Battery problems.....HELP

Chesapeakechuck

Left Handed Coffee Grinder Farmer
Mar 12, 2003
1,271
25
52
Deerfield, New Hampshire
Name
Charlie
Boat
23' Parker CC, "Chesapeake Charlie"
I am having serious god damned problems with my electrical system on my boat. I installed a Yamaha F150 4-stroke two years ago on my Boston Whaler. At that time I also rewired the entire electrical system from the ground up. I installed two Trojan Dual Purpose batteries with 550 MCA and about 150 reserve. These worked flawlessly for two years (about 400 hours), but this spring I began to see that my engine was turning slowly and that the batteries would no longer hold a good charge. No problem. I bought a new set of batteries and installed them a month ago. I ran the boat for about 8 hours one day without shutting down the engine (shark trolling). When I put the boat on the trailer I turned off the motor and then tried to restart it, but it wouldn't even turn over on battery number one. Battery number two was ok. I checked my engine manual and discovered that these new batteries were slightly smaller than those reccomended for my motor...So, I went to Interstate and bought a new set of 27 series deep cycle batteries. These have 750 MCA and about 180 reserve minutes.

I ran the boat this weekend on battery number one..it started fine. I got to my halibut spot and did about a half hour drift. When I went to reset the engine wouldn't turn over. I switched to battery number two. It worked for about the next two hours and then it bled down to the point where it would no longer turn my engine over. Fortunately I was able to start the motor back on battery number one which had charged on its own enough...

My charging system is putting about 14.2 volts across whatever battery I am running off of.....There is no problem with that. There is no bleed to my system when I have my batteries turned "off" by my Perko switch. The two batteries are installed with a standard Perko switch that goes from off to one to both to two. It's the standard switch found on most small boats. I checked it and it works fine, too.

Soooo, I got home and drank beer hoping this would solve the problem....It didn't. I charged up both batteries at home with my charger and tried the following:

I switched to battery number one that was reading about 13.25 volts following my charging it....I turned on my plotter, my sounder and my baitpump (put the baitpump in a bucket of water so as not to burn it up). I was able to watch the volts bleed off steadily over about half an hour's time down to 11.0...This is not enough to crank my engine..when I went to start it it just turned about half a turn and that was that.....

I then switched over to battery number two. It was reading about 13.0 volts following charging. I ran my electronics for about one hour before the voltage bled down to about 11.0 volts. Again, my engine would not crank over.

Regarding my batteries and how they are hooked up.....They connected by the negative terminal with a 2 gauge battery cable. The cable is like new. The positive of battery one goes to the perko switch. The positive of battery number 2 goes to the perko switch. Coming off of my perko switch is my hot cable that runs back to the starter. Also coming off of the perko switch is the hot wire for my trim tabs (ran out of room on my positive fuse buss) and the hot wire that powers my positive fuse buss. There is nothing attached to battery number one except the hot wire powering the perko switch and the negative cable that runs to the negative terminal of battery number two. Attached to the terminals of battery number two are the hot wire to the perko switch and, on the negative side, the ground cable coming from my starter, the ground for my negative fuse buss, the negative connecting cable that goes to battery number one and the ground for my trim tabs. That's it.

There are no loose grounds anywhere in my system that I can identify. There are no hot or burned wires.

Are these deep cycle batteries supposed to bleed off that much voltage in such a short period of time? Are they insufficient for use as a primary starting battery for my F150?

I don't want to buy an 'add a battery switch" from West Marine along with a proper isolater because I have never needed these in the past. My wiring is the same as it was when I wired everything up two years ago. Absolutely nothing has changed.

My plotter pulls less than an amp, my sounder pulls less than an amp and the bait pump pulls 2.8 amps. Can this lower the voltage in my batteries so quickly as not to be able to start my stupid engine? All of my electronics run through my fuse buss (except my trim tabs).

WTF is going on? Any help would be greatly appreciated.....

Chuck
 
Upvote 0

@-EZ

Fail, try again.
Apr 9, 2007
14,418
1,906
San Diego, CA.
Name
Max
Boat
Trophy Pro, @-EZ
Sorry I couldn't call back yesterday. The wifey had me doin chores all day.
Did you confirm the draw from the trim tabs?
 
Upvote 0

talltale

Member
Feb 20, 2008
747
151
yucaipa
Name
chris
Boat
23.5 trophy "Tonetta T"
You might look at the solid state rectifier on the outboard engine. This converts the a.c. voltage from the alt. to d.c. voltage. There probably is a blocking diode in the rectifier unit that blew out. This problem would allow the battery voltage to drain off. Good luck.
 
Upvote 0

Dirtguy

"It's all Good!"
May 9, 2006
1,180
5
Gilbert, AZ
Name
Carl
Boat
26' Sea Ray, "yes dear..."
Just sounds like they're about tapped for life. They might have sulfated plates. Being deep cycle, don't you HAVE to cycle them deeply to actually extend their life?

Sound like old batts. Everything else sounds fine. Have you actually tested the load?

DG
 
Upvote 0

?? fisherman

super Captain
Feb 27, 2003
16,890
5,040
Soul Cal
www.sandiegofishing.com
Name
Mike
Boat
Kencraft CC
Just sounds like they're about tapped for life. They might have sulfated plates. Being deep cycle, don't you HAVE to cycle them deeply to actually extend their life?

Sound like old batts. Everything else sounds fine. Have you actually tested the load?

DG

He just bought both of these batteries within the past few weeks Carl. On top of that he bought new batteries before these current ones and had problems on his first trip out before switching to his current larger batteries.

Im actually thinking Talltail me be on to something here.

Keep the suggestions flowing as Chuck is about to blow a fuse of his own if he doesnt correct this soon. LOL

Hang in there Chuck.

The unknown fisherman:p:
 
Last edited:
Upvote 0

Chesapeakechuck

Left Handed Coffee Grinder Farmer
Mar 12, 2003
1,271
25
52
Deerfield, New Hampshire
Name
Charlie
Boat
23' Parker CC, "Chesapeake Charlie"
I thought about testing the rectifier, but I think I pretty much eliminated the possibility of anything on the engine being bad yesterday afternoon when I was successful at running the batteries dead by just running my normal compliment of electronics (plus bait pump) with the engine switch in the "off" position. I was really hoping it was going to be a problem with the motor, but I don't think it is.

Regarding the battery age---The batteries I have in there now are brand new----used only twice. I got them last month and am pretty sure that both were good when purchased new.. I am getting a hyrometer this afternoon and will check them when I get home. I agree, this sounds like just plain dead old batteries, but these are new and have more cranking amps than my old trojans (although the trojans were dual purpose and these are exclusively deep cycle).
 
Upvote 0

@-EZ

Fail, try again.
Apr 9, 2007
14,418
1,906
San Diego, CA.
Name
Max
Boat
Trophy Pro, @-EZ
I thought about testing the rectifier, but I think I pretty much eliminated the possibility of anything on the engine being bad yesterday afternoon when I was successful at running the batteries dead by just running my normal compliment of electronics (plus bait pump) with the engine switch in the "off" position. I was really hoping it was going to be a problem with the motor, but I don't think it is.

Regarding the battery age---The batteries I have in there now are brand new----used only twice. I got them last month and am pretty sure that both were good when purchased new.. I am getting a hyrometer this afternoon and will check them when I get home. I agree, this sounds like just plain dead old batteries, but these are new and have more cranking amps than my old trojans (although the trojans were dual purpose and these are exclusively deep cycle).

Both @ the same time or individually?
 
Upvote 0

gecsr1

Plain Jane Rods...Hobby Rod Builder
Jul 15, 2005
14,956
4,140
Poway Ca
Name
Gary
Boat
No Boat Now
You may need to test the amount of amps that the equipmnt is using. it may be more than you think.... to suck down the batteries that quick. also after charging the battereis you need to do a load test, then check the voltage. have to get rid of that surface charge .
 
Upvote 0

Steel Leader

Liquid Therapy
Aug 29, 2005
2,340
161
43
san diego
www.facebook.com
Name
marcus
Boat
27' seastar flybridge diesel
bottom line, your charging system on your motor is not reaching the batteries, ask a service center what the output your motor should show. 14.2 sounds good but I'm not really familliar with yamaha o/b's. and for God's sake stop buying batteries, unless I can have your old ones:frehya2:
 
Upvote 0

Kman

I Should Upgrade My Account
Apr 7, 2003
1,966
3,086
So Cal
Name
Kurt
Boat
Robalo R180 Trailer Trash
Clearly, SOMETHING is draining your batteries. I'd disconnect the positives and charge em up. Then with my DMM set to 10 amps, I'd start looking for loads--including the motor side.

Warning: If you're draining batteries THAT FAST, you may blow the fuse in your DMM. If you have access to a clamp-type ammeter that does DC, all the better.
 
Upvote 0

Alfred

KIK-N-BAK
Oct 25, 2005
610
3
75
Lemon Grove
Name
Al
Boat
30 Ft. Blackman Outerbanks KIK-N-BAK
One of 3 things.
1. OB motor not putting out enough amps to meet load.
ex:OB charges at 25 amps-House load 28 amps. losing 3 amps.
2. Bait pump or other load is using more than stated on equipment.
ex: ck that your bait pump does not have obstrucion aroundshaft, etc.
3. bad connection-but you already cked that.

Good luck Bud.
 
Last edited:
Upvote 0

Eddy

Newbie
Jul 15, 2004
46
1
67
Yuma, Az.
Name
Rick
Boat
24" Bayliner R'Oasis
Well, just got in on this but will offer what help I can.

"My plotter pulls less than an amp, my sounder pulls less than an amp and the bait pump pulls 2.8 amps. Can this lower the voltage in my batteries so quickly as not to be able to start my stupid engine? All of my electronics run through my fuse buss (except my trim tabs)."

According to your specs on power draw there is no way 4.8 amps can drain a good deep cycle battery in 1/2 hour, that battery should run that kind of drain for many hours without going dead.
So the possibilities are:
1. Batteries are not getting fully charged, not likely since they are brand new and you have charged them, it may be worthwhile to have them tested though.
2. Drain on batteries is more than anticipated, the only way to tell for sure is with an ampmeter.
3. Are you measuring the battery voltage at the battery itself or relying on the voltmeter on dash for the voltages you quoted. If your not measuring at the batteries it is possible that you have a voltage drop between the batteries and load (engine, accessories, etc).
This can be tested with voltmeter and some extra leads.
4. Try running the same test without turning everything on at the same time, maybe something is pulling more power than stated.

Remember, your battery is just like a bucket of water, you can put water in and take water out, but if you take it out faster than it goes in eventually it will be empty. The ideal is that the engine charging system can supply enough power to operate all accessories and still send a little back to the battery to keep it charged but under different circumstances that doesn't always happen like idle or slow speed trolling and that's where the battery reserve comes into play, to supply that extra power that the engine can't. If it's operated for too long relying on the battery to supply that power then eventually any battery will go dead.
Good luck
Rick
 
Upvote 0

Dirtguy

"It's all Good!"
May 9, 2006
1,180
5
Gilbert, AZ
Name
Carl
Boat
26' Sea Ray, "yes dear..."
Someone had a good idea. The motor may be off, but the batt lead is still connected to the charging system right?

Have to measure drain "one load at a time." We do it by a clamp on meter and pulling one fuse at a time in automobiles, until we drop the drain.

I hope this is a help.

DG
 
Upvote 0

talltale

Member
Feb 20, 2008
747
151
yucaipa
Name
chris
Boat
23.5 trophy "Tonetta T"
It was a FORD but I had a charging problem on a 66 mustang that I tracked down to the (unbelievably) headlight switch! Don't know yamaha electronics but you can have voltage output without amperage. You need both to charge a battery. Outboards don't put out high amperage like normal alternators. Do you have a ammeter or a volt meter? Huge difference.
 
Upvote 0

sickcat

Silverback
Aug 5, 2003
3,867
2,079
65
LA
Name
Kerry
Boat
Yellow spot
It was a FORD but I had a charging problem on a 66 mustang that I tracked down to the (unbelievably) headlight switch! Don't know yamaha electronics but you can have voltage output without amperage. You need both to charge a battery. Outboards don't put out high amperage like normal alternators. Do you have a ammeter or a volt meter? Huge difference.

Good advise so far. The battery voltage you see right after charging is not a good indicator of the state of battery charge. After charging them up either let them sit for about 12 hours with no charge/load or put about a 2-3 amp load on them for 2-3 minutes THEN check the voltage. I would get a hydrometer to check the state of charge.

I think talltale may be onto something. IIRC blown diodes in the alt would not only allow a current "leak" but would not charge your batteries well even if it shows decent voltage.
 
Upvote 0

Chesapeakechuck

Left Handed Coffee Grinder Farmer
Mar 12, 2003
1,271
25
52
Deerfield, New Hampshire
Name
Charlie
Boat
23' Parker CC, "Chesapeake Charlie"
Many thanks for everybody's input. I took yesterday afternoon off and took my boat into an electrical shop (my ego suffered, but I will live longer). I had the "new" batteries checked and they were shot. I was told by the electrician that these batteries were, in fact, manufactured in 2005 and that they almost certainly were shot when I bought them. He could find nothing the matter with my wiring or with anything on my engine.

So, the bottom line is as follows. I bought two new Delco series 27 deep cycle batteries and I replaced my Perko switch with some sort of new fangled relay box that automatically charges both batteries and isolates the starting battery from the house battery.

I guess we will see what happens over the next week or two as I run the boat a bit.
 
Upvote 0

shinerunner

BARKING MOONBAT
Apr 25, 2003
3,456
2
62
loafers glory
Visit site
Name
Jim
Boat
none
GOOD LUCK CHUCK!
As you know I've been suffering through similar difficulties, my new set up also has one of them newfangled relay deals. I hope it friggen works-
 
Upvote 0

Dirtguy

"It's all Good!"
May 9, 2006
1,180
5
Gilbert, AZ
Name
Carl
Boat
26' Sea Ray, "yes dear..."
Fantastic! I would guess that the purchase, other than the batts, was a suggestion from someone?

Just my thoughts? You are savvy enough to monitor your system without further complexity. And cost.
Even if someone tells you it simplifies the system, it still adds components that must be diagnosed and eliminated.

You got a handle on your boat.

Great to hear that it's NOT the drive system.

DG
 
Upvote 0

Steel Leader

Liquid Therapy
Aug 29, 2005
2,340
161
43
san diego
www.facebook.com
Name
marcus
Boat
27' seastar flybridge diesel
I put in a blue seas systems ACR thingy in my skippy, I can't get it to work for shit, I sent the first one back and they sent me a new one, same problem. I connected it to my two optima blue tops.
 
Upvote 0

Surg

SwordfishGear.com
  • Feb 2, 2004
    932
    218
    46
    So Cal
    www.SwordfishGear.com
    Name
    Sergio
    Boat
    25' Monterey
    So now you have the system configured differently. The engine cranks off battery 1, and the electronics run off battery 2. The ACR charges the house battery (#2) while the engines running, and isolates them when the voltage drops. Now you shouldn't get the voltage drop that can reset electronics while cranking your engine. Its a nicer set up, but I would have stepped up to group 31's for a little more capacity. Not sure what size boat you have, but it sounds like your on the right track.
    What do you use to charge the batteries while the boat is in storage?
    An onboard charger would also be a great idea.




    Many thanks for everybody's input. I took yesterday afternoon off and took my boat into an electrical shop (my ego suffered, but I will live longer). I had the "new" batteries checked and they were shot. I was told by the electrician that these batteries were, in fact, manufactured in 2005 and that they almost certainly were shot when I bought them. He could find nothing the matter with my wiring or with anything on my engine.

    So, the bottom line is as follows. I bought two new Delco series 27 deep cycle batteries and I replaced my Perko switch with some sort of new fangled relay box that automatically charges both batteries and isolates the starting battery from the house battery.

    I guess we will see what happens over the next week or two as I run the boat a bit.
     
    Upvote 0

    Chesapeakechuck

    Left Handed Coffee Grinder Farmer
    Mar 12, 2003
    1,271
    25
    52
    Deerfield, New Hampshire
    Name
    Charlie
    Boat
    23' Parker CC, "Chesapeake Charlie"
    Surg, thanks for the input. I am running just a 20' Whaler center console with a F150 four stroke Yamaha. The series 27's are the largest I can squeeze into my storage area-----just don't have room for the 31's. Even these batteries should be more than adequate to run my electronics and start the engine----I ran good with 24's for two years prior to having this recent problem.

    I am hoping this different battery configuration either cures or limits the problem I was having with this mysterious drain. Although it seems almost unthinkable, I am inclined to believe now that I was just dealing with either undersized or shot batteries from the get go. I hope this to be the case.

    I also put on a permenant trickle charger (2 amp) that I will use to keep the batteries topped off when the boat is at home on the trailer.
     
    Upvote 0

    dbar

    Mmmmmm Backstraps
    Jun 26, 2004
    6,223
    160
    53
    With your Mom
    Name
    Jim Perkins
    Boat
    18' Center Console " D-Bar II "
    Damn Dude I hope you finally got it right, I know that this has been plagueing you for awhile now!!! Hope all goes good chuck!!! BTW I'm going to the doctors tommrrow morning, which means I have the whole day off if you want to go test them late morning :)
     
    Upvote 0

    MATTANZA

    old man of the sea, in training.
    Aug 23, 2004
    5,788
    3,464
    Cali the state of confusion, the state of shock
    Name
    RICK
    Boat
    Boston Whaler 25' Outrage "MATTANZA II", 34' Radovcich "AMY ANNE" {when it needs to be fixed}
    chuck i've had good luck with the trojans... batteries. i have a 27 deep cycle & 2 interstate 24 cranking batteries in my whaler. 225 optimax, 3 bilge pumps{2000gph, 1500 gph & 500gph}, washdown pump {1100 gph}, bait pump {1100 gph}, 4 deck lights, gps, fisffinder, radar, vhf, autopilot, stereo, running/nav lights etc. that's a lot of shit that we have to power, although it's not all running at the same time. we have only had dead batteries once in almost 2 years. i have a trojan 27 deep cycle/starting & 2 6 volt golf cart batteries on my shamrock. i've been through a few starters but no batteries yet. good luck!
     
    Upvote 0