have some work ahead of you.

No offense, but it seems like you don't know much (if anything) about electrical systems. So, before you proceed, you (we) need to know:
-how many batteries you have
-how are they configured (start bank, house bank, just 2 batteries with a simple off, 1, all, 2 switch, etc.)
-do you have a charger (yes)? is it working? How much power is it putting out?
-does your boat have a shore power connection (yes)? Is it connected? Is it working? does it have an A/C system, or just A/C to D/C?
-what voltage level does your battery(ies) have?

Lastly, if you bought a new battery and installed it correctly, it should have more than enough power to start your engine. If it doesn't, then either the battery is bad (not likely), you didn't install it correctly, or something is wrong with your engine or wiring.

Again, I'm not trying to insult you, but if you own a Good Old Boat, and don't have a boat load of money, you need to become more knowledgeable in your ship's systems.

Good luck,
Barry
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Old 02-13-2008
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I would keep a very close eye on that battery charger because of the dried cells. Cells with levels below the top of the plates will accelerate the death of the battery for sure, but it does not mean they go bad right away. Depending on how dry the batteries were, they might loose their charge quickly, etc.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to question your knowledge or anything, but with electrical systems you have to start with the very, very, very basics.......first of all, with the shore power connected, do you have voltage on your AC/DC or whatever system you have? If so, then is the charger on?...just because you have shore power on, it does not mean that the charger is on. Typically it will have it's own circuit that you need to "turn-on", in order for it to work.

Second, if it is on, what voltage it's putting out to the batteries? Depending on the type of battery that you have, the charging voltage level will be different.

If you have proper voltage, let them charge, until you reach "float voltage" point. Most chargers now a days will tell you when they reach that point.

You might have something else going on, since a new battery, even if it has been on a rack for some time, should start your engine. Doesn't mean that it will always, but generaly speaking, it should. First make sure that your charging system is working.
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