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Second Battery

Old 01-11-2003, 12:05 PM
  #1  
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Default Second Battery

OK, I know this may be kind of a basic question for most of you, but…..
My 17 footer has one battery. The book I got with the boat says you can pull start the 125 Merc. Needless to say I'm trying to avoid that. So, for the sake of reliability, I would like to add a second battery. Is this a tough hook up? How would you wire it? With an A/B switch? I'm sure you just don't hook the positive to the positive and negative to the negative cables. Any advice would be appreciated.

Would I just be better off bringing one of those portable jumper batteries?
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Old 01-11-2003, 05:50 PM
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A second battery is a wise thing to install. You are making no mistake.

Here's how to do it. First get yourself a battery switch, which will run you around $20. This will be one of the typical red ones by Guest or Perko or someone like that. It will have 4 positons; Off, 1, 2, and Both. On its back there will be three studs that will act as terminal lugs to connect your cables. You will also need to have a battery cable made up to connect the negative side of each of your batterys together. This will be a short cable with the appropriate connector on each end. Just go to your local NAPA auto parts place and they should be able to make it up for you if you know the length you need.

Here are the connections:

1. Connect the negative battery cable from your engine to one of your two batterys.

2. Connect your jumper cable that the auto parts place made up for you between the two negative terminals, one for each battery. Also, at this time run one heavy BLACK wire (#6 or #8 works well) from one of the battery's negative terminals (preferably the battery that the engine is not connected to) and run it up to a buss bar (about $7 at West Marine) mounted inside your console.

3. Run a battery cable (Red) from one battery's positive terminal to one of the input lugs on the back of the battery switch.

4. Run a second battery cable (Red or Blue) from the second battery's positive terminal to the other input lug on the back of the battery switch.

5. Run a heavy REDwire (once again #6 or #8) from the output lug on the back of the battery switch up to you console where it will become the feed line for your fuse or circuit breaker panel.

6. Connect the wire from your automatic switch for your bilge pump to one of the input lugs on the back of the battery switch.

Now, tighten up the nuts on the lugs on the back of the battery switch and then paint the lugs, nuts, and fittings with Liquid Electrical Tape. Don't worry about how it looks, just slop it on there.

That's it, nothing to it. It the single smartest thing you can do this side of installing a VHF radio, it doesn't cost an arm and a let, and its a very easy DIY project for a saturday morning.

Thom

"For every complex question, there's a simple answer. And it's wrong."
(--H. L. Mencken)
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Old 01-11-2003, 11:33 PM
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and I know Thom won't mind if I add it to his excellent list . . . attach the heavy red lead from the motor to the output lug on the battery switch.

28' Maxcat w/twin Honda 225's (on the way!)
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Old 01-12-2003, 06:03 AM
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Thank you Chaps, I knew I forgot something. In this case it was like forgetting to take the baby to the baptism, the most important part.

By the way, on the slopping of that liquid electrical tape on the back of the Battery switch. It does a real nice job of preventing corrosion and at the same time it insures that the nuts won't back off on you over the years. The stuff puts on sort of a ruberized coating that is actually pretty easy to peel off if you need to get back into the switch for any reason.

Once you get it all hooked up, which won't take you long at all, you need to come up with some scheme to remind you which battery to use. Everyone like to alternate. I envy people with memorys, I don't actually have one myself. So rather than just think I'll alternate and in actuality be using battery 1 or 2 all the time I just use the day of the month method. I have one of those numbers you use on mail boxes (cost $0.35 at any hardware store) one each of my battery box tops, one number 1 and the other number 2. On even numbered days of the month I used battery 2, on odd numbered days of the month I use battery 1. Sure, I may fish two even numbered days in a row, or too odd, or even three, but over time it will average out and each battery will get about the same use and charging.

And as long as I'm here, I want to say again how much you are on the right track. I know a lot of guys with relatively small engines think they don't need a second battery. I guess depending on where they use their boat maybe that's true, but I wouldn't be witout one myself, any more than I would be without a radio, so I applaud you in your decision to do what the factory should have done.

Thom

"For every complex question, there's a simple answer. And it's wrong."
(--H. L. Mencken)
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Old 01-12-2003, 06:51 AM
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Some may envy the guys in Florida boating 365 days a year. I was so happy to get the boat I just dropped it in the water and started fishing! Wintertime was made for guys like me who need time to look at the big picture and think "Darn, I better work on this".

So as I will be buying that VHF (ICOM M-402 W/Emergency DSC), a Digital Antennas model 529VW, Garmin 188C and a second Battery this winter. Can't wait for the boat show in February!

Thanks again Thom and Chaps for taking the time to reply!
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Old 01-12-2003, 08:35 AM
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Any reason to run the #8 red wire to the back of
the battery switch? I have mine ran to the pos side
of the maintenance battery. Also why run the float
switch lead to the battery switch? Shouldn't it run
off the fuse block under the console??

chris
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Old 01-12-2003, 10:08 AM
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I prefer to minimize the wires going directly to the battery(s). Some wires, such as the large one that feeds the power supply (be it fuse or breaker panel), really don't have to be messed with once they are in place. Unfortunately batterys go in and go out pretty frequently and on top of that they vent hydrogen sulfide so corrosion around them is increased. All this means that if you have wires attached directly at the batterys they are in greater danger of corroding and the chance of putting one on the wrong terminal during battery connect is there. I did that once and it looked like lightening struck when the terminal touched - vaporizing part of the coper terminal on the end. I think that was the day I vowed not connect directly. The same logic holds for attaching bilge pump automaic switches direct. I hook them up at the battery switch just to keep them off the batteys themselves. Of course the wire for the manual override comes from the console. Also, as you may know I am on a life-long war against in-line fuses, but in fact I do install them on the lines to the automatic float switches, and I do it right there within a foot of the battery switch.

Anyway that's how my wireing habits work. I know a lot of guys continue to hook directly to the battery, and for some few things you really don't have much choice but connect there, but if it can be avoided I think you are better off to do so. Just me though, you do what you think to be appropriate, and I'll still fish with you

Thom

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(--H. L. Mencken)
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Old 01-12-2003, 10:22 AM
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I don't favor using "off-1-2-both" switches but for those that do the main reason IMO to run the red #8 wire that goes to the helm panel to the output lug of the battery switch instead of the + battery post is that when you switch to "off" everything but the bilge pump will be "off". The bilge pump circuit should be hooked to an input lug on the battery switch that way it will always function. I second Thom's opinion about avoiding multiple wires to battery posts. The crimp connectors on the smaller leads go bad quickly and having a bunch of loose wires flopping around when changing out batteries is a pain.

28' Maxcat w/twin Honda 225's (on the way!)
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Old 01-14-2003, 09:28 AM
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talk about being topical.....

having bilge pump hooked directly to battery with the much maligned wing nuts instead of liquid taped into battery switch sure came in handy last nite, when i had to disconnect it -- it just wouldn't shut off -- from battery #1.

oh, bilge would still work via panel switch.

this morning, everything seems to work fine again when reconnected the battery.

it probably was yucky bay bottom gunk clogging something (we did empty a cast net full of finger-mullet into the rear of the boat)!

oh well.
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Old 01-14-2003, 10:17 AM
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If you hold a cross up to a wing nut it can not get past you, I also understand they are repelled by garlands of garlic.

So, your float switch hung up. It happens. That's when you flip the cap off and pull out that one in-line fuse that I allow on a boat, the one that goes to the in float switch. Pull the fuse and the pump stop running.

Now, about those wing nuts, well you know what I was going to say so I won't even bother saying it.

Thom

"For every complex question, there's a simple answer. And it's wrong."
(--H. L. Mencken)
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Old 01-14-2003, 10:49 AM
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oh no, did i start another wing nut thread!

thom, the fuse removal procedure is bigger pain for me (it's wayup inside bilge) than just undoing from battery (which is in starboard well, easy).

plus, i wanted to be able to still use the bilge, via panel switch.

QUESTION: are those $40-$60 bilges with microprocessors and no float switches any better than the bilge/float-switch combos?

i seem to have a lot of issues with the bilge/float setup.
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Old 01-14-2003, 11:23 AM
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I thought about using the dual battery thing but I decided one a different option. I have one of those portable jump starters. You plug it into the wall when you are at home and it charges it up. You always know it has a full charge in it. I had to use it last summer and it was a life saver. I had to restart my boat about 8 times with it. Then when I got the boat on the trailer I hit the trim to lift the engine and it stalled out since there was no juice in the battery. The jump starter still had enough power to lift the motor. It is something I would extremly recommend and it also comes in handy with jumpstarting a car.
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