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Boat Battery Questions

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Reel Lady, Jul 28, 2004.

  1. Reel Lady

    Reel Lady Dreams DO come true!

    How do you other "boat" people deal with battery issues on your boat?
    We have a 115 mercury, a 9.9 kicker, and a MinnKota trolling motor.
    Is it normal for our main battery to die after a night on the lake with the engine off? The only things we leave on are the navigational/anchor lights, and occasionally the fish finder or spot light. I leave the Master Power button in the on position, but dont have any live/bait wells recirculating/filling, and I dont turn on the bilge.
    Also, is there a way to recharge our trolling motor batteries as they are being used?

    Thanks for your help,
    Reel Lady (Marcia)
  2. DaleM

    DaleM Original OGF Staff Member

    Running all that on one battery you will kill a battery. If your going to run lights, spots etc. Get another battery to run those off of. Use the main one for your starting. That is a lot of amps being pulled off one battery. You might also consider wiring two in series to give you more power. As for charging? If your motor has an alternator you can charge it by running the motor. The only sure way to make sure you have power to start your boat is to carry a 400 AMP or bigger jump pack. The kind used to jump a car that has a dead battery. I got one at Sams Club for $45.00 that I carry. Cheap insurance.

  3. steelmagoo

    steelmagoo Enjigneer

    Don't you mean wiring the batteries in parallel (neg to neg, pos to pos)?
    Connecting two 12V batteries in series (pos on battery #1 to neg on battery #2) will produce 24V between neg on #1 and pos on #2, not good for 12V motors and electronics.

    Two identical batteries connected in parallel will give twice the amp-hours or twice the amperage.

    Two identical batteries connected in series give twice the voltage.
  4. UFM82

    UFM82 The one others want to be

    If there is room for another battery, simply install one and add a Perko battery selector switch. Doc did it on his boat and most larger boats will have one anyway. You can start off the main and use the second battery for when you are sitting. That way you won't use the main for the accessories. Plus I think you can charge both off the alternator on the engine while you are running. It's a relatively easy install and not too much cash- you might spend $150 -$200 doing it. Money well spent when you find yourself stranded on the water because the main died.

    I will say that I run my nav lights, finder, spotlight and most everything else off my main while I am out catfishing and have yet to get stuck. Maybe you just have a weak battery that needs to be replaced. Another option is to get rid of the incandescent lights on the boat and go with LEDs. I have an LED light that hangs on my windshield and lights up the rear of my boat. Those things draw such low power that they'll run for days on a battery charge.

    I've seen more and more LEDs out the all the time. I am looking for a bow light and stern light that is LED equipped. I don't think you could EVER kill a battery in a single night with 10 LEDs going. They just don't use any power. I think the floor lights in my center console draw about 1.5 amps each, but the LED lamp I have only takes .1 amps. BIG difference.

    Go with a two battery system and a selector switch. Works great.


    Use Everstarts from Wally World. They're cheap and durable as far as I am concerned.
  5. captnroger

    captnroger OGF Webmaster

    Wait a sec, doesn't your Tundra already have at least two batteries? I thought tracker put at least two batteries in the rigs (my TX-17 and Nitro had 2 and 3 batteries, respectively).

    Anyways, ifyou don't have two, you'll want to get another and run your trolling motor off the second by itself. Everything else should be wired to your other battery. It will charge while the motor is running. When I fish nights I'm usually out for 6-7 hours, running two blacklights, fish finder on bow and dash, and I've never had a problem with a dead battery.
  6. DavidWS10

    DavidWS10 Bankless Boat Trash

    I just bought a battery selector switch at BPS this morning. It is the Guest brand ($19.99 at BPS), not Perko ($22.99 at Cabelas), but has identical specs. I will be installing it this afternoon. A battery selector switch is definitely the way to go. So are the LED lights, as Craig mentioned. I believe Doc has totally switched all of his lights over to LEDs; including his dash lights (at least he was talking about doing that). In my opinion, not only do they draw less amperage, I believe they are also brighter. I'd make the switch on my boat, but I don't want to spend a lot of money lighting up an $1800.00 boat.
  7. captnroger

    captnroger OGF Webmaster

    the battery switch is a great thing. I have one on my erie boat, and it's nice to know that even if you leave a light on somewhere you won't kill your battery once you shut the switch off.
  8. ShakeDown

    ShakeDown OGF Staff Staff Member Admin

    I've run a cd player, mp3 player, 2 fishfinders, 1 flasher, lights, GPS all off one battery for 10+ hours at a time, and never even had a hiccup (all off a single cranking battery). If it isn't already, you definitely want to keep the trolling motor on seperate batteries (other than the cranking/starting batt).
  9. Reel Lady

    Reel Lady Dreams DO come true!

    Well, as it turned out, we had a bum battery. When we took our boat back in for it's 20 hour checkup, we told them that our battery has died on numerous occasions. They said they checked it, and the alternator, and that all looked to be ok. They topped off the charge too.
    Well, that night, we took the boat out. We conserved all the power that we could to not drain the battery. All that was coming off the main battery was our anchor light. After 2 hours of nothing more than the anchor light, we went to start, and what a suprise... it wouldnt even make a noise! We were prepared, and used the jumper cables to start it.
    The next day, we took the battery back, and demanded a new one.
    I also purchased a portable power supply for any 12V accessories (like our black light, or spot light), and an onboard battery charger MinnKota 330.
    I think we are still going to buy another battery to hook up the accessories like the Depth Finder, bait wells, Live Wells, running lights up to, so we dont have to worry about not having enough juice to start up the 115.
    So, thanks again for all of your wonderful suggestions. Your knowledge is very very much appreciated. :)

    Reel Lady (Marcia)
  10. Doctor

    Doctor CJ Cat Attack Pack

    I went to the battery switch about a year ago, after having the same problem running out of power, I'm running three livewells all are on timers plus a Baitank on constantly, all the dash lights and navigational lights, but those are all LEDS now, Boy what a difference that makes, depth finder, stereo, cutting board light, plus my super duty light up the night 110amp netting light pole, but I have one battery dedicated to the big motor, have two looped together both are 900 amps, which gives me 1800 amps of power, after I anchor down I switch over to the dual batterys and run everything off of them, I have been known to fish on the river for some 14-24 hour periods so running out of power is not fun, still carry the jumpers on the boat just for insurance but with the selector switch you can flip it to " ALL" and fire up the engine in an emergency. When I go to move I just flip it over to #1 and fire it up, my switch is in one of the rear compartments so that it stays out of the weather.

    I'm sure I can charge the deep cells up with the motor running but they do better with a slower charge, rather than the high voltage output needed for a starting battery, when I get home I plug in the triple bank charger and it never does come on for the starting battery just for the deep cells...........Doc

    If you go to get one of the switches, go to my website and click on the Perko switch link and I have it all layed out on how to connect one of those things
  11. Lundy

    Lundy Staff Member

    I also installed a switch last year and now have 4 batteries on the boat. Two are for the trolling motor, two are for the starting and all of the other stuff.

    I had a battery short out internally last year when a plate broke loose and shorted it out inside. I was on lake erie, and fortunately was at the river mouth in Vermilion and was able to get a tow into dock.

    I was told that it was not unusual for this to happen to batteries on Erie with all of the pounding that takes place. That was more than enough incentive for me to put in a second starting battery with a switch. I don't ever want that problem when I'm 10+ miles out Erie and need to get in. A little insurance that goes a long way for peace of mind.

    I also used a Perko switch.

  12. Reel Lady

    Reel Lady Dreams DO come true!

    I just want to clear things up about my battery situation, because I think I wasnt real clear in my initial post. We have 2-12V batteries which operate the trolling motor, and 1 (cranking) battery which is our main motor battery. This main battery was also used to power the accessories, such as the live wells, bait wells, running/anchor lights, console lights, depth finder, and the 12v receptacle (which we used for either the spotlight or blacklight)
    So yes... the trolling motor was run from its own set of batteries. And when we needed to jump the main motor, we would use the trolling motor batteries to do it.
    Slowly but surely, we are working out the kinks of a new boat... and my gosh.. spending SO MUCH MONEY! :eek:
    Totally worth it though... this boat... and being on it... and lucky we are!

    Thanks again for all of your help/suggestions :)

    Reel Lady (Marcia)
  13. Fish2day

    Fish2day member

    Hey Reel Lady, didn't you know what boat stands for?

    B ring
    O ut
    A nother
    T housand
  14. Reel Lady

    Reel Lady Dreams DO come true!

    Oh my gosh! It is unbelievbable how much money we have spent in boat accessories and fishing accessories! Heck... at this point, the monthly payments for the boat arent my problem... it's the thousands of dollars that we have spent on everything else that is! :eek:
    And now I am contemplating buying a new bait casting reel. Boom... there goes another 125.00! And of course, I cant forget about the catfish setup that I am dying to buy.... and oh.. did I forget to mention that I really want that 1500 watt power inverter too??
    Where is Santa when you need him???? :D

    Happy Fishing :)

    Reel Lady (Marcia)