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Old 09-17-2018, 11:28 PM   #1
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What should be hooked to the starting batteries?

I am the new owner of a 1985 Marine Trader Sun Deck 43 and have a lot of things to sort out when I take possession Oct 4.

One thing came up during the survey. The surveyor turned on everything, so all switches on the panel were flipped on.

It was a 2.5 hour trip to the marina to pull the boat out and then the boat was out of the water for about an hour. When they put the boat back in the boat wouldn't start and we had to put a charger on it for about 15 min to get it started.

The Broker said of course the batteries were dead he turned everything on and left it on.

But I was thinking about it today. Nothing should run off the starting batteries except the motors/engines?

Shouldn't everything be hooked up to the house batteries and not the starting batteries?

The boat's generator isn't working and it has a new inverter which was on, running the fridge and other 110 items.
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Old 09-17-2018, 11:36 PM   #2
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First congrats on your new boat. The only thing beside the starter on my start batteries is the windlass and that is only used when the engines are running. Sounds like you have some wiring to trace in your near future. Good luck.
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Old 09-17-2018, 11:56 PM   #3
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Hard to guess anything other than you’ll probably be spending $XXX dollars on at least new batteries. Did the surveyor not have any comment?
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Old 09-18-2018, 12:08 AM   #4
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The batteries are two years old and according to the motor survey/ mechanic were at 93%, but one of the alternators was an original.

The survey guy left before we boarded and did the 2 .5 hour trip back to the marina. He went home to do his report..the Broker and I took the boat back.

Anyway I'll do some looking around, I was just curios if maybe it was standard practice to run something other than the engines off the the starting batteries.
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Old 09-18-2018, 12:33 AM   #5
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It is possible that you have an inadvertent cross over. Meaning despite all the battery switches both banks might be connected permanently. Talk to the surveyor, find out what he saw.

Is it possible that the house battery switch was on all.
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Old 09-18-2018, 06:13 AM   #6
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The first question is: Do you have separate house bank & starter banks because many older trawlers incl. Grand Banks were originally set up with port & stbd battery banks which were controlled by the 1;2;both;off switch? All loads (incl. starting and house) were run through that panel & switch.
Most of us with that set up run on "both" then (after shutting down the engines) switch to #1 on odd numbered days & #2 on even numbered days so as to always have a charged battery for starting the next morning (we had a separate starter battery for the generator which charges itself off the gen. alternator). We cruised happily for several years with an 8D AGM on each side with no problems running a small fridge and modest house loads. Two caveats with this set-up - don't turn the switch while the mains are running, and, if you run an inverter, you really need a separate house bank.
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Old 09-18-2018, 07:42 AM   #7
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People wire boats differently depending on whether they have a house battery bank or not and whether they dedicate one alternator to charging it.

On my boat, the only thing on the engine battery is the engine. House battery bank is separate with its own alternator.

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Old 09-18-2018, 07:56 AM   #8
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Boats need two separate battery banks, one for starting, one for everything else as deep cycle.
Running all that stuff for a while could run down the batteries enough to not start if they are joined banks or only one bank. That was a lot of load on them. and you dont say how many or what configuration they are.
You also need a running gen to run to recharge batteries just in case you can't start.

And an ACR can join battery banks when engines run so the alternator can charge both banks, or even a high power relay can be used.
I simply got a continuous duty 80 amp golf cart type relay cheap off Amazon, wired it through a manual switch and wired it to always come on if the port engine ignition comes on. The manual switch lets me turn it off separating the banks, and of course they are not joined if the engine is off.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derik View Post
The batteries are two years old and according to the motor survey/ mechanic were at 93%, but one of the alternators was an original.

The survey guy left before we boarded and did the 2 .5 hour trip back to the marina. He went home to do his report..the Broker and I took the boat back.

Anyway I'll do some looking around, I was just curios if maybe it was standard practice to run something other than the engines off the the starting batteries.
Have you done a quick calc of the load that was on the batteries? What’s the capacity of the house bank?
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:55 AM   #10
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You guys are great, I can't go down to the boat and start working on it until I get my Insurance but, I am do remember seeing a switch that said Shore/ Batteries or something like that and I think it had a battery selection or both but am not 100 % sure.

I haven't done a load analysis yet but will. The two previous owners were campers and put 28 hours on the boat in the past 2 years. They were mostly hooked up to shore power and didn't mind the generator wasn't functional. I have a used Northern Lights Gen. that's been put in but not fully hooked up that will be my first order of business.
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Old 09-18-2018, 11:02 AM   #11
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You should see what's drawing all that current. 2 1/2 hours even with everything on shouldn't deplete the batteries. Unless the batteries are bad, or you are trying to run the A/C from the inverter or something.
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Old 09-18-2018, 11:23 AM   #12
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I am in the camp that you should have separate start and house banks and that the start bank should be used for starting only. My two battery banks are connected by an automatic combiner relay (ACR) so that both banks are charged by the alternator but separated when the engine is off.


My solar is connected to the house bank, but it does trigger the ACR so I get some solar charging of my start bank when solar pulls the house bank above the ACR voltage threshold (13.0 V).
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Old 09-18-2018, 02:07 PM   #13
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Nothing should have drained good start batteries in 2.5 hours of non-running engines. Even with a spotlight turned on there should have been enough reserve to crank the engines. Especially sitting in a dock plugged in to shore power, assuming it has a functioning battery charger.
IMHO, the first order of business is sorting out the DC battery lineup and condition. Open up the battery boxes and tell us what size, quantity, and type batteries you have. Trace out the positive battery leads.
How many wires are connected to each positive terminal?

If the batteries have removable caps, are they properly filled? Be very careful because it is very strong acid.
With a digital volt meter, take voltage readings of each battery with the probe tips directly on the lead posts with the battery charger on normally. Write each of them down and post here.
Repeat with the battery charger turned off and all breakers turned on as in the survey and check voltages after 30 minutes.
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Old 09-18-2018, 02:22 PM   #14
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I personally like to have some other load on my start battery to pull it down at least little so it doesn't develop a "surface charge". My engine starts immediately, so the load is small and quick and the battery isn't drawn down significantly.

I have my pot puller, and LED flood and spot lights wired into the start battery, those items are only used while the engine is running. Everything else is run off the house bank. I think only equipment run underway should be connected to the start battery. jmo
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Old 09-18-2018, 03:14 PM   #15
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These guys all seem to have a good handle and good advice. But in your circumstances, before I started tracing loads on the battery I would first make sure the alternator was charging both banks when the engine is running. I would also confirm whether you have an ACR to combine the banks for charging or some other solution that may have failed.

If you've already done that, I'll sit down and be quiet.
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Old 09-18-2018, 04:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
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These guys all seem to have a good handle and good advice. But in your circumstances, before I started tracing loads on the battery I would first make sure the alternator was charging both banks when the engine is running. I would also confirm whether you have an ACR to combine the banks for charging or some other solution that may have failed.

If you've already done that, I'll sit down and be quiet.
Yes agree. After re-reading post#1 it does not look like the alternators did anything on the 2 1/2 hour ride to the marina.
So with the engine running and the battery chargers shutdown, the voltage of the start battery for the running engines should rise above 12.8 VDC with the engine at about 1000 rpm. It should max out at about 14.5 volts when the batteries reach full charge.
Something is also wrong with the batteries themselves. I would bet they have never been watered in their short lives. It only takes 5 minutes to find out.
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Old 09-18-2018, 07:13 PM   #17
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Yes agree. After re-reading post#1 it does not look like the alternators did anything on the 2 1/2 hour ride to the marina.
So with the engine running and the battery chargers shutdown, the voltage of the start battery for the running engines should rise above 12.8 VDC with the engine at about 1000 rpm. It should max out at about 14.5 volts when the batteries reach full charge.
Something is also wrong with the batteries themselves. I would bet they have never been watered in their short lives. It only takes 5 minutes to find out.
Good call on the alternators. My boat came complete with crap CarQuest alternator belts. Voltmeters on bridge ran about 12.4V. Switched to OEM Cat cogged belts, voltmeters immediately jumped to 14+V. Like so many things, false savings on the cheap belts, which were obviously slipping.
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Old 09-18-2018, 11:37 PM   #18
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I'll know more soon but

Sorry I don't have more details yet, I'll get my insurance this week and will be able to go on the boat and do some things but not a lot since it's not my boat until Oct 4.

What I do know is that the Invert-er was on and the refrigerator was on, it's not a marine refrigerator and appears to be on the big size for a boat. There were some other breakers on that don't do anything but could draw power like Freshwater Maker ( it doesn't have one) Macerator pump. I am not sure if he used the microwave or not but had it on.

I am guessing at least one of the two alternators doesn't work and they the PO used shore power to charge the batteries full probably never turned the boat off. If this was a normal practice the batteries could be shot already. I'll check fluid and hope none of the cells are dry.

When we went to leave the haul out the motors did nothing but engage the starters the broker was able to get it going quickly by hooking the battery charger to the starter after it charged for a very short period. I am not sure what kind of charger they had but it wasn't something I had seen done before.

I am going to copy and paste everything here and bring it to the boat with me when I go next week.

Thanks all

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Old 09-19-2018, 05:45 AM   #19
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" Nothing should run off the starting batteries except the motors/engines?

Shouldn't everything be hooked up to the house batteries and not the starting batteries?"


That is the safest method.
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Old 09-19-2018, 06:23 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post
" Nothing should run off the starting batteries except the motors/engines?

Shouldn't everything be hooked up to the house batteries and not the starting batteries?"


That is the safest method.
What about windlass and thruster?
I wonder about those and can argue for having them on the start bank.
Both hi amp draw lo cycle time...
Only run when / after engines running...
Seems to fit start type batty use vs deep cycle house bank.

My MS is not an appropriate set up... IMO
Thrusters seperate 8D
Gennie seperate start batty
Dual 8Ds serve everything else... start windlass and house
Thinking about changing the batty type & wiring when its time for new battys
Am I off base or does above make sense?
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