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Old 14 January 2007, 16:44   #1
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Trickle Charger for batteries

Is this a good idea if the boat is not going to be used for a couple of weeks?

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Marine-Leisure...QQcmdZViewItem

It is a trickle charger that I think you just plug in and leave charging the battery continuously at 0.2amps.

Chris
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Old 14 January 2007, 19:17   #2
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Depends if you have anything left connected to the battery when boat is not being used. With the battery isolated (ie with proper isolation switch), you probably don't need to charge it between use, especially if using the boat every couple of weeks. I can't remember the self discharge rate for lead acid batteries but it's not huge. When I was involved in sailing, a yacht battery left all winter without being charged could still easily start the engine. Doesn't harm to keep it topped up tho as it does mean it's always ready to go and will ensure the battery actually reaches 100% charge which it may not with normal alternator cct.

Car batteries go flat faster due to static current of all the electronics. In "off" state, a car can still draw 20mA or more on the battery with clock, alarm, remote entry system etc.
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Old 14 January 2007, 19:38   #3
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Alternatively I seem to remember a thread a while back about a little Maplin solar jobbie that could easily have been fixed to the A-Frame and I'd have thought that this is a sensible way of keeping the batteries topped up for free

I'm sure a quick forum search should turn it up

Andrew
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Old 15 January 2007, 04:17   #4
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If it's flat after a couple of weeks you'd be better of fixing the source of the drain, or replacing the battery if it's just shagged. If you're talking about a couple of months or more, then yeh, I use 1 of these on the kit car, and a pair on the boat and I reckon they're great.

I'm not convinced by the solar ones - how much power do you reckon they produce in the winter? I'm not sure it'd be enough to make a difference, but I've never tried them myself.
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Old 15 January 2007, 04:25   #5
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Depends on how it works, a proper one will sense battery voltage and pulse on and off as required to keep the battery topped up. I have one like that made by Maypole which I think cost a bit under 20. One that puts a constant current into the battery, not such a good idea unless you have constant drain on the battery (my RIB has a master disconnect which is always off unless I'm pumping out water or something)

I think a solar one would work ok in winter if there are no loads on the battery - you really don't need much to keep a battery topped up if the only enemy is internal self-discharge. I haven't charged my boat for about six months and it only gets used every two or three weeks for a couple of hours.
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Old 15 January 2007, 04:36   #6
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Not sure I agree - but I might also be wrong and about to learn something.

IMVHO with a decent sized battery 2-300ma as a maintenance charge is perfectly fine. Either way, the car's been on charge for about 12 months, boat for about 3 and both are in a good state

This is the (overpriced) draper jobbie. Says suitable for 30-140Ah.
http://www.draper.co.uk/Pages/Pagesource/p67.pdf
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Old 15 January 2007, 04:43   #7
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maplin solar jobbie works very well. mine is left with just a pump connected for long periods (3 months recently) with no problems.
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Old 15 January 2007, 05:12   #8
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Originally Posted by MadMat View Post
Not sure I agree - but I might also be wrong and about to learn something.

IMVHO with a decent sized battery 2-300ma as a maintenance charge is perfectly fine. Either way, the car's been on charge for about 12 months, boat for about 3 and both are in a good state

This is the (overpriced) draper jobbie. Says suitable for 30-140Ah.
http://www.draper.co.uk/Pages/Pagesource/p67.pdf
Your car will have drains on it though, maybe only a clock and an alarm but still draining a small amount.

0.2 amps is putting 1700Ah into a battery in a year which is the equivalent of charging a big (Td5 Discovery sized) battery from flat 15 times or about every three weeks

It may well be fine I'm just saying I wouldn't do it.
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Old 15 January 2007, 11:34   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodan View Post
maplin solar jobbie works very well. mine is left with just a pump connected for long periods (3 months recently) with no problems.
I wonder just how much help the solar panel is giving? My boat has been standing for 2 months now and we have had more rain that most of the UK so the auto pump is working overtime. My battery is still fine and has had no charge at all in that time. Started the engine yesterday and it still had enough power to start easily.
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Old 15 January 2007, 15:03   #10
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I guess panel must be doing something. I looked at these in Maplin and they claimed to still produce enough on a cloudy day to input something to the battery (unlike my cheap garden solar lights!).

Charging enough to run the pump in recent weeks is good going tho :-)
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