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Old 12-02-2018, 05:29 PM   #1
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Watering system for batteries

I just installed a new bank of lead/acid batteries. The old bank was only 2 years old. The reason they went south is lack of water. I just purchased the boat in June. The po apparently did not check the water very often. It is a royal pain in the neck!

I've seen those watering systems on line and YouTube. You change out the caps with their caps and connect them together with a hose. Then you can run the end to a convenient spot and just pump the distilled water from a bottle and once all the cells are full, it stops taking water.

Any suggestions on brand? There are only a few. Some are brand specific, like Trojan. Others are universal.


Also, how do you determine the cap size?

This would make a once per month chore pretty quick and easy. That way it would get done.

I think the cost is around $250 for 24 cells plus the pump is $35.

Would appreciate any suggestions or advice. I don't want to replace those 135# batteries for 5 - 7 years!
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Old 12-02-2018, 06:13 PM   #2
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These systems are much more prevalent in the RV world. You might get more feedback on some RV forums.
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Old 12-02-2018, 06:56 PM   #3
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You might want to test the charging system / battery charger to be sure that it is not over charging. If you have a battery charger is it a quality charger? You don’t want to ruin the new bank.
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Old 12-02-2018, 07:07 PM   #4
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Greetings. Installed two systems on my 4087 BayLiner. Check out Battery Watering Systems, Marine Dock Products, Solar Dock Lights. (1-616-846-3006) They have your answer. As for charging device check, yes do that as well.
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Old 12-02-2018, 07:27 PM   #5
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Always had them on my boats. Bought them from Jans water craft.
I had 14xL16's On my 65 C&L Had 10x T105's on My Cheo Lee 50 and about to install 10x L16"s on my new aquistion ( Cheoy Lee 65) All very simple to install. Just connected up every 2 weeks and pumped. Found I used a lot less water with them as well.
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Old 12-02-2018, 07:33 PM   #6
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I think automatic watering systems are pretty silly. In both my boats as well as RV I never have to add water more than twice each year. Modern chargers keep from overcharging and boiling water out!!!


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Old 12-02-2018, 07:50 PM   #7
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They're very common for when the bank is in an awkward spot.

All FLA properly charged will need topping up, bubbling & offgassing is perfectly normal and in fact healthy toward the end as 100% Full is approached, and while equalizing.

Trojan makes ones fit other brands.

Flow-rite is one brand I've encountered a fair bit.

The ones with individual valves per cell connected with hoses will be more universal, but watch out for hole diameter.

Also still check manually once in a while, especially in the beginning, sometimes need tweaking.

There are also caps that "recycle" the vapour, so need topping up less frequently.
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Old 12-02-2018, 07:57 PM   #8
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How much water you will use is a function of level of discharge and how many times per month. When I was doing the Great Loop, there were periods of up to two weeks straight where I was anchoring out, discharging the bank 15 to 20% each night, and then recharging the next day while underway. Watering once a month was fine. Waiting 2 to 3 months would likely have exposed the top of the plates.

While I like the idea of just dealing with one watering point, the paranoid side of me would be worrying about something unseen going wrong. I've resolved myself to doing it once a month and filling each individual cell. Kind of a forced discipline to inspect and check for abnormal water use in one cell, battery, or series of batteries.

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Old 12-02-2018, 08:46 PM   #9
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Maybe a pain, but I too, want to know where the water is going, so I have an idea what each battery/cell is up to...
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Old 12-02-2018, 08:52 PM   #10
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Maybe a pain, but I too, want to know where the water is going, so I have an idea what each battery/cell is up to...
Me too, and mine are very accessible so I do, but if they are not a system may help. FWIW, I have a set of Water Miser caps on one FLA 8D,and I don`t think it makes a lot of difference to water consumption.
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:15 PM   #11
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Me too, and mine are very accessible so I do, but if they are not a system may help. FWIW, I have a set of Water Miser caps on one FLA 8D,and I don`t think it makes a lot of difference to water consumption.
Me 4. Flashlight, safety glasses, funnel and rubber gloves.
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:24 PM   #12
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Greetings,
Slight thread drift...One of these is ideal for topping up batteries. Automatic stop BUT not 100% automatic. You still have to watch carefully. Still a heck of a lot easier than bending over fill caps and adding bit by bit.


https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/b.../4614417?pos=0


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Old 12-02-2018, 09:34 PM   #13
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A head torch is handy checking batts,that way you have a free hand. I use the small pouring "jug" that comes with the domestic iron usually used by "her indoors" (ref to "Minder") to add demineralized water, but I have very good access(though not to the stern gland under the batts).
And RTF, I cannot read the name "O`Reilly" without thinking of Fawlty Towers"
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:42 PM   #14
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Greetings,
Mr. BK. I cannot read the name "Bunnings" without thinking of...


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Old 12-02-2018, 10:01 PM   #15
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Greetings,
Mr. BK. I cannot read the name "Bunnings" without thinking of...


Not enough pixelation! But it is "n" twice, not "m" once.
Bunnings is owned by Wesfarmers Ltd(in which I disclose a very minor indirect stockholding). Good organization,but recently bombed out in UK trying to set up there.The range of gas powered water blasters was a surprise, probably bought by house exterior cleaners. Some are really powerful, would sure clean that guy`s butt.
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:58 AM   #16
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The simplest , if you have the space is the hydrocaps.

The comments concerning batt use , charge & discharge are spot on.More discharge , more recharge , more water used.

Also sadly the faster you recharge , the more water is consumed , although the hydrocaps are a great help.

Hydrocap |

hydrocapcorp.com/
Recharging a lead-acid battery The electrolyte in lead-acid batteries is a dilute solution of sulfuric acid in water. As the lead-acid cell reaches a full state of ...‎ProductsAbout UsContact UsStore
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:21 AM   #17
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That filler that RTF shows is what I use. Never over fills and I don't have to be able to look into the batt.
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:35 AM   #18
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I am afraid I am in Ted's camp and want to see and be assured each cell is full. I have two of the watering jugs that RTF shows and use one on the boat and the other for the golf cart. Doesn't take that long although I have better access in this boat than our previous and don't work out the bad knees near as much
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:46 AM   #19
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I appreciate all the ideas!
My batteries are not very accessible at all. I can get a funnel with a rubber hose to reach each cell. About 1/2 of them I can actually look into. The rest, not so much.
I looked at my charger, not sure what I am looking at. I guess I need to get down there with a voltmeter and check to see if the gauge matches the real number. If it's at 13.5v on a trickle charge, that should be OK.
I need to install 1 more gauge anyway, maybe just do all 4? New gauges, watering system, I'm golden!
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:58 AM   #20
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The other solution is to install AGM batteries and never worry about filling them ever again. You don't need to remove them in the winter, or keep them on a trickle charger. I shut my battery switch off and 6 months later, turn it on and I have lights, stereo, etc. immediately available. AGM have miniscule amp loss when isolated.
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