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Irrationally Exuberant
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Our battery/charging system needs some work, which I plan to do next off-season, when my boat partners aren't reeling from $ spent on the rigging and stereo projects of this year. I really like the idea of 2-deep cycles as the house with a stand-by starting batt as reserve staying charged with an echo charger. That will be next year though, along with new batteries, a better, smarter shore charger, and some solar.

Here's what we've got right now: 2 inherited (and abused) same-make, group 27 deep-cycle batts that have a hard time holding at more than 12.2 volts, wired through Both/1/2/Off switch as 2 banks. One batt is in the stern in the lazarette, the other in the engine compartment. Engine is a Yanmar 2GM20F with whatever standard alternator came with it.

And here's the issue: We'd like to go out for say 2 nights and not worry quite so much about running out of juice. We use only one batt as house and reserve the other for starting once we are away from the slip, but I suspect house lights, anchor light, stereo, chart-plotter as anchor warning could get that pretty far down even after one night.

So maybe set up the two batteries as one bank now, add the echo charger and a small starting battery? Cost would be the echo charger and the starter batt, both of which I'd need next year anyway.

Or is there some other way to limp through this year? Maybe skip the echo charger for now, and simply bring a charged up starter batt as emergency? How small of a starter batt can you go with on a 2-cylinder diesel?
 

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You could make one bank out of the two batteries you have and then carry one of those portable jump-starter carry packs that you can jump directly to the starter if the engine won't start. They don't last forever but they do work and they're "cheap as chips".

I get a cold shiver up my spine at the thought of batteries not doing what you want when you want - I've had too much of that.
 
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