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Old 07 January 2012, 13:47   #11
Country: UK - England
Town: North Lincolnshire
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Hope im allowed to do this, here is some info from Ed Sherman on his web site

Putting the Battery To Bed
Written by Ed Sherman

Thursday, 10 November 2011 14:31

Well I hate to say it but it is that time of year again. Time to put the boat to bed for the winter hibernation period. That includes your boat's battery(s).

This little maintenance chore, if done properly can go a long way toward making sure you get the maximum life out of your batteries. Conversely, if you ignore what I'm about to tell you, your batteries are sure not to last as they should.

Let me begin by emphasizing one key point, there is no need or even a desire to remove the batteries from your boat! The habit some old timers got into with this procedure is right up there with setting a bettery on a concrete floor and the concrete sucking the life out of a battery like some sort of vampire. The concrete isn't the culprit and never was, and the need to remove batteries from a boat when it goes into storage for the winter is in the same mis-imformed category.

What is important is that the batteries get a full charge before you lay them up for the winter.

All batteries have what is known as a "self-discharge" rate and although it varies somewhat depending upon the type of battery and it's overall condition, the rate of self-discharge is never more that about 5% per month. So, if you start out at 100% and the boat sits in hibernation for even 5 months, that is still only a 25% loss in charge, bringing things down to a 75% state of charge. That's good enough to keep the battery from freezing in really cold climates and more than adequate to minimize any sulfation tendencies.

An additional concern, especially on newer boats is the matter of parasitic loads that may contribute to a discharge rate greater than the 5% mentioned above. Most boats today will have equipment on them that will have internal memory or some sort of LED display or monitoring light. These things add up and in some cases can create engough of a cumulative load to actually draw the battery down quicker than desired.

So, you need to make the call here. Is mid-winter recharging practical for you? Or, should you just disconnect the battery(s) so that there is no danger of a parasitic load discharging them too far while in storage. Of course if that is the choice, you'll have to reset all the pre-programmed stations on the stereo and such in the spring, but that really shouldn't be a big deal. Personally, I go for the full disconnect on my boat. I get a lot of years of service out of my batteries too.

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Old 07 January 2012, 21:09   #12
kubcat's Avatar
Country: Australia
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Boat name: Lunasea
Make: Ribtec 890SX
Length: 8m +
Engine: Yamaha ME 421STI x 2
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In an ideal world I agree that leaving batteries on concrete or directly on the hull of a metal boat shouldn't discharge them.

BUT my personal experience having batteries on concrete has slowly discharged them as has having them directly on the metal of an aluminium hull or car body without an insulator under them.

Not sure of the science but perhaps it is to do with the battery case not being clean and the positive terminal slowly discharging through the contaminated dirt or leaked electrolyte on the case to the ground.

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Old 08 January 2012, 06:20   #13
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Country: Ireland
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Interesting that you should mention that, Kubcat. I often notice batteries with a dense layer of condensation on them. I wonder would a pinch of seasalt or roadsalt worsen such a theoretical effect? I should add that I don't hold much faith in the concrete theory, but it is widely held.

That said, restaurant waiters often stick a teaspoon handle into an open bottle of champagne to "keep the fizz in" while in storage. I really think that's silly!

Why would you want to store an open bottle of champagne???
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Old 09 January 2012, 14:44   #14
Country: UK - Scotland
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Originally Posted by willk View Post
Trickle chargers are the work of the Devil!
Hehe... but maybe not. I used to go through lots of batteries, failed cells, short life etc. but for a number of years I've kept them on an auto charger, boat and cars and mbikes and not had a failure since. I have had a charger failure with one make but had great service from one version of auto charger sold under the Clark name. Bought a couple more a few weeks ago but found them under another name on eBay and at less than half the current Clark price.
My boat and cars have them permanently installed and I plug them in full time. I did have an early failure of one of my boat batteries before this but since auto charger they've been fine and now entering their 7th year. Two of my cars similarly, battery failure in years one and two but that was 6 years ago.

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