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Thread: House Battery Issue

  1. #1
    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    Default House Battery Issue

    I installed two 6 volt batteries to replace my two 12 volt house batteries at the beginning of this season. I didn't have any trouble the first time out but then I was only out for the day and only ran on my starting battery which is a 12 volt. This past weekend we went out to the sound with friends and I was charging my house batteries while running out to our camping spot and had all kinds of electrical issues. I blew every 5 watt fuse I had on the boat including my VHF, Wallas cooktop, bilge, etc. I also had the motors sputter out and die on me. When I finally switched it back over to the single 12 volt starting battery everything ran fine and I had no more problems. My only guess is that something has to be up with the 6 volt batteries. I checked the wiring and everything looks fine. I've got them wired in series (i.e. a cable running from the positive of one battery to the negative of another) and then wired into the system. The system is a typical Perko switch system. Anyone have any idea what's going on?

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    I would double check the cable that ties the two batteries together. I sounds like the cable is to small or has a loose connection. What size cable did you use to tie the batteries together?

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    Sounds like an over-voltage issue associated with your charging system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntinAK View Post
    I would double check the cable that ties the two batteries together. I sounds like the cable is to small or has a loose connection. What size cable did you use to tie the batteries together?
    I'm pretty sure it a 6ag cable. Not 100% sure but I've been using it for years to tie two 12 volt house batteries together to give me more amp hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    Sounds like an over-voltage issue associated with your charging system.
    The charging system are the alternators off of my twin 150 hp Yamaha's. This is the 26 Hewes PC in my signature. Do they run the alternator from each engine to a separate battery or are they somehow run together and charge whatever battery the Perko switch is directing it to? I'm not familiar with an over-voltage issue and can't understand why it would be an issue when I'm running my house batteries and not an issue when running my starting battery. Can you expand on what you're talking about?

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    Do not use the house batteries until you fix the problem. PM sent

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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickL View Post
    The charging system are the alternators off of my twin 150 hp Yamaha's. This is the 26 Hewes PC in my signature. Do they run the alternator from each engine to a separate battery or are they somehow run together and charge whatever battery the Perko switch is directing it to? I'm not familiar with an over-voltage issue and can't understand why it would be an issue when I'm running my house batteries and not an issue when running my starting battery. Can you expand on what you're talking about?
    I'm far from an expert, I was just summizing that the issue started when you were charging your house batteries, and it ceased when you went back to your single 12 volt. Blowing every 5 watt fuse on the boat seems like an over-voltage issue.

    I think the first thing I would do is take the two 6 volts somewhere that specializes in batteries, and have them checked out to be sure they arent putting out more voltage than advertised.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    I think the first thing I would do is take the two 6 volts somewhere that specializes in batteries, and have them checked out to be sure they arent putting out more voltage than advertised.

    It is not possible for a battery to put out more voltage than it was design for. Each cell is App 2.14v count the number of cell x 2.14 = total battery voltage.

  9. #9

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    Okay. Here's a question for you. When you said you tried to charge them you mean you switch to just number 1 or number 2 on your switch? Sounds like a ground issue to me. Did you try running both batteries? My guess is that with running just the house batteries on your engines it caused a ground issue since your engine would be grounded to your other battery. Unless your battery grounds are tied together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    It is not possible for a battery to put out more voltage than it was design for. Each cell is App 2.14v count the number of cell x 2.14 = total battery voltage.
    Theoretically...but it makes sense to rule out that one or both of the batteries wasn't faulty/mislabeled/whatever. Again, I'm no expert, but when running down electrical gremlins, a systematic approach to rule out problematic components is a good idea, starting with what has most recently changed.

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    It's not possible for the batteries to cause an overvoltage condition, the charging system can but not the batteries. I would check the wire that ties the batteries together if it's not making a good connection it would drop the voltage and increase the current causing the fuses to blow. Clean the post and the clamp or install a new cable. Do you have a voltage gauge on the boat? Did it show a drop in voltage before the fuses went. You could check your connection by turn everything on in the boat and monitoring the voltage while you wiggled the cables and see if the voltage drops.

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    Thanks for all the help. I'm going to start digging into it deeper tonight when I get home from work. One thing that I thought about that I should've mentioned. When I first installed the two 6 volts back in April I unhooked the two 12 volts I had in parallel for my house battery setup but accidentally left one of the battery cables lying on the floor of the boat. After a minute or two, a wire going into my port engine lower unit started smoking. This is a little wire that I've always assumed is a ground but it's actually some sort of bonding wire to reduce corrosion. It melted some insulation off but as soon as I hooked up the battery cable again it stopped. Here's a thread about the same issue someone else had (http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-...ont-start.html). And here's a picture of the wire I'm talking about (http://www.thehulltruth.com/attachme...go-photo-1.jpg). Anyone think this might be the problem? Also, if the insulation is melted off of it, is this something I should replace ASAP? I'm thinking about doing the water pumps at the end of the summer but I could do them now and just replace it when I drop the lower units.

    Thanks again and I'll keep everyone posted on how things progress. If you have other ideas keep them coming.

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    There is a wire that runs to the regulator that is a excitation wire (or something like that). It is used to control the alternator, and as the voltage drops, it causes the alternator to put out more voltage. Depending on the alternator, if this gets grounded out, it can cause the alternator to run wide open and put out much more than 12 volts. Maybe this wire got too hot, melted the insulation, and got shorted to ground which would cause the problems you are seeing. I would get it fixed before running it more. The high voltage can mess up your electronics.
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    I apologize to all those that commented with advice and suggestions. I was out of town the entire month of June for work and apparently the "Honey Do's" were more extensive then I thought. Anyway, I'm still working on them but I finally got a chance to work on my boat tonight.

    So far, I haven't been able to fix my problem. I checked the voltage with a voltage regulator at many places on my system and it was always between 12 and 13 volts. I did find a few small issues such as a broken wire to a downrigger, corrosion/rust on a couple wires, etc. Problem is I fixed all of them and nothing has changed. I also replaced the wires in my lower unit, the ones I mentioned above, but several folks have told me these can't possibly be the problem as they are bonding wires and have nothing to do with the electrical system.

    So here's what I've figured out. The switch to two 6 volt batteries seems to have nothing to do with it as I can blow fuses whether I'm on my 12 volt starting or my two 6 volt house batts. I've replaced a few fuses with 10 amp fuses instead of 5 amp and that's seemed to have solved the problem. In reality, it's not fixed, I'm just allowing the system to run at higher amperage and I'm risking ruining something important by running a higher amp fuse. Just thought I'd throw that out there as I can't understand what would cause a higher amperage but not that much more. One other thing. At the end of last year I pulled my old 12 volt batts. I tried to label all the wires (i.e. pos or neg) but it was pouring rain so it wasn't always possible. I'm pretty confident I've got them all in the right place but could this be the issue? I've been running this way for 3 trips now and it's only now that I have a problem. Sure seems like something else and it's not a wire in the wrong place but I'm no electrician, just a shade tree mechanic. Anyone have any idea?

    Thanks again to everyone for their help and suggestions. I'll buy the first round to anyone who figures it out.

    Cheers,
    PatrickL

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