Dual Battery Switch - SOLVED

Guys, It looks like I’m having my second dual battery switch failure in just over 2.5 years.

The first one lost its spring/locking position after 18months (ebay) so I replaced it with one of these from whitworths. https://www.whitworths.com.au/sw-batt-compact-4pos

I thought I had killed a battery but after a bit of testing and swapping batteries, it is the switch (again).

I removed, cleaned and ensured all connectors were tight and no interference.

  • Could it be because I have it mounted upside down? (Dial pointing at the floor)
  • Do these corrode and should I try and take it apart to clean up the contacts? It’s the least used battery that is not working?
  • Should I ditch the 1+2 type of selectors and go for individual isolators?

(Added info) Yesterday I temporally swapped battery 2 for battery 1 (batt 2 wouldn’t crank originally) and batt 2 started my motor 6 times in a row with a struggle (in position 1). The other previously perfect battery 1 wouldnt crank on the second circuit (position 2) either which brought me to the switch. Both batterys have ample power to crank the motor on position 1.

When I initially thought it was a dud battery I took it (batt 2) for a load test and it came back at 99% capacity so all good! Checked all cables and connections so can only be the internal of the selector switch now... (I think?)


Posts: 260

Date Joined: 22/05/19

 I run a VRS isolator system

Mon, 2020-01-13 09:58

 I run a VRS isolator system in my boat. Love it!! And single isolator for my engine battery 

Darren253's picture

Posts: 419

Date Joined: 23/07/16

 I have a VSR that charges

Mon, 2020-01-13 10:19

 I have a VSR that charges between the two, but like to be able to switch to with 100% batt 1 or batt 2 for piece of mind when day tripping knowing i have a fully charged backup.

scubafish's picture

Posts: 684

Date Joined: 15/08/12

Try

Mon, 2020-01-13 10:19

Could it be because I have it mounted upside down? No
Should not have worn that much over that time .
Put a multi meter on it to see if it is working.
Should always run vsr on duel batt system.

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Darren253's picture

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Date Joined: 23/07/16

"Put a multi meter on it to

Mon, 2020-01-13 10:23

"Put a multi meter on it to see if it is working." - I did, it is functioning open and closed but doesn't have enough connectivity to allow the motor to crank.

VSR is fitted.

Posts: 260

Date Joined: 22/05/19

What are the terminals like?

Mon, 2020-01-13 10:35

What are the terminals like?   if the batteries are old and have been run flat you can kill them. Even after doing a trickle charge. Best off take it in for a load test and even if you can do a continuity test along the cables to the starter motor. Easiest way is if you can reach from battery to starter motor. Or if it doesn't reach disconnect and attach another bit of wire to the connection and see if you have a break in both pos/neg. when you crank the engine over how much of a voltage drop do you get? I think off the top of my head that it should go down to any les than like 10v or even 10.4v if it does your battery ant holding charge and is dead.  

Darren253's picture

Posts: 419

Date Joined: 23/07/16

Maybe i should have provided more info in my post...

Mon, 2020-01-13 10:44

Terminals are good/new looking. Whole setup is less than 3years old.

Yesterday I temporally swapped battery two for battery one (two wouldn’t crank originally) and it started my motor 6 times in a row with a struggle. The other previously perfect battery 1 would crank on the second circuit either which brought me to the switch.

When I initially thought it was a dud battery I took it (batt 2) for a load test and it came back at 99% capacity so all good! Checked all cables and connections so can only be the internal of the selector switch now... (I think?)

Posts: 260

Date Joined: 22/05/19

 Check ignition barrel switch

Mon, 2020-01-13 10:48

 Check ignition barrel switch but I would do a continuity of the cables first. Switches done really fail if they are decent ones. But never know!!! I would take it to a battery place and get them to do a proper cca test on it. Trickle chargers done out load on the battery to do a proper test 

Darren253's picture

Posts: 419

Date Joined: 23/07/16

"get them to do a proper cca

Mon, 2020-01-13 11:00

"get them to do a proper cca test on it" - I did... Battery world load tested it and came back 99% of labelled CCA's.

Scotte's picture

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Date Joined: 07/12/06

 Be doing very well to have

Mon, 2020-01-13 13:36

 Be doing very well to have an open on the 2 b and s cable

scubafish's picture

Posts: 684

Date Joined: 15/08/12

Try

Mon, 2020-01-13 10:40

Sounds like it maybe the Batt,get it load tested.
You dont need to keep turning the switch on to make sure its charging that's the job of the VSR ,you can run a extra light to the dash for peace of mind .

OK looks like just repeating what other people are saying ,good luck.

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Posts: 67

Date Joined: 02/06/17

 Take the switch out of the

Mon, 2020-01-13 10:59

 Take the switch out of the equation, join the cables that go in and out of the isolator switch with a bolt. If it then cranks fine you know there's too much resistance through the switch. If it's still the same and the batteries test fine it's a cabling issue.

Posts: 87

Date Joined: 14/05/13

Multimeter

Mon, 2020-01-13 12:31

The multimeter will read ok because it uses very little curent to test continuity. But the high start current will show the shortfalls of the system.

Short your multimeter leads on ohms and get a reading. now go from the switch terminals and the reading should be the same. Even a few decimals of an ohm will be enough to stop the high current flow of the starter.

As XF347 said take the switch out completely and bolt together - soon tell you what problem you have.

I would personally say never mount the switch upside down as they are never fully IP sealed. Get a torx set and open up the isolator to see inside i reckon you'll have some green fuzz in there - does it pass the "smell test".

Depends where you are i can come and have a quick look.

chevaps's picture

Posts: 29

Date Joined: 04/01/13

Darren253. Given you have had

Mon, 2020-01-13 16:03

Darren253.

 

Given you have had the batteries load tested and confirmed good, the other things to check are:

1) Have you connected the starter cables to the large battery post (via removal terminals).  As you would be aware, marine batteries come with the small accesory posts which some people inadvertently use them to connect starter cables for convenience.  While these accessory terminals could technically do the job, they are defintely not sized to handle starting currents for longer cranks and could be the source of larger voltage drops when compared to the larger posts.

2) The condition of ALL your cables (+ve battery, -ve battery, +ve starter).  Are the cables tinned?  Are the conducting faces of the lugs free of corrosion?  Is there evidence of corrosion within the crimped section of the lug?

3) Continuity of the switch in different positions using your multimeter.

  i) In Batt1 position, measure and record the resistance of Batt1-common, Batt2-common, Batt1-Batt2

  ii) In Batt2 position, measure and record the resistance of Batt1-common, Batt2-common, Batt1-Batt2

  ii) In Batt1+2 position, measure and record the resistance of Batt1-common, Batt2-common, Batt1-Batt2

4) Loose or rotating studs on the switch.  It's not uncommon to overtorque and subsequently break these connections because many assume the nuts have to be done FT!  If the studs appear physically ok, try and take some resistance measurements while a helper attemps to jiggle the stud (this can be challenging, but do your best).

5) Continuity of your +ve cables while connected on both ends (i.e. battery, starter, and switch) using your multimeter.  Make sure the negative cables are disconnected from both batteries.

  i) Measure the resistance between the battery positive post (put the test lead on the actual lead part) and corresponding stud of the switch - this tests the quality of your crimped connections, terminal-post connections, and lug connections.

  ii) Measure the resistance between the starter motor positive post and corresponding stud of the switch - tests connection quality as above.

6) Continuity of your -ve cables while connected on both ends (i.e. battery and negative stud on motor) using your multimeter.  Make sure the positive cables are disconnected from both batteries.  The tests you need to perform will depends on how the negative cables are arranged (i.e. negative battery posts bridged directly and single negative cable to outboard "ground" stud, individual negative cables to outboard "ground" stud, etc).  Just be sure to test post to post, or post to stud, in order to test all crimped and bolted connections in between - just remember to test on the actual lead part of the battery posts.

 

Report back with your results and I'd be happy to comment further if your findings don't reveal any deficiency.

 

Tom.

Darren253's picture

Posts: 419

Date Joined: 23/07/16

Solved

Mon, 2020-01-13 20:02

OK, so with the advice onboard and the family out at the park, i took to the tools as soon as i got home!

I connected Batt 2 and + cable to the output post of the selector, basically bypassing the switch and the motor started fine, eliminating the battery and cabling!

I took the multi-meter out and measure the resistance across all of the terminals. Both Battery 1 & 2 had the same resistance at 1.1ohms. Whilst i had the chance i tested and checked that the switch was functioning properly, which it was!

So i disconnected all of the terminals a removed the switch! Dug out the torques bits from the bottom of the toolbox and decided to strip the selector on the kitchen side. below are the results.

 

About 100ml of water came out, the grease was pretty emulsified and the contact points had a fair amount of corrosion on them.

The Batt 2 was especially green with some actual slight pitting at the contact point. Cleaned it all and reassembled with a liberal helping of marine grease especially around the seals. Hey presto, fixed!

Its probably not going to last forever but maybe I can get another 12months out of it. As its installed upside down, I think I will probably drill a small (2mm) drain hole at the lowest point on the rear side to allow water to drain out shout it get in there from washdowns. Now i’ve seen how it works I also reckon a wiggle might help it find better contact should it play up again out at sea!

Thanks for everyones input... Think twice about installing these upside down where water can sit against the rear o'ring/seal!

gillyL's picture

Posts: 6197

Date Joined: 26/04/14

 think those caribbeans

Mon, 2020-01-13 20:12

 think those caribbeans should have an enclosed battery area for the coin they cost.

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lucky i love to fish because i cant catch any.

 

BM294

Posts: 235

Date Joined: 29/04/18

 Couldn't agree  more gilly,

Tue, 2020-01-14 06:20

 Couldn't agree  more gilly, one of the only things  i don't  like  about  these boats imo it just makes them  look unfinished otherwise their a  great looking  rig  ,glad you got it sorted but mate 

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 Happy dayz 

z00m's picture

Posts: 1084

Date Joined: 10/05/14

Upside down

Tue, 2020-01-14 07:38

Why would it be mounted upside down where water can sit on it? Why not make a bracket to swing it 90 degrees so it is vertical instead of horizontal? Looking at your install pic there is plenty of space to mount it next to or in front of your batteries.

 

Darren253's picture

Posts: 419

Date Joined: 23/07/16

The current switch isn't the

Tue, 2020-01-14 11:44

The current switch isn't the original... That one had a base and grommets so it wasn't even a consideration. I was pretty happy with the original installation as its out of the way but still easily accessible in front of LH battery under the engine well.

When i replaced it for the i never even considered water sitting in it or the fact that it wouldn't be waterproof.

ranmar850's picture

Posts: 2427

Date Joined: 12/08/12

I agree about mounting battery switches on Reefrunners

Tue, 2020-01-14 09:05

 Every one you see has a different approach. Which tells me there is no really outstanding or obvious way to do it. Old-style transom really, but I prefer it over a platform rear, as you can get right into the corners to fight fish, and go over the outboard. But it makes it hard to do a really good battery switch and installation. The batteries themselves are commonly fitted directly under the well. I rejected this approach, as it meant you were blocking off what little access you have to the splash area at the transom.  Mansfields argued that fitting them where I did, at each corner, would mean that you couldn't get right up into the corners with the seats removed, normal fishing mode. They were wrong, I fitted mine  there and have no problems whatsoever with getting my feet in there. As for the battery switch, I don't like the old 1-2+both switches. Before anyone starts in on me about not understanding how to manage them, I had 26 years driving crayboats, and they all had that setup.  I prefer individual switches for Start and House, with a VSR between them and a parallelling switch between them. You can buy these as pre-made units, I made my own at a considerable saving, using all Narva switches. I couldn't find one set up in a straight line at the time, which I needed for my mounting method, they were all square ( seen straight ones since) .

These is a void under the front of the well , where you mount the holders for removable bait boards, with plenty of room  I had to fix something under the well to have something to hinge to. It clips up at the front with an overcentre catch. 

 

 

I actually had battery problems a couple of days ago-House voltage was becoming erratic, not steadily charging while motor was running. I dropped the switch panel down, and saw the VSR indicator light was off. So the VSR has failed, or maybe it's just a bad negative connection. So I just turned the bridging switch on, and am now running on both. I'm in Exmouth, going home in a few days, so I'll look at it then.

z00m's picture

Posts: 1084

Date Joined: 10/05/14

 This install is still

Wed, 2020-01-15 07:30

 This install is still flawed. If you rotate all your switches and VSR 180 degrees and run the cables in through the bottom and not through the top, you will not have to worry about water running down the cables into the switches or VSR. 

ranmar850's picture

Posts: 2427

Date Joined: 12/08/12

No, you are misunderstanding what you are seeing.

Wed, 2020-01-15 21:27

 They are mounted on a hinged panel. The panel , hinged at the rear, swings  up forward, and latches, so they are then mounted horizontally. they are not exposed to any direct splash--you actaully have to hose upwards, or some water can come down the bait table mountings. All I've really  gotten on them so far, is dust. 

Posts: 44

Date Joined: 19/02/09

 Hi guys. A lot of us Reefy

Tue, 2020-01-14 20:24

 Hi guys. A lot of us Reefy owners out there. Here is my solution to the battery switch dilemma. That little round light on the outboard well is a waste of space. Behond it is room for this setup.

 The enclosure is a fire extinguisher compartment with the back cut off and inverted so it is neat with a bit of sika to lock it tight

 My Batteries are underneath so all is very close

 I also took out the lips the rear seats sit on as my shins were getting cut to shreds. it is now a great place to fish with a baitboard in front of the motor

 

  

 

 

 

ranmar850's picture

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Date Joined: 12/08/12

Thats a novel approach

Wed, 2020-01-15 21:34

 I've seen a few different setups, before settling on mine, but that one looks like it would work. Water, if it entered, would run to the bottom, and out. Don't know about those two metal push/pull switches mounted there, though...

I'd heard other complain about the seat lips getting at their shins with the seats removed, but it just hasn't been a problem for me. Maybe my mounting the batteries behind there mean you can't get that last little bit that means your shins hit? We use those seats when we are camping on board--they normally live under a bunk when not in use.

Posts: 44

Date Joined: 19/02/09

yes the switches for the

Wed, 2020-01-15 22:36

yes the switches for the batteries work well and agree the push pulls arent the best.

They are fully taped up behond the glass so no water gets in and the shafts are greased but I havent found a good waterproof switch for down the back.

Happy to replace them every couple of years as they are cheap. Happy for any suggestions from here though