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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to Sailnet... so first let me say hi to the community here. I just started sailing this year; bought the boat in April and sailed it off of Beaufort NC pretty much every weekend this past summer, the wife and kids joining me in the latter half (once my wife was satisfied I wouldn't sink it or otherwise embarass us). So far it's been a great experience.

Got a question on what seems like a backwards starting problem (bear with me.. I'll explain) with the Yamaha OB on my S2 7.3 that spang up at the end of the summer when I wasn't going out to the boat every week.

Here's the sequence, after the boat has sat for about 2 weeks or more (full disclosure: I keep the boat on a mooring):
1) 1st turn of the key... nada seems like a dead battery
- checked battery, has 10.5V, lights/other electronics work fine
2) wait a few minutes... turn again... a click
3) wait a few minutes more... turn again... fast clicking (like a car whose battery is dying)
4) wait a few minutes more... turn again... engine turns over once, then nothing
5) repeat ad nauseum (engine seems to turn over a few more times more each iteration, if you don't wait a few minutes in between attempts you get nothing)
6) after 30-40min and multiple key turns (and a lot of swearing :hothead ) ... engine cranks enough times to start
7) after it's started, you can shut it off and restart np

I thought the battery leads might not be in good contact (volts, but can't pass the amps) but I've repeated the above without touching the battery or leads (eg. to measure voltage) and it is exactly the same.

I'm thinking either the key switch is shot (bad contact 1st, 2nd, ... Nth turn) or the starter is bad (although I've never seen a bad starter behave like this). Before I start replacing stuff, has anyone ever see this before and have an alternative theory?
 

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Francophobe
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Bad battery

Time to check your battery. 10.5 volts is a dead battery, fully charged you should have ~13+ volts (depending on battery cell type).

Check your fluid levels in the battery. Also, how are you charging the battery? Do you have solar cells? It is possible that you have enough self-discharge and parasitic loads in the 2 weeks between sailing that you are draining whatever you had the battery charged up to out (presuming you have no maintenance charge system).
 

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When checking the battery voltage put the probes on the lead posts of the battery for the first reading then on the cable ends where they are fastened to the battery for a second reading.If the readings differ it could be a high resistance (bad) connection on one of the cables.Do the same at the starter (positive connection ) and the engine ground.

Phil
 

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Most electric start outboards have a 20-25 amp charging system.

10.5 volts is a dead battery. It seems that you are charging just fine but the battery won't hold a charge or you are leaving something on that is running it down.

How old is the battery?

Maybe it is just time for a new battey.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies.

re. Battery age: don't know, but the boat sat for over a year in a boatyard (on blocks, no charging) before I bought it and, with the exception of a gummed-up carburetor that had to get cleaned up, it cranked and started no problem

re. charging: none - this summer I was on it pretty much every weekend, it wasn't until August/September when my visits became less frequent that this issue came up... and the 1st time I noticed it, it had only been 2 weeks since my previous trip. w/battery isolated on the switch, figured it should hold a charge at least that long. I have a portable jumper battery I can bring with me now that the visits are more like a month apart.

no one's commented on the sequence of events though... battery strength doesn't seem to be a problem after 30min of messing around with it. my experience (cars and other terrestrial vehicles) has been that if the 1st turn of the key produces nothing... the 10th turn isn't likely to produce anything more.

I'm heading down this w/e to the boat (1st time since Oct. 4th) and I'll have my jumper with me so I can test the battery vs. downstream issues as the root cause.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
sorry... on the charging I really should have said "only when the engine's running", the yamaha does indeed have an alternator
 

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If the battery is only 10.5 volts there is not much you can loose to the motor.

Maybe it is the oil starting to circulate that allows the motor to turn over.

The engine might be coming up on the compression stroke when you first try to start it and then once over it will crank.

You didnt say if it was a 2 or 4 stroke or it's size.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Finally got out to the boat Friday after Thanksgiving.

Brought a battery charger with me (one of the little hand-held units).

Without the charger: the battery was holding about 10V but wouldn't crank the motor (only tried it once).

With it: motor cranked and started no problem.

Guess I'll be battery shopping, or investigating solar chargers to keep the battery from loosing as much charge.
 

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"Check your fluid levels in the battery"

Have you?

A dry battery won't hold a charge, batteries need water (distilled).
 

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Telstar 28
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IF the battery has been left dry for any significant period of time, it is likely going to be DEAD.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the advice.

I'll check the water level next time out - it was OK when I bought the boat in April (prior to this the boat had been sitting on the hard for over a year w/o maintenance).

I guess I'm surprised it would drop significantly in the subsequent 7 months.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Was out on the boat January 3rd (60+ deg, sunny) - no sailing, but did go for a 5 mile motor cruise around the Newport River and Morehead Turning Basin.

Couple of things:
1) Battery wasn't able to turn the engine over (I didn't try it more than 1 turn of the key) - it's been 5 weeks since my previous visit
2) I jumped it with a portable charger... engine started on the 3rd crank
3) Output of alternator was 13.5V
4) Battery water level seemed OK (plates covered) - added a bit to get the level up to the plastic.

I'll give it one more shot with the added water, but at this point it looks like it's time for a new battery.

I'm still amazed that, after sitting for over a year on the hard in a boat yard, the battery was strong enough to crank the engine repeatedly... but after being back in action for one season, the battery now can't hold a charge for more than 2 weeks (boat is in the water on a mooring).

Any way it could be a slow drain/discharge? I've got the postive terminal isolated on the main switch, I would think that'd be enough But is there some electrical oddity I'm not thinking about with the boat in the water? Anyone ever had any luck measuring leakage this small?
 

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Batteries get old and die.
 
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