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onboard battery chargers???

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Old 05-01-2003, 06:50 AM
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Default onboard battery chargers???

I have a factory mounted battery charger in the engine room of my Top Gun. I do not know the rating as the charger has been refinished. The batteies are low and I was wondering how long I should leave the charger on . I see some folks at the marina leave the shore power plugged in and the charger on while they are gone all week. Also I had read somewhere about CMI headers turning to swiss cheese by leaving the charger on while at the dock. Does this apply to fresh water or is this just in salt?

The batteries are big group 29 units.

Thanks,
Kurt.
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Old 05-01-2003, 06:55 AM
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Not sure if I'm doing it "properly", but I leave mine hooked up all the time (via shore power). Never had any problems.
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Old 05-01-2003, 07:11 AM
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Biggus,

The charger will slow charge the batteries and cook off hydrogen in standard lead-acid batteries. This results in water depletion of the battery electrolyte over a period of time. In a Sea Ray cruiser I used to have it ruined two deep cycle batteries after one season because I left it on shore power whenever at the pier. You have to replenish the water in the batteries each month with distilled water if they're the serviceable lead-acid batteries. If they're sealed batteries then I would have to defer to someone more knowledge on those. I would think sealed batteries would work fine with the charger because they've figured out how to control battery gassing when being charged.

Bill
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Old 05-01-2003, 08:16 AM
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Depends on the charger too. The newer electronic ones are much better at controlling battery charge rates and hold rates than the older transformer types. In answer to your question, 12-24 hrs should be just fine. Check the water level before and after.
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Old 05-01-2003, 08:36 AM
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Biggus,

Like has been mentioned, the type of charger has EVERYTHING to do with how it can be used.

I've had four "ferrite core" transformer chargers. From cheapo Ray Jefferson units to big dollar Pro Mariners. ALL of them would boil the water out of the batteries if left "on" for long periods of time.

I currently have two electronic 3-stage chargers in use. One is a Pro Mariner "Flyback" charger (don't know why they call it that), the other is a Newmar. Both do an EXCELLENT job at supplying 12v power to the systems when on the cord, charging the batteries when low, and maintaining the batteries over time without overheating them or boiling water out. The Newmar is in the Sea Ray and has a temperature probe stuck to the battery cases to vary the float voltage with case temperature (which is important in the frequently HOT engine room of the diesel cruiser).

Electrolyte level is the lifeblood of your batteries. Keep the levels up all the time.

Chances are, unless your charger is late '90s or newer, it is a transformer charger. If you start with proper electrolyte level, one week would be MAX to leave it "on". Three days should be more than adequate.

A properly adjusted 3-stage can be left on FOREVER. I've been leaving mine "on" for over 3 years now with the same batteries and only an annual tweak of electrolyte levels (I'm as amazed as you are about that).

As far as corrosion, all metal hardware in the boat MUST be electrically "bonded" in a salt environment (cause saltwater is an excellent conductor of electricity). This means that any metal item that is connected to another MUST have a jumper wire from piece-to-piece. The CMI's use a rope gasket and a clamp - the bonding path across this junction may be faulty and so galvanic corrosion can occur in an aggressive fashion. Properly setup salt boats have a comprehensive network of bonding wires, all going to the ground system of the boat AND an external bonding plate on the hull somewhere. Freshwater is not NEARLY as big of a deal, but it NEVER hurts to make sure galvanic bonding is complete.

(The reason so many parts need to be bonded with wires is because gaskets do not conduct, silicone doesn't, threadlocker is an insulator for fasteners between parts, rubber hoses, etc, will all galvanically ISOLATE metal parts and allow them to become "active" which means they will begin to corrode).

Hope this helps.

(by the way, the Penton brought $988 on Ebay)
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Old 05-01-2003, 09:02 AM
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What he said, better than me. Thats why I just shelled out money to replace a perfectly good charger for a new one. Cant get to my batterys very easily and the transfomer charger was bleeding them dry.
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