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Old 07-28-2014, 08:10 PM   #21
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My guess is " slack (non)maintenance causing slow death".
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I`d probably try watering them out of sheer curiosity, if nothing else. Replace with sealed versions?
I'm going to put water in them and see. I already don't trust them though, and it would really be for educational purposes only.
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:08 PM   #22
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Great thread - I'm in similar position to the OP. Suspect (and no idea of maintenance history except to know they were nearly dry when I took ownership of the boat) house batteries that don;t seem to be much chop. Was thinking about getting a sparky in to load test - but that'll cost $200+ (with travel time) and that;s half the cost of a new bank of 6 volts. After reading this I think I'll cut my losses, grab new batts then see how she goes before changing anything else.
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:01 PM   #23
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Have you never checked the electrolyte level in the 5 years the batteries have been in service, or just not checked it recently? I ask wondering if part of your charging problem may include over-charging leading to electrolyte boil off. Implied is that I agree with others that you have an alternator/charging problem as well as cooked batteries.

Heads up on the Xantrex charger too. I, and others have experienced them going into overcharge mode for no explainable reason. In my case the outgassing set off the CO alarms on the boat.
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Old 07-29-2014, 01:51 AM   #24
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There is a de-sulfating potion sold here,you add it to the electrolyte. If available might be worth a try. When I bought my boat the batteries were very low in fluid, I used it, 2 revived one did not, and I can`t say if the de-sulfator/snake oil extract helped or not.
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:28 AM   #25
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Underway check the voltage AT the battery .

If its in the charge range 13.5 to 14.4 its batt time.

If not find out where the alt voltage changes down to nothing.

I would suspect some type of electronic battery combiner , they die easily.
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Old 07-29-2014, 07:19 AM   #26
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If its in the charge range 13.5 to 14.4 its batt time.

What does that mean?

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Old 07-29-2014, 10:10 AM   #27
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For what it's worth, running the electrolyte low on a battery leads to plate corrosion, not sulfation. Corrosion is not reversible or correctable, so if you have killed the battery by this means, it's dead for good.

But, depending on how long the fluid level was low, and how far down it was, the corrosion may not be enough to materially harm the batteries.

And.... your batteries may be sulfated in addition to any damage done by running the fluid low, but the two are not related.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:26 AM   #28
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Matt,

How often do you go to the boat? At least once a month? If you do or more often I strongly suggest you turn off the battery charger after the banks are fully charged and the charger is in float mode. Leaving it n shortens the life of the batteries and dries them. I never leave my charger, yea I have a smart do everything charger, on for more than two or three days. When I get down to 12.4 VDC I turn it back on.

I only add water about every 10 months or once a year. I have Trojan 6V and I installed them in 1998 or 99. They are still in my boat and are ready for replacement but are doing a great job with me at the dock.

If I had left my smart do everything charger, a Xantrex, on constantly, They would have been toast in 5. I know. Been there done that.
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:08 AM   #29
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If its in the charge range 13.5 to 14.4 its batt time.

What this means,

ON a 12v system your portable volt meter should show charge voltage , 13.5 to 14.4 when hooked up to the batts while being charged.

a 24V system will run double the voltages.

A volt meter is under $10.00 at radio shack or wallmart
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:09 PM   #30
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Yeah, yeah... all that... just never heard the phrase "batt time" before...

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Old 07-29-2014, 08:47 PM   #31
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its like "hammer time" but batteries ?
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:28 PM   #32
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How much acid is in the battery box???
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:36 PM   #33
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If you are trolling for salmon, you'll have better luck at 3.5 to 4 knots. Just say in'.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:18 AM   #34
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If you are trolling for salmon, you'll have better luck at 3.5 to 4 knots. Just say in'.
Thread creep and it's about time.....

Really? I was trolling for salmon last weekend between 2-3 knots and figured it was too fast cause we didn't get a nibble. What tackle do you use?
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:48 AM   #35
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Almost all salmon tackle is based on commercial stuff, flashers, hoochies etc and the commercial guys don't dawdle about. Aim to be faster than the rest of the pack. If your down rigger lines are not back 30 - 45 degrees, you're too slow. I read somewhere that salmon strike at an average of 14 mph. Besides, it's dark down there!
Note: YMMV!!

Thread creep? I'm offended, trolling speed was mentioned in the first post!
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:03 AM   #36
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I think I'd water the current batteries, charge 'em, and see what happens. They might surprise you with a bit more service while you think about it. If not, it will only cost you some distilled water and a little bit of time.


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Old 07-30-2014, 09:06 AM   #37
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Best advice in this thread, and the easiest advice, and the cheapest!

If you do try that charge them at very low amps, like at a 1 or 2 per hour rate, for days. Then test them.
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:26 PM   #38
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Followups:
  • We go down to the boat at least monthly. Usually every week or so in the summer, less so in the middle of winter.
  • Battery box was dry. Unfortunately, it was as dry as the batteries themselves
  • We will be down to the boat tomorrow (Thursday), to add water to the batteries. We'll go back down on Saturday to see what happens. I'm not sure how to set the charger to do a low-ampreage charge...
  • 3-4kts would be a much better combination cruise/fishing speed. I'm going to try that! Think it would work with divers too? I have riggers, but don't know mount them on the caprail.
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Old 07-30-2014, 03:55 PM   #39
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Make sure the cases are not bulging - that is a sign of severe damage and you are high risk for an internal short causing the battery to explode if you try and charge them.
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