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Old 10-19-2018, 05:41 AM   #21
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Depending on age a batt will self discharge between 1/2% and 3% per DAY


Solar is great or a once a month charge from house current.


The higher the voltage is kept long term , the less sulfation = longer life.
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:29 AM   #22
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The literature says lead acid batteries self discharge at a rate of about 5% per month. Some say as high as 10%. Trojan says 70% is their bottom line for discharge. I lost two batteries when the marina failed to plug in the charger on the house bank midway through an 8 month winter storage period (inside heated). (The contract said they would do so). I have them plug it in every two months for peace of mind. I also do an equalize cycle the day before it goes into the storage building. By the way, many cheap trickle chargers to not have circuitry to prevent them from sucking the life out of the battery if the AC happens to get disconnected for an extended period....

Unattended charging is always a risk, in most cases higher than self discharge of disconnected batteries put to bed correctly. Over the years I have seen tens of thousands of dollars in ruined batteries cause by unattended charging.

A batteries self discharge rate is affected by temperature. If the batteries will routinely be at 75F or higher then periodic top ups (safest) a PV set to a low float of 13.2V or so, would be a decent choice. In either scenario the batteries should be disconnected from the vessel for long term storage. One of the biggest causes of destroyed battery banks is a faulty & stuck bilge switch.

As others have said take the time to install a garboard drain your boat will not only smell better when you return but your batteries won't be exposed to any risk of a faulty controller, stuck bilge switch, occluded PV due shading or the PV disappearing due to five finger shopping....

In colder climates the self discharge rate is a relative non-issue but, in Florida it should certainly be a consideration based on average battery temp.


Winter Battery Storage & Self Discharge Characteristics




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Old 10-19-2018, 09:48 AM   #23
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Unattended charging is always a risk, in most cases higher than self discharge of disconnected batteries put to bed correctly. Over the years I have seen tens of thousands of dollars in ruined batteries cause by unattended charging.

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If the charging system is reliable and relatively sophisticated, and the batteries are in good condition and properly prepared, the risk is very low. Solar panels are unattended. As I said, dozens of boats are plugged in monthly, or bi-monthly by service staff at our storage building. They do the winter disconnect/configuration, or inspect the owners work....they/I service the batteries if required...they/I do a risk assessment. They do not climb aboard each boat and watch it charge. They plug them in and head back to the shop area. At the end of the day they walk through the building and pull the plugs. I caution them not to plug in too often as the water level drops over time. The only batteries I've ever lost is when they failed to perform the routine. Now, if the batteries are old and showed signs of age, I wouldn't follow this routine. Same for an unsophisticated charger. Up front risk assessment.
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:41 AM   #24
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For the past 6 years I have left the 4 GC batteries in our boat over the winter with the battery switches turned off. They are in a horrible position to remove. In the fall they are generally at about 6.5 volts and in the spring 5.8 to 6 volts. Never seemed to do any harm. I do leave the battery breaker turned on and a cord at the transom so early spring I do hook up the generator and charge them as soon as I can get access. Disconnecting is likely a better solution but not always necessary if there is absolutely no load. I do use a shop vac and get all the water out of any bilge areas.
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Old 10-21-2018, 02:12 PM   #25
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Winterizing batteries

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It will take less time to install a garboard drain than to hook up a solar panel especially after you realize you need to buy wire and connectors to extend the cord of that 40Watt, $40 unit from Canadian tire and it might not keep your batteries up. The low angle of the winter sun and cloudy days may (will likely) negate it's usefulness.

$20 for a garboard drain, a little caulking, 30 seconds to drill the hole, 2 minutes to put in three screws.
or .... $2.95US if you buy it here
Or you can buy the same thing (actually it is a Perko) at Hamiliton Marine for $107.99 USD !!
Thanks for all the advice. I am taking it all to heart, but my mind is made up. This coming week I will drill a pilot hole from the inside at the lowest point in the bilge, let it drain over the winter and install the garboard drain in the spring. That way I can turn off the bilge pump to prevent the pump from draining the batteries.
My biggest problem will be getting a right angle drill into the narrow space between the shaft and the bilge wall to drill the pilot hole. The bottom of the bilge is about a foot below the shaft. I could chance drilling from the outside in, trusting I did all the measurements correctly.
Any ideas or comments on how best to do this?
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Old 10-21-2018, 02:39 PM   #26
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I've always had at least one boat that gets laid up in freezing weather over the winter. Make sure you start with fully charged batteries, as others have said. I also would go by the boat once a month of so and plug in the charger for a few hours to a day to be sure they stayed topped off. Increasingly marinas don't allow boats to be left plugged in, so leaving them on a charger I think is a disappearing approach.
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Old 10-21-2018, 03:04 PM   #27
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It is simple to locate holes from the inside to the ourside. Get 2 large rare earth magnets. Tape one on the inside where you want the hole located. Go outside and the outside magnet will easily locate the inside magnet. Confirm they are still in position and mark the outside for the place to drill. Works really great.
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Old 10-21-2018, 03:42 PM   #28
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Winterizing Batteries

Magnets.
Excellent suggestion.
Ideas like this is why I love this Forum.
I'm not ever going to be shy about asking question even if the answer should be obvious.
Thanks for all the brilliant replies.
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Old 10-21-2018, 04:21 PM   #29
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I bought some large rare earth magnets years ago when I was making a cover for our motorhome windshield. Used 3M tape to glue magnets to the inside of the windshield and sewed pockets in the cover for the outside magnets. I just hold the cover close and the magnets draw the cover into place and hold it. Then I thought that I could use the magnets to find locations in a hull when putting in a through hull or whatever. It works very nicely and takes the measuring multiple times out of the equation, just locate the spot inside and tape a magnet in place.
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Old 10-26-2018, 12:52 PM   #30
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garboard drain

[QUOTE=cold snowy days followed by warm or rainy days, so in the spring there was 4 or five gallons of water in the bilge.
I don't have a garboard drain (as yet; with plans to install one) so to insure it doesn't happen again I wanted to keep the bilge pump operational during the winter.[/QUOTE]

A simple and effective drain in the bilge is to drill a 3/8" hole in the hull near the bottom of the bilge. This will drain the winter water. In the spring, simply insert a 3/8" bolt with a nut and washer, and a goop of life-caulk or similar.
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Old 10-26-2018, 12:55 PM   #31
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If ypu drill a hole why not install a drain?
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Old 10-26-2018, 12:57 PM   #32
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A bolt is easier and cheaper. Also pretty fail-proof.
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Old 10-26-2018, 01:05 PM   #33
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A simple and effective drain in the bilge is to drill a 3/8" hole in the hull near the bottom of the bilge. This will drain the winter water. In the spring, simply insert a 3/8" bolt with a nut and washer, and a goop of life-caulk or similar.
A little crude but effective I guess.
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Old 10-26-2018, 01:54 PM   #34
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Winterizing Batteries

Well, I don't know what drilling a hole in the bottom of your boat has to do with winterizing batteries, but to each his own. Me I try to keep the water on the outside and more holes in the hull, below the waterline certainly provides another avenue for water intrusion.

I think the smarter approach is to find out where the intrusion is coming from and stopping it, then buy a $50 wet/dry vac and vacuum the water in the bilge out. The vac can be used for other services as well.

IF you don't like those 2 ideas, occasional visits to your boat will allow you to connect power and run your bilge pump. DO NOT stay connected to any power while in storage.

Now, to winterizing batteries. Wet cells need to have the appropriate amount of water in the cells, be fully charged and checked at least 1 time during the layup period. IF they are 12V batteries, I wouldn't suggest letting them fall lower than 10.5V or so as checked with a voltmeter.

IF they get that low then a charge would be recommended.

Winter cold can have an impact on the charge, but since they aren't being used, all power from them shut off, which I do by turning off my power panel with the 3 position switch and then also shutting off our inverter, then they will last longer. I do NOT disconnect any power connections in our banks.

IF during your inspection you find that the batteries need topping off, charging, I have used a regular car battery charger. Most storage locations will not allow a constant connection to a power source while in storage, but will allow you to connect to power to run a charger to bring your batteries back.

AGM batteries are a different animal. They share the characteristics of a wet cell but there is no water maintenance that is needed or can be performed.

AGM batteries seem to hold their charge much better and that may be due to the number of plates they have internally.

In a side by side experiment, last winter, we were on the hard in Cayuga, 1 of the Finger Lakes, in upstate NY. I have 6-L16 AGM 6V batteries in a house bank and had 2-4D 12V engine, wet cell batteries. Thru out the winter I made 4 trips to our boat. Each visit required me to charge the wet cell batteries. The AGM batteries held their charge all winter with very little degradation. NO connection were removed during this storage.

This winter we are on the hard at Georgian Bay, in Canada. The wet cell engine batteries have been replaced with 2-4D 12V AGM batteries. She was put on the hard the 7th of September and we finished our winterization and left her with batteries fully charged on the 21st. I plan a trip to check the batteries during the Toronto Boat Show, probably around the 22nd of January.

Got my fingers crossed and knocking on wood & my head.
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Old 10-26-2018, 02:12 PM   #35
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A simple and effective drain in the bilge is to drill a 3/8" hole in the hull near the bottom of the bilge. This will drain the winter water. In the spring, simply insert a 3/8" bolt with a nut and washer, and a goop of life-caulk or similar.
If you need to save the $8 difference between a nut/bolt/washer/sealant and a proper garboard drain fitting .... you can't afford a boat.

With your method you need two people. Is that easier ?
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Old 10-26-2018, 03:20 PM   #36
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If you put in a garboard drain (looks and sounds like a great idea) the trick will be to remember to reinstall the plug before launching (assuming that you remember where you stored the plug over the winter. ) Sounds pretty obvious but I would be embarrassed to admit how many amphibious vehicles we sunk in the Army because someone removed the garboard drain and then the next operator did not re- install it.
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Old 10-26-2018, 03:57 PM   #37
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If you are lucky enough to have access to 110V, use a ($10) trickle charger from Harbor Freight. You probably need one for each battery bank. Our yard would not permit untended 110V connections during Winter storage, so I used to top-up charge 5x8D,2x4D and a Group 31 about once a month. Meant hanging around in the cold watching but considering the cost of replacement, probably time well spent.
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Old 10-26-2018, 05:24 PM   #38
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A bolt is easier and cheaper. Also pretty fail-proof.
Cheaper I'll agree.
A cork wpuld likely save even more.

If you ever want to sell and buyer has it surveyed what do you think a surveyor would have to say about that... probably not ABYC approved?!?!
It may "sink" a sale just because buyer might (should) think if they took that short cut to save a few bucks what other corners have the seller cut???
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Old 10-26-2018, 06:30 PM   #39
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Anther way to save is to make a trawler out of this:



The drain hole and cork plug are already there!



L
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Old 10-26-2018, 07:38 PM   #40
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Dave:
I hope that is bronze and is grounded too.
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