Battery maintenance for boat owners: How to look after your boat batteries.
12 December, 2020
For all but the
smallest and simplest of craft a reliable supply of battery power is essential
to keep both vital safety systems and domestic comforts running. They’re
therefore an integral part of a boat’s reliability and resilience. Looking after batteries also makes good financial
sense – if treated badly they can fail within a couple of seasons, but if well
maintained may last for six to eight years
It’s clearly important to
have a good understanding of the configuration on your boat and its inherent
pros and cons. It’s good practice to have two battery banks, so that one can be
reserved solely for engine starting, while the other is used for domestic
loads, lights, electronics and so on. Some vessels may have a third bank for a
windlass, bow thruster or other high-power devices.
Each bank may comprise of just a single battery, or of several batteries connected in parallel.
to use the power supply
Before sailing, you should:
Prevent short circuits
by making sure that there is a lid on any battery box or boots on the battery
Ensure that connections to
the batteries are clean, bright, and well made.
When hooking up a battery,
ensure that you connect the terminals the correct way
Before starting the
generator, you must turn off all communication equipment on board to avoid
decreasing battery capacity and communication equipment fluctuation. In addition, it is
also possible to avoid sudden increase
impulse that endangers
Currently, there are
still a number of fishing vessels taking electricity directly from the battery 12V DC used
for communication equipment. With such usage, the ability to transmit and
receive signals will be limited because communication equipment requires a
supply of 13.8V DC. Therefore, ships should use voltage stabilizers (24V DC-DC
13.8 power converter).
For a voltage
stabilizer that converts 24V DC to 13.8V DC for communication equipment, before
turning on the device, it is necessary to observe the voltage indicator on the
meter whether it
displays 13.8V DC or not. If the indicator needle is over the specified line, communication
device should be disconnected from this adapter to avoid being damaged.
When using ICOM for
should turn off the power of equipment such as TV, CD player to ensure enough power for
In addition to using, maintenance
is one of the most important
steps to maintain power source system and equipment as well as ensure safety
during use. Therefore, you need to pay attention to the following:
Clean terminals and the
case with a paste made from baking soda to neutralize any acid. More than one
battery has died because the grease and acid film across the case became
conductible and connected the two terminals.
cells of flooded electrolyte (“conventional” batteries) with
distilled water if they are empty or low. Tap water may contain minerals that
can have a deleterious effect on the internal plates.
Keep the battery compartment
well ventilated. Gasses
escaping from the battery, particularly from overcharged lead-acid batteries,
can be explosive
If you’re going to
install a battery charger on your boat, make sure it’s a “smart”
three-stage marine unit, that offers a sophisticated charging regime. Cheap auto
parts store chargers may, with long-term use, shorten battery life