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Old 03 October 2008, 02:53   #1
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Isolator switch - how essential are they?

My isolator switch next to the battery has just failed. I may not be able to replace it for a few weeks so the boat is sitting in the Marina without the battery shut off. Bit worried about leaving it & wondered how urgent it is to get this sorted. There's a slight risk kids could muck about raising and lowering the engine, playing with lights etc. but I'm told kids hardly ever trespass onto the marina.

Apart from this slight risk are there any other problems with leaving the boat without the isolator shut off? Thanks in advance, Ivan
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Old 03 October 2008, 03:22   #2
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if you have an automatic bilge pump and no cover on the boat, and it rains alot, that could drain the battery.
hopefully it'll be nice and sunny for a few weeks.
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Old 03 October 2008, 03:25   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lewy View Post
if you have an automatic bilge pump and no cover on the boat, and it rains alot, that could drain the battery.
hopefully it'll be nice and sunny for a few weeks.
but if you don't the boat might sink!
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Old 03 October 2008, 03:30   #4
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One of mine has switches the other doesn't - but the one that doesn't sits in the garage so not much chance of it being played with by kids ( apart form mine) .

Not sure if there is a 'real' safety issue in terms of fires etc - all out cars dont isolate the battereis they dont ( often) catch fire.

Mine with the isolater swithces still runs the bilge pump & then doesn't start when its rained a lot ! I thin kis mainly down to needed a new starting battery rather than anything.

I'd guess you would be fien for a few week , but I'd be reading the insurance policy just in case & double check the lights etc are turned off !
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Old 03 October 2008, 03:54   #5
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IMO they are important for safety when at sea. I have 'played' around with car batteries as a youth and when they short out the heat generated in the cables melted the PVC insulation in seconds and the 2.5mm2 copper conductor glowed orange within about 5-10 seconds. The risk of fire is quite high and a bonfire on a boat with all the fuel is not particularly a good idea.
PS Its a job I need to do as well.
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Old 03 October 2008, 03:56   #6
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I think there important, but just as much also peace of mind of example when you're on a trip and you have to moor and go to on to land for whatever reason, isolating the power at the source via the switch or pulling off the battery clamps ensures nothing will be draining your battery, theres no worse feeling coming back to battery later on to have a couple of very sluggish cranks of the starter and not enough to fire your outboard for your trip home - I've had one actually break on me to, it broke internally and make partial contact very intermitterently causing the fishfinder to power off and on continuously - very annoying - cheap enough to replace though, and you cant have enough spare red keys!
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Old 03 October 2008, 04:47   #7
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To remove the battery clamp it's usually only a single nut, can you not just temporarily pull one of the clamps off?
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Old 03 October 2008, 05:18   #8
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From personal experiences I would certainly fit one.

When I put my rib package together I was advised (by a dealer) not to fit an isolator because apparently ECU,s don't like them, just connect from the battery direct to the engine starter solenoid.

I had a good day out, recovered the rib onto the trailer, sat with the family having a sandwich and brew, suddenly the engine started to turn over and I had no means of isolating. It was a mad rush to find a spanner to disconnect the battery, by the time I had done this the starter motor had burnt out. I had to have a new starter motor and pump impeller fitted due to it being out of the water and running dry.

The culprit was found to be a loose connection on the starter solenoid.
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Old 03 October 2008, 05:51   #9
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jeez, I think you best off buying one for the sake of 12 or whatever it is after reading story above, imagine if that had happened when changing over a prop, u'd brick it at the very least, think of it as an additional security device too against boat theft,
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Old 03 October 2008, 06:27   #10
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once got called out to a yacht that had been sinking when we arrived the water level had started shorting things out sizzles and sparks everywhere but we couldent reach the battery leads if the boat had been fitted with an isolator it would have made things easier in the end the battery exploded having about the same force as someone hitting the hull with a large sledge hammer .
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