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Old 07-11-2012, 02:44 PM   #11
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Or take the questionable battery out and have it tested. Most places that sell batteries will test it for free (as they will want to sell you a replacement).

As an example, I was pretty sure I had a bad battery. So I shopped around for the replacement battery that I wanted to purchase. I brought in the old battery and asked them to test it for free, which they did and confirmed that it was bad and past its useful life. I purchased the new battery and didn't have to return to the store with the old battery again (some charge a core charge if you don't leave the old battery with them).
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Old 07-13-2012, 12:52 AM   #12
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Is this thing working? This is my third attempt to reply, but they don't go through.
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:01 AM   #13
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Ok, I figured out how to reply. I appreciate everybody's replies. I have gotten alot of good advice, but I am still confused! I have a Perko, as AlwaysSober, but I have one model below that model. It also says not to turn off while engine is running. The guy at West Marine told me it was ok to switch between #1, Both and #2 while the engine is running, just don't switch "off". This sounds logical, but who knows? I'm not sure if my alternator has 3 wires, but I also don't believe my boat has a battery charger. I assumed the alternator was charging the batteries as I was underway. I should be able to start in #1 position, turn to Both so both batteries charge while underway, then when I anchor for lunch, shut down the engine and switch to #2. But I think to be safe, I will start and run on "both".

My wife said, "Why can't a boat be like a car. Just get in, turn the key and go." Now that wouldn't be any fun, would it? Hello? Hello?.....anybody out there? Besides, we all know what B-O-A-T stands for; Break Out Another Thousand!!
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:06 PM   #14
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Harley,

If you have the model number of the Perko switch you can find it online and look up the specs. It's very likely though that the switch is a make before break design. If the WM guy says it's ok to switch between batteries while the engine is running I assume he knows which model the switch is. He is correct though - don't ever turn the switch to the off position while the engine is running.

The Alt will have only 1 charging output wire. IF the battery switch has been wired in the most normal and simple practice you are correct; with the engine running and the switch in the #1 position the alt will charge only battery #1. If running and in the #2 position only batt #2 gets charged. If running and in the Both position they both get charged. Period.

The most common practice, and this assumes both batteries are fully charged, is to use batt #1 for starting the engine and use #2 for when you are anchored or tied up for hours listing to the radio, using lights, etc. This way, if you drain #2 you can still re-start the engine on #1. Once running and under way you may be able to switch to Both but do re-read the bit I wrote earlier about what happens if you have one really dead batt and you try to run on both.

There are a lot of variables; on-board battery chargers, combiners, isolators, etc that may cloud the picture, and it's impossible to tell what you have without seeing how the switch is wired and what wires are going to the batteries, so all the above assumes you have the most basic set up - which is probably a safe bet in your case.

Assure your wife that there are a lot of boats out there that have just one battery and you can just get in, turn the key, and go - if the battery isn't dead of course.

Dan
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:10 PM   #15
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Remind your wife, that in a car, you don't tend to sit for long periods of time using the radio, lights, refigerator, etc. with the engine turned off and therefore, not charging the battery.

In a boat, you have a lot of loads on that battery that can drain it (especially the refrigerator, and possibly the radio). Then when you go to start the engine, you can't as you have drained your battery. In a boat, it's a bit more critical that you can start the engine when it is needed. You can't just get out and walk somewhere else if a storm is approaching and you can't get the engine started.

So boats have dual batteries, and various systems to manage them. You have to learn how to manage this, or pay for expensive systems to attempt to do it automatically for you. So it seems more complicated (because it is).

As an example, my boat has the older dual battery system with a "1, 2, 1+2 or OFF" switch. So I have to manually change the switch (as it sounds like you do too). As mentioned, remember never to switch to OFF if the engine is running.

My AC battery charger (and alternator) will charge whichever battery the battery selector switch is set to (1, 2 or both).

I'm considering changing (upgrading?) my battery system to a separate house and starting battery. This will mean some re-wireing. This way the engine will always be connnected to the starting battery (via the switch), and the rest of the boat will be connnected to the 'house' battery which at the moment is a dual purpose starting/deep cycle battery. This just takes some rewiring.

The alternate thing I'm considering is purchasing an automatic battery relay that will charge both batteries as needed. These are about $100.00. This is the device I'm considering:
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...roductId=17248

Alternatively, I could get a new dual battery charger, which won't keep both batteries charged when I'm underway, but will (at least) be sure both batteries are always charged when I leave the dock.

My dilema is that I can get a new dual charger for not much more than the cost of the ACR (automatic charging relay), and the new chargers are smarter and help to keep batteries in better shape (tri-charge profile, etc.).

Right now I'm leaning towards the ACR, but I could just manage this manually with the battery switch as has been good enough on this boat so far in it's 22 year life.
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:46 PM   #16
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This is a terrific discussion. However, I've owned my 3200 for nearly 10 yrs. and still haven't got a clue. Does anyone know the process in which to use the battery switches. There are two batteries, two switches marked port and starboard as well as each switch having the options to select "A" or "B", "BOTH" and of course "OFF". I assume one is the house battery and the other is for engine cranking. What is the logic behind this??

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Old 07-16-2012, 07:15 PM   #17
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digindeep,

Without knowing for sure, it sounds like someone wired two separate battery switches, one to each battery. And each being a "A,B, BOTH,OFF" type of switch, instead of a simple 'ON/OFFf' switch on each battery.

I would suggest that you have someone that knows how these should be wired open the 'covers' and see how the switches are actually wired on your boat.

You may be able to figure it out yourself, by disconnecting each battery, one at a time, then check all the leads with a volt meter to understand how your two switches are wired. You may find that they are not wired in a way that makes much sense (or I don't know what I'm talking about).
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:42 PM   #18
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sorry guys
i always have the selector on "both" and never have problems
but
i only use the boat to go from A -> B and back
never use it overnight or in the harbour
never had problems what so ever
it makes sence to select 1 or 2 when you are stationairy to avoid an empty battery when you whant to start the engine
but i dont use it that way
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:12 PM   #19
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When one of your batteries goes bad and draws the other one down with it, you will not have one in reserve. Why even bother with the expense of 2 batteries if your not allowing for the benefit of the 2nd one?
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:45 PM   #20
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I figured out one of my questions. I used my multi-meter to check my batteries in different configurations. Without the engine on, they both read in the 12+ volt range. When then engine was running, the battery in which I had switched on was charging and was reading 14+ volts. When the switch was on the 1 position, the battery in the number 2 position was not charging, and vice-versa.
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