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What to do with Batteries over the winter?

 
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flapbreaker



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
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City/Region: Hillsboro
State or Province: OR
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Vessel Name: Playin' Hooky
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:01 am    Post subject: What to do with Batteries over the winter? Reply with quote

What do people do to maintain a charge on their batteries during longer periods of non-use? I'm curious about those that don't have their boat near electricity as I'm sure someone could just keep them plugged into a trickle charger. But what if you have it at an RV storage site and can't plug them in. Should a person remove the batteries and take them home?
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Casey



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the boat isn't going to be used for several months I make a point of removing the batteries and taking them into the garage/shop. By doing that, having them on a trickle charger is easy, or putting them on a charger once-a-month or so, through the winter. And, removing the batteries makes it easier to clean/inspect the batteries, wiring, switches, cabling, etc in the battery compartment.

The fellow at the InterState dealership emphasized that the batteries should NOT be stored sitting on the concrete floor. At the very least, put them on a couple 2x4's to get them off the concrete. ...on a stand or shelf is even better.

...and naturally, make sure they're watered, but not over-watered.

Casey
C-Dory Naknek
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Chuck S



Joined: 01 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do not trickle charge them. Unless you want to check the electrolyte level constantly.

Hit 'em once a month (or two) with your 3-stage battery charger of at least 10 amps output.

The need to avoid concrete floors ended sometime in the 1950s or 1960s when battery cases started being made in plastic. Won't hurt to put 'em on a board, though.

-- Chuck
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Sea Wolf



Joined: 01 Nov 2003
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City/Region: Redding
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

flapbreaker-

Since it's not all that much effort, I'd just take them home.

You definitely don't want to let them freeze, although with the strong acidity of the electrolyte, it would take some really cold temperatures.

They need to be charged periodically to keep them from deteriorating, but not so much that they're hurt by the process.

Take them out, take them home, wash them all down with a baking soda and water mixture, rinse thoroughly, dry them off (including the bottoms), place them somewhere they will have a constant temperature of 40-70 degrees with the bottoms up off the floor (esp. concrete) so that they won't accumulate moisture and discharge themselves, and put them on a trickle charger set up with a timer so that it's only on a few hours each day.

Monitor the charge level with a voltmeter and watch the water level. The voltage should stay around 12.7 volts, and the water level should not require replacement. You can also use a hydrometer to help monitor the charge level. If the water level goes down much at all, you're probably over charging them. Reduce the charge rate or time.

If they have to stay in the RV lot or storage building, a solar charger or periodic visits with a generator can be used to keep them charged. You'll still need to monitor their condition.

Your I.D. in the sidebar doesn't way where you are, so we can't really make climate specific recommendations. Joe.

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"Most of my money I spent on boats and women. The rest I squandered'. " -Annonymous
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flapbreaker



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 878
City/Region: Hillsboro
State or Province: OR
C-Dory Year: 2006
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Playin' Hooky
Photos: Playin' Hooky
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the good info. I'm in Hillsboro Oregon and it rarely freezes here. I guess I was more concerned about having dead batteries in the spring when I go use the boat. I guess I'll be removing them come november and probably put them back in in february or march.
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k3nlind



Joined: 05 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great information... thanx... However, I do have a followup question or two.

I am also concerned about my batteries and I do get freezing temperatures during the winter. My CD has four batteries; two house batteries and one for each engine. I have two large solar panels on the roof that seem to keep them charged pretty good and I seldom hook up shore power, but I can. Further, two of the four batteries are sealed... no place to fill or monitor the water level. Just a kinda green light to look at.

If I keep the solar panels clear (free from snow) will I still need to remove the batteries?

I have a motor home that also has a solar panel that charges its batteries (0ne 12V engine and a pair of 6V parallel connected for the house). I have never removed them and they are going on eight years use without problems. But I do keep it on" shore" power all winter.

I just never thought about it.

Also, how can I determine for sure that all four batteries are getting trickled from the solar panels?

Hmmmm...

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ken
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Sea Wolf



Joined: 01 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good Questions!

If they don't freeze in your motorhome, is there anything different about their exposure in your boat that would make them more likely to freeze?

If in serious doubt, I'd remove them. Fairly expensive and very MESSY to replace.

The constant low amperage trickle charging adds some heat which could be a factor in preventing freezing.

You could monitor their condition with a fairly sensitive voltmeter. If the voltage starts and continues to drop, plug in the shore power.

I'm pretty conservative on these matters. I'd store them inside under controlled conditions if I had serious doubts that they were safe.

JMHO. Joe.
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