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Old 05-13-2021, 04:56 PM   #1
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To box or not to box? That is the battery question.

I know the correct answer is to put batteries in a box...but let me explain. Picture first:

These are the two 8D house batteries in the boat I just bought, a 2001 Mainship 390, single Yanmar 300. The surveyor correctly called out these should be in a box. He said they weren't secure, but they are in trays and strapped down. I agree they should be in a box.

I'm moving the boat from Charlevoix, Michigan (Lake Michigan) to Bayfield, Wisconsin (Lake Superior) in early June. This is about a 3 day trip.

Long term I don't really want FLA batteries. These two were new in June of 2019, only used until September of 2019. The boat has been in heated storage from September of 2019 until present day. They are likely in good shape. The boat has a 4D FLA in a box for starting, and the generator has its own battery as well. Questions:

1. Should I do the voyage as-is (^pic) or spend $189 on a Noco battery box and give them a home? I'm hesitant as I *think* this not my long term setup. But it won't be that much effort, I hope. And maybe these in a box are a good solution for a few years? I'm not sure.

2. What would I likely replace these with? Assume the capacity I have is what I need. 4x Group 31 AGM's? Something else I'm not thinking about?

I am defaulting to AGM's, and I will not be cruising full-time, this will be a seasonal May-Sept boat on the Great Lakes. I know there are high end solutions, LiPo, Firefly....stuff I don't know about, not sure I need them. There is currently no inverter, and initially I have no plans for one.

I know I'm being vague and some may say careless, but really just looking for general direction and things I'm not thinking of.

Thanks!
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:04 PM   #2
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AGMs don't need a box, just solid mounting. For FLA, a box is a good idea, but I think ABYC may accept a liquid tight tray of sufficient depth as long as the battery is mounted securely.

Personally, I have all AGMs. My start batteries are in boxes, but the house bank isn't, just based on how it was most practical to mount them in the desired spot.
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:14 PM   #3
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One thing to think about is what does your insurance company say. They may require you to fix all the defects the surveyor calls out, maybe not. It depends on the company. Some will require safety defects be fixed some may require all of them fixed and some may not care. But be careful if they say you have X number of days to fix them and you say you fixed them and actually did not fix the defects. If you have a related claim you may be denied. As to whether to put them in boxes if the insurance company does not care, that is a decision you must make. It will be a PITA to do it since they will weigh about 150 pounds and you will have to lift them up over the side of the box. IMO if the insurance company says fix the defects, I would go ahead and put in the AGMs now just so I didnít have to lift the 8Ds more than once, and that once would be to get them out of the boat. If you are going to do it at some point might as well do it now if it is in you current budget.
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:52 PM   #4
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I would not hesitate to do that voyage with them as is, provided the insurance company doesn't object. For the future, I'd consider one of the sizes of 6V golf cart batteries as a replacement. You can get them in three sizes, all the same footprint, different heights, 200, 300, and 400 AH. The 200 and 300 can be moved by humans, the 400 is similar to the 8D in that weight lifters are required. I just removed three 4D batteries - already too big for humans - and replaced them with four of the 300 AH golf cart AGMs. The footprint was similar to one 4D battery box. I did put them in boxes as I found ones that took very little extra space, but would have done without if I'd not found boxes that were a good match. The ones I used were from Century Plastics in Canada.
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:35 PM   #5
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I think youíre in good shape.
Test the batteries to be sure they are good.
Make sure they canít move.
Cover the terminals so a dropped tool canít short across them
When you do replace the batteries, for your backís sake, get smaller batteries!
When I went to AGM, I was able to mount them on trays, on their side, outboard of the outer stringers. That used a lot of what had been wasted space and freed up access to the engine.
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
One thing to think about is what does your insurance company say. They may require you to fix all the defects the surveyor calls out, maybe not. It depends on the company. Some will require safety defects be fixed some may require all of them fixed and some may not care. But be careful if they say you have X number of days to fix them and you say you fixed them and actually did not fix the defects. If you have a related claim you may be denied. As to whether to put them in boxes if the insurance company does not care, that is a decision you must make. It will be a PITA to do it since they will weigh about 150 pounds and you will have to lift them up over the side of the box. IMO if the insurance company says fix the defects, I would go ahead and put in the AGMs now just so I didnít have to lift the 8Ds more than once, and that once would be to get them out of the boat. If you are going to do it at some point might as well do it now if it is in you current budget.

Great points Dave. Iíve got 25 days to correct my list after binding coverage. The batteries are on the list. Coverage is not bound yet. Will be after sea trial very soon.

My challenge is doing this away from my home port before the voyage home. I could potentially bring a new solution with me (new whatever AGMís) but would be rushed to install in the 3 days I have planned for replacing other minor items and shakedown, before my hired captain shows up and itís time to go.

Every time I rush I regret it. Every single time!

Making changes maybe isnít the best idea before my tripÖ.maybe I donít even do the box? Voyage as-is and deal with it when I donít have to go anywhere?

I can lift a lot, but Iím not 18 year old Marine me anymore, and I think I already hate the size of those and have never even moved one.

I do like the idea of one move and thatís out!

Budget is not an issue, but I donít want to be wasteful. If I can spend $189 on a box and be good for a few years, maybe I do that? But I really liked when I went to AGMís on the last boat. Just trouble free.

Truth be told when I saw those 8Dís my first thought was ďthey goneĒ!!
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Old 05-13-2021, 07:01 PM   #7
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Are you looking at 2 individual boxes or one box for both batteries? One box may be a problem since it looks like a pole in between the batteries.
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Old 05-13-2021, 07:22 PM   #8
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The big l16 6 volts aren't nearly as bad as moving an 8d. They're a good 30 lbs lighter, plus the size leads to the handles being spaced well to shoulders, so better leverage for lifting.
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Old 05-13-2021, 07:54 PM   #9
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Are you looking at 2 individual boxes or one box for both batteries? One box may be a problem since it looks like a pole in between the batteries.

See what happens when I rush? Yep, thereís a pole there.

I owe you!
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Old 05-13-2021, 07:59 PM   #10
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And thank you all for the responses!
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:05 PM   #11
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You could simply remove the batteries and do the trip without them.
Bring along portable lights, entertainment and an ice chest.
When you get where you're going you can take the time you need to redesign.

Obviously if these power a thruster, electric head or other system you could use a
jump pack or a porta-potty. On my boat I always carried a charged Optima just in case.
A set of high quality jumper cables saved the day on more than one occasion!
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:36 PM   #12
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As long as the batteries are solidly strapped down to something solid, and you are within the insurance time limit, I wouldn't hesitate to take a trip that way.

At my convenience within the time limit, I'd box them. It won't take long or much money. Use a come along and a couple pieces of wood, if needed.

I wouldn't replace perfectly good, relatively new batteries on a new to me boat.

I'd take as much of the remaining lifetime of those batteries as needed to learn the boat, find the gremlins, and set priorities. As I learn a boat, mine always change. If you'd look at my maintenance log, you'll see some of the things I did very early were much lower priority than those things I did with urgency later upon learning the boat. My wallet would have liked it better if I didn't so some things I ended up redoing differently, didn't do some things that seemed obvious at the time, but didn't really matter, etc.

For the couple hours of time and ~$300 of it takes to box those batteries, you can enjoy delaying replacing them for years if need be as your priorities and understanding of what you want evolves as you learn the boat and you learn more about how you use it and what you want.
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:45 PM   #13
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Batteries do not need to be boxed. They need to be secured to prevent movement and the terminals need to be covered. If the batteries are secured from movement I would use duct tape and a plastic bag to cover the terminals. Don’t cover the vents. If the batteries are not secured I would place a Rubbermaid container over the top of the battery and strap it to the floor.

This would pass as having corrected the problem however I would not consider it a permanent fix.
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:54 PM   #14
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Greetings,
Mr. mn. Lacking anything specifically stating "a box" in the AYBC suggestions I think Mr. t has provided the solution.
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:56 PM   #15
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Well...I'd want batteries to be secured from movement, protected from contact to their terminals, e.g. a dropped wrench, and able to contain a fluid leakage, spill, or explosion.

I'd once thought a tray that could contain leakage was good enough. Then, between the time my boat was sea trialed and I first visited it as my own, a battery exploded. The resulting mess, which would have been devastating had I been down there when it happened, caused me to box the batteries without a moment's delay.

I also wouldn't quite count on duct tape or plastic bags. These solutions tend to work well...until they don't. And, that's when I drop the wrench.
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:06 PM   #16
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Batteries do not need to be boxed. They need to be secured to prevent movement and the terminals need to be covered. If the batteries are secured from movement I would use duct tape and a plastic bag to cover the terminals. Donít cover the vents. If the batteries are not secured I would place a Rubbermaid container over the top of the battery and strap it to the floor.

This would pass as having corrected the problem however I would not consider it a permanent fix.
The reason for a box is to contain acid if the case gets cracked. His terminals, the positive anyway, are covered and only the positive has to be covered but I like both covered just in case. Covering the top of the batteries will not correct the lack of a box as far as the insurance company is concerned. Surveyor called for a box and covering the top will not meet that need.
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:23 PM   #17
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Greetings,
Mr. gk. You raise very valid points. I suppose it's the risk factor. I can appreciate Mr. mn's desire to do repairs in his home port. It appears to me, in spite of the lack of a "box", the installation isn't too bad. A tad messy to my eye but not unsafe IMO.
I would do the 3 day delivery trip.
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:38 PM   #18
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Hey RY,

I am 100% with you on that. As long as they are strapped down for reals, I wouldn't hesitate to do the delivery as is. Not one bit.
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:43 PM   #19
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Greetings,
The point that hasn't been raised is what does AYBC say because that's what the surveyor should be basing his recommendations on.
Mr. C. I understand and agree with the reasoning behind battery boxes but Mr. mn simply wants to make a 3 day delivery trip after which time he will rectify his current situation, at his leisure.
This is just another example of "hidden" AYBC suggestions IMO.


Edit: Just re-read my own post..."current situation"....SOOO sorry about that one. Groan.




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Old 05-13-2021, 10:28 PM   #20
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I am not saying not to make the trip as is, IF he can do it within the 25 day window and then fix it before the window closes.
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