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Old 06-25-2014
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Battery question

Been reading a Sailboat Electronics Made Simple book.

Opened up the top of my old battery to see if I needed to add distilled water. To my surprise, the water level is nearly up to the caps (maybe an inch from the top, maybe less). Couldn't see any metal plates or hardware of any kind above the fluid level.

I believe my book recommends covering all metal components with 1/4 inch of water. I guess I'm OK without adding, unless I'm missing something.

What do you guys think?
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Old 06-25-2014
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Re: Battery question

Doesn't sound as if you need to add water, but does the battery hold a charge with a load when not being charged? Turn on a couple of lights, maybe the VHF and see if the battery remains at 12.2 volts or higher, for a while.
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Last edited by capta; 06-25-2014 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 06-25-2014
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Re: Battery question

Yes, it holds a charge for a long time. I've had the battery for two years now. Not sure how old it is. Vigor is the manufacturer.
Used to have shore power until the marina removed it. Now the only recharge the battery gets is from my outboard's alternator.

The only electronics I ever use is the VHF radio.
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Old 06-26-2014
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Re: Battery question

Sounds like your flooded batts have the proper electrolyte. Just check periodically. Personally, that would be every few months for me. More often, if you like.

My concern would be for your charging method. I can't tell how often your outboard runs or for how long, but I worry you'll never really fully recharge. Moving up and down in a range below fully charged may shorten the battery's life. A small solar charger and controller would be a good idea.
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Re: Battery question

In the south, during the summer, I have to check battery water level once a month. Recently, I had to replace a 4 year old start battery. When I did the float charge voltage on all of my batteries (6 of them) dropped a few tenths of a volt which dramatically lengthened the time I could go before having to add battery water. (The oldest battery bank in my 3 bank system is now only 9 months.)

Temperature and battery age affect the float voltage that my battery chargers put out. The higher the voltage, especially when it gets close to or exceeds 13.6 volts will require me to keep a close eye on my battery water levels.

Also, all my batteries sit parallel to the keel in my boat; when sailing hard, the water level in the batteries will expose the leward ends of the battery plates unless I keep the water levels topped. I believe if my batteries were sitting athwart that the plates would be less prone to be exposed when heeling. Mainesail wrote an article on battery orientation in sailboats a while back, but I can't remember the battery box orientation that he recommended.
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