Bloody Bat Flattery

 Like plenty of others, we headed down to Woodies today for a fish. Launched the boat like usual and left my 5yo daughter to do her job which is lower and start the motor. Went and parked the car and got back to the boat with my wife doing the thumbs down. Oh dear...

Pulled the battery out and it showed as charged but the motor just wasn't cranking. People beside us offered a jump starter and that got the motor cranking for 10 or so seconds but not firing...damn.

Headed up to the shop to see if that had a jump starter I could borrow but not to be so went and got my car battery. Back to the boat with the battery and notice the bloke who launched after us is also unable to start his due to flat battery. Guy beside him offered a spare battery to jump off. No go.

Hooked up jumper leads to my car battery and go at nothing at all....bloke ahead borrowed my battery and got some half cranks out of his. Shit. Old mate on the other side can't get his motor running now.

Time to pull the pin so I lug the battery back to the car. Bloke walks past me and says there is someone else on the other jetties that has a flat...that's 4 in 30 minutes...

Mate rocks up and I tee up him to come alongside and try to jump me. Chatting to a new guy beside me, he offers up his jump starter. Connect it up and she just burst into life!

Thanks to those who offered assistance!

Didnt catch a thing, eagles lost but still a nice day out on the water making memories with the family and friends.


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Ahh spring

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:42

 Always worth a blat on the old battery charger the night before, made the mistake once myself, now I charge evry so often just in case at home.

 

Sounds like your battery was well and truly dead and pulling the car battery down with it.

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I’m a bit wary of that. Can

Mon, 2019-08-19 08:20

I’m a bit wary of that. Can just mean you have disguised a problem that gives you enough charge to start at the ramp but leaves you stranded on the water.  

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  dodgy absolutely agree - if

Mon, 2019-08-19 17:20

  dodgy absolutely agree - if i cant ascertain why the battery is dead at ramp= and its charging good at least - 13.5 plus on a  voltmeter over terminls once engine starts

bit far at the 300m mark to get reception or radio back to sea rescue

 

Swompa's picture

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It was really strange. We had

Mon, 2019-08-19 08:16

It was really strange. We had been out Friday night without issue and were out again on Saturday. Bit strange for it to die within the week with nothing 'accidently' left on.

Once we got the motor running, I ran it for an hour and nervously stopped and started it again. No issues for the remainder of the day.

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 before u go out again get

Mon, 2019-08-19 17:22

 before u go out again get the battery load tested - battery world does it free proabbly others too

thats the early signs of dieing battery

uncle's picture

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Some days you can't

Mon, 2019-08-19 09:00

Beat the old pull start even on a ninety. Got me home a few times

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scubafish's picture

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Happened once 40 years ago

Mon, 2019-08-19 10:54

First boat just brought,one batt seems the Bastard that sold me the boat put a old shitty batt in to sell,thanks Mate.
Never again two batt, House 100ah/start 100ah always with VSR No more Problemo.

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Rob H's picture

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You said the battery was

Mon, 2019-08-19 11:13

You said the battery was showing as “charged” (didn’t say how you checked) so the issue would appear to be dodgy connections etc not battery?

As dodgy said above you can easily find yourself stuck out on the water.

 Hooking up a battery with a higher state of charge or a booster/jumper can mask another issue

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One thing with a 90

Mon, 2019-08-19 15:46

 Easy to pull start.

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Swompa's picture

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Mine (75etec) has the pull

Mon, 2019-08-19 19:36

Mine (75etec) has the pull start option too though I have never tried it. Odd thing is that it was cranking with the jump starter attached but not firing until I got a properly charged unit on it.

ranmar850's picture

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That would be low voltage affecting the ECM

Tue, 2019-08-20 08:41

 With some systems, you will have enough to crank it over, but not enough to get the ignition unit to produce a good spark. Remember, your voltage will drop way down as you crank. I wouldn't go to sea without two batteries in a proper, isolated system ( NOT 1-2-Both) unless I had the ability to pull start it. And leaving a battery on a full time trickle charge will just disguise problems--it might start once immediately after being disconnected from the charger, then go straight down to nothing. if your boat is properly wired there should be no need to leave a charger on. Batteries with absolutely no drain will sit forever and a day, holding their charge. It's when people go cheaparse and cut corners that problems arise, then they try to fix them by adding a trickle charger or such. Don't go cheaparse on the water, you are putting yourself and your family at risk.

 

Before the arguments start, I'll give you my defintion of cheaparse in this regard. 

  • Everything on the boat wired through a couple of switches on the dash, multiple loads running through a single switch, everything looking tarnished and salty
  • Stuff wired direct to the battery 'cos it was the easiest place to pick it up.
  • One battery. OK, if it is a really small rig, sub 14ft,  if you can pull start the motor.
  • Two batteries rigged up with the old Cole-Hersee type 1-2-Both switch. And don't start in on me about this, I used systems like this on commercial boats for a very long time,  I understand them. Most people don't.  Too easy to misuse, not as simple as they appear.

 

  • With two batteries, isolate them by means of a VSR. This is not black magic--you are simply isolating your House from your Start, until the charging system gets start up to 12.7v or thereabouts, then it closes and you are also charging House. Have a Both switch which bridges the VSR if you need both to start. Leave this OFF in normal operation. very simple operation.
  • If you have all your accessory load connected to a supply from House , isolated by a VSR as above,nothing you can do with your Accessories load will affect your ability to start. Leave the lights, fridge, sounder, pie warmer, whatever, on, and you are not affecting your Start battery one bit.  This is not an expensive or difficult arrangement to set up.  
  • If your batteries, one or both, are turned off at a battery switch, and you are still seeing your voltage drop, you have a problem. Find it. Batteries do not drop of their own accord, unless they are failing. 
Rob H's picture

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Everything you have written

Tue, 2019-08-20 21:39

Everything you have written is true, on several occasions I have written the same.

Except for one fundamental misconception.

Self discharge.

Every battery type ever made, suffers from self discharge.

Even Li/on about 8% in the first month then about 2% there after

Normal lead acid is about 5% per month, AGM a little better.

Electrical insulation suffers the same principal as thermal insulation--it can never be perfect.

Google it, perfect insulation is the same as perpetual motion-unatainable and a physical impossibility as far as we know it

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ranmar850's picture

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Ok, I was stretching it a bit about nil self discharge.

Wed, 2019-08-21 07:13

 But I firmly believe that a lead acid, in good condition, with no load draw, should be good for at least 3 months with no charge. I run lead acid deep cycles in my camper, two 105 a/h in parallel. I can leave them charged up, showing the nominal 12.4v, and go back in 6 months and they will be no lower  than 12.2V. I'm a bit slack in that regard, only charging maybe once or twice a year, apart from the months use it gets each year, and those batteries are still pretty good after 7 years. The boat generally doesn't go more than two months, but always shows fully charged over that period. Any problem I have had with batteries going down when left ( disclaimer, if leaving, make sure fully charged first) has always been traced back to either a failing battery or some load left attached, even something as small as an LED indicator lamp of some type. 

Cars always have some form of draw when turned off, if the battery is left connected, as there is always something going on.  Boats, correctly wired, with the battery turned off, (or just pull one terminal off), should only suffer from the the tiny self-discharge which you rightly pointed out. 

As to insulation, my specialty field nowadays is High Voltage--that's when you are really coming up against insulation values. 

Rob H's picture

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 Absolutely your battery

Wed, 2019-08-21 21:37

 Absolutely your battery after 3 months should be still good to go.

Insulation, sorry didnt realise you were a sparky!
For me I deal up to 600V which is medium voltage-generators, frequency drives etc as a marine engineer.
I only point out the self discharge as people could go looking for a leak which is not there.
And as you allude to (and I have pointed out many times on here to people) leaving your battery on trickle charge for long periods is good but DON'T switch it off 5 minutes before leaving for the ramp.
Switch it off the day before to avoid masking a show stopper issue... 

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The older you get the more you realize that no one has a f++king clue what they're doing.

Everyone's just winging it.

 

duncan61's picture

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testing

Wed, 2019-08-21 20:07

 I go to super cheap to test and if they are gone replace them.I did 6 batteries recently and only one was O.K.We have twin battery set up also

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just do it.

Rob H's picture

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 Hmm-thats a bit like taking

Thu, 2019-08-22 00:05

 Hmm-thats a bit like taking your chickens to the fox to ask if they are ready to eat?

Or asking a Real Estate salesman if its a good time to sell/buy property...


Remember that

-the person testing is just pushing buttons on a machine, thats made by/for the company who wants you to buy a battery from them.

-they gain from your battery "failing"

-the person testing is a salesman not a mechanic or sparky...

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The older you get the more you realize that no one has a f++king clue what they're doing.

Everyone's just winging it.

 

Jackfrost80's picture

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I'd definitely agree on this

Thu, 2019-08-22 07:25

I'd definitely agree on this RE Supercheap Auto but I've never had this problem with Battery World using two stores for load testing 4 batteries. The only one I had to replace was one that I already knew was dead that came with the boat.

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 Yep Jack , thats the place

Wed, 2019-09-04 11:25

 Yep Jack , thats the place to go.

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Willlo's picture

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 Sorry Rob but i work at a

Wed, 2019-09-04 11:24

 Sorry Rob but i work at a battery shop part time and that is bullshit mate. like any good business if you want repeat customers you dont rip people off . 

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Rob H's picture

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 Yep, a battery shop

Wed, 2019-09-04 16:27

 Yep, a battery shop Willo.
Not Supercheap where the bloke "testing" your battery has probably never done it before and just clips on, pushes a button on the Supercheap supplied tester and it comes up with a red light.

"yeah mate, she's fucked".

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 Give a man a mask, and he'll show you his true face...

 

 

The older you get the more you realize that no one has a f++king clue what they're doing.

Everyone's just winging it.

 

Swompa's picture

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battery in question is

Thu, 2019-08-22 06:39

battery in question is showing 12.67 volts three days after the 'issue' so I am moving towards a connection issue now.

Where would you start to find that? Would it be a control box (key) side of things or on the motor side?

Rob H's picture

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battery

Thu, 2019-08-22 19:07

 I did say that way back.

Put your multimeter across the battery and try and start.

See what it drops to while trying to crank.

Then check it at the starter motor.
If the volt drop is much the same it is going to be either starter or battery.

You'll need to work that out by load testing the battery, voltage is not an indicator of capacity

If there is a noticable difference follow along the cables to find where the volt drop is. 

Checking battery-voltage will only tell you if it is definitely bad, but not that its definitely good if you can get that.
If the voltage drops over a few days it is definitely fucked. If the voltage holds, its not definitely good though, only a load test will show that.

 

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 Give a man a mask, and he'll show you his true face...

 

 

The older you get the more you realize that no one has a f++king clue what they're doing.

Everyone's just winging it.

 

Swompa's picture

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 Will give that a crack when

Fri, 2019-08-23 19:37

 Will give that a crack when the sun comes up. Cheers

deep south's picture

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Battery

Thu, 2019-08-22 07:17

 Even though the battery may show correct voltage at rest it may still have dropped a cell and this with only show under load like cranking . I would start at the battery , take it out and go to a battery place that can connect it to a load tester first , if its ok then start checking connections and leads at the moror/ isolater end first as this is the part thats most susceptible to corrosion

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ranmar850's picture

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You may need to look at your leads

Thu, 2019-08-22 08:44

 Battery leads can look perfect externally, but be full of the green death, and useless.  Moisture wicks in from badly protected ends, and makes it's way up inside the insulation, rotting as it goes. This  happens quite quickly with ordinary copper leads, slower with tinned copper. The only way to tell is to cut some insulation away and look inside. If it's green, all you can do is throw them out. This is why tinned is best( for all boat wiring, same reason) and you seal the ends fully with either glued heatshrink, or the hillbilly alternative , put silastic inside the heatshrink then shrink it. Disclaimer--I must be a hillbilly, it has worked for me many a time when i don't have the right stuff to hand.

scubafish's picture

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Ranmar850

Thu, 2019-08-22 11:32

Spot on,

My leads where old and found a split in them with green death,sort of thing you dont want to be stuffing around with,if your not sure how old thay are replace with new (cheap peace of mind).

Also check your isolation switch,see if the terminals are worn down (inside the switch).

Did you try jumping direct to the motor with the suss battery and bypass the leads ?

Prosses of elimanation to find the fault.(Weak link in the chain.)

Stator(check)

Rectifier(check)

For batt charging .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTQp5d5mMio
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DuZkvsE6E8

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/10-Ton-9-Die-4mm-70mm-Hydraulic-Wire-Crimper-Battery-Cable-Lug-Crimping-Tool-Kit/113694345954?epid=512302070&hash=item1a78b60ae2:g:sk8AAOSwF1hclFdU

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crano's picture

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Ranmar

Thu, 2019-08-22 18:50

 Can you give us a bit more info on the issues with 1-2-both setups ?

Rob H's picture

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 There is nothing wrong with

Thu, 2019-08-22 19:11

 There is nothing wrong with 1/2 both setups, provided they are managed right, and most people have no idea.

Number 1 rule-NEVER use on "both" except to start if its required then switch to 1 or 2 to charge.

Number 2 rule-NEVER swing it thru "off" while engine is running.

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 Give a man a mask, and he'll show you his true face...

 

 

The older you get the more you realize that no one has a f++king clue what they're doing.

Everyone's just winging it.

 

ranmar850's picture

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Date Joined: 12/08/12

What Rob H said

Fri, 2019-08-23 11:18

 ^^^^  Also the issue you can get with any paralleled batteries. Say you have a really flat Battery One for whatever reason--if you switch to Both, you are likely killing your good Battery Two, as the potential difference between them will cause bat 1 to pul bat 2 down. It's just a purely manual system which requires the knowledge to operate it. The isolation between bats 1 and 2 offered by the VSR option is just hands off, and managed by anyone. Of course, if you do go the Emergency parallel, it is then the same as going to Both on a manual system. if you Start battery is really dead, you'll be physically changing batteries over to get the good one onto the start leads.

Swompa's picture

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 So I checked the battery

Sun, 2019-08-25 19:46

 So I checked the battery Saturday morning and it showed 12.4 volts. Cranked the motor and it started easy. Plugged the charger in to top it up but got nervous after 10 minites and checked it again. 13.7 and the battery charger had turned off...

Disconnected it all and took it down to super cheap auto for a battery test. 530CCA (started with 600 around 2.5-3 years ago) and 13.5 volts with the little docket saying "battery good". Quite confused...

Got home, plugged it in and removed a recently installed cigarette socket and off we went. Plenty of stop start without issue...

utterly confused.

Willlo's picture

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 Swompa , was a it a load

Wed, 2019-09-04 11:31

 Swompa , was a it a load test or a volt test. take it back and ask for a LOAD Test. Sounds like it might be stuffed but you wont know till you do the correct test.

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Swompa's picture

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Couldn't tell you to be

Wed, 2019-09-04 13:09

Couldn't tell you to be honest. I asked them to test the battery and got a little receipt staying the CCA's and voltage.

The battery is out of the boat now sitting on the bench so I will check it in a couple of days to see if I have lost any power.