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Old 07-05-2022, 02:27 PM   #1
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Battery banks

I have a 1986 Albin Trawler. Here is a basic question: how do I identify which bank of batteries is the house and which are the stating batteries. I don't see any idenifying labels.
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Old 07-05-2022, 02:37 PM   #2
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The easiest way I can think of is to (with the engine off) disconnect a
ground on one bank and see if the house still has DC power.
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Old 07-05-2022, 02:37 PM   #3
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You probably have the basic DC wiring system, which is each bank is wired to a 1,2,all switch so that either or both can be used for DC power. So the house bank is the larger one with deep cycle batteries and the starting battery is a standard, well starting battery.

Sometimes boats are delivered with one of each and both are of the same type, so called dual purpose batteries.

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Old 07-05-2022, 03:25 PM   #4
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Follow the cables to see which are hooked to the engines and which are hooked to the electrical panel.
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Old 07-05-2022, 04:09 PM   #5
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What is the number and type of battys you have in each bank?
It's a worthwhile exercise to trace cables to switches, panels, starters, etc and draw yourself a diagram. Good idea to fully understand all switches as well as which bank any key equip (thruster, windlass, etc) is connected to.
Also how each are charged from alternator & shore charger.
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Old 07-05-2022, 04:48 PM   #6
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Ok. That make a lot of sense. I will do that!! All four batteries look identical. Do you think that it doesn't matter which is the starting batteries? Perhaps I should just turn off one of the banks when anchoring.
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Old 07-05-2022, 05:30 PM   #7
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OMG. I knew I shouldn't have posted this question. Of course, follow the cables!!!! Thank you.
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Old 07-05-2022, 05:44 PM   #8
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Check your batteries. Ideally you will have a set that list cold cranking amps. These are start batteries. Hopefully the other set will be marked deep cycle.

A little search on this sight and you will learn a lot about the deference between the two.
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Old 07-05-2022, 06:38 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Phil Enscoe View Post
OMG. I knew I shouldn't have posted this question. Of course, follow the cables!!!! Thank you.
No problem. We love to help, and sometimes we actually do help.
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Old 07-06-2022, 09:29 AM   #10
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I agree with several of the comments and would do all of them: trace wires if you can (may be easier said than done), look at battery banks and types of batteries to see if deep cycle or start, disconnect a battery to see what what does and doesn't turn on, and put a volt meter on a battery with the switch in various positions to see what is getting a charge or drain.

My first power boat (the Scout 30 SHADOW FAY) had two identical banks - each bank was 2 x Group 31 deep cycle batteries. You couldn't tell which was start and which was house, or which was connected to "1" and "2" on the battery switch without doing some research. Funny things happen on older boats.
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Old 07-06-2022, 12:25 PM   #11
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And once you figure it out, label them so that a year from now when you have forgotten, you won’t have to go through it again.
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Old 07-06-2022, 12:40 PM   #12
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And once you figure it out, label them so that a year from now when you have forgotten, you won’t have to go through it again.
Good plan. I always think that I will remember stuff but I sometimes have CRS disease…
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Old 07-11-2022, 01:04 PM   #13
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Tracing cables can be difficult...

If it's too difficult to trace the cables, you could start by disconnecting a battery positive terminal and see what stops working... house banks or engine start circuit?

Note - do so only with engines OFF. NEVER disconnect an engine start battery while engine is running (or you'll blown the voltage regulator diodes).

I'll plug Jeff Cotes videos here - hours of applicable learning available online.
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Old 07-11-2022, 01:59 PM   #14
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4 batteries?
1 engine start
1 house
1 generator
1 ???
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Old 07-11-2022, 03:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Enscoe View Post
I have a 1986 Albin Trawler. Here is a basic question: how do I identify which bank of batteries is the house and which are the stating batteries. I don't see any idenifying labels.
You are at a huge disadvantage not being able to glance and know what’s what. My first suggestion is to get help from someone willing to help you out. You can make a mess of things if you “wing it” without a basic knowledge of electricity and boat mechanics. There are “gear heads” and “no assembly required” people. Play your strengths.
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Old 07-11-2022, 04:07 PM   #16
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I agree with several of the comments and would do all of them: trace wires if you can (may be easier said than done), look at battery banks and types of batteries to see if deep cycle or start, disconnect a battery to see what what does and doesn't turn on, and put a volt meter on a battery with the switch in various positions to see what is getting a charge or drain.

My first power boat (the Scout 30 SHADOW FAY) had two identical banks - each bank was 2 x Group 31 deep cycle batteries. You couldn't tell which was start and which was house, or which was connected to "1" and "2" on the battery switch without doing some research. Funny things happen on older boats.
I am beginning to believe that the two banks of batteries cannot be isolated. I tried various configurations/positions, and it doesn't seem to make a difference as you implied. Thank you for your feedback!!!!
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Old 07-11-2022, 04:10 PM   #17
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No problem. We love to help, and sometimes we actually do help.
I did follow the leads and found which battery bank is attached to the starter motor. Now, I have to figure out how to isolate that bank. It doesn't appear that changing from number one to number two makes any difference. Further investigation required!!! Thanks again.
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Old 07-11-2022, 04:11 PM   #18
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And once you figure it out, label them so that a year from now when you have forgotten, you won’t have to go through it again.
I am going to diagram it so that I will remember the whole thing. Thanks for your suggestion!!
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Old 07-11-2022, 04:13 PM   #19
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If it's too difficult to trace the cables, you could start by disconnecting a battery positive terminal and see what stops working... house banks or engine start circuit?

Note - do so only with engines OFF. NEVER disconnect an engine start battery while engine is running (or you'll blown the voltage regulator diodes).

I'll plug Jeff Cotes videos here - hours of applicable learning available online.
I did as suggested, and it didn't make a difference. So, I think that the two battery banks are wired together. I need to change that so that I can isolate the starter batteries. Thank you.
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Old 07-11-2022, 04:15 PM   #20
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4 batteries?
1 engine start
1 house
1 generator
1 ???
Two sets of two batteries, plus a dedicated battery for the generator.
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