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Old 11-13-2019, 11:21 AM   #1
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Battery Help Please

I did not know I had to add water to my batteries, boat wont turn over and seller recommends. I got down there and popped of one lid and I don't see any water-should I . How much do I add? Does any one have a decent video?
Thank you in advance!
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:31 AM   #2
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Water should be over the top of the plates, distilled water. My guess would be it's going to be too late to get a full recovery on those batteries... just an opinion, good luck!
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:45 AM   #3
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This link gives a step by step procedure for checking water in batteries with pics: https://www.wikihow.com/Check-Car-Battery-Water-Levels

If you can't see any water then it is below the plates and the battery is probably shot. You might try adding water and charging, but the battery will not likely return to full charge.

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Old 11-13-2019, 11:56 AM   #4
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Sounds like you need new batteries.

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Old 11-13-2019, 01:16 PM   #5
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If you boat has an older charger, it might be over charging and causing the "water" to evaporate too quickly. My current boat came with an old constant volt charger and was going thru water like crazy. When I changed the batteries I went to a Sterling charger and now use less than half the water.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:23 PM   #6
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I did the same thing

They were shot, forgot all about it last winter, I changed out to AGM's, if you change types, be sure and check your charger, they require different settings. Depending on the age of the charger, might not be compatible.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:12 PM   #7
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Only one of the four batteries appeared to be low on water, that was a two hour project, but I topped them all off. One of the boaters here just checked with a voltage meter and 3 were full and one at 11, he has a charger on it now. I am beginning to suspect the starter has issues.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:15 PM   #8
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I think part of boating is killing one set of batteries before you figure it all out. Don't ask me how I know.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:27 PM   #9
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Mine are tough to check and fill. I bought a battery jug water filler bottle with auto shutoff from Amazon for $13. It works great, holds 1/2 gallon of water. You stick it in and press down. Water flows into battery and shuts off when the battery is full. You donít have to even look into the hole.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:31 PM   #10
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Mine are tough to check and fill. I bought a battery jug water filler bottle with auto shutoff from Amazon for $13. It works great, holds 1/2 gallon of water. You stick it in and press down. Water flows into battery and shuts off when the battery is full. You donít have to even look into the hole.

Seller had one of those down by the batteries, excellent gadget!
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:34 PM   #11
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Yes, with it I can fill them, without it I have to pull 2 of the batteries to get to the back ones. Well worth $13.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:37 PM   #12
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You do know that the "water" in the batteries is not water, its very strong acid that will severely burn or blind you, right? The "water" is only what is added to an existing battery.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:37 PM   #13
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Only one of the four batteries appeared to be low on water, that was a two hour project, but I topped them all off. One of the boaters here just checked with a voltage meter and 3 were full and one at 11, he has a charger on it now. I am beginning to suspect the starter has issues.


I donít think you can blame the starter just yet. Yes, Iíve been there too. Embarassing, I know about watering batteries.

Fill them up, below the top of the case and above the lead plates. Distilled is best, if you have it or expect the batts to survive. Charge them well. Come back tomorrow. Disconnect them. Let them rest. Get one of the cheap turkey baster style battery testers. Test every cell in every batt and record the results.

At that stage, you can make decisions on whether to replace them all, or some of them. One bad cell can ruin the others.

I survived doing this once by replacing a cell. The next time I was not so lucky and replaced them all.

Yeah, itís a bit of a right of passage unfortunately. Motivation to monitor constantly and water on a schedule.

I now use a float hub to send alerts when voltages are not normal. A notebook with a pencil can be nearly as reliable if you will use it. I wonít. I can say that now. Thought I could. I was wrong!
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:47 PM   #14
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First off, even though the battery(s) in question could be "shot", you might as well top them up (with distilled water) and try to "save them" by fully recharging. However, if one battery in a bank of batteries does turn out to be shot (not take and hold a charge), you really should replace the entire bank (for best results including best use of your dollars)! All batteries in a bank should be of the same age and type, and ideally even the same manufacturer and capacity. In that way, coupled with proper charging and maintenance, you will obtain the optimum performance and life out of your bank.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:48 PM   #15
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First off, even though the battery(s) in question could be "shot", you might as well top them up (with distilled water) and try to "save them" by fully recharging. However, if one battery in a bank of batteries does turn out to be shot (not take and hold a charge), you really should replace the entire bank (for best results including best use of your dollars)! All batteries in a bank should be of the same age and type, and ideally even the same manufacturer and capacity. In that way, coupled with proper charging and maintenance, you will obtain the optimum performance and life out of your bank.
+1. Agree.
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Old 11-13-2019, 03:50 PM   #16
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I see you are in Florida, winter should not be a problem there. If you have a battery very low on fluid and the battery does not have much of a charge in it, it is very likely that in Northern Climes the battery will burst, or at least crack.

If this happens to you be very cautious of removing the batteries from the boat. Hopefully they will be in boxes but if not there is every possibility that you now have battery acid in your bilge. Even if they are in boxes everything that drips off the batteries is highly corrosive to your cloths, eyes, shoes and floors.

At any rate, at any location, proceed with caution !

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Old 11-13-2019, 05:47 PM   #17
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That 3 are full and one is at 11v, and you could not start the engine, suggests the 11v one is the "start" battery. You need to investigate that but if so, the other 3 could be "house" and you may get away with replacing the "start" one if as I expect, it doesn`t come back. There are multi stage chargers which claim to diagnose and if possible, revive sick batteries.I hope that is what your neighbour is using.
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Old 11-13-2019, 07:35 PM   #18
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All 4 batteries just test at 12v, I learned how to use a voltage meter..But the display at the helm still showing its low and still only click click click when I turn it over...A neighbor said maybe a silinoid is bad. Any thoughts? I did whack it a few times like I used to have to on a my old truck. No dice.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:58 PM   #19
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If your reading really is just 12v and not for example, 12.8 your batteries really are low, about 25% charged, as the helm display shows. 12.6v or above,read when the batteries are not on charge and have not just used, indicates full.
The 5 hours between your last 2 posts is not enough time to recharge them. I don`t know the capacity of the charger, or if it is trying to charge all 4 at once, or how the charge is divided between banks, if they are separate. But before condemning the batteries, give them a good long charge, 24hrs would be good.


As your batteries have opening caps you can remove them to see if the cells are bubbling under charge. Remember the liquid in the batts is sulfuric acid, not water, so be careful doing this, it doesn`t agree with clothing, skin, eyes, etc. If you see that only 2 of 4 cells of a battery are charging, the other 2 are likely dead and so is the battery. You may need to top up during charging, liquid needs to cover the plates or be up to any indicators, forming a meniscus or "fish eye" look.
The hydrometer test readily available and cheap at boat or auto parts shops) is a better test than voltage, but again, only worth doing after the batts are as charged as they can be. An info "how to" sheet should come with the hydrometer.
I suggest resolving battery condition before blaming other items. I don`t think you are there yet. There are way smarter elec guys here who I hope will help.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:07 PM   #20
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That's good to know-and I am not sure how they collectively charge or if I need to charge each one individually. Lets start by what should a battery read at full charge?
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