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Anyone have a seasonal boat?
Posted by: pdq
Date: September 24, 2022 03:51PM
I inherited a “speedboat” with three motors (or rather, my wife inherited one with her sister, but I’m becoming the go-to-guy for maintenance, etc). One motor is an outboard Mercury 115 hp four stroke EFI, one is a small outboard Mercury 9.9 hp trolling motor, and one is an electric trolling motor. (My late FIL was an avid fisherman).

The boat has three (!) 12V batteries and an on-board charger that can plug into 120V…and wires going everywhere. But I think two of the batteries (the larger ones) are to run the electric trolling motor, since the trim on the big motor still works when the positive terminals on both big batteries are disconnected.

Anyway, my main question today is whether I should leave the charger plugged in and attached to the batteries. I found the manual online, and it says it will charge the batteries to full and then keep them at full (like a trickle charger) and says it will not boil off the electrolyte; but it also says never charge a frozen battery, and these will definitively get below freezing up here.

As I recall, we would typically just take the leads off the positive terminals for winter and _not_ have the charger plugged in. Or better to have it on the charger? Or charge them up, then disconnect?

Any thoughts?
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Re: Anyone have a seasonal boat?
Posted by: Buzz
Date: September 24, 2022 04:24PM
My mistress hates it when I refer to her as a "seasonal boat"..... she prefers "favorite occasional love buoy"....cool smiley

I jest, I jest.
==
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Re: Anyone have a seasonal boat?
Posted by: testcase
Date: September 24, 2022 04:35PM
Batteries lose voltage over time if they're not being charged / "topped off". If 120VAC is available where you store the boat, a good trickle charger (like Battery Minder or the like) should charge the batteries properly. Something to be concerned about if we're talking about LA (Lead Acid; either flooded or sealed) is battery SULFATION. A proper charger can handle this automatically.

If there is NO 120VAC available, I'd remove the batteries from the boat and store them where they can be charged. NOTE: generally a bad idea to sit batteries directly on concrete or similar. Rest them on some wood or something similar to keep them off the ground. BEFORE removing from the boat, snap some pictures of how they're wired so you can duplicate it when reinstalling said batteries.
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Re: Anyone have a seasonal boat?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: September 24, 2022 06:56PM
As I recall, we would typically just take the leads off the positive terminals for winter and _not_ have the charger plugged in. Or better to have it on the charger? Or charge them up, then disconnect?

Any thoughts?



It would help to know the specs on the charger.

Typical chargers and trickle charges aren't meant for long term storage as the maintenance current is about 1.5A.

That's pretty high for long term charging, depending on the capacity of the batteries.

Since you already have a charger and apparently access to AC, without knowing the rate of charge, I'd say get a cheap timer, and plug the charger into it.

Set it to operate an hour or so, weakly or monthly, if that's an option.

I'd check the voltage a few times to see what works, and then set and sort-of-forget.

Otherwise you could splurge on a maintenance charger like a Battery Tender, which charges at .75-.8A and monitors the charge without overcharging.

This would mean no second-guessing.

My bike in on one whenever I'm not riding and so far it's lasted 8yrs, which is pretty good for a moto battery.






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Re: Anyone have a seasonal boat?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: September 24, 2022 07:02PM
Unless the charger is really old, I'm sure it has built in protection for the voltage. So, I would not worry. As to the freezing aspect, we charge batteries all the time while in the cars in freezing temps. I'm not sure of the answer otherwise.
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Re: Anyone have a seasonal boat?
Posted by: btfc
Date: September 24, 2022 07:31PM
Traditional lead acid batteries, freezing is an issue,’more problematic when they are discharged, so start fully charged.

AGM deep cycle batteries do much better in the cold.

The newer lithium deep cycle batteries have issues with cold weather charging, but I doubt you have those.


Most likely traditional lead acid deep cycle; happiest if pulled, cleaned up, stored somewhere cool not cold, on a battery tender.
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Re: Anyone have a seasonal boat?
Posted by: pdq
Date: September 24, 2022 07:37PM
So maybe charge, then just leave?
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Re: Anyone have a seasonal boat?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: September 24, 2022 08:25PM
I'm sure it has built in protection for the voltage.


It's not about the voltage, it's about the charging current needed to maintain the charge.

The higher the charging current the harder it can/will be on the battery during long term maintenance.



So maybe charge, then just leave?


Trust and verify.

Er, charge and check.

I don't know what your winters are like or the capacity and age of the batteries.

DuckDuck for the owner's manual and if you can find one, start with the factory recommendations.

Barring that, charge and check the voltage every week or two to see how it's doing.

I wouldn't let the 'sitting' voltage get below 11V.

If you can figure out the rate of discharge, you could put the charger on a timer to keep the battery at 11-12V.

But try to find the factory recommendations.






I am that Masked Man.

All you can do, is all you can do.

There’s trouble — it's time to play the sound of my people.

Your boos mean nothing to me, I've seen what you cheer for.

Insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities isn’t freedom, it’s adolescence.

I've been to the edge of the map, and there be monsters.

We are a government of laws, not men.

Everybody counts or nobody counts.

When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Anyone have a seasonal boat?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: September 24, 2022 09:12PM
Got to have a battery tender or they will definitely discharge and freeze. We head south in the winter for several months so all my stuff in the garage each gets a tender - formerly two but now one car, a zero-turn lawnmower and my Diesel snowblower. Batteries are expensive, tenders are cheap.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Anyone have a seasonal boat?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: September 25, 2022 06:58AM
…..haven’t motorboated since……



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Re: Anyone have a seasonal boat?
Posted by: pdq
Date: September 25, 2022 07:45AM
Thanks for all the advice. This forum is good for just about any problem.
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