• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Battery and Charger Installation

Dec 28, 2010
462
Catalina 380 san pedro
Several weeks ago my charger quit. It was installed in the aft lazzerette and my feeling is that it got wet when I had a problem with the water inlet. Water and Electricity don't play well together. The other item of interest was that someone had moved one of the batteries from under the galley floor to the aft lazzerette. I used my outboard hoist to remove the battery and then used the main halyard to lower the battery back into the galley. I could not have done it with out the Admirals help. I also installed the charger in the cabin below the Nav table. I removed approximately 35 feet of 2/0 and 1/0 cable plus another 15 feet of 4 ga wire. With a new corrosion free ground cable on the engine things seem much better now. I wired it exactly as Catalina did originally with the exception of a separate engine battery switch. At least this gives me time to design and install a newer system with the help of information from Maine Sail. Here are a couple of photos.
 

Attachments

  • Like
Likes: Karcher
Feb 26, 2004
21,371
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Nice job and superb improvement.

At least this gives me time to design and install a newer system with the help of information from Maine Sail.
Here are his highlights:

Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams This is a very good basic primer for boat system wiring: http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,6604.0.html

This is another very good basic primer for boat system wiring: The 1-2-B Switch by Maine Sail (brings together a lot of what this subject is all about)
http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=137615

This is a newer primer for boat system wiring design with a thorough digram: Building a Good Foundation (October 2016)
http://forums.sailboatowners.com/index.php?threads/building-the-dc-electrical-foundation.181929/#post-1332240

They come from this: Electrical Systems 101 http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5977.0.html

You are aware of his Musings section here, right?
 
Dec 28, 2010
462
Catalina 380 san pedro
I'm familiar with his work. I'm a veteran aircraft mechanic (42yrs). I really enjoy his explainations. Here is a photo of the charger install.
 

Attachments

Dec 28, 2010
462
Catalina 380 san pedro
it's not possible to put the fuses anywhere near the batteries. but they are less than 36" of cable length away.
 
Jan 30, 2012
1,054
Nor'Sea 27 - "Kiwanda" Portland/Anacortes
9368895.jpg

Yes you can provide fusing right at the battery. One pole or two. Fuse blocks from 30 to 300. Blue Seas MRBF

Charles
 
Last edited:
May 20, 2016
2,963
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
Kimelmore = looks clean - but you should change out the wing nuts for regular nuts. ABYC frowns on wing nuts in this application.

Les
 
Oct 30, 2011
542
klidescope 30t norfolk
I will not give up on wing nuts I do realize not right but in an emergency situation I had in a power boat. Smoked starter soloind I was able to disconnect battery quickly without special tools before fire
 
May 20, 2016
2,963
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
shouldn't you be able to do that with your battery disconnect switch (1-2-B) ?? I wouldn't want my hands that close to arc - flash as you disconnect a dead short. Absolute worst case I would use a set of rigging cutters before I got undid wing nuts with high current flowing.

Les
 
  • Like
Likes: jssailem
Dec 28, 2010
462
Catalina 380 san pedro
What no one notices is the lock washers beneath the wing nuts....which we use very often on aircraft in these situations. The battery compartments don't allow for the addition of any fuse blocks on top of the batteries unfortunately. It's a TIGHT Squeeze just to get the batteries and cables in there. Thank you all for the input however. My battery disconnect switch would serve to stop any shorts from getting too bad. I do have a separate engine switch which will remove any power from the alternator and or engine compartment. Thank you Charles. I'll take a look at those fuse blocks and do some measuring to see if they will fit...although they look expensive.:yikes:
 
Jan 30, 2012
1,054
Nor'Sea 27 - "Kiwanda" Portland/Anacortes
A useful solution - maybe not for everyone - but effective in close quarters. Such safety is kinda cheap.
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,371
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
I will not give up on wing nuts I do realize not right
WARNING Heretical Comments Follow

I agree. Right after the "No wing nuts" BS came up, I hesitantly followed the bloody lemmings and switched to nuts.

NUTS!!!:yikes::yikes::yikes::yikes:

First time I had to remove a lug on the bank, I need WHAT a bloody TOOL instead of just my fingers, which I'd been using for decades.

You guessed it, tool fell out of my hand, and across both the + and - poles.

F*CKing stupid Idea if you ask me.

I'm back to wing nuts with lock washers.

F to bloomin' "rules." 'Specially when they make no sense.

Rant over. :deadhorse::deadhorse::deadhorse:
 
Dec 28, 2010
462
Catalina 380 san pedro
Stu...I feel your pain. It's one of the big reasons I think they are used on aircraft ( think batteries surrounded by metal enclosures):clap:
 
Feb 6, 1998
11,321
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
WARNING Heretical Comments Follow

I agree. Right after the "No wing nuts" BS came up, I hesitantly followed the bloody lemmings and switched to nuts.

NUTS!!!:yikes::yikes::yikes::yikes:

First time I had to remove a lug on the bank, I need WHAT a bloody TOOL instead of just my fingers, which I'd been using for decades.

You guessed it, tool fell out of my hand, and across both the + and - poles.

F*CKing stupid Idea if you ask me.

I'm back to wing nuts with lock washers.

F to bloomin' "rules." 'Specially when they make no sense.

Rant over. :deadhorse::deadhorse::deadhorse:

What is a, and I quote Stu, "F*CKing stupid Idea" is thinking you can meet battery manufacturers torque ratings with your bare fingers... Regardless of how strong you think you are you're not strong enough to properly torque a wing nut to a battery manufacturers specifications. Adding a lock washer does not absolve you of a duty to use the correct torque.

So let me try to attempt and understand this "Heretical" rant.??

Because you were a klutz, and/or used an incorrect length wrench for working on batteries (buy some stubbies), or one that is not insulated if long enough to short the battery terminals (electrical tape works wonders as do proper terminal boots), the "BS" battery manufacturers, SAE, ABYC, ISO/RCD, USCG, Calder, Wing, Casey, SAMS, NAMS, NMMA et al. are giving bad advice and anyone who follows this realistic & considerably safer guidance, which is based on actual DATA, are all lemmings... Wow...

Wing-nuts also require tools to be properly installed and attain the correct torque the battery manufacturer requires. Using your fingers is simply an unsafe hack job just waiting for a high resistance melt down.

The problem with wing nuts is they lend themselves, by design, to ineptitude and laziness (Stu's post above referencing no tools). Thumb & finger tight for battery cables is NOT okay. This sort of laziness & ridiculously inept behavior is what has driven the marine industry to pretty much ban them. They are not banned because they can't work they are banned because far too many folks do just as Stu does and that is to improperly and incorrectly install & torque them.

The proper method for installing a wing nut is at the same torque required by the battery manufacturer. This CAN NOT be done with your thumb and forefinger. It requires a wing nut wrench (they actually do exist) or other means to apply the correct torque.. As I have said multiple times, here and elsewhere, a wing nut PROPERLY TORQUED & locked with a locking washer is no different than any other nut. The key words are PROPERLY TORQUED..

The sad reality is boat owners (eg: Stu) don't properly install wing-nuts so the ABYC, your insurer, the USCG and every other organization steps in to try and stop folks from being a danger to themselves or others...

Just once I wish some of the folks out there would climb out of their n=1 data set ("Well, on my boat..." n=1) and see these things from the professional level across many hundreds to thousands of boats. If this were the case I strongly suspect someone like Stu, would never in a million years, post what he just posted, if he walked a mile in a marine electricians shoes.
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,371
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
I strongly suspect someone like Stu, would never in a million years, post what he just posted, if he walked a mile in a marine electricians shoes.
MS, you're right, and I'm very glad you re-posted just WHY these rules have been developed. Thanks.
 
Feb 6, 1998
11,321
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
MS, you're right, and I'm very glad you re-posted just WHY these rules have been developed. Thanks.

Ah, so you posted it to elicit that response on purpose... I knew it was too odd to be true...:wink::biggrin:
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,227
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Do I now need to buy an insulated torque wrench to attach battery cables correctly? I would not use wing nuts myself, but trying to torque to manufacturer's specs? I generally tighten until squeezed down good, and then...:pray:.
 
Feb 6, 1998
11,321
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
Do I now need to buy an insulated torque wrench to attach battery cables correctly? I would not use wing nuts myself, but trying to torque to manufacturer's specs? I generally tighten until squeezed down good, and then...:pray:.
For the number of batteries I work on I always use stubby wrenches and I also have some insulated 1/2", 9/16" and 13mm, 14mm & 16mm shorty wrenches in my tool bag as well. The insulated wrenches are nothing more than Harbor Freight wrenches with the open end cut off, then shaped/smoothed and dipped in Plasti-Dip.

The easiest solution is to simply pay attention and remember that you are working on a battery that can deliver thousands of amps of WELDING LEVEL current into a dead short...

Once you have a feel for the correct torque you don't really need a torque wrench, but the nuts must be tight enough and this simply can't be done with your thumb and fore finger... Heck if you are good with tools you can usually nail it pretty darn closely to the proper torque....
 
Dec 28, 2010
462
Catalina 380 san pedro
I in fact do have and do use a "wing nut" socket to tighten said wing nuts. I also have been known to use a pair of pliers when said tool is still in the tool box back in the garage. As someone who has seen the effects of a dead short across a battery personally, I take extreme care to be safe and careful. That is the key. As the saying goes...I can't fix stupid but I can fix what stupid does. It just costs more that's all.:hijack:
 

Gunni

.
Mar 16, 2010
5,937
Beneteau 411 Oceanis Annapolis
What in the name of Zeus are you guys doing with quick disconnect battery cables? I haven't even looked at mine in 2 years!
And the last thing I would do in a Peking fire-drill would be open up the box and start monkeying around with 500 Amps of electro-chemical energy.
 
  • Like
Likes: Karcher