Upper Deck Dan

Battery Sequence Question

24 posts in this topic

I'm a first time owner and boat a 250 Signature Cruiser. I have a (2) battery system (engine and house) and curious to what the correct sequence is when out at sea and at anchor. I do not have a generator....do I leave both batteries in the "on" position....turn both "off" to not drain power?

We were out last season and left both "on" and drifted for about an hour and when I went to start back up it was dead. Fortunately, I have a 3rd emergency switch to draw from both the re-start, but would've figured my engine battery wouldn't be affected.

What's the correct sequence/process?

 

Thanks!

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This is more complicated than it appears. First off, the house and engine battery should be just that. Meaning that the engine battery is for starting only and maybe a bilge pump. The house is for everything else. Between 25 to 50  bucks you can buy a tester to do a load test on each battery.    https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Analyzer-Cranking-Charging-Motorcycle/dp/B0757ZGS4H/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1515274368&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=12v+load+test&psc=1

The engine battery should not have gone dead on you unless its going bad (test it) or something else is pulling power from it. The house battery, well you will need to do the math between the loads (light, radio....) and how big your battery is. You can always add another house battery too.

I would highly suggest you talk to someone at your Club or marina and even have them look at your setup. To really answer your question is difficult with out knowing what you have.  

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I have 1 RULE EVEN I do  not break.  EVER !!.  The engine starting battery is NEVER used for anything but TRYING TO START THE ENGINE.    ANY engine should have a PERFECT WORKING automatic choke.  That  makes at most. A 2 seconds of cranking when at 35F.

Engine SLIGHTLY WARMED UP AFTER STOPPING ?  1/2 of a second of cranking.  PERIOD !!  If not ?  Change mechanics.

All 3 Mercruiser 5.0L  carbed engines RESTART INSTANTLY.  1/4 of a second AT MOST.   Click RUMMP

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Make sure you use the engine battery for only starting the engine and running to where you wish to anchor. Once there, then switch over to the "house battery" for stereo and lights, ect. This will ensure that you will always be able to get back home with an "undrained" engine battery.

If you spend a lot of time at anchor, you might want to consider a second "house" battery in the future.

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Thanks. So from what I am reading keep it simple 1.) Use Engine Battery for starting only and switch to "off" once engine is running and House battery for everything else for that trip. When you shut the engine off (anchoring, drifting) turn the engine battery back "on" to restart so to ensure a charged battery.

 

I think my issue was I left the House and Engine turned on and assumed they would charge during travel and that appears not he case. Also, I appreciate the advice about checking the load as maybe the batteries are failing.

-

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If the engine battery should be just for starting. So there should be no need to turn it off. That goes back to me first post. It should have never died unless its going bad or something else that is ON is connected to it.

And yes, they should have been charging when the engine was running no matter how the switches were set. Thats if it was setup properly!! 

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2 hours ago, Upper Deck Dan said:

Thanks. So from what I am reading keep it simple 1.) Use Engine Battery for starting only and switch to "off" once engine is running and House battery for everything else for that trip. When you shut the engine off (anchoring, drifting) turn the engine battery back "on" to restart so to ensure a charged battery.

-

You partially have it. Do not turn the engine battery to "off " while the engine is running, leave it on. This will ensure that your alternator is charging all batteries while running, assuming your system is wired properly. When you are stopped, then switch over to the "house" battery.

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2 hours ago, Chap243 said:

You partially have it. Do not turn the engine battery to "off " while the engine is running, leave it on. This will ensure that your alternator is charging all batteries while running, assuming your system is wired properly. When you are stopped, then switch over to the "house" battery.

"When you are stopped, then switch over to the "house" battery." Well that depends on how its wired. My boat, I do not switch over batteries and most cruises don't too.

Most cruises have a separate house bank and starting battery/s. Most smaller boats, say 23' and under do not separate the two. We do not really know his setup.      

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I have a 250 Sig like you.  Ours has two batteries for the house system and one battery for the engine.  We stay on the hook overnight and never have any problems with the starting battery going dead.  I NEVER switch either of the battery banks "off" until I'm tied up in the slip and leaving the boat.  You have something else going on....the starting battery is either going bad or you have something drawing it down.  Proper management (if everything's setup correctly and batteries are good) is to turn both switches "on" when beginning your day, but make sure the "emergency switch" off as that switch combines the two battery banks.  Only use the emergency switch when you've exhausted your starting battery and need the house batteries to help get the motor started.

Hope that makes sense.  You might also want to check your Voltage Sensitive Relay (VSR) if you have one.

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On 1/8/2018 at 10:15 AM, Upper Deck Dan said:

Thanks. So from what I am reading keep it simple 1.) Use Engine Battery for starting only and switch to "off" once engine is running and House battery for everything else for that trip. When you shut the engine off (anchoring, drifting) turn the engine battery back "on" to restart so to ensure a charged battery.

 

I think my issue was I left the House and Engine turned on and assumed they would charge during travel and that appears not he case. Also, I appreciate the advice about checking the load as maybe the batteries are failing.

-

Do NOT turn the battery selector switch to “off” while the engine is running. 

Make sure your #1starting battery is a “starting” battery, of the correct MCA for your motor. Use this battery for starting. When on the hook, switch to the #2 house battery. This should be a deep cycle, or even a pair for added capacity  

Switch back to the #1 battery to restart and run the motor. 

Have your batteries load tested. If one battery is weak, it will bring the other battery down to its level if you are in the “both” position, which should only be used for emergency power.

brick

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14 hours ago, brick said:

Do NOT turn the battery selector switch to “off” while the engine is running. 

Make sure your #1starting battery is a “starting” battery, of the correct MCA for your motor. Use this battery for starting. When on the hook, switch to the #2 house battery. This should be a deep cycle, or even a pair for added capacity  

Switch back to the #1 battery to restart and run the motor. 

Have your batteries load tested. If one battery is weak, it will bring the other battery down to its level if you are in the “both” position, which should only be used for emergency power.

brick

This is a cruiser. Brick, I don't know his set up and he has not fully explained it to us. But your making it sound like he has one battery switch. Most cruises have 2 to 4 switches depending on there setup. (In my case I have 4) If I am not mistaken, he has 3 battery switches. (And yes, do NOT turn "OFF" the starting battery with the engine on.) One for the engine, one for the house and one to combine for emergencies. With this kind of setup, basally you get on your boat and turn the engine and house to the "ON" position leaving the other to "OFF".

Go out, have fun, go on the hook and what ever.............  With everything on and the house battery going dead. The engine should start right up and without  touching any switches. Providing the boat is setup up properly and again we don't know that. As someone else mentioned, is the VSR/combiner working? Both batteries should be charging with the engine running.

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6 minutes ago, Iggy said:

This is a cruiser. Brick, I don't know his set up and he has not fully explained it to us. But your making it sound like he has one battery switch. Most cruises have 2 to 4 switches depending on there setup. (In my case I have 4) If I am not mistaken, he has 3 battery switches. (And yes, do NOT turn "OFF" the starting battery with the engine on.) One for the engine, one for the house and one to combine for emergencies. With this kind of setup, basally you get on your boat and turn the engine and house to the "ON" position leaving the other to "OFF".

Go out, have fun, go on the hook and what ever.............  With everything on and the house battery going dead. The engine should start right up and without  touching any switches. Providing the boat is setup up properly and again we don't know that. As someone else mentioned, is the VSR/combiner working? Both batteries should be charging with the engine running.

+1 

I have the same boat (250 Sig) and that's exactly the way the system works.  So as you said, unless his is set up differently, what you said is all true.

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this late post of mine may help everyone. Incidentally I have a 1997 signature 310.  I am having a few elec problems after having the boat on the trailer 7 odd years. I was looking at the Chap website and found some answers. 

The answer to where to set the battery switches is on the Chap web site under owner manuals....it tell you when and where to set the battery switches for what ever system you have . Mine is a 2 switch 3 battery setup so I can not comment on how the 2 battery set should be but look at the web.  Hope that helps everyone. 

 

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Keep in mind it doesn't mind what the boat was like when it came from the factory.  Stupid prior owners and installers will have done whatever was easiest during any upgrades.  On my 2005 SSi I found they had wired an add-on sub and amp directly to the starting battery terminals! 

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44 minutes ago, AdamG2 said:

I found they had wired an add-on sub and amp directly to the starting battery terminals!

Should not even be wired to the house battery when there is a multi-battery switch in place. 

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Just now, Was_Wylie_Tunes said:

Should not even be wired to the house battery when there is a multi-battery switch in place. 

Agreed

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22 hours ago, Was_Wylie_Tunes said:

Should not even be wired to the house battery when there is a multi-battery switch in place. 

Why should it not be wired to the house battery? That is the whole point? So you can restart your engine.

You could put it own it's own battery.

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3 minutes ago, Iggy said:

Why should it not be wired to the house battery? That is the whole point? So you can restart your engine.

You could put it own it's own battery.

We want house loads to draw from the house bank, but its not ideal to wire the audio direct to the battery, bypassing the multi-battery switch. 

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Almost forgot !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1  NEVER turn that BIG BATTERY SWITCH BETWEEN POSITIONS when the engine is running.................. If your boat has theold style of switch ?  Then the switch contact WILL OPEN for a fraction of a second.  Possibly causing a VERY HIGH VOLTAGE SPIKE. THat can damage any electronic parts on the boat or computer circuits. 

Switch batteries with a STOPPED engine only.............. Newest style of master battery never break connection . When switching position..................DO NOT switch the master switch to   OFF  with the engine running. 

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I am 100% with Iggy on ALL BATTERY DRAINING stuff wired to only the house battery.  Kill the house battery.  If you give the boat to someone else ?? No telling how they set the MASTER SWITCH.  BILGE / floor water pump NEVER ON THE engine starting battery.  Always on the none engine battery / batteries.

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23 minutes ago, cyclops2 said:

If you give the boat to someone else ?? No telling how they set the MASTER SWITCH.

LOL, the problem here, is giving the boat over to someone who doesnt know how to use, it, not how its wired. Then not knowing how to use the switch(s) they can still run down the cranking battery(s). Having the audio or other house loads wired directly to the battery makes little difference. Ignorance is ignorance. 

There is no reason to have high current draw equipment wired direct to the battery, so they still have voltage to them, even when the master battery switch is off. 

Again, its about proper wire configuration and switch use. 

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10 hours ago, Was_Wylie_Tunes said:

LOL, the problem here, is giving the boat over to someone who doesnt know how to use, it, not how its wired. Then not knowing how to use the switch(s) they can still run down the cranking battery(s). Having the audio or other house loads wired directly to the battery makes little difference. Ignorance is ignorance. 

There is no reason to have high current draw equipment wired direct to the battery, so they still have voltage to them, even when the master battery switch is off. 

Again, its about proper wire configuration and switch use. 

To me, it did not sound that way. I just did not understand. But I do differ with you (and every case is different) with connecting high current equipment directly to a battery. I see no problem in doing so as long its fused or a breaker used. I have my amp connected directly to one of my house batteries. The head unit controls it turning off & on.

I do have a separate battery charger for the house and at times its in a standby state or sleep mode. So I know no power is being used and the house batteries are fully charged. If I were to turn of the house batteries, than the head unit your turn off and that would shut the amp off. 

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1 hour ago, Iggy said:

The head unit controls it turning off & on

Its off, but there is still voltage at the amp. There is still the potential for it to draw current when you are away from the boat. If the amp shorts out, it will draw current intill either the battery goes dead or the fire dept finally puts the flames out. 

Wiring through a master battery switch, allows you to turn off everything (except a couple crucial circuits), when you leave the boat. 

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6 hours ago, Was_Wylie_Tunes said:

Wiring through a master battery switch, allows you to turn off everything (except a couple crucial circuits), when you leave the boat. 

That's the way to do it, boat ... house ... car, the same logic and general principle apply.

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