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post #1 of 11 Old 04-03-2017 Thread Starter
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Identify house vs starting battery set

I have two battery sets on the used boat I bought.

I pretty much totally ignorant about marine electrical systems as you can tell from the question.

Which is how can I easily determine which set is set up for the house and which for starting?

And what is the best source (book?) for me to begin the understand the spaghetti mess of all the electrical cables and devices I have. Should I just hire someone to walk me through the system?

thanks - jballou
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-03-2017
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Re: Identify house vs starting battery set

Still have the Pearson 367? Hopefully an owner can help with how they were typically setup, although after all this time you could have anything.

Hiring someone to assess your system would be good, but in general sailors are helpful types.. ask around your marina and see if someone knowledgeable will give you some of their time.

House banks are generally multiples - banks of 12 V batteries or perhaps 6Vs wired for 12V. A starting battery is rarely a 'bank'.. usually a single standalone dedicated to engine starting. It may also be a 'high cranking' battery rather than the more typical 'deep-cycle' you'll find in a house bank.

Could also be that someone set up two selectable 'banks' of 'house' batteries and simply starts the engine off one or the other..

Tracing and sketching out your system might be a good way to start...
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post #3 of 11 Old 04-03-2017
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Re: Identify house vs starting battery set

Hey,

Some pictures would help. Pics of the batteries, any battery switches you have inside the cabin, that sort of stuff.

Hiring a mechanic / electrical installer / surveyor is not a bad idea. Spending some time with a flashlight, pen and paper and the internet will also help. This is not (usually) rocket science. Most boats will have a small bank to start the engine and a bigger bank to run the 'house' loads while sailing and at anchor. If you have a bow thruster, or any other large accessories things get more complicated but the concepts are the same.

Good luck,
Barry

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post #4 of 11 Old 04-03-2017
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Re: Identify house vs starting battery set

get and learn how to use a multi-meter

also look at these books
https://www.amazon.com/12-Volt-Bible...ectrical+books

https://www.amazon.com/Boatowners-Il...CCKT204NMZA75N

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post #5 of 11 Old 04-03-2017
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Re: Identify house vs starting battery set

If you have a 1, 2, both or off battery switch, just put it to 1 or 2 and try to start the engine. If properly wired, your engine should only start on one of them. That would be the engine bank and you can easily follow these battery cables back to the proper battery. If it starts on 1 & 2 individually, it is probably miswired. It should also start on both because this setting connects both banks together.

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post #6 of 11 Old 04-03-2017
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Re: Identify house vs starting battery set

The quick way to find out which is which is this; First, unplug shore power, and shut off the engine and any generator if you have one. Then disconnect the negative lead from ONE bank ("set?"). Turn the "off-1-both-2" switch to "1." If there is no power then you have likely disconnected the lead from bank "1." If there is power, then turn the switch to "2." If there is still power, then you have a third bank. If there is no power, then you have likely identified bank "2." Repeat the procedure after reconnecting the negative lead, and disconnecting the OTHER negative lead.

If you are able to figure out which is which, LABEL the positive leads to both banks.

If you have a third bank, hire a professional to help you figure it out.


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post #7 of 11 Old 04-03-2017
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Re: Identify house vs starting battery set

Spend $100 on an hour or two with an ABYC Certified Electrician reviewing your boat it will be well worth it and he'll send you off in the right direction. The chances of the boat being the same as when it left the factory are slim to none so any "original" schematic" is likely worthless.

There are a million guys on the docks who will tell you they are experts ..... most of them know little more than you and you don't know enough to tell the difference.

It really is not all that complicated but there are some basic rules to follow. If you don't know those rules you can do tremendous damage in short order.

First clue is if they use the word "electrolysis" find someone else.
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-03-2017
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Re: Identify house vs starting battery set

Sounds like Nigel Calder's Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual would be a good add to your library. Congrats on the new boat.


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post #9 of 11 Old 04-03-2017
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Re: Identify house vs starting battery set

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
Spend $100 on an hour or two with an ABYC Certified Electrician reviewing your boat it will be well worth it and he'll send you off in the right direction. The chances of the boat being the same as when it left the factory are slim to none so any "original" schematic" is likely worthless.

There are a million guys on the docks who will tell you they are experts ..... most of them know little more than you and you don't know enough to tell the difference.

It really is not all that complicated but there are some basic rules to follow. If you don't know those rules you can do tremendous damage in short order.

First clue is if they use the word "electrolysis" find someone else.
why would an electrician not use the word electrolysis, corrosion of metals on a boat is mostly caused by electrolysis. by the definition: the producing of chemical changes by passage of an electric current through an electrolyte.

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post #10 of 11 Old 04-03-2017
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Re: Identify house vs starting battery set

Quote:
Originally Posted by overbored View Post
why would an electrician not use the word electrolysis, corrosion of metals on a boat is mostly caused by electrolysis. by the definition: the producing of chemical changes by passage of an electric current through an electrolyte.
Not quite, No Certified Marine Electrician or Certified Marine Corrosion Analyst (like me) would use that term. "Electrolysis" refers to a chemical change in the electrolyte due to the passage of current, not what happens to or at cathodes or anodes. A trained and qualified person would understand the difference and may refer to "stray current corrosion" or "electrolytic corrosion" but never "electrolysis" in the case of corrosion on boats.
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Last edited by boatpoker; 04-03-2017 at 08:26 PM.
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