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Old 10-11-14, 10:41 AM   #1
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Default Weak Battery Problems

I'll start off by saying in the future I'll start replacing both my trolling battery and cranking battery every three years. Why do I use a battery until it goes dead? Because I'm dumb. Took me a long time to come to that conclusion about batteries. I'm running a 2005 Bass Tracker 17.5 with Merc 60 HP 4-stroke. Just this week me and a fishing buddy drove 50 miles to the St John's River for a morning of bass fishing. I had just charged both batteries a week ago -- but the cranking battery was over 5 years old (i'll bend over and you can kick me). When preparing to launch at the ramp I was at the bow disconnecting the winch and my buddy was at the stern removing the transom saver. I thought the tilt motor sounded weak but thought it might be because I was at the bow. Once in the water and I turned on the ignition key I heard the starter grunt. I tried it again and got another grunt. So I'm looking in a compartment for my jumper cables and my buddy tries to start the motor. Same grunt, then he tells me the starter is still grunting even tho the key is turned off. I tell him to remove the ignition key, he does, still the starter is grunting. I had to disconnect the battery cables to stop the current to the starter. The weak battery and the last attempt to start the motor had stuck the starter solenoid in the closed position. After disconnecting the battery cables I inspect the starter and see the bendix is still engaged in the flywheel teeth. The bendix appears well lubricated. I had to rock the flywheel while tapping down on the bendix to disengage. OK, now for the jumper cables. I found out the jumper cables from the trolling battery to the starter cables were losing so much voltage that the motor wouldn't turn over. I swapped places with the trolling battery and the cranking battery and connected the starter cables to the trolling battery. That fired up the motor. I learned my lesson and I hope my experience will help others.
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Old 10-12-14, 05:29 PM   #2
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Location: San Antonio, TX
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Been there and done that. I made the investment and it has really paid off: If it is possible, get an on-board battery charger. I have had several over the years. Once you install it it literally becomes set it and forget it. I plug it in when I get home and unplug it when I take the boat out again. It will charge and maintain your batteries so they always have a full charge when you are ready to go. The other thing I invested in is a battery monitor. You can get one that you mount on the boat or a hand held one. the permanent one I have is made I think by Minnkota. It hooks up to the batteries and with a simple press a button you can see the status of the batteries-it has 3 banks. It will show you not only the level of charge but if the battery is charging. It has saved me a couple of times not getting stuck with low batteries-I fish an electrics only lake and keeping an eye on the battery level enabled me to make it back to the ramp. The hand held one will pretty much do the same thing. Just touch the leads to the terminals and it shows you the level of charge the battery has. My most recent battery charger was about $140 at Bass Pro and the monitors are just a few $.

We often overlook the batteries until we need them, so as you learned (me,too) it pays to keep an eye on them
It's happened to the best of them: John 21:3
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Old 10-12-14, 08:26 PM   #3
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Location: Buchanan,Tn
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Just replaced my troller batteries series 27 set me back a bit.I also have an on board charger but not all go to a trickle charge after charging. Simple little trickle charger works very well for all the time hookup for winter storage,but not necessarily your on board boat charger.
If I try to go 3 years with same batteries prior to seasons end generally it shows its ugly side of that flip coin.This year 2 troller batteries next year 1 start battery never replace all at same time that way.

Last edited by lilmule; 10-12-14 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 10-13-14, 06:17 AM   #4
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I had this awesome two paragraph reply and upon posting the database got an error. But you guys covered it.. get an on-board with maintainer built in for the winter months.

Capt Mike
Capt Mike Starrett light tackle guide Potomac River
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