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  #1  
Old 02-18-2008
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Battery Chargers

For those of you who erad my post last week where I had trouble with what I believed to be dead batteries on my boat, as it turns out that was the case. But I didnt figure it out quite as quickly as I would have liked too.

My girlfriend and I got down to the boat on Friday hoping that batteries would be charged by the chargers that are one the boat (not sure what kind they are). Well, they hadnt been charging the batteries for some odd reason. Maybe they are broken, maybe a bad connection somewhere. Honestly I do not care to know what the problem is exactly right now. I really just think i should get new chargers or hopefully just a charger.

Reasons being:

I am not sure exactly what kind of chargers they are. I am sure that they say AUTOMOTIVE chargers on it. (I just bought this boat about a month ago) That is reason one. There are two seperate chargers on the boat, each charging a cranking battery. The chargers have no light or anything to let me know that they are charging the batteries while I am hooked into my shore power.

I brought down a charger from home and plugged it in a let the batteries charge at 2 amps all night and the next morning she fired right up boy was I relieved. But bad weather was int he forecast and I needed to get home to was the 500.

What I would like to do is:
-Get rid of one starting battery and install a house bank. Not sure if one house battery or a series of smaller ones, probably the latter.
-Possibly install one charger that will charge both my starting battery and my house bank batteries, and let me know they are doing so. By way of a digital readout on the charger or elsewhere or at least a light that comes on when they are active.

I have looked in the WM 2008 catalog for chargers but I am not really sure which one I need for my particualr application. If anyone could steer me in the right direction of what I should look for in a charger or what chargers are good for this I would appreciate it. I do not need anything really expensive just something that will get the job done and last.
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Old 02-18-2008
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Perit...do you know what size your present batteries are? What space do you have available for your new "house bank". How will your house bank be used? In other words what is your typical DC electrical use going forward?
Instruments? Lights? Stereo? Refrigerator? etc.
Only when you know the size of your needs can you properly put together a house bank and only when you know your house bank size can you select a proper charger that will maintain the batteries properly.

Also...Do you have a standard shore power connection to the dock and an AC electrical panel in the boat that a new charger can be wired in to? How is the existing charger plugged in to get shore power?
With a little more info, we can help get you set up right and at a minimal cost.
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Old 02-18-2008
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Perithead.

If you cant get to a volt meter ...take your charger out of the boat ,or get the charger home ,plug it in and see if you get a spark on the clamps when you touch them together. Just dont do it on the boat incase there are fumes near by. just kinda scrape then together and there should be sparks . not real good for the charger but , you can find out .

If you have a NAPA parts store near by check them out ! They useally carry a little bit better parts . Most of the people that work in them are fairly sharp and will help you out . I ve had them find parts they normally dont carry and get them for me .

I wont know the people down there But I ve had great experience with themevery where I ve been !
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Old 02-18-2008
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camaraderie- I currently have two of the same batterries one the boat. They are Everstart MAXX Marine deep cycle/starting 875 ca/125 am hours, 205 reserve. These are fairly large batteries and I think if I tried i could fit 3 of these batteries in a good spot all together(I know I do not want 3 statring batterries I am just giving you an idea of space)

I will use them to power lights in the cabin which I plan on switching to LED. No refrigaration. A stereo system with 4 standard speakers. Also my nav lights which will be LED. Then just really bilge pu,ps and a couple small fans in the cabin. Then there is my water pressure pump for my fresh water. I believe that is about it although I am thinking about adding some spreader lights.

My shore power cord comes in and there is an AC panel. The chargers are actually plugged into a socket that is wired straight from the AC shore power(it doesnt go to my AC panel and then back to the socket, I am almost positive) The socket worked without having my main AC breaker turned on.
So this makes me think that the chargers may be bad.

Yes, I do have an AC panel that the new charger can be wired into.

Danny- I think I want a new charger all together so I really dont think I will test the old ones on the boat. I dont think they are meant to do what they are being used for.
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Old 02-18-2008
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You really should fix those outlets, so that they go through the AC panel and breaker on the boat, otherwise, they're serious electrocution and fire risk.
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Hang in there mate! I would skip the NAPA store and go to the local westmarine/boatersworld, pick up a charger that has leads that go to (2) batteries which should conprise your single bank. You will spend much less on the charger (<150.00) then you will on all those LED upgrades. Check you batteries at the NAPA store, they can load test them and let you know if you need to replace them, if there bad, try taking them back to Walmart where everstarts are sold and get your prorate $ towords you new 2 batteries. Before you load test the old ones, fill the cells to the top mark with distilled water if needed. Your Watkins probably has a diesel inboard so maybe 1 battery should be a cranking battery, the other a deep cell...read up, there is plenty of good info all over the web and this great site! Good luck from a fellow Watkins owner.
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Perit...
Your amp hour demands are pretty light...probably on the order of just 20-30 amp hours per day so you don't need a big bank of batteries or a big charging system. Sounds like you have about a group 31 size battery there now and REAL deep cycle group 31's give you about 100AMP hours at the 20 hour rate...and you can use 50 of those before you need to recharge. This would be the equivilent of 2 days on the boat before a recharge is needed with ONE group 31 as a house bank. If you want more...you could add a second group31 for 200 amp hours...a single 4D size for about 150 AH's or a group 8D for 250 amp hours. Your choice...but a single battery will make cabling/wiring simpler and less costly so I suggest ONE 31/4D or 8D depending on your needs and room. The starter battery can be ANY automotive starting battery. Given your light use, I think around a 20-30amp 3 stage charge is sufficient for your needs. The IOTA DLS30 would be a good, economical choice. Get a Xantrex echo-charger to simply keep your starter battery charged without a lot of hassle. About $250 for both. You aren't into heavy cruising use so any decent deep cycle battery will do. Don't pay West marine prices...but don't look to WalMart house brands either! Deka, East Penn and Interstate all make decent deep cycles and can be found at your local auto store or battery distributor.

BTW...whatever you do...do NOT use an automotive battery charger. I happened to be the slip next to a guy who did that and the heat of the fire melted my cabin windows on my O-day 32.
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Old 02-18-2008
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SD- I agree with you, so should I cut out the outlet and just run it to my AC panel and then back to my new charger with the proper connections?

camradarie- If your assumption of the group 31 battery, which I will assume it is because I do not know, then you are saying I could just get another group 31 battery and that would be all I need in my bank?
Both of these batteries are [I]starting[I] batteries. I thought that it would be best to have a battery that is made for more of the lights and ect. (not things that demand a great surge of power at once). Or will a starting battery work? I have 2 of the same exact batteries in the boat now but was planning on buying a battery for the "house" needs.

Should I?
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Old 02-19-2008
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Perithead-

I would re-wire it so that the outlet is coming off of a breaker on the AC panel. Then I would wire the charger off the outlet. This way, the charger is GFCI protected via the outlet, provided the outlet is a GFCI outlet. That would make the system safer and easier to use.
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Old 02-19-2008
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Perit ...you said:
"If your assumption of the group 31 battery, which I will assume it is because I do not know, then you are saying I could just get another group 31 battery and that would be all I need in my bank?
Both of these batteries are [i]starting[i] batteries. I thought that it would be best to have a battery that is made for more of the lights and ect. (not things that demand a great surge of power at once). Or will a starting battery work? I have 2 of the same exact batteries in the boat now but was planning on buying a battery for the "house" needs."

A group 31 is a SIZE...not a type..you can have group31 starter, deepcycle or dual purpose. So...what I said is that based on your needs a single group 31 starter type battery and a single group 31 deepcycle type battery will meet your minimal needs. If you wanted more reserve for longer trips you could ADD one more group 31 deepcycle for a total of two +1 BUT you would need to wire them up in parralel which requires more cables....SO...a better plan for more capacity is to keep the group 31 starter and instead of multiple group31 deep cycles by ONE group 4D or 8D deep cycle battey. These are both larger battery boxes than a group 31 with more deep cycle amperage available (155 &255 respectively vs. 100). This of course only works if your SPACE available can accomodate the bigger boxes.
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