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View Full Version : Winter Battery Charging/Storage


dpolen
09-25-2006, 03:45 PM
Just curious, for those of us who are seeing the end of the boating season come upon us, what do most of you guys do with your batteries over the winter?

1. Put your battery on trickle chargers/battery maintainers all winter
2. Charge monthly
3. Pull it from the boat, charge it in the spring.
4. Do nothing, leave it in the boat

In the past I've always charged my previous boat batteries monthly.

mika
09-25-2006, 03:47 PM
Mine sits on a maintainer all winter in the basement up off the concrete.

rodltg2
09-25-2006, 04:04 PM
i do 4 , but im in cali!!

6ballsisall
09-25-2006, 04:05 PM
#3 for me.........

bigmac
09-25-2006, 04:06 PM
For $35 or less you can get a maintainer. Hook it up to your battery, leave it attached and in place in the boat and forget about it. A fully charged lead-acid battery has a freezing point of about -56 degrees F.

Intermittently charging is hard on the battery and unnecessary. Keeping it on a maintainer will decrease the liklihood of sulfation, and in fact there are some maintainers that will actually decrease sulfation.

If you decide to store it out of the boat, storing it on concrete doesn't matter. For the last few decades, battery case material has been such that self discharge to ground doesn't happen.

TMCNo1
09-25-2006, 05:43 PM
#1, Battery Tender Plus, in the boat all winter! Then it's ready to go at a moments notice, but I always have to ask the boat first, if she wants to go out and play! Alternate every 3 weeks between the boat, lawnmower and van.

chudson
09-25-2006, 06:07 PM
3. Pull it from the boat, charge it in the spring.

I put it on a 2 x 6 block of wood in the basement, but I have also heard lately that a trickle charger on it helps on battery life. Maybe someone thats a little more up on it can add to that!!!

Dan K
09-25-2006, 06:12 PM
#1, I use a charger called battery tender.

billr
09-25-2006, 06:18 PM
I use a maintenance tender. But we get to use the boat just about year round.

etakk7
09-27-2006, 11:44 PM
where can I buy a battery tender? Walmart? Sears? Specialty store?

Leroy
09-27-2006, 11:47 PM
I've done #3 for past 3 years with no problem. Couple of times I've checked mid season and charger only runs minute or so and then off. I think they hold the charge pretty well.

With nothing connected I can see no reason to even attach a "maintainer"

TMCNo1
09-28-2006, 12:02 AM
where can I buy a battery tender? Walmart? Sears? Specialty store?


Most any auto parts chain, like O'Reilly, AutoZone, Advance, Pep Boys, Jegs, Summit, Corvette America, etc.

McFire
09-28-2006, 12:43 AM
#3 for me. Battery sits on my workbench all winter. I haven't had a problem so far.

T Scott
09-28-2006, 12:57 AM
i do 4 , but im in cali!!

I agree...#4....we ski year round!!!

erkoehler
09-28-2006, 12:59 AM
Disconnect the negative wire, or all wires.....then wait till spring :)



I try to ski as long as possible, so winter is really 2-3 months tops :)

flyingskibiker
09-28-2006, 01:57 AM
ok, here's a thought... doesnt' a charging battery produce fumes that are bad for you? and, i can't remember, explosive??? i ALWAYS charge outside, under some kind of "roof". but open to the air. i also pull it out of the boat. though, it's really easy in mine...

NeilM
09-28-2006, 11:01 AM
I take mine out of the boat and install it in parallel on the travel trailer (both are deep cycle batteries). This gives me the benefit of having dual batteries in the trailer during the off-season (more power for shorter days and colder nights), and since the trailer has a built in maintainer on its charging circuit, it keeps both batteries fully charged when the temps drop to minus 40 (I keep my travel trailer connected to 110v during the winter).

east tx skier
09-28-2006, 11:28 AM
Disconnect the negative wire, or all wires.....then wait till spring :)

I've done this for the past two winters and haven't ever put my battery on the charger. I'll be doing the trickle charge thing this winter. Watch the battery give up the ghost for my failing to follow the "if it ain't broke" rule.

bigmac
09-28-2006, 11:39 AM
Disconnect the negative wire, or all wires.....then wait till spring :)


Why disconnect any wires?

shepherd
09-28-2006, 11:57 AM
I agree...#4....we ski year round!!!

#4 here on the South Coast

east tx skier
09-28-2006, 12:09 PM
Why disconnect any wires?

Just what my manual says to do. I'm not curious enough to wonder why.

bigmac
09-28-2006, 12:21 PM
Just what my manual says to do. I'm not curious enough to wonder why.

Yes, well, probably wise...curiousity killed the cat, after all...

east tx skier
09-28-2006, 12:23 PM
Yes, well, probably wise...curiousity killed the cat, after all...

My guess as to the reason is so there will not be a draw on the battery, not that the clock pulls enough to make a difference.

chudson
09-28-2006, 12:30 PM
I've seen batterys that just sit and not disconnected start growing that yellow fung crap around the connection and that ain't fun cleaning off. I got a can of spray from an auto shop to spray on the posts after the battery is connected, it looked and smelled just like clear laquer. So when it ran out that is what I got "clear laquer", if you try this make sure it's dry on the posts before trying to start the motor, spark could start fire!!!

east tx skier
09-28-2006, 12:32 PM
Mine have grease on the posts and have held up pretty well (but then again, I've disconnected over the winter).

In old cars that sat, a little sprite on the posts dissolved the yellow stuff pretty quick. I'm not doing that in the boat though.

jclose8
09-28-2006, 12:44 PM
I agree...#4....we ski year round!!!

You know... every time a thread like this comes up, the southern people like to chime in and remind everyone that it stays warm there year round. WE KNOW! ...And in most instances, we are not envious. I may be speaking for myself only, but I would never consider trying to survive a Florida or Arizona summer just so I could boat in January and February. I love summer AND I love winter. Don't you guys downhill ski???? If not, you are missing out on one of the greatest activities ever invented.

bigmac
09-28-2006, 12:50 PM
My guess as to the reason is so there will not be a draw on the battery, not that the clock pulls enough to make a difference.

Batteries will invariably self-discharge, even sitting on a warm work bench for the winter. The more they discharge, the more they sulfate. The more sulfation, the more they self discharge, until about 3-5 years later you have a dead and unrecoverable battery. IMHO, it doesn't matter whether the discharge is from the clock or self-discharge from sulfation shorts in the plates. It's the reason I keep the thing on a maintainer, and since I am, I see no point in taking it out of the boat or even disconnecting it.

Just my :twocents:

Leroy
09-28-2006, 01:01 PM
So we have questions in the spring about dead batteries that turn out to be loose cables?;)

Why disconnect any wires?

east tx skier
09-28-2006, 01:02 PM
You know... every time a thread like this comes up, the southern people like to chime in and remind everyone that it stays warm there year round. WE KNOW! ...And in most instances, we are not envious. I may be speaking for myself only, but I would never consider trying to survive a Florida or Arizona summer just so I could boat in January and February. I love summer AND I love winter. Don't you guys downhill ski???? If not, you are missing out on one of the greatest activities ever invented.

Yes, we downhill ski. Unfortunately we have to travel west to do it. And I don't water ski in January.

east tx skier
09-28-2006, 01:03 PM
Batteries will invariably self-discharge, even sitting on a warm work bench for the winter. The more they discharge, the more they sulfate. The more sulfation, the more they self discharge, until about 3-5 years later you have a dead and unrecoverable battery. IMHO, it doesn't matter whether the discharge is from the clock or self-discharge from sulfation shorts in the plates. It's the reason I keep the thing on a maintainer, and since I am, I see no point in taking it out of the boat or even disconnecting it.

Just my :twocents:

Well, I have one now and plan to use it.

TMCNo1
09-28-2006, 02:07 PM
You know... every time a thread like this comes up, the southern people like to chime in and remind everyone that it stays warm there year round. WE KNOW! ...And in most instances, we are not envious. I may be speaking for myself only, but I would never consider trying to survive a Florida or Arizona summer just so I could boat in January and February. I love summer AND I love winter. Don't you guys downhill ski???? If not, you are missing out on one of the greatest activities ever invented.


Yes sir, we do downhill ski! But, it's really expensive, cause we tear up so many props trying to get the boat to the top of the hill!

TMCNo1
09-28-2006, 02:12 PM
I've seen batterys that just sit and not disconnected start growing that yellow fung crap around the connection and that ain't fun cleaning off. I got a can of spray from an auto shop to spray on the posts after the battery is connected, it looked and smelled just like clear laquer. So when it ran out that is what I got "clear laquer", if you try this make sure it's dry on the posts before trying to start the motor, spark could start fire!!!

Try those red and green felt washers on the battery post you can buy just about anywhere auto parts are sold. I have used them for over 30 years on my boat batteries and they have never corroded. They stop BTD's [Battery Transmitted Diseases] from forming on the posts, because the have some kind of chemical in the felt.

erkoehler
09-28-2006, 02:14 PM
Why disconnect any wires?


Because there is always a draw when its connected.....it will go dead if you leave it all connected.

captain planet
09-28-2006, 02:51 PM
You know... every time a thread like this comes up, the southern people like to chime in and remind everyone that it stays warm there year round. WE KNOW! ...And in most instances, we are not envious. I may be speaking for myself only, but I would never consider trying to survive a Florida or Arizona summer just so I could boat in January and February. I love summer AND I love winter. Don't you guys downhill ski???? If not, you are missing out on one of the greatest activities ever invented.
No kidding. I agree with you, it doesn't bother me one bit that the snow flies here for a few months. It just makes me appreciate the time that I have to use my boat that much more.

What we ought to do is start pointing out our temp and humidity in July and August to the people in Florida, Arizona and other southern states. And don't give me this, "its a 'dry' heat" for those of you in Ariz., its still 100+ and you can have it.

Sorry for the slight thread jack, but jclose was pointing out what I have been thinking in my head about that very observation.

For what its worth, my battery sits in my basement and gets charged once a month with a trickle charger. I usually get about 5 years out of my batteries.

bigmac
09-28-2006, 05:45 PM
Because there is always a draw when its connected.....it will go dead if you leave it all connected.That won't matter if the battery is left on a float charger - a key component of the Big Mac battery management plan.

Let's recap my proposal:
Leave the battery in the boat
Leave all of the wires connected
Attach any of the hundred of so $35 float chargers/maintainers available at any hardware store and many grocery stores and leave it on all winter
Remove the float charger in the spring
Start your engine
No worries


I simply do not see the point in removing the battery from the boat or disconnecting the wires. It doesn't make sense to me. Doug had the best reason...."because the manual says so..."

RickDV
09-28-2006, 05:47 PM
I simply do not see the point in removing the battery from the boat or disconnecting the wires. It doesn't make sense to me. Doug had the best reason...."because the manual says so..."

The question is if extended exposure to bitter cold will affect the life or performance of the battery, even if it is on a maintainer all winter?

I leave my car battery in the cold all winter, so is the boat battery any different?

Hmmm...did I just answer my own question???

east tx skier
09-28-2006, 05:52 PM
Doug had the best reason...."because the manual says so..."

But the manual doesn't mention a trickle charger. The manual just says to unhook it and store and recharge it come Spring. I've unhooked mine, but have never taken a charger to it.

bigmac
09-28-2006, 05:57 PM
The question is if extended exposure to bitter cold will affect the life or performance of the battery, even if it is on a maintainer all winter?

The answer is "no". A charged lead/acid battery freezes at about 54 degrees below zero F. The cold has no effect on a battery if it doesn't freeze.

bigmac
09-28-2006, 06:06 PM
But the manual doesn't mention a trickle charger. The manual just says to unhook it and store and recharge it come Spring. I've unhooked mine, but have never taken a charger to it.
There are a number of old-time misimpressions and wive's tales that have persisted for decades when it comes to lead/acid batteries. One such is the concept that keeping a battery on concrete will cause it to discharge through the case. Not true.

I contend that a battery will self-discharge and sulfation will occur in a battery that is removed and left all winter on a warm Texas work bench.

I further contend that such an approach is harder on a battery and will lead to more likely early failure than leaving it on a float charger (note that there is a difference between a float charger and a trickle charger) in a huge pile of snow during a bitter Minnesota winter.

Now, normally, I don't buy anecdotes. If I did, I'm sure I'd be using Amsoil in every internal combustion engine I own...but...let me say...I have a battery on my fuel tank pump that I use to fill the boats, tractors and snowmobiles. That battery is always outside on a Schumacher float charger 24/7 including winter except for when I pull it down to the lake to fill the boats. I've had the same battery for almost 9 years.

east tx skier
09-28-2006, 06:16 PM
Just for clarification, the battery has always stayed in the boat with a cable pulled. :)

I know that's beside the point, but just sayin'.

NeilM
09-29-2006, 11:24 AM
Bigmac, I agree. The series 27 (one of those long ones) deep-cycle battery on my travel trailer just passed 10 years of use - nine winters outside, on a maintainer. It's been used until fully discharged many, many times over the years and still works great. Key is to ensure that it always has water (fill with distilled).

dpolen
09-29-2006, 02:18 PM
Wow guys...some very interesting points of view. Thanks for sharing your perspectives, I enjoy seeing the forum being used to share opinions and pros/cons.