The Charging System of Marine Batteries
Just like in your car, the electrical systems on a boat run off a battery. Everything from your CD player to a TV, microwave, refrigerators and dozens of other systems are all battery powered. As such, you should charge the batteries from time to time. But finding the correct charger for your boat and your particular needs is important to ensure that you get the correct charging and that you get life as much as possible from your batteries.
Choose the Perfect Charger
- Inspect the batteries on your boat. You need to write the input voltage of the battery and the type of battery it is, with the capacity of the battery, which will be written in ampere-hours on the side. If there is written information down on your battery, copy it down.
- Different battery chargers will come with different features. Look for a battery charger that has a number of outputs equal to the number of trolling motor you have, so your charger can feed all your batteries at once. Look for a charger that has a 20 percent rate below the total charge capacity of your battery. Decide if you want a battery charger that is portable to keep on the boat, or if you want a plug-in model that can be used on the dock. Also consider what price range you are willing to pay, and what guarantees the shippers you are looking for at the tender.
- Buy the battery charger that best suits your needs. If you want to cover all of your bases, purchase two battery chargers; One that you can use everything in water if your battery dies, and one that you can use when you are docked and recharge your batteries.
Tips and Warnings
Many marine battery chargers come with additional features. Automatic shutdown when the battery is charged, an overvoltage protection loop and LEDs are good features to look for.
Always check the return policy before buying a marine battery charger. If it turns out not working at all, or just not working with your battery, you must be able to return it.
How to Keep Marine Batteries Charged
Marine and deep-cycle batteries are both commonly used for a variety of applications, ranging from traditional power sources for trolling motor and electronics to small-scale renewable energy applications. However, if your batteries are not properly supported, they will quickly drain out. In some cases, a dead battery may need to be replaced if it has lost its ability to hold the charge. There are several ways to ensure that your batteries are fully charged and cared for, one of the most common of which involves the use of a maintenance charger.
Keep Marine Batteries Charged
- Install a boat charger to keep the battery fully charged. The net chargers can be either plugged into a power source, it is available, or you can use solar battery chargers if you only use the boat intermittently. Solar chargers work best if they can sit for several days and charge the battery rather than charging in a matter of hours. Solar chargers should be sized according to the voltage of the battery, they are charging.
- Place the solar panel in the direct sunlight measurement as possible if you are using a solar cell attached to a service charger device (marketed as a single product). Classical solar theory suggests tilting the solar cell to the same degree as latitude, more than 15 degrees in winter and minus 15 degrees during the summer.
- Cut the electrodes on the terminals of the marine battery once the solar cell is correctly positioned. Look for an indicator on your service charger, such as a lamp or LED to tell you that it is properly connected to your battery. Some trickle chargers, solar or other, will also tell you when the battery is fully charged.
- Install a load regulator attached to a generator if you are using multiple batteries in the marine and deep cycle batteries on a regular basis. Load regulators are designed to direct the flow of electricity to and from batteries in a way that extends their lifetime by keeping the accused adequately and prevents them from becoming overloaded.
- Connect cables to the input terminals of the charge controller, allowing a power source, such as a wind turbine, solar cell or an electric generator to send to the load controller. The cables at the point of entry must be sized according to the size of the current amount the batteries from the power source.
- Attach the same wiring cables with cable grommet to the ends of the cables so that they can attach to the battery bank of the battery. Each time a load controller is used, it is also advisable to install a dump load at the secondary output terminals load controller. Dump charges are commonly used in renewable energy applications as a heat sink that dissipates the extra electricity that is diverted from the bank of the battery by the charge regulator.
How to recharge a marine battery
The batteries that are used in marine applications are different from the average car battery with which you may be more familiar. While automotive batteries are made to give short bursts of power while obtaining a constant charging, marine batteries, or deep discharge batteries, are designed to provide long stretches of constant power without being recharged. They will often go through a full discharge before they are imputed at full capacity. For best performance and long life of your marine batteries, follow some best practices to charge them properly.
Recharge a marine battery
- Recharge your marine batteries immediately after use, or as soon as possible. You can damage your battery and shorten its life by allowing it to sit around completely discharged.
- Check the level of each cell in the battery before charging the electrolyte. Add demineralized or distilled water as necessary to bring the level up to a point that is about 1/8 inch under the starter gun.
- Clean the terminals with a wire brush and a clean cloth to ensure a good charge connection before recharging.
- Connect your battery and adjust the charger according to the instructions of your charger. A "smart" charger should be used to charge at the proper rate and avoid overcharging of the battery, which is detrimental to it and common when using standard battery chargers. An intelligent charger automatically switches to a lower current than the voltage of the rising battery.
- Store the battery in a cool, dry place to prevent it from happening quickly. An area that is between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit offer you the best storage conditions of the battery. Temperatures below zero and above 100 degrees are both to be avoided.
How to Recharge a Marine Battery in a Car
A marine battery works much like a car battery and, depending on the size of the craft, can easily be charged by a car. One must be careful: make sure the marine battery is 12 volts, which is the size of a car's battery. A car can not safely charge a larger battery, such as a 16 volt. A large battery would drain. However, a car can easily charge a smaller battery, such as an 8 volt.
Recharge a Marine Battery in a Car
- Make sure the marine battery is 12 volts or smaller.
- Connect the flying cables to the positive and negative terminals on the marine battery. Red goes with positive and negative going black.
- Turn on the car and connect the negative connection cable to the negative terminal of the car battery. Connect the positive power cable to the positive power terminal on the car battery. Let the car run for 5 to 10 minutes. This should be enough time to charge the marine battery.
- Disconnect the flying cables. Disconnect the positive cable first.
- Start the trolling motor. It should start with no problem.
How to Charge Exide Marine Batteries
Exide marine batteries are deep cycle batteries with power of trolling motors, sounders and lights in a boat. A deep-cycle battery provides a small amount of electricity for long hours without an alternator to regenerate the battery. Car batteries provide a burst of energy to start a car, and then regenerate the power of the alternator.
Charge Exide Marine Batteries
- Place a wrench on the black negative clamp on the battery. Turn the bolt counterclockwise to loosen and remove the clamp. Repeat this step to remove the positive cable from the red battery.
- Remove the battery and out of the boat and place it indoors on a board.
- Place a flat screwdriver under a battery cell cap and lift it up. Repeat this procedure to remove each cap. Add distilled water to each cell of the battery that has a level below the metal plates inside. Fill each cell to cover the metal plates and replace the caps by pressing firmly.
- Define an automatic battery charger near the battery. Connect the black wire from the battery charger to the negative terminal on the battery. Connect the red wire from the battery charger to the positive terminal on the battery.
- Plug the charger into an electrical outlet and turn on the battery charger. Turn the switch to the correct voltage that is written on the battery label. The automatic battery charger will turn off after the battery is fully charged.
- Turn the battery charger and remove the red and black wires from the deep-cycle battery. Replace it in the boat and replace the negative and positive battery cables on the terminals. Tighten the clamps by turning the bolts clockwise.