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Old 12 November 2014, 11:25   #1
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Adding a second battery?

Hi all, I've recently added a new fixed VHF and NMEA2K network to my boat. Consequently there's a bit more drain on the battery (not too bad if the engine is running). So I was wondering if it's worth adding a second battery and a 1-2-Both switch to avoid any potential embarrassing moments.

Has anyone else here added a second battery? What is required? Any idea on rough costs? What is involved? Is it a long job? Is it something I should consider doing myself, or something best left to the experts?

Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 12 November 2014, 13:55   #2
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Depends on the available room.
I do carry two batteries, the second for precisely your reason. (My Mercury does come with a pull cord but I've never tried it & I'm not sure of my ability to pull start a 2-stroke V6!)
To change, I need to swap the leads from one battery to the other & I carry a correct sized spanner as part of the onboard spares kit. Its simpler than wiring them both in via a switch & you can put the spare wherever is convenient & safe.
So far I've never had occasion to use it & remove & recharge the batteries mid way during the main holiday (3 or 4 weeks duration). When not in use the batteries are off the boat & are trickle charged monthly.
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Old 12 November 2014, 14:18   #3
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Run the engine on one, auxiliary systems on the second and a link switch in case either need a boost/ flat, simples

P.s. You can get intelligent charging systems that 'manage' the pair or just have them both charging when the engines are running
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Old 12 November 2014, 14:21   #4
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I am running 2 x Odyssey PC2150 Extreme 100 Amp Hour batteries. I have to spin over ba 6.0 litre old school Turbo diesel, that is a hefty lump. I have got both batteries in Parallel via a heavy duty cut off switch. Once the engine is running, it has a 65amp alternator charging and only draws enough current to keep the cut off solenoid activated. This works fine on that setup, probably a bit overkill on an outboard though. I have done the same on my Porter with a Suzuki 140 on the back. On that I have a pair of 70 amp hour batteries in parallel via a cut off switch. Only time I have had a problem is when I left it on a mooring for a week in torrential rain and the bilge pump was going overtime. It still started, but needed a charge.
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Old 12 November 2014, 19:23   #5
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How long do you ever sit bobbing around with the engine off and electronics on? How bigs the existing battery and what electronics do you have?
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Old 12 November 2014, 20:27   #6
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Adding a second battery?

Adding a second battery seams a no-brainer if you've the physical space. It's a requirement on a coded boat; which means it certainly isn't a bad idea !

Altering alternator wiring can be tricky, and that's what you need to do if you want to use an isolation diode. Technology has moved on.

The easiest thing is to add a second battery, a 1-2-both switch and a voltage sensitive relay which will charge batt 2 from batt 1 or visa-versa.

Total project price under £200 including a battery box.

It's essential up to you what you power from each battery. "Ballistic" had everything from the "1" or "2" depending on your switch selection. Handy being safe on the knowledge you had a 2nd fully charged battery to hand at all times.

There are various other configurations; the most common alternative to take whole "domestic" (GPS, VHF...) from batt "2" and leave batt "1" just for engine. You'll still need the voltage sensitive relay; and id highly recommend the 1-2-both switch too as it allows you to start the engine from either battery.
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Old 13 November 2014, 04:42   #7
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Poly - I have a 75Ah leisure battery and I have Nav lights, Anchor light, Chartplotter (all on switches), a bilge pump (on a press+hold on/off/auto switch), VHF radio (running directly from the busbars but using it's front panel on/off/volume knob) and an NMEA2K network (permanantly powered once battery switched on). As you say, it's not an issue while running, and I'd like to think I turn it off when unattended (I'm usually pretty good at being anal in that respect!) but it's in case of the forgetful moment. At most it would be the chartplotter and VHF accidentally left on and the bilge pump in auto while at the beach during the day.

Daniel, thanks for the info. I would have space as my console is fairly roomy and has room for another battery box next to the one currently installed. I was thinking of rigging it (if possible, without having investigated fully yet) so that the whole setup can be powered as is currently set up with one battery for starting and domestics, but from a choice of 1, 2 or both with a 1-2-both switch. (I think this would be less wiring and hassles?).

Would anyone recommend moving the battery(ies) up onto a shelf of sorts? The current one is in a box on the bottom floor of the console at the moment.
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Old 13 November 2014, 04:54   #8
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Having two batteries with a single engine is definately a good idea, when I bought my boat I fitted a second battery and a simple switch to switch between the two, 3 months after that I had a battery fail on me when crossing the entrance to poole harbour outbound, my electronics went off and engine started to splutter and run very badly, having the second battery I simply switched and all was well.

After that I installed what I would recomend a Bep Marine 716 switch cluster with a voltage regulator. The idea is one battery becomes the engine start battery and the other battery feeds the electronics etc, so you switch both on, in an emergency you can use the juice from both by switching both to run together, the voltage regulator part simply looks at the batteries and determins which one needs charging and does so automaticaly. That way one batt doesnt drain the other. I also ran a cable to my console with a small led light so i could easily see when the charging was going on as there is a monitor feed from the unit.

Have a look for Bep Marine 716 clusters and info on the internet, worth the investment.

Top tip, buy a decent crimper for both the batt terminals and the other terminals. Also consider if your boat is on the water for long periods of time consider rigging your auto bilge pump if you have one to a permanent on batt supply with a simple switch, that way when you have finished boating for the day you simply turn off the main battery switches on the cluster but turn on a small switch for perm supply to the auto bilge pump so that the only thing that is on is the auto bilge pump and no power is being supplied any where else, that is what I did using the auto bilge pump switch on my console switches and using a perm fused power block in the console for the feed.
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Old 13 November 2014, 05:21   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ovey View Post
Poly - I have a 75Ah leisure battery and I have Nav lights, Anchor light, Chartplotter (all on switches), a bilge pump (on a press+hold on/off/auto switch), VHF radio (running directly from the busbars but using it's front panel on/off/volume knob) and an NMEA2K network (permanantly powered once battery switched on). As you say, it's not an issue while running, and I'd like to think I turn it off when unattended (I'm usually pretty good at being anal in that respect!) but it's in case of the forgetful moment. At most it would be the chartplotter and VHF accidentally left on and the bilge pump in auto while at the beach during the day.

Daniel, thanks for the info. I would have space as my console is fairly roomy and has room for another battery box next to the one currently installed. I was thinking of rigging it (if possible, without having investigated fully yet) so that the whole setup can be powered as is currently set up with one battery for starting and domestics, but from a choice of 1, 2 or both with a 1-2-both switch. (I think this would be less wiring and hassles?).

Would anyone recommend moving the battery(ies) up onto a shelf of sorts? The current one is in a box on the bottom floor of the console at the moment.
You need to keep the centre of gravity in mind when you start raising something heavy like batteries.
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Old 13 November 2014, 05:28   #10
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Thanks for that Boris - that looks a simple(ish) solution that seems to tick all the boxes. Do you have any wiring diagrams at all, or did you get those from the net too?
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