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Thread: Winter Battery Maintenance

  1. #1
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    Default Winter Battery Maintenance

    I have two start batteries and a house battery. I was thinking of setting them up in parallel, to make one “bank”, and putting them on a single maintenance charger in my garage for the winter. Does anyone know if that will cause any problems? It is a modern marine charger that is supposed to monitor and maintain the battery over time, and won’t overcharge. I was thinking that with them in parallel it should work ok. Thoughts?
    TBS

  2. #2
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    I usally just unhook them for the winter and leave them outside.

    If they are charged then they will be fine.

    There was another thread on here last year about this. Maybe look in the archives.

    Are you intending to use them for power?

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    With out going into what will happen if you do “A” or “B”. That Rock Skipper suggest is the best thing to do and will cause less problems.

    I would add, slow charge each battery separately to insure they are fully charge.

    Disconnect the negative leads to guarantee you will not drain the battery over the winter.

  4. #4
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    I will only add that if you do bring them inside, ensure you put them on a 2x or other wood member to create an additional break between the battery and the concrete garage floor (if you have it). Concrete will drain a battery if it's not on a charger constantly.

    I disconnect any battery that I won't use over the winter and leave it in the vehicle. Some will get a trickle charge before they get used the first time come spring.

  5. #5
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    u'll wanna check the water levels in the batteries as well... If a battery has too little water, the chemical reaction that may normally happen won't happen and the risk of freezing the battery goes up.. lust pop the tops off the cells and look down in them. Use distilled water to fill them to the bottom of the plastic that is visible down the hole...

  6. #6

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    For what it's worth, I've left my batteries (4-one each engine and 2 house) in the boat outside each winter. No problems so far. I check them in the spring and so far they have been fine. Also, the battery / concrete floor thing is a myth. They won't drain power because of the floor material.

  7. #7
    Member AKbarehunter's Avatar
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    Default Battery Care

    I asked this question to the folks at ABS in Fairbanks.

    Their recommendation: Leave the battery in the unit, disconnect the ground, about December, (before the really cold hits), trickle charge for 3 or 4 hours and you should be good.

    I am going to do it their way, seeing I just installed an $80 battery into my ATV, that way I should be ready in the spring of 2010!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homertime View Post
    Also, the battery / concrete floor thing is a myth. They won't drain power because of the floor material.
    In fact if it was true, and it is not, it would make sense, leaving a battery in a metal bracket would drain the battery even faster.

    If you looked at the rate a battery self discharges over time and temperature, leaving a battery on the concrete floor will slow down the current drain. Assuming of course the concrete floor is not heated. Because the colder the battery is the less it will discharge.

  9. #9
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    Well you can call it a myth if you'd like. I've made the mistake of leaving a battery on a concrete floor over the winter and came back to a dead thing that couldn't be restored. It was new 12 months prior. It was fully charged when put in the heated garage, no slab heat, close to the interior common wall. Even the store couldn't restore it.

    I still don't recommend it, but have no problems leaving the thing in any of the vehicles that get left outside in the winter; fully disconnected of course.

  10. #10
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default best bet

    Is to remove them and keep them at room temperature with a battery tender on them as you originally thought. You can research your particular battery manufacture and keep them in the recommended temperature range - almost never 20 below zero...usually around 60 deg F.

    The fluid levels if not a sealed battery should be checked prior to putting the tender on them.

    They should be brought to full potential prior to hooking them together.

    You should only parrallel batteries of of similiar age as parrallelling two batteries of different potential will bring the good batter to the "bad" batteries' potential.

    Unless it is very inconvenient - I personally would not parallel them - just put your tender on one for a week and alternate and you will be fine.

    The most life can be obtained by your starting and cabin (deep cell) batteries by keeping them at full potential.

    The concrete theory has been proven wrong. Older lead acid batteries were prone to failing quicker when on concrete because the concrete pulls the heat from them. Freezing a battery is not good.

  11. #11
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    I just make sure it's fully charged, battery is clean, and leave it disconnected in the boat.

    My grandpa had a wooden shelf in his garage, that was just for batteries.
    This article is a good read.
    http://www.thebatteryterminal.com/Te...n_Concrete.htm

  12. #12

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    Leaving a battery on the concrete floor is a persistent and tiresome myth.

    Concrete has very little conducive properties particularly compared to an aluminum boat hull that so many batteries are placed upon. Battery manufacturers store them on metal shelves. I have stored them on my concrete shop floor numerous times over the years.

    If a battery dies during storage then it was not cared for properly to begin with, and/or was failing before it entered storage.

    What ABS said is how I do and have treated my batteries for years with success.

  13. #13
    Member outaMT's Avatar
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    Default Just an Option

    KingFisher,

    I had this installed when I bought my boat. When it gets in the low 20's or teens, I just plug it in and leave it with the batteries still on the boat and connected. Kicks in a trickle charge for either battery only if they start to drop. Cant over charge and it keeps them fresh and toasty over the winter. I’ve got a rubber sealed 110 plug-in off the transom so I can get to it and plug in the power without totally unwrapping the winter cover. This will only be my second winter on it though, but no problems I'm aware of.


    The dealer told me this would work for multiple battery systems. If it works through a batery switch, as in my set up, it shoud work in series, on or off the boat if wired correctly. The nice thing about this system is you can leave your batteries as is on the boat. I had the system installed to limit cold weather issues and winterization that I may not be able to take care of; I work overseas and may not be around to take care of last minute stuff like batteries. My wife can plug in just like the block heater in the truck. Not sure if this is what your looking for, just an option.

    I attahced a few pics (the transom pic is of the plug-in, just in front of the main). Hope this helps.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14

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    I play it safe each winter by removing my batteries and bringing them inside the garage. Just in case they're not as good as think they are, and they lose their charge over the winter in the boat and freeze and break/leak, I don't want to take that chance. Besides, removing them gives me a chance each year to clean the area good in the boat where they're kept. I think I'm in the minority, but this way I don't even have to think about worrying about it.

  15. #15
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Pull them and put them in the garage.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

  16. #16
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    Well, I definitely appreciate ll of the advice. Pretty wide range though. It seems like batteries are one of those areas where there still appears to be a lot of "FM" going on, hence all the opinions.

    I've always pulled them off the boat, so I think I'll continue to do that. I used to just charge them every few weeks, but I think I'm going to keep them on a trickle charger. I was going to buy one fancy one and hook all three to it in parallel, but I already have a single cheap one that is a "float/maintainer" that seems to work ok. I'll get 2 more (only $20 each) and hook one to each battery. The house battery is brand new, the start batteries are somewhat questionable (I may just replace those in the spring). I had been worried about the difference in potential that Bullelkklr mentioned, and this should solve it. I hate having bad or marginal batteries, especially 60 or 80 miles from the harbor.

    Thanks again, and just think, spring is only 6 months away!!!!

  17. #17
    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    I leave my batteries on the boat hooked up to a battery tender:
    http://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tender-021-0123-Junior-Charger/dp/B000CITK8S/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=automotive&qid=1255043919&sr= 8-7
    My boat’s parked next to the garage and covered with access on one side because I like to get in a periodically run my diesel heater and dink around with things. Have a friend who leaves his batteries on his boat parked in a storage yard, and there’re going on 5 years with no problem.
    Jay
    07 C-Dory 25 Cruiser
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  18. #18

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    In or out of the boat the key is, properly serviced, fully charged, one cable disconnected, CLEAN TOP, if the battery is good it'll be there in the spring.

  19. #19
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    If you buy the wrong battery charger and leave it on for 6 months, you could hurt your battery. There is an easy way to test a charger to determine if there may be a problem. Measure the voltage across the charger (open circuit voltage), if the voltage is over 14v, I would rethink using it.

    If I wanted to find out the proper way to charge a battery, short or long term I would talk to the battery manufacture, they are the experts on there batteries.

  20. #20
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    Pull one wire off the battery and leave it stay put. Do this in my rv and so far the coach batteries have lasted 6 years.
    Tennessee

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