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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Winter is coming -Battery Question?
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Thread: Winter is coming -Battery Question? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-12-2012 09:16 PM
olgeezer
Re: Winter is coming -Battery Question?

I leave my fully charged batteries in the boat all winter here in Canada and never had a problem. I do make sure to remove the cable connections from the battery posts. I'm on my 7'th year with these flooded Kirkland dual purpose batteries and note that in the Spring launch, they spin the engine as fully charged.
11-11-2012 12:17 PM
Maine Sail
Re: Winter is coming -Battery Question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sapo View Post
hopefully this is related enough not to be off topic. I'm buying new batteries for my solar-charged house bank. I'm told that one should test the batteries at the store to make sure you're not being sold old stock or otherwise batteries that are otherwise less than optimum. but how do you test 'em? just with a hydrometer?
thanks

You can just measure the open circuit voltage with a volt meter. There is no real benefit to measuring the SG on new batteries because the cells are still new and un-cycled...

They should be above 12.6V or darn close to it. Try to buy batteries with matching date codes and the freshest date codes on the shelf. For example if there are four group 31 batteries and you need two, and the date codes look like this:

J12
C12
E12
J12

You want the two J12 date coded batteries. they theoretically should match better and have been produced at or about the same time. Often times the letter is the month with Jan being "A" and the year being "12"... This may not be the same for all batteries so ask your supplier how to interpret the date codes and choose the freshest batteries..
11-11-2012 10:37 AM
sapo
Re: Winter is coming -Battery Question?

hopefully this is related enough not to be off topic. I'm buying new batteries for my solar-charged house bank. I'm told that one should test the batteries at the store to make sure you're not being sold old stock or otherwise batteries that are otherwise less than optimum. but how do you test 'em? just with a hydrometer?
thanks
11-04-2012 09:48 PM
pdqaltair
Re: Winter is coming -Battery Question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
They are heavy sobs and I always dread disconnecting all the wires, ANL fuses, etc. and then getting them down the ladder and into the car.
It occurs to most that the risk of injury or damage lugging a battery bank in and out is greater than the risk of a system where all breakers and switches are open.

And for most, visiting the boat a few times in the off season is just good sense anyway.
11-04-2012 08:45 PM
chef2sail
Re: Winter is coming -Battery Question?

Quote:
I also remove all signaling devices because if there were a fire, I would not want the guys in the FD having to deal with SOLAS flares going off.smurphy
Good idea about the flares. Never thought about that.
11-04-2012 08:13 PM
smurphny
Re: Winter is coming -Battery Question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
A fully charge battery will not freeze until it's colder than -70F. I was born in Alaska and my folks were there for years, in Fairbanks, and they only had flooded batteries back then. Freezing batteries was not an issue but tires that went flop, flop and cracked steering wheels were when it hit -50 - -60F.. The batteries survived just fine but had less cranking amps so many cars had bigger batteries then they shipped with.

Keep in mind that in warmer temps the rate of self discharge & the chemical reaction rate/sulfation accelerates so keeping the batteries "warm" can have less benefit to storing them in a cooler location at your house. In cold temps sulfation is virtually non-existent and this is why ours have always been stored on-board every winter. Many boat yards require batteries to be "disconnected" from the vessel, if left on-board, as they should. They allow top up charging while you are there but generally disallow batteries to be left on-charge..

If leaving them on-board they need to be 100% disconnected and charged them to full...
Absolutely right. Batteries don't freeze if kept charged. They do, however, lose charge more quickly when it's cold and I want to cover the boat and leave it all winter without having to check it on a regular basis. I don't plan on seeing the battery compartment until spring. The issue always in the back of my mind is that if there were ever a fire in the boatyard, no one could point the finger at me for a battery short being the cause. I also remove all signaling devices because if there were a fire, I would not want the guys in the FD having to deal with SOLAS flares going off.

I keep the batteries in my garage, where it is usually 40 degrees or so and occasionally put on a charge to keep them up to voltage. They are heavy sobs and I always dread disconnecting all the wires, ANL fuses, etc. and then getting them down the ladder and into the car.
11-04-2012 07:58 PM
Maine Sail
Re: Winter is coming -Battery Question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Although it is a major PITA, I always remove all three HUGE batteries and take them home where I can keep them warm and charged. I don't want to have to worry about a solar panel failing and the batteries freezing. Of course it gets to -30 around here so it's probably more a concern than points south. If batteries freeze, they're ruined and expensive to replace. The other thing that is always a concern is having any potential source of ignition in an unattended boat. I am surprised that any boatyards even allow batteries to be on a boat all winter.
A fully charge battery will not freeze until it's colder than -70F. I was born in Alaska and my folks were there for years, in Fairbanks, and they only had flooded batteries back then. Freezing batteries was not an issue but tires that went flop, flop and cracked steering wheels were when it hit -50 - -60F.. The batteries survived just fine but had less cranking amps so many cars had bigger batteries then they shipped with.

Keep in mind that in warmer temps the rate of self discharge & the chemical reaction rate/sulfation accelerates so keeping the batteries "warm" can have less benefit to storing them in a cooler location at your house. In cold temps sulfation is virtually non-existent and this is why ours have always been stored on-board every winter. Many boat yards require batteries to be "disconnected" from the vessel, if left on-board, as they should. They allow top up charging while you are there but generally disallow batteries to be left on-charge..

If leaving them on-board they need to be 100% disconnected and charged them to full...
11-04-2012 04:24 PM
Flybyknight
Re: Winter is coming -Battery Question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
If you can aim the panel at the prevailing sun
17 degrees East of South.
11-04-2012 01:42 PM
pdqaltair
Re: Winter is coming -Battery Question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
... but NOT on concrete, is the only answer. I used to do that....
This seems to be a hard myth to kill. Perhaps 50 years out 0f date.

From the Trogan battery site:
Storing a battery on concrete will discharge it quicker- Long ago, when battery cases were made out of natural rubber, this was true. Now, however, battery cases are made of polypropylene or other modern materials that allow a battery to be stored anywhere. A battery's rate of discharge is affected by its construction, its age, and the ambient temperature. The main issue with storing on concrete is that if the battery leaks, the concrete will be damaged.

From Optima site:
No, today's batteries use polypropylene plastic for the case material. They will not be affected. When possible, always store a battery in a cool, dry location.
11-04-2012 01:27 PM
smurphny
Re: Winter is coming -Battery Question?

Although it is a major PITA, I always remove all three HUGE batteries and take them home where I can keep them warm and charged. I don't want to have to worry about a solar panel failing and the batteries freezing. Of course it gets to -30 around here so it's probably more a concern than points south. If batteries freeze, they're ruined and expensive to replace. The other thing that is always a concern is having any potential source of ignition in an unattended boat. I am surprised that any boatyards even allow batteries to be on a boat all winter.
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