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I have had my boat for almost two years. It came with an inexpensive Die Hard charger/maintainer and my outboard charges it too (supposedly). I have never had the battery run low or die. I have no idea how many amphours it has left at any time (I gather a handheld voltmeter might help with this).

My question is : is it ok to use this 1.5 amp Die Hard charger instead of the expensive systems I see at West Marine? It seems to be working great.... I dont tend to use my battery much anyway - I mostly just use the radio, dont use autotiller, dont sail at night, no fancy electronicss , I use handheld GPS and mostly paper charts.
 

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Are you in a slip and do you leave it on for extended periods? If so, check the voltage. Some inexpensive chargers will overcharge and ruin the battery
 

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islander bahama 24
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here is the one I have, but mine will charge two batts. at one time so it's actually putting out 5 amps.Guest ChargePro Battery Charger
When I'm at the dock it's running and when I'm all charged up it goes into float mode. If yours is working then I'm sure your fine . To check if your fine , a volt meter, $10. and a hydrometer $15. from a auto parts store is what you need .
Take to auto parts store they test for free usually
 

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My .02 is NO, don't use one of these "non-marine" chargers for your boat. If a trailer boat, OK. If in the water boat... Even as simple as the thing is, it may or may not have the protections that are built into a perminant on-board battery charger system. There are documented boat fires with garage battery chargers as the probable culprit.

Dave
 

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I think the big question is whether the charger you have is compatible with the type battery you have: wet, gel, agm. If so, I doubt it will do any harm to continue use. I would not, however, be comfortable leaving a portable charger attached when away from the boat. Best thing you can do for any battery is to keep it fully charged.

For a basic start battery, this problem can be over engineered. Fine tuning your charging and battery setup makes sense for extended house bank usage and efficiency. For very limited use, I would buy the cheapest battery I could, keep it charged with a compatible charger and just replace it more often.

For example, our dinghy start battery would be will over $100 new in a marine version. Three seasons ago, I decided to give a $30 Napa Auto Parts tractor battery a try and it turns over our 18hp Tohatsu without effort. I think this will be its last season, but I'm happy to just buy a new one for another $30. No way the marine monster was going to be worth it. The tractor batt weighed less too. YMMV. Not saying you should change the mother ship to a tractor batt, just trying to put the problem in context.
 

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islander bahama 24
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My .02 is NO, don't use one of these "non-marine" chargers for your boat. If a trailer boat, OK. If in the water boat... Even as simple as the thing is, it may or may not have the protections that are built into a perminant on-board battery charger system. There are documented boat fires with garage battery chargers as the probable culprit.

Dave
If the charger shorted and caused a fire I would also assume that the onboard electrical panel was not doing its job at the first of a short the breaker should have popped and stopped the short from getting hot enough to start a fire
 
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