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Scott Roberts

Ski & Fish onboard battery charger

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My H2O Ski&Fish came with one marine cranking battery in the engine compartment, two deep cycle batteries in the storage area (port side) along with a three bank onboard battery charger (also in the storage area on the port side). I've been plugging in the charger to a wall connector from my house every night but, recently, the trolling motor died even though the onboard charger said it was charged. And, the onboard charger goes from red to green in about 15 minutes so something is definitely not right.

I checked to see how the charger is set up and it appears that two of the charging cables are connected to some junction right under the gunwale and the other is connected to the battery in the engine compartment. So, as far as I can tell, it appears to be correct but I'm inexperienced at this. I bought the boat new from the dealer so I'm assuming it was connected correctly but who knows. I contacted the dealer and they have no experience with onboard chargers, oddly enough, so they have no clue if it's correct and want to charge me $150/hour just to look at it.

Any ideas?

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Contact the charger manufacturer and see what they say. Are you sure the battery is not just bad?  

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The charger going red to green is either the batter is fully charged, or a defective charger.  Suggest checking each connection from the trolling motor back.  Something might be loose.

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Cool.  P.S.  It's always helpful to include the exact model, year, current hours and for problems involving a battery where there can be profound differences in life due to where you live (hot vs. cold for example), rough geography.  

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Is it safe to assume everything else powered by those batteries works, despite the trolling motor not?  In addition to looking for any loose connections, there might be a breaker for the trolling motor that tripped.  I'm unfamiliar with your model though, so you'll have to look at your panel(s). 

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Thanks. Yes, all other batteries work fine. I did check the breakers and they are fine as well. I think the charger is not charging anything but the engine battery and just trying to figure out why because one would assume everything would be connected correctly when you take delivery from the dealer. Maybe assuming is my main problem. :-)

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Never assume.  When you say "all other batteries", which ones?  You have three.  One for starting, two for everything else.  For example, when the house batteries are selected, does the radio work, lights, those kinds of things?  If this other stuff is working, this points to something other than the battery/battery charger.  Did you just purchase it, new or used?

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He. Thanks again. I purchased it new. 

The engine and house lights, etc. all run off the battery in the engine compartment- marine cranking battery. There are two deep cycle batteries in the storage area on the port side. One runs the trolling motor and is the one that died even though I’ve been plugging in the onboard charger every night. There is another deep cycle next to the one for the trolling motor that is also hooked up. I haven’t figured out what it does yet because disconnecting it has no effect on anything. (There is no switch to change from one battery to another like on some boats.) That battery is also fine and fully charged

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Is it possible to post a picture showing the two batteries and attached wiring?  Thank you.

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Yes. Good idea. It will take a few days thought because I just put it back into storage for the week. Our HOA doesn’t allowed us to store the boat in our driveway. :-/

I’ll post some in a few days. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Switch the trolling motor to the other battery and see what happens.

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I’m guessing that the charging wire to the batteries may have not been connected or came lose. Did you recently disconnect anything like for winterizing?  Check the charger for a fault message. I’m guessing there’s a wire lose, a breaker tripped, or some minor thing like that. 

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The 2 batteries are for the Trolling motor only.. it is a 24V motor so the two 12v batteries are tied together to make 24 volts.. if one is dead the motor doesn't work. The entire rest of the boat runs off the single battery. There is a fuse in the line from the charger to the batteries so you may need to check that.

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Thanks Bryan. That's very useful info! One question I have that you might know: it doesn't appear that the onboard charger is directly connected to the batteries. Two of the charging cables seem to be connected to some sort of junction under the gunwhale with the other directly connected to the engine battery. Does it seem right that the two charging cables would not be directly connected to the batteries?

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42 minutes ago, Scott Roberts said:

Thanks Bryan. That's very useful info! One question I have that you might know: it doesn't appear that the onboard charger is directly connected to the batteries. Two of the charging cables seem to be connected to some sort of junction under the gunwhale with the other directly connected to the engine battery. Does it seem right that the two charging cables would not be directly connected to the batteries?

Yes because the charger only charges 12v batteries so with those 2 tied together making 24V I assume there is something going on to make those two legs charge together

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The 3 bank charger should be hard wired to each battery + and -.  If the battery charger wires were too short they might have used some sort of junction to make it the rest of the way.

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Please also post a picture of the two batteries and wires.  And ideally, the junction and battery charger as well.

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If a trolling motor dies ? Like does not spin anymore or very slowly ?  The batteries charge up very fast ?  Your trolling motor & the controls for it have a problem. Loose wires or loose plugs for the Trolling motor.

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