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Old 17 October 2004, 05:51   #1
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Full Bilge, Flat Battery

I have a problem with my boat and before I embark on a course of action would like some feedback from the forum.

My RIB is new to me but will spend 8 months of the year in the water in a marina. After all the heavy rain of recent days I popped down to check all was well and found one very flat battery and bilges full of water. The entire deck area appears to drain into the bilge and is then pumped clear, self bailers are installed although it appears they would only work having taken a wave over the bow and still enjoying forward movement.

I have a 'powerpack' used for jump starting cars and will go back to the boat tomorrow to fire up the engine, run at a high tickover, drain the bilge and try and get some charge into the battery. This is a good short term solution but will only work until it rains hard again and I leave the boat for 5 days.

The marina has shore power points at each bearth. Is it feasable to use this when I leave the boat? If so how?

Do I make a permanent connection on the boat or do I simple use the power to attach to a battery charger?

Advice and thoughts will be warmly welcomed.
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Old 17 October 2004, 06:09   #2
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Is there not a drain plug in the bottom of the bilges that you could leave open instead of using the pumps?
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Old 17 October 2004, 06:42   #3
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Surely, your best bet long-term, would be to use a cover-all on your boat? That way they rain goes overboard naturally.
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Old 17 October 2004, 08:31   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simmons0
Is there not a drain plug in the bottom of the bilges that you could leave open instead of using the pumps?

what happens when the boat is in the water- opening the drain plugs would be a fantastic idea???????????????????.
the easiest way is just to disconnect the power if the boat is left for some time. Presume you do have a float switch??

Anyway dont worry the boat wont sink even if full of water.


Jonathan
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Old 17 October 2004, 12:38   #5
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Qcamel

The Scorpions have a slightly unusual setup where the drain pugs in the deck drain into an underdeck well where the water collects before being pumped out (usually) by an automatic bilge pump is this how yours is set up?

The only time that weve had a problem with our Scorpions was when the float switch stuck open on one have you checked this? - as it would rapidly trash the battery.

Best bet as Brian says is one of the allover covers (Scorpion sell them), if they are secured properly that will solve the issue. I suppose you could install a shore power kit, but it will cost a bit due to the need for the transformer and wiring, alternatively a second dedicated battery might be a better bet. Id be tempted to go for the cover that will have the added benefit of keeping the tubes looking like new

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Old 17 October 2004, 12:50   #6
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I is surprised the Scorp did not come with a second battery, that would certainly be my solution and a two way switch. The shore power arrangement seems cumbersome!
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Old 17 October 2004, 13:31   #7
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I have two batteries on the boat. The second ( backup battery ) is used to power the bilge pump. I have put a solar charger onto this battery to keep it topped up too. So far no problems even with all the rain we've had.
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Old 17 October 2004, 14:54   #8
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The second ( backup battery ) is used to power the bilge pump. I have put a solar charger onto this battery to keep it topped up too.
Mkes sense to me, how much was the charger
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Old 17 October 2004, 15:30   #9
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Maplins sell a solar trickle charger for 14.99. You can plug it into a cigar lighter socket or directly to the battery terminals. It comes with suction cups or you can screw mount it. I have one in my defender fixed to the underside of the sun visor. I flip it down when I park up for any length of time and it works fine even on overcast days. Yes we have those in Belfast occasionally.
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Old 17 October 2004, 15:36   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simmons0
Is there not a drain plug in the bottom of the bilges that you could leave open instead of using the pumps?
Apologies, i got it into my head the boat was dry bearthed.??
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Old 17 October 2004, 15:52   #11
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I have seen the solar panel trick used on a few boats, very effective, providing you use a second battery for the pump, you hopefully will always have your primary battery to start the engines etc, if the other battery does get flat in some way.
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Old 17 October 2004, 16:46   #12
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A solar panel and an auto bilge pump sound ideal. Simple q tho, how would you wire in the bilge pump? To a switch left in the on position? And how could that be done with an engine isolation switch? (Trying to find a better way of keeping the rain out than fighting with a cover in a windy marina..)
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Old 18 October 2004, 02:50   #13
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If you get a bilge pump with built in float switch, make sure you get one with three wires. Two connect directly to the battery, thus bypassing the isolation switch, and the third goes round the houses through to the normal bilge pump switch. Sorry for the non-technical explanation, but its a fairly standard setup so you should be able to copy someone elses!
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Old 18 October 2004, 05:53   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirrel
If you get a bilge pump with built in float switch, make sure you get one with three wires. Two connect directly to the battery, thus bypassing the isolation switch, and the third goes round the houses through to the normal bilge pump switch. Sorry for the non-technical explanation, but its a fairly standard setup so you should be able to copy someone elses!
Spot on However Do ensure that the connection "Direct to the battery" is Fused!

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Old 18 October 2004, 09:09   #15
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Flat battery

Ollie,

All interesting stuff about two batteries and solar panels etc but if you are using your boat every couple of weeks or so your battery should be more than man enough to keep the bilge pump running to get rain water out (and I know about it raining more up north )

I think you may have either an unrelated electrical problem causing the battery to discharge or possibly that the boat is flooding through the self bailers. Float swithches once they have been around a bit are notorious for electrical leakage.

I assume (dangerous, I know) that you have the round white plastic self bailers with rubber non return flaps. If these get dirty or the rubber hardens a bit they will not seal properly. The bilge pump will then be operating much more often and will flatten the battery.

My Scorpion has these fitted but also has some rubber bungs to put in from the inside when leaving the boat unattended.

I hope this helps - there must be a simple solution!
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Old 18 October 2004, 11:23   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirrel
If you get a bilge pump with built in float switch, make sure you get one with three wires. Two connect directly to the battery, thus bypassing the isolation switch, and the third goes round the houses through to the normal bilge pump switch. Sorry for the non-technical explanation, but its a fairly standard setup so you should be able to copy someone elses!
Thanks.. Just fitted an auto bilge pump and a fused switch, the switch has manual, off and auto.. The + wires from the pump went into the switch, and the - wire went to the battery.. Not sure about the solar panel now after Duncan's post. For the time being, shall make sure I take the portable power station I have incase of battery probs in the car.
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Old 18 October 2004, 14:17   #17
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Quote:
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Ollie,

All interesting stuff about two batteries and solar panels etc but if you are using your boat every couple of weeks or so your battery should be more than man enough to keep the bilge pump running to get rain water out (and I know about it raining more up north )

I think you may have either an unrelated electrical problem causing the battery to discharge or possibly that the boat is flooding through the self bailers. Float swithches once they have been around a bit are notorious for electrical leakage.

I assume (dangerous, I know) that you have the round white plastic self bailers with rubber non return flaps. If these get dirty or the rubber hardens a bit they will not seal properly. The bilge pump will then be operating much more often and will flatten the battery.

My Scorpion has these fitted but also has some rubber bungs to put in from the inside when leaving the boat unattended.

I hope this helps - there must be a simple solution!
I think that the problem may well be my initial lack of understanding of the boat setup. The self drainers are as you describe but I keep the bungs in place so no water coming that way, the problem I think is that I cleaned the boat and poured a lot of water from the hose and also a bucket down the rear drain holes. I had it in my head that these drained into the water, not the bilge. This will have filled the bilge and then combined with all the rain the pump has been working very hard for a week. Not been for run on the boat for a 7 days. Think I will get a cover made over the winter and maybe look at the shore power option to run a trickle charger.

Another job to put onto the 'must do this winter' list!!
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Old 18 October 2004, 14:56   #18
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Simply put shore power trickle charger no good!

second battery advice is sound. (agree that regular use will keep em charged up) I am surprised that Searider didn't endorse it cos hed make you do it if he was coding your boat.

I hate self bailers. give me bungs any time!
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Old 18 October 2004, 17:30   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue Wave
Simply put shore power trickle charger no good!

second battery advice is sound. (agree that regular use will keep em charged up) I am surprised that Searider didn't endorse it cos hed make you do it if he was coding your boat.

I hate self bailers. give me bungs any time!
Hear what you are saying Mr Wave but surely if one battery goes flat with the bilge then it would be the same if I had two. Accept I would be able to start the boat but still the problem of having the bilge full and the battery flat.

Why is shore power not going to work? I understood that the modern 'smart' trickle chargers can keep a battery optimised for up to 6 months.
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Old 18 October 2004, 23:00   #20
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I use an optimate to keep the 12v battery charged up in the winter months on my motorbike. Not sure if it would be enough for some of the larger rib batteries tho..
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