Battery life? Winter storage? - SailNet Community
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 13 Old 11-30-2008 Thread Starter
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 83
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
Battery life? Winter storage?

Looking for some words of wisdom from the Sailnet gurus!

The boat is on the hard for the winter (MD), and I have a few battery questions. We have an Endeavour 33 which we took possession of in June of 2007. Three new batteries were put on at that time (came from West Marine, "maint free"). They have worked well. For the winter I was told I could leave them aboard, and just detach the neg. What does that accomplish?

Also, how many years does the average marine battery last? I am wondering if I need to replace them in the near future.

For your info, the winter of 07-08 I left the boat in the slip and the shore power connected (kkep the batteries charged, etc.)

Thanks for the help, Saltypat
saltypat is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 13 Old 11-30-2008
Telstar 28
 
sailingdog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,290
Thanks: 0
Thanked 15 Times in 12 Posts
Rep Power: 14
         
If the batteries are fully-charged, then they should probably do fine. The question is whether they're AGM, GEL or "maintenance free" wet-cell batteries. If they're wet-cell batteries, then they will probably need to be re-charged occasionally while the boat is on the hard.

Detaching the negative means that there won't be anything using the battery, discharging it. However, all rechargeable batteries self-discharge to some degree, with wet-cell batteries having the highest self-discharge rate of the three commonly used lead-acid types.

As for how long the batteries will last, really depends on how well they're treated. Most are killed by neglect far sooner than they would ever die.

Sailingdog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

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)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
sailingdog is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 13 Old 11-30-2008
moderate?
 
camaraderie's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: East Coast
Posts: 13,877
Thanks: 0
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 16
     
Yup...beware of "maintenance free" sealed LIQUID batteries. They will absolutely need to be charged during the winter at least once every couple of months to a full charge.
Genuine AGM's or GELS can be fully charged and then left all winter though it would not hurt to check their state of charge once every couple of months with a voltmeter. You should not let it get below a 12.25 V reading.

I also question the wisdom of disconnecting the negative cable. All too often a leak can develope or water can enter from the mast or ice/debris and rain can clog the cockpit drains and make them over flow into the cabin. I would always want a working bilge pump even on the hard. Not nice to find a flooded cabin in the spring.

No longer posting. Reach me by PM!
camaraderie is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #4 of 13 Old 12-01-2008
Telstar 28
 
sailingdog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,290
Thanks: 0
Thanked 15 Times in 12 Posts
Rep Power: 14
         
Cam's got a good point about having a working bilge pump aboard. However, leaving a working bilge pump aboard means you have to check and charge the batteries more often... however, you have to balance that versus having a flooded cabin come springtime.

Sailingdog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

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)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
sailingdog is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #5 of 13 Old 12-01-2008
Glad I found Sailnet
 
Bene505's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 3,818
Thanks: 14
Thanked 51 Times in 50 Posts
Rep Power: 9
   
A small solar panel goes a long way to maintaining the battery's charge over the winter. Even with a bilge pump connected.

There are flexible panels that you can put just about anywhere. Or get a rigid panel so you can permanently install it eventually. Then it'll serve you in the summer too. Hey, the winter is a great time to install it, for perhaps the same amount of effort as checking (and worrying about) your batteries all winter.

Note that with a small solar panel you'll only need a diode to connect it to your battery bank; you won't need a charge controller.

Last edited by Bene505; 12-01-2008 at 09:14 AM.
Bene505 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #6 of 13 Old 12-01-2008
Detachable member
 
wchevron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 376
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
I also question the wisdom of disconnecting the negative cable. All too often a leak can develope or water can enter from the mast or ice/debris and rain can clog the cockpit drains and make them over flow into the cabin. I would always want a working bilge pump even on the hard. Not nice to find a flooded cabin in the spring.
one of the boats, on the hard, in my marina last winter ended up flooding out. the cockpit scupper hoses had rotted out. whenever it rained more water would fill the cabin. the owner came back from florida in the spring and found about 16" of water in the cabin. the insurance co. ended up totaling the boat since part of the engine was under water.

wchevron
s/v Time Flies
'78 C-30
wchevron is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #7 of 13 Old 12-03-2008
Wharfinger
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Victoria, BC
Posts: 19
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
Cool dry storage

If you leave them aboard you'll need an occasional recharge to keep them above 12.6 volts. There's little chance of freezing the battery if it's maintained above 75%. I'm not sure about the need to remove the negative lead, but it could lessen the potential of a short circuit in any part of the electrical system causing a fire.
A battery will slowly bleed it's charge if left on board. Temperature changes over the winter will allow a thin film of condensation to form on the battery case. This condensation will conduct a small trickle of current between the battery posts. Every month or two you'll need to top up the charge.
If possible, consider removing the battery and storing it at home in a dry cool spot. Never leave it on a cement floor as the cool cement will allow the same layer of condensation to form from minor air temperature changes. Even a small piece of plywood will insulate a battery from the cement.

A battery could last for five to ten years if properly maintained. Keep it charged, clean and dry. Batteries don't like to be quickly discharged or charged as excessive heat may cause internal plates to warp and touch. Prolonged cranking of a hard starting engine will shorten battery life. Charging a fully discharged battery with the engine will reduce it's life as the alternator will be hitting it with a lot of current for the full charge period.

When stored on the hard I don't need a bilge pump as I have two gabboard drain plugs. I'd rather allow the water to continually drain out than risk the high current draw of a frozen bilge pump.
Kiskadee is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #8 of 13 Old 12-03-2008
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: wherever
Posts: 5,283
Thanks: 8
Thanked 17 Times in 16 Posts
Rep Power: 12
     
Fully charged batteries have a SG of 1.26 and freeze at -72 deg F
Half discharged batteries have a SG of 1.19 and freeze at -12 deg F

With no load on the battery, it will drop from full to half in about 250 days at 50 degrees ambient temp

Taken from "Boatowners Illustrated Electrical Handbook" Second Edition by Charlie Wing

You should have at least one good electrical reference book on hand.

Self Discharge is slowed by lower temperatures, that is why it's harder to start your car in the cold...the battery doesn't give up its power as easily.

The bigger question is 'do you have the proper charger for maintenance free batteries?' An old style ferro resonant charger will ruin that battery in a few years. A proper charging setup will enable at least 5 years and probably a lot more life for the battery. It's part of a system.
xort is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #9 of 13 Old 12-03-2008
Telstar 28
 
sailingdog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,290
Thanks: 0
Thanked 15 Times in 12 Posts
Rep Power: 14
         
12.6 VDC is basically a fully charged battery or nearly so. The myth about leaving the battery on a cement or concrete floor is no longer valid. It was from the days when the battery casings were not waterproof and hasn't been applicable in a long, long time.

Quote:
A hundred years ago when battery cases were made of porous materials such as tar-lined wood boxes, so storing batteries on concrete floor would accelerate their discharge. Modern battery cases are made of polypropylene or hard rubber. These cases seal better, so external leakage-causing discharge is no longer a problem, provided the top of the battery is clean. Temperature stratification within very large batteries could accelerate their internal “leakage” or self-discharge if the battery is sitting on an extremely cold floor in a warm room or is installed in a submarine.
Hopefully, the batteries aren't being stored in a really warm room with a cold concrete floor, which would lead to greater self-discharge due to the temperature in any case....Also, most batteries used by small sailboat owners aren't large enough for temperature stratification to be an issue in any case. If the top of the battery is clean, it doesn't matter that condensation forms on it... relatively pure water, which is what condensation is, is a lousy electrical conductor.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiskadee View Post
If you leave them aboard you'll need an occasional recharge to keep them above 12.6 volts. There's little chance of freezing the battery if it's maintained above 75%. I'm not sure about the need to remove the negative lead, but it could lessen the potential of a short circuit in any part of the electrical system causing a fire.
A battery will slowly bleed it's charge if left on board. Temperature changes over the winter will allow a thin film of condensation to form on the battery case. This condensation will conduct a small trickle of current between the battery posts. Every month or two you'll need to top up the charge.
If possible, consider removing the battery and storing it at home in a dry cool spot. Never leave it on a cement floor as the cool cement will allow the same layer of condensation to form from minor air temperature changes. Even a small piece of plywood will insulate a battery from the cement.

A battery could last for five to ten years if properly maintained. Keep it charged, clean and dry. Batteries don't like to be quickly discharged or charged as excessive heat may cause internal plates to warp and touch. Prolonged cranking of a hard starting engine will shorten battery life. Charging a fully discharged battery with the engine will reduce it's life as the alternator will be hitting it with a lot of current for the full charge period.

When stored on the hard I don't need a bilge pump as I have two gabboard drain plugs. I'd rather allow the water to continually drain out than risk the high current draw of a frozen bilge pump.

Sailingdog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

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)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
sailingdog is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #10 of 13 Old 12-03-2008
AEOLUS II
 
WouldaShoulda's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: From The Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 2,911
Thanks: 3
Thanked 12 Times in 12 Posts
Rep Power: 7
 
My battery is in my basement kept off the floor.

I'll charge it once mid off-season and again before I put it back on the boat.
WouldaShoulda is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.


User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Electrical Problem - Newbie Not Sure Where to Start wolfmt Gear & Maintenance 32 07-14-2008 09:17 AM
Stuffing box GBurton Gear & Maintenance 22 08-13-2007 09:35 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome