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post #1 of 13 Old 12-13-2011 Thread Starter
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Simple battery charging solution

I took out my manual bilge pump and replaced it with an electric. There wasn't room to run both hoses, so the manual is completely gone. I'd like to leave my batteries in all winter so that I can run the pump every couple of weeks.

Would a couple of trickle chargers from Sears or wherever be a safe enough solution? I'm thinking of just leaving the batteries in place, though disconnected from the boat's wiring except for hooking one up for a few minutes to run the bilge pump. My concern is fire, obviously, though I've never had a second's trouble with trickle chargers in my entire life.

A good, heavy gauge extension cord per charger -- not shore power, but just a cord -- should handle the load with no problems, and any hydrogen gas is going to rise up and leak out my overhead hatch (NOT a hermetic seal by any means).

Does this sound doable and safe? All suggestions welcome, and thanks.

S/V Free Spirit

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post #2 of 13 Old 12-13-2011
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Sounds safe enough but it's not best for the batteries - a proper marine charger is a better choice, properly installed.

Brian
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-14-2011
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Just a thought about losing the manual. Could you run the manual in parallel with the electric on the same hose up where there is enough room. It would require a flopper valve on the electric pump hose.(like a diode) Assuming the hand pump seals or it needs a valve for off/on.
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-14-2011
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I wouldn't combine the 2 pump outputs. There may come a time you need both together. Adding an extra outlet for the electric is probably just as easy.

What I did on my CS27 is install an electric in the lowest part of the bilge just above the keel, where the pickup for the manual was. Ran the hose through the floors where the manual's hose was to an exit in the cockpit above a drain. The manual now has a pickup a few inches higher in front of the engine. If I am taking on enough water to need the manual pump it will work fine, just not remove the last 2 or 3 inches.

While I am not the paranoid type I have a larger electric that was given to me and I will probably install it, with the pickup a bit higher than the smaller electric.

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post #5 of 13 Old 12-14-2011
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I'd go for a small solar panel if I were you. Even in winter it'll provide enough juice to run the bilge pump and your batteries will love the constant charge. Makes them last years longer.

BTW, why do you need to run the pump? Deck and window leaks from rain are okay, leaks from below (such as stuffing box) are not. Which are yours?

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post #6 of 13 Old 12-14-2011
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not so good on the electrics but wonder about the wisdom of relying on an electric pump. Battery power is great but can be knocked out, especialy by flooding.
Sails, magnetic compas and manual pump, wouldn,t go to sea without them.
Safe sailing

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post #7 of 13 Old 12-14-2011
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i don't like the idea of having a full time battery charger pluged in constantly,if your only pumping every couple of weeks why not just plugin your charger while your running the punp and unplug when your finished,even a small charger will put out more than your pump will require,my boat leaks very little and the occasional drip from the snuffing box evaperates thanks in part to a solar vent,i have only the bare minimum thu holes and keep most of them turned off except when i'm on board,i'd rather take my chances of sinking versas burning down if a boad leaks enough to require pumping every hour or two sooner or later a pump will fail
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-14-2011
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No manual pump is risky. Make sure you have a couple/three heavy duty buckets aboard. The laundry detergent buckets are usually good quality.
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-14-2011
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Batteries will be by far happiest (last longest) on a three stage charger all of the time.

Islander 30 MKII "Sojourn"


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post #10 of 13 Old 12-14-2011 Thread Starter
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Lots of great responses. Thanks to everybody. I'll try to address them briefly.

Adding another hose for a manual means I have to drill a hole through the cabin sole. No way to just run one without cutting something, somewhere.

I have leaks through the windows and deck, there's nothing coming in from below. There's enough gets through in a period of heavy rain that the electric will run for maybe a minute at most. I really need to reseal/replace the portlights.

I don't really go to sea. I'm a Chesapeake Bay sailor, and only daysailing so far at that -- though I take the point that one can sink a mile out in the Bay as easily as 100 miles out at sea. I have a manual "stick" bailer, which probably would put out more than my old one did, as I had to pump it sideways while reaching down into a locker. Very inconvenient.

I like the idea of a small solar cell charger. What wattage would be sufficient for trickle charging a starting batter and a deep-cycle rv/marine battery? I don't know my specs on them, but I think they're a type 27, if that helps.

Thanks again!

S/V Free Spirit

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