The trouble with dry docking no electricity

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Photoman369
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The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by Photoman369 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:32 pm

I now have a dry storage spot at the local Marina. I workout great I'm in the water within 15 minutes of first arriving at the marina. Now the problem this morning was the start to a perfect forcast for sailing easy in am 6-8 knots tempo in 70s then 9-12 knots in the afternoon still nice temps. I pull in hook up store the food and toys and off to the ramp right across the street. Very easy launch (with the new goal posts working week on both retrieval and launch) hop in the boat lower the motor and the rudders (plenty of depth) and away we nooooo. Dead battery.
I have been out on it twice since I put it at the marina. Both times I ran the motor for about 45-60 minutes I would think that should recharge what I used to start it. I am not using any juice while sailing, no radio a portable GPS with batteries. Nothing coming off the batteries.

Does the the electrical switch have to have the main cabin and charger switch on for the motor to recharge the battery? There are two batteries. One has many small wires hooked to it and is labeled battery 2 the other is labeled battery 1 and has two sets of wires a smaller wire and a larger wire. I assume the larger is the cables for the motor to start with and the smaller for the battery charger. The batteries are separate from each other. The charger shows the number 2 battery to be bad and I will replace it. I have tried charging several times and adding new distilled water to it. Still shows bad. The number 1 battery shows good on the charger and was full when I took it over to the marina. The boat did sit for about one week before first use and then 2 weeks before second use. Is this normal drainage while sitting. Obviously I need a solar panel to keep it topped off between sails. I want the easiest but reliable system. What size solar panel and do I need a controller if the panel has one in it. Can I just hook directly to the battery or do I need to go through the charger mounted on board.

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Sumner
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Re: The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by Sumner » Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:56 pm

Not trying to be a smart a** but I think you would do well to find a friend or someone to look at what you have. It sounds like over the years things have been added and no way to really give you good advice without looking at things and tracing wires and such and seeing how the main switch/switches are wired.

If you know one battery is bad for sure I'd disconnect it and maybe next time after charging and using the other disconnect it at the end of the day and reconnect when you go back until you get a panel/charger. The bad battery might be pulling the charge out of the good one while you are gone.

On the solar deal you don't need it by I'd get a 40 to 60 watt panel as they aren't that much more than a smaller one and you could just leave the panel in the boat while it is in the yard and remove it when sailing. Later if you wanted to permanently mount the panel you would have one that could help if you stayed out for more than a day.

Here are two links to a panel and simple charger that would work for you..

40 watt $35....

https://www.solarblvd.com/product_info. ... ts_id=2664

60 watt $50 ....

https://www.solarblvd.com/product_info. ... ts_id=2672

controller $35 ....

https://www.solarblvd.com/product_info. ... ts_id=2911

Wire from the panel to the controller and mount it under the panel. Get an outdoor extension cord and cut i near the male plug and wire that end to the controller. Wire the female plug to the batteries. When you leave the boat leave the panel/controller laying in the boat where they will get 'some' sun. Plug the male plug into the female plug that is wired to the batteries and this will charge the batteries. When you get to the boat unplug things and put a lone female plug on the male plug connected to the controller so it can't short and store the panel/charge controller on shore or take it with you.

For under $100 you will have the batteries charged and have some charging power if you overnight on the boat at times,

Sumner

============================
1300 miles to the Bahamas and back -- 2015

The MacGregor 26-S

The Endeavour 37

Trips to Utah, Idaho, Canada, Florida

Mac-Venture Links

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tlgibson97
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Re: The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by tlgibson97 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:41 am

With no power draw, your battery should hold a charge easily for a couple weeks. It takes months for a good battery to discharge with no load. Can't really say what because everyone here has different equipment and different setups. Also check to be sure the connections are tight on the battery. I once spent the day pull starting my engine on another boat only to get home and find out I didn't tighten the battery connections.

budgates
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Re: The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by budgates » Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:03 pm

A small $15 solar charger can do wonders for boat batteries.

PAWSEIDON
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Re: The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by PAWSEIDON » Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:01 pm

budgates wrote:A small $15 solar charger can do wonders for boat batteries.
Hi Budgates, Can you offer any sugestions on which solar charger you have used for this application? We are in a similar situation where we are dry docked at the marina without power or water near by. This marina has a wash station on the other side nearer the boat dock, but no power or water at the storage lot. This might be a good investment.

Thanks,
:macx:

budgates
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Re: The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by budgates » Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:01 pm

PAWSEIDON wrote:
budgates wrote:A small $15 solar charger can do wonders for boat batteries.
Hi Budgates, Can you offer any sugestions on which solar charger you have used for this application? We are in a similar situation where we are dry docked at the marina without power or water near by. This marina has a wash station on the other side nearer the boat dock, but no power or water at the storage lot. This might be a good investment.

Thanks,
:macx:
Okay, my price recollection may be a little off but it's still pretty cheap. I had very good luck with this model.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Solar-Powered-C ... SwmmxW3qnA

Being a trickle charge it can be left plugged in without a regulator.

PAWSEIDON
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Re: The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by PAWSEIDON » Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:31 pm

budgates wrote:
PAWSEIDON wrote:
budgates wrote:A small $15 solar charger can do wonders for boat batteries.
Hi Budgates, Can you offer any sugestions on which solar charger you have used for this application? We are in a similar situation where we are dry docked at the marina without power or water near by. This marina has a wash station on the other side nearer the boat dock, but no power or water at the storage lot. This might be a good investment.

Thanks,
:macx:
Okay, my price recollection may be a little off but it's still pretty cheap. I had very good luck with this model.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Solar-Powered-C ... SwmmxW3qnA

Being a trickle charge it can be left plugged in without a regulator.
Thankls 8)

budgates
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Re: The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by budgates » Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:15 am

PAWSEIDON wrote:
budgates wrote:
Okay, my price recollection may be a little off but it's still pretty cheap. I had very good luck with this model.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Solar-Powered-C ... SwmmxW3qnA

Being a trickle charge it can be left plugged in without a regulator.
Thankls 8)
No problem. Hope it helps. Don't expect it to restore a dead battery but it will help keep a good battery from running down.

Geraghtyr
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Re: The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by Geraghtyr » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:12 pm

I use a coleman solar charger as well, has a long cord! Northerntool.com has a sale right now, 2 for $25ish. I also use a quick disconnect on the battery so there is zero draw while I'm away. I keep a spare battery on board. I swap them out from time to time. Lastly, I can always run my battery tender/charger from my little powerhorse gas generator.
Had the ol' dead battery" launch happen to me before too. The spare saved me that day!

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Photoman369
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Re: The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by Photoman369 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:13 pm

Sumner wrote:Not trying to be a smart a** but I think you would do well to find a friend or someone to look at what you have. It sounds like over the years things have been added and no way to really give you good advice without looking at things and tracing wires and such and seeing how the main switch/switches are wired.

If you know one battery is bad for sure I'd disconnect it and maybe next time after charging and using the other disconnect it at the end of the day and reconnect when you go back until you get a panel/charger. The bad battery might be pulling the charge out of the good one while you are gone.

On the solar deal you don't need it by I'd get a 40 to 60 watt panel as they aren't that much more than a smaller one and you could just leave the panel in the boat while it is in the yard and remove it when sailing. Later if you wanted to permanently mount the panel you would have one that could help if you stayed out for more than a day.

Here are two links to a panel and simple charger that would work for you..

40 watt $35....

https://www.solarblvd.com/product_info. ... ts_id=2664

60 watt $50 ....

https://www.solarblvd.com/product_info. ... ts_id=2672

controller $35 ....

https://www.solarblvd.com/product_info. ... ts_id=2911

Wire from the panel to the controller and mount it under the panel. Get an outdoor extension cord and cut i near the male plug and wire that end to the controller. Wire the female plug to the batteries. When you leave the boat leave the panel/controller laying in the boat where they will get 'some' sun. Plug the male plug into the female plug that is wired to the batteries and this will charge the batteries. When you get to the boat unplug things and put a lone female plug on the male plug connected to the controller so it can't short and store the panel/charge controller on shore or take it with you.

For under $100 you will have the batteries charged and have some charging power if you overnight on the boat at times,

Sumner

============================
1300 miles to the Bahamas and back -- 2015

The MacGregor 26-S

The Endeavour 37

Trips to Utah, Idaho, Canada, Florida

Mac-Venture Links
In that configuration can I charge both batteries at the same time? Im thinking if I use an extension cord coming off the solar panel that has dual outlets I could plug in both batteries if I install a plug on each of them. As it is now the two batteries are not jumped together. They both just run to the charger panel on their own separate wires.

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Photoman369
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Re: The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by Photoman369 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:14 pm

Geraghtyr wrote:I use a coleman solar charger as well, has a long cord! Northerntool.com has a sale right now, 2 for $25ish. I also use a quick disconnect on the battery so there is zero draw while I'm away. I keep a spare battery on board. I swap them out from time to time. Lastly, I can always run my battery tender/charger from my little powerhorse gas generator.
Had the ol' dead battery" launch happen to me before too. The spare saved me that day!
A Spare battery is in my future. I can see the value in that. For several reasons

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Photoman369
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Re: The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by Photoman369 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:25 pm

Also the second part of my questions is why didn't the motor charge the battery while I was motoring around?

Is 20 minutes of motoring enough to replace the starting drain?

I launched and had to crank a few times as it was first time out this season. Then motored for about 15 minutes then sailed then anchored, then started easily then motored 15 minutes again. Then second trip started easily motored for only 10 minutes then sailed then motored 20 minutes. Then next time it was dead.

Now I know the battery may be old and not hold well. But on an average battery, not new but not old, are those run times enough to have charged it?

If my motors alternator is bad I've been told if I get it running then disconnect the battery the motor will stop. If it keeps running the alternator is ok. Does that sound right

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sailboatmike
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Re: The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by sailboatmike » Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:13 pm

No way 20 minutes is long enough to put back the startup if you had to crank a bit.

Nominal charge out of most outboard motors is around 8 amps at WOT, so if the batteries were ordinary and the connections were good you maybe put in 2 amps at WOT a lot less at lower RPM range. These are not car alternators that are capable for 50 plus Amps

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Photoman369
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Re: The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by Photoman369 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:39 pm

sailboatmike wrote:No way 20 minutes is long enough to put back the startup if you had to crank a bit.

Nominal charge out of most outboard motors is around 8 amps at WOT, so if the batteries were ordinary and the connections were good you maybe put in 2 amps at WOT a lot less at lower RPM range. These are not car alternators that are capable for 50 plus Amps
Thank you for the info good to know, solar panel here i come

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Re: The trouble with dry docking no electricity

Post by Bilgemaster » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:16 am

I'd have to concur with Sumner (and why wouldn't I? I mean, just consider the unimpeachable experience and expertise of the source!): You might do well to have a knowledgeable buddy who really knows his or her way around a multimeter, or even an actual hired certified marine electrician, really look over that system of yours. At very least, you might pick up a copy of Don Casey's great little book, Sailboat Electrics Simplified, and square at least some of the obvious issues away yourself. I bought a few marine electrical guides to help me deal with my own 26X, which had a massive rat's nest of "mysteries" left half-installed or still new-in-box by her previous owner, but it was Casey's book that I kept coming back to and was the most help. It's the one still on board. You can pick up used copies for about five bucks plus shipping all day long right here. I like to think it kept me from doing anything too idiotic or outright dangerous.

Even without looking at your boat, I can already guess that you need new batteries. The rotten one has probably already compromised the so-called "good" one. Just bite the bullet and get a pair of nice matching ones like these Group 24s at "Wallyword" with a couple of battery boxes to match if your boat lacks them or they're damaged. For just about $200 you'll be off to a proper start at sorting it all out. This is not the place to skimp: buy a matching pair, because if you just get one that older one'll only bork the new one, dragging it down to its own just-limping-along level in no time. You can always use "Ol' Limpy" the "still sort of OK" one as a spare, a winter loaner or a workbench powersource.

Which brings us to the whole solar thing. If everything's tip-top those little 1.5 Watt panels like this one are pretty good for keeping a light trickle current on your rig. For just $9.99 this week with a coupon, they're pretty hard to beat. They're also very very very weak...Strictly a maintenance charge. You won't be recharging any dead batteries with that little thing. The good news is that the current is so weak you don't really need to use a charge controller with them, as you would with bigger arrays, to keep them from over-charging and cooking the batteries. Just plug 'em into the cigarette lighter or clip 'em directly to the battery and let 'em do their thing. I've had one in my old RV's windshield for years, and it really does the job. Some folks open them up and snip the lead to its little flashing LED that indicates it's working, just to squeeze that last little bit of juice out of them, and there are how-tos about this on YouTube, but I've never bothered. They do what they do well enough for me. The good news for 26X owners is that they fit rather nicely into that galley window with the supplied suction cups (Tip: a little dab of glue stick on the cups will help keep it up there longer term...like more than a week).

I was awfully fortunate in that I discovered that an ancient solar array, which clearly hadn't been used for years--maybe decades, standing on a little 10 or so foot high tower right next to my spot in the boat storage lot, was still cranking out between 30 to 50 Watts, depending on the weather. So, waste not want not thought I, and I hooked into its old still dangling leads with a worn out old 3-prong outdoor extension cord I had around after stripping its plugs off. From that cord I connected the tower's ground wire to an old railroad spike driven into the dirt against lightning strikes, spliced the negative and positive leads up to one of the SAE type connectors in this $10 Harbor Freight Solar Power Connection Cable Kit (I used the included LED light, cutting the light off and just using its connector). This plug, attached to the old extension cord, plugs into that kit's nice long SAE type power cord, which runs nicely right up over the boat's port side, down into the cabin, and plugs into a little 100 Watt Solar Charge Regulator that I got on sale for less than $20 with a 20% off coupon. The controller hangs rather nicely from that galley handpost, from where its alligator clips reach down into that seat area spot just aft of the galley, where my twin batteries are. So, for just about 30 bucks I got myself some semi-decent juice in the boatyard. Not the most elegant rig, but it handily does the job: I can run my radio, electric cooler, whatever, and my batts stay fat without needing to break out the generator now and then

Since I can't very well tow that tower along behind me and up and down the Chesapeake, I've since bought this swell little flexible 50 Watt panel from China (they call it a "Semi-Flexible Bendable 18V 50 Watt Lightweight Solar Panel 12v Battery Off Grid") for when I'm on the go. Apart from its costing less than a C Note, I chose this particular one for its easy "scalability" (I can always easily plug together more panels), thinness, flexibility, size and most especially those 4 handy grommets at its corners, making it a cinch to mount compared to rigid frame-style arrays. I tested it this morning, and it works tip-top. It fits nicely right on top of the companionway sliding hatch, and four of those mini bungie cords that come in the Harbor Freight assortments like this one hold it down nice and firmly from the corners of the sliding hatch. I could also toss it (and a second, third or fourth) onto the bimini top. They're real light. The only issue was that it comes with MC4 type connectors instead of the SAE type dual-prong style in my current setup. Mind you, many solar experts will assure you that MC4 is better than SAE, but I already have what I have. Good luck at finding an MC4-to-SAE adapter out there. I couldn't. I ended up making an adapter out of a Pair of Solar Panel PV Cable Wire Male & Female MC4 Connectors Red & Black 3.5FT, splicing them to another unneeded piece from that Harbor Freight Solar Power Connection Cable Kit. Having one of those 30 Pc Watertight Heat-Shrink Butt Connector Assortments was handy for that. You'll need two of those big yellow ones that you'll probably never need for anything else.

So, that's my story...

Anyhow. Good luck with your electrical woes. Brother, have I been there.
Last edited by Bilgemaster on Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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