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Battery problems/questions?

Discussion in 'Catalina 310' started by marchem, Sep 5, 2016. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. JK_Boston_Catalina310

    JK_Boston_Catalina310

    Joined Nov 18, 2010
    1,931 posts, 70 likes
    Catalina 310
    US Hingham, MA
    Mike,

    Go to the featured contributors section of the forum for Mainesail's section. Read everything there. You will find a link to Mainesail's Compass Marine How To page. Read everything there. It will answer all your questions.
     


    Lisa likes this.
  2. marchem

    marchem

    Joined Nov 16, 2012
    605 posts, 54 likes
    Catalina 310, 2000, #31
    US Santa Cruz
    What Jessie said. Tons of good information there, and excellent explanations that make sense.
     


    Lisa likes this.
  3. Lisa

    Lisa

    Joined Oct 12, 2017
    71 posts, 19 likes
    Catalina 310
    323 US Middle River, Md
    Lots of info there, but its still kinda gibberish. I make my living climbing trees, so if anyone needs a mast climbed i'm in, but batteries, amps, watts, volts, SOG... well you get the idea. I may try and become a little more educated this winter once the tree work slows down, but still would prefer to find someone more qualified to set up my boat.

    But I did get the basic jist, charge the batteries and disconnect everything, and that was my main focus right now :)

    Mike
     


  4. marchem

    marchem

    Joined Nov 16, 2012
    605 posts, 54 likes
    Catalina 310, 2000, #31
    US Santa Cruz
    Mike, you’re right, there is an almost overwhelming amount of info. Luckily we don’t have to learn it all at once, and all of these folks are great at listening and then explaining patiently.

    Plus it’s a great boat!!
     


  5. Mark Maulden

    Mark Maulden

    Joined Jan 25, 2011
    1,532 posts, 108 likes
    S2 11.0A
    US Anacortes, WA
    Something not discussed is the type of wire termination lugs. They should be ones with closed ends commonly called solder cups. But you can still crimp them. Looking at Marchem's photo, there are several that expose the wire ends to the elements and corrosion starts migrating up the wire strands. Use the solder cups and then adhesive lined heat shrink and the wire will last "forever". Also, I don't heat the heat shrink until after installation. That way its shrunk on in the position used and you wont break the adhesive bending it around. And as Maine states, use a battery terminal spray.
    As for battery positions, I just installed four 6V that I bought from Dyno in Seattle. I did ask about positioning relative to plate corners going dry from healing. They state their battery is good to 40 deg of heal in both planes.
     


  6. marchem

    marchem

    Joined Nov 16, 2012
    605 posts, 54 likes
    Catalina 310, 2000, #31
    US Santa Cruz
    Thanks. All of those connections came with the boat and will be replaced, along with most of the wire. Interesting idea about shrinking after installation. Any issues with getting the shrink hot enough, but not cooking other parts close by? I usually use a heat gun with a curved end fitting.
     


  7. Lisa

    Lisa

    Joined Oct 12, 2017
    71 posts, 19 likes
    Catalina 310
    323 US Middle River, Md
    Took another peak at the batteries this weekend. Two large batteries side by side, running bow to stern, they look heavy. They were installed in 7/17 as I was told. Cant see brand or size, the label sits under a 2x4 that holds everything in place. Looks like I have to take the top of the locker off to gain full access.

    I had put the charger on when I left the weekend before and was concerned about what I read about cooking the batteries. I shut off the charger when I got down on Friday. I open the access panel and the batteries were not warm, but there was some moisture at the vent caps. I checked water level, a little low but not bad. I checked the volts at the gauge on the panel, both were reading over 14volts.

    I was hoping to find someone local to install a better charger and some sort of monitor, but I'm not having much luck. Not feeling real excited about jumping into this myself, but I may have to.

    Mike
     


  8. JK_Boston_Catalina310

    JK_Boston_Catalina310

    Joined Nov 18, 2010
    1,931 posts, 70 likes
    Catalina 310
    US Hingham, MA
    Mike,

    You have 2 4D batteries. They are heavy and not true deep cycle batteries. But they will work for now. One for each position on the battery selector switch. When we had this setup we started running them separately (#1 on odd days and #2 on even) in the end we ended up just running on Both before we installed better batteries. One major flaw with the factory setup is the alternator only charges the selected battery.

    For now to make your life easier, just install the Sterling ProCharge Ultra in 60-100 amp. Here is a step by step on how to do it. http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/installing_a_marine_battery_charger

    You can buy it from Mainesail who wrote the above article. http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/purchase_a_procharge_ultra

    Just install it as a two bank charger for now and later we can give some advice on changes and adding solar. It should take an afternoon to install the new charger. It is not very complicated.

    Let me know if you need some help walking through the install.

    Good luck,

    Jesse
     


  9. Lisa

    Lisa

    Joined Oct 12, 2017
    71 posts, 19 likes
    Catalina 310
    323 US Middle River, Md
    The two batteries were new in July 2017, so I'm not planning to swap them until they are shot. If they are not deep cycle, how do they work?

    I've read through all that on Mainssails page. I was looking at the Cabelas Pro series marine charger in the 20amp version. It meets Mainesails UL rating ;-). But it falls short in a few other areas per his article. We had the 8amp on our 27 and it was a nice upgrade considering there was no charger at all. PO was only charging via the engine. I don't need to go top shelf, as we aren't crossing the Atlantic anytime soon. I would like something I can plug in and forget about, and it will let me know when there is a problem.

    60-100amp, holy shit, I was thinking 20amp. We are just weekend sailors, and do 1 week long cruise per year (hopefully 2 this year). We mainly anchor out on weekend outings and will get a slip for two or three nights depending on timing and location during our week long trips. The boat is plugged in all week in its slip so it is ready to go on weekends. I already swapped all interior bulbs out for LED will do the anchor light in the spring to lesson consumption. Our biggest, newest draw is the fridge. We don't do TV and have a cordless radio in lew of the installed unit for anchoring. Also don't use auto pilot a lot, which I was told is a good draw. And we almost always have to motor in and out of anchorages. When we anchor for the night we dedicate battery 1 or 2 for the nights draw. In the morning we switch batteries for start up. Once started we switch to both and leave on both until we anchor or dock. This seemed to work well for our Cat 27 with two group 24 batteries. We also have Boat US as backup ;-)

    I have thought about adding a dedicated starting battery, not sure if its needed for our weekend sailing, and kinda think if that becomes an issue we can add that down the road. For now I would mainly like to upgrade the charger so I don't have to worry about it cooking the batteries.

    Wondering if I remove the factory charger and mount the new charger in the same location, can I use the old wires to hook up the new charger or do I have to run all new wires? That doesn't look real fun.

    The boat is also equipped with a big inverter, the PO said you can run the microwave from it. Was actually thinking of removing it, not sure we have any use for that.

    Next time at the boat, she will be on the hard and I will finish winterization. Then I will pull the top off the battery compartment and get a better look at what is going on and better assess the project. Initial inspection seemed like everything thing was done in a neat and organized manner.

    Thanks, Mike
     


  10. JK_Boston_Catalina310

    JK_Boston_Catalina310

    Joined Nov 18, 2010
    1,931 posts, 70 likes
    Catalina 310
    US Hingham, MA
    They are really starting batteries for trucks and heavy equipment. The plates are thinner than true deep cycle batteries like like 6 volt golf carts. They have a capacity of about 185 amp hours each. But you can only use 50%.

    These last two lines aren't compatible. You can't buy cheap and expect to forget about it. That's the problem with what is on board. Cheap, egg timer not a true smart charger.

    You size the chargers based on the bank. You have two 185 Ah batteries for a total of 370 Ah. You want 20% of the bank for your charger size or at a minimum 10%. So at least 37 Amps but a 74 amp would be better. Plus if you keep the boat for any length of time you will end up upgrading to four 6 volt golf carts as one bank and possibly a reserve bank (I'll get to this to answer your statement below). That will be a 450-550 Ah bank. So the charger you would want then is 45-110 amp. Hence my 60-100 amp recommendation. The 20 amp charger probably won't actually get you back to 100% soc or be able to equalize the batteries. It's doesn't appear to actually be a smart charger. Just a better egg timer charger.

    Nope, you don't need a dedicated starter battery on most sailboats. Just start from the primary bank. Several of us have moved to 4 x 6v golf cart batteries arranged in series and parallel and a small, group 24, reserve bank. You do everything off of the primary bank and then have the reserve there as a backup. You can read more about that on Mainesail's forum section or on my blog.

    Short answer yes. That's why I said just to install it as a two bank charger for now. There are two 4 AWG red wires and one black that run from the factory charger to the batteries. Disconnect them from the batteries along with all of the other cables.

    The charger also has 3 10 AWG wires going to it, white, black and green. These are the shore power wires that powers the charger. Obviously turn off and disconnect the shore power before starting. These 6 wires is essentially all it takes.

    Now to truly install the charger correctly you need to do the case ground and battery temperature sensor. Running those isn't really that hard. Clear out the rear berth and remove the batteries from the box and and you will see a PVC pipe that runs under the head into the battery compartment. You can run a wire snake down that and pull the temp sensor. The case ground goes to the grounding bolt on the port side of the engine (upgrade here by adding a grounding buss but we can leave that for later).

    Those two additional wires gives you a filling installed battery charger in 8 wires.

    My advise is to not do anything for the next season other than the battery charger and maintenance. Stay away from upgrades for now. Just because you cruised a 27 footer one way doesn't mean you will do the same on the 310. You really made a bigger upgrade than the length suggests. The capabilities of your new boat are far beyond that of a stock 27. It's a big boat in a small package. For instance the autopilot. Never had one on our previous boat and didn't use it much the first two years. Now like most cruisers it steers 90% of the time. Also makes single handing a breeze.

    Check for fuses. The factory setup wasn't fused well. Please make sure both batteries are fused.

    Good luck.

    Jesse
     


  11. KZW

    KZW

    Joined May 17, 2014
    545 posts, 31 likes
    Catalina 310 #307
    US Bluewater Bay, FL
    Clear out the rear berth and remove the batteries from the box and and you will see a PVC pipe that runs under the head into the battery compartment. You can run a wire snake down that and pull the temp sensor.[/QUOTE]

    Maybe not. The PVC conduit in my boat was cut under the rear bunk, shifted over six inches and started again. Pull up the board on the port side of the rear bunk. You will see the conduit. If it goes straight through, great. If not, push the wires through from the charger side, re-route them to the conduit under the head and push on through. I'm not going to tell you how long I tried to push a fish-tape through and it wouldn't come out the other end. Only when I eventually removed the mattress and pulled up the board did I find the trouble. I replaced the two 4D batteries with four 6VDC golf cart batteries. The old OEM charger boiled off the electrolyte in two days (I checked). I was fortunate I stopped by on the way to work to check the boat. The batteries were smoking and empty. Get a good computer charger with a temperature sensor. I won't dispute JK's recommendation. I think his analysis is correct. That being said, I installed a ProMariner 63120 ProNautic P-Series 20 Amp charger and am satisfied. Of course, my boat is at the dock plugged into shore power most of the time.
     


    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
  12. Lisa

    Lisa

    Joined Oct 12, 2017
    71 posts, 19 likes
    Catalina 310
    323 US Middle River, Md
    Jesse, thanks for all the info, that was super helpful. I feel much more confident about installing the charger being able to use the existing wiring. I did notice the pvc conduits for hoses and wires while exploring the boat, so yeah maybe it wont be that hard.

    Our 27 had autopilot, pretty much just used it to set sails and lower them, but you are probably correct that as our trips get longer we will probably be using it more. Its hard to predict the future of the 310 for us. After sailing a phantom and a zuma on inland waters for many, many years we bought an Oday 17' two years ago. In that first year of sailing on the Chesapeake, after a few trips with the Oday we stepped up to a Tanzer 22 and by fall we owned our Cat 27. Had that for a little over a year and we felt we had a good idea what we were looking for in our next boat. So the search ensued. The 310 was the first boat we looked at. We looked at many others, up to 36', including an almost new Benateau 33. We kept going back to the 310. We looked at it three times in a 6 week period before we made on offer on the 4th visit. I think we were driving the broker nuts. It had everything we were looking for (except AC). But like you say, our goals have changed. We used to go down to the bay to go sailing, now we go down to go places. And the places we want to go seem to get farther and farther from our home slip.

    Thanks again, Mike
     


    JK_Boston_Catalina310 likes this.
  13. marchem

    marchem

    Joined Nov 16, 2012
    605 posts, 54 likes
    Catalina 310, 2000, #31
    US Santa Cruz
    I would actually recommend a dedicated starting battery. The wiring does get a little more complex, but, at least for me, not having the electronics drop out when starting the engine makes it worth doing (of course the dropout may be due to the poor state of my current batteries!). But doing it as a plain 1/2/Both is also perfectly fine. Probably the more important thing is to wire things so that the battery switch is only selecting the power source for the house load, and all of the charging (alternator, AC battery charger, solar, etc.) is automatically shared with both banks via an ACR or equivalent. Maine Sail's write up and descriptions are very helpful, and he's always been willing to answer my questions about these things.
     


  14. marchem

    marchem

    Joined Nov 16, 2012
    605 posts, 54 likes
    Catalina 310, 2000, #31
    US Santa Cruz
    Jesse, do you think the voltage drop will be too much with a 60-100 A charger and 40+ feet of #4 wire? Of course it's only going to draw 50-60 A for a short while, so maybe that's not an issue. However, I do remember someone here who had #10 wire on his C310; that would be a problem.

    Another advantage of rewiring with an ACR is that you only need two bigger wires from the charger, instead of 3. That makes it easier to fit #2 or larger wire in those PVC conduits!
     


  15. JK_Boston_Catalina310

    JK_Boston_Catalina310

    Joined Nov 18, 2010
    1,931 posts, 70 likes
    Catalina 310
    US Hingham, MA
    For the setup as a two bank charger with each leg going to a 4D battery not that much. Like you said it's almost never going to push the full amperage down one leg. But for a future upgrade that includes a larger primary bank, a reserve bank and an ACR where you but all the power to the primary bank then yes. When I did this second phase of power upgrades I ran a 2/0 gauge wires from the charger to the batteries. Probably overkill going that big but I got a deal at a marine consignment store that had the cost at the same as 2 gauge.

    I am also still running a 40 amp crappy Xantrex charger. Eventually I may upgrade but we don't use the charger that much anymore. Only for the charging from the generator on occasion when it's been cloudy for a few days in a row. Otherwise solar is the primary source of our charging.
     


  16. Ron20324

    Ron20324

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    6,059 posts, 521 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Annapolis MD
    I doubt that many chargers have the ability to terminate any wire over maybe a 6?
     


  17. marchem

    marchem

    Joined Nov 16, 2012
    605 posts, 54 likes
    Catalina 310, 2000, #31
    US Santa Cruz
    ProMariner recommends up to a #2 depending on amps and distance. Their DC connection easily handles large wire, with a 1/4” stud.
     


  18. marchem

    marchem

    Joined Nov 16, 2012
    605 posts, 54 likes
    Catalina 310, 2000, #31
    US Santa Cruz
    2/0? That's big! Any problem getting that through the conduit? At least it's only two wires, and not three; plus you don;t need to worry about voltage drop.
     


  19. JK_Boston_Catalina310

    JK_Boston_Catalina310

    Joined Nov 18, 2010
    1,931 posts, 70 likes
    Catalina 310
    US Hingham, MA
    Not sure what charger you are using but even the crappy Xantrex Truecharge 2 I have is setup with threaded rod for typical lugs.
     

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  20. JK_Boston_Catalina310

    JK_Boston_Catalina310

    Joined Nov 18, 2010
    1,931 posts, 70 likes
    Catalina 310
    US Hingham, MA
    I ran another conduit next to the two factory conduits. At the time I was considering putting an inverter charger on but ended up going with separate units based on Mainesail's advice based on the redundancy of having two separate units. In hindsight I would do a combined unit. I gave up 1/3 of the settee locker next to the batteries for the inverter to get it to not have too much voltage loss. The inverter charger unit would have mounted in the back and would have saved space. Cruise small requires some sacrifices and that is one I wish I did different.
     



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