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View Full Version : Battery: leave in or take out?


Upper Michigan Prostar190
11-07-2005, 05:11 PM
OK, I have three mechanic ( yes, all certified and two are ASE master techs. One with 20 years in, the other 2 with 10 years each) buddies that all told me that it is unnecessary to remove the battery from my boat for the winter as long as it has a full charge and I turn my battery disconnect switch off. They said that battery life can sometimes be reduced by "positive plate deterioration" if its subject to warm temps too. :confused: anyway, they said its a waste of my time to pull the battery out every fall. They said just make sure is a good charge at fall, and give it a good charge in the spring and I am good to go.
Now one of the master tech friends is a boat guy, and he is VERY anal retentive about proper boat maintanence on his boat and he leaves both his batteries in his boat for winter. he just charges them good and turns the battery disconnect swtich off. so with 3 out of 3 very proifiecient and knowledgeable techs telling me this I am thinking I should listen.

Just curious what everyone else thinks on this. :confused: all votes in teh poll and comments are welcome. :)

now for what its worth I have a car battery that I have always left in my classic muscle car during winters, and it always starts like a champ every spring, never misses.

UMP

Dan K
11-07-2005, 05:16 PM
UMP,
I take mine out and put on an intelligent trickle charger in the basement, works for me.

east tx skier
11-07-2005, 05:26 PM
I've been meaning to buy a trickle charger. At this point, I just leave it in and disconnect the negative terminal. If I'm going to charge it, given its location, I'd remove it from the boat.

6ballsisall
11-07-2005, 05:28 PM
It takes 30 seconds at most to do and my family has always done it with their boats so I guess thats why I do it. I have not quantifiable data to back up why I do it or you don't need to do it. I guess I am just a lemming here :D

stevo137
11-07-2005, 05:29 PM
I leave mine in. I would think that it's better to keep it in the garage and give it a charge during the winter.
I have had a Optima gel for 5 seasons and all of a sudden if I don't start the boat for 10 days or so, it drains and needs to be recharged. Signs that it's shot.
Looks like it's time for a new one next spring...

Tennesseeski
11-07-2005, 05:52 PM
I always leave mine in the boat. I just disconnect the pos and neg and don't see any problem. :twocents:

ted shred
11-07-2005, 05:54 PM
I used to take my battery out every winter,and a friend of mine would leave his in.Next season he would have no problems with his battery.He told me "your working to hard". He was right. For the last ten years i've left it in durring winter and I have one less thing to do next spring.

bigmac
11-07-2005, 06:04 PM
I've done both, I doubt that it matters at all either way. I removed the battery from the Whaler and storing it in a heated garage (not on the concrete). I'll put a maintainer on it every few weeks or so. The MasterCraft I just left the battery in and connected. I have a maintainer/charger on it and I'll just leave that plugged in and connected all winter. I've connected the charger/maintainer through the 12-volt accessory cable/plug that normally connects to my lift's motor in the summer. I don't even have to remove the seat panel and expose the battery - just plug it in through the 12-volt dongle.

I have a 200 gallon fuel storage tank on wheels that I haul down to the lake with the garden tractor for filling the boats and snowmobiles. The pump is 12 volt and I have a charger/maintainer plugged in 24/7 summer and winter. I've been using the same 12 volt auto battery for about 5 years.

Motorcycles, I also leave the batteries in all winter, rotating the charger/maintainer between them every so often. Same for snowmobiles in the summer.

I must have a half-dozen of these things around the garage..
http://www.batterychargers.com/images/FullProd/SE-1-12S.jpg

88 PS190
11-07-2005, 06:13 PM
main thing in my opinion is paying attention to it, if you leave your boat somewhere prone to freezing you have to keep a charge on the battery, or else it will freeze and the battery will be done.

Leroy
11-07-2005, 06:29 PM
I've always taken mine out, but think that is not necessary. If you google you'll find many articles about storage. I think batteries now have much better self discharge properties. If you store fully charged it makes it through the winter fine. If their is leakage current, internal or external and the voltage goes below some threshold then you do have damage.

http://www.powerstream.com/Storage.htm

Mag_Red
11-07-2005, 06:31 PM
I take mine out and put it on a Battery Tender

MarkP
11-07-2005, 06:36 PM
I take my battery out every winter. I also replace my battery (in my boat) about every 4 seasons. Only because I donít have the AAA coverage on the water.

Kell
11-07-2005, 08:04 PM
Take out and trickle charge once a month during winter.

Laurel_Lake_Skier
11-07-2005, 08:48 PM
For the little time it takes to pull the battery out, I think it is worthwhile. If for some reason the battery discharges, it will freeze (assuming it still gets cold in the UP during the winter). Freezing will not only damage the battery plates/cells but could cause leakage of acid if the case cracks. :twocents:

OhioX14
11-07-2005, 09:11 PM
Except for one winter when the dealer stored my boat I've always pulled the battery but I'm not sure it's necessary. The main thing is to store it fully charged and hit it again with the charger in the spring.

Speaking of charging, a local Interstate battery dealer once told me that all these low amperage maintainers and trickle chargers can actually reduce the overall life of the battery because they don't provide enough current to knock the buildup off the plates which he said is essential for maximizing the life. Better to hit it occassionally with a solid higher amperage charger like the roll around types a typical car dealer uses.

ski_king
11-07-2005, 09:53 PM
I always removed mine, but rarly got more than 3 years from a battery.
Last year I disconnected but left in. It was worthless in the spring, 2 years old anyway.
This year I bought a Optima Red Top, I have it in the basement for storage. Nice to know I have a spare if one of the car or truck batteries suddenly die one cold winter morning.

Workin' 4 Toys
11-07-2005, 10:57 PM
Always pluck it out. Put in on a tender. I have been reading into these tenders a bit too. Seems some do good, some don't. And others are actually "suppose" to extend the life of the battery. More on that later if I ever get back to reading more on it.

Workin' 4 Toys
11-07-2005, 11:00 PM
I leave mine in. I would think that it's better to keep it in the garage and give it a charge during the winter.
I have had a Optima gel for 5 seasons and all of a sudden if I don't start the boat for 10 days or so, it drains and needs to be recharged. Signs that it's shot.
Looks like it's time for a new one next spring...
If you have a blue top, I believe they have a 5 year warranty. They might have changed that since they were bought out, I had one replaced under warranty awhile back. No questions asked, gave me a new one after a very short diagnostics test on it.

shepherd
11-07-2005, 11:08 PM
UMP, I'd be inclined to go with your expert friends but you don't say whether they store the boat in freezin' temps up there. Do they?

I don't take mine out from the Mastercraft but it rarely gets below freezing here. My Formula has 4 batteries (2 hooked up, and 2 on "standby"). I never take the batteries out of that boat either, but when I had it up in MD, it seems I had to replace two of them every spring. I don't remember having that problem with my MC when I had it up there years ago. Generally, I just leave them hooked up and turn off the battery disconnect switch.

stevo137
11-08-2005, 12:30 AM
If you have a blue top, I believe they have a 5 year warranty. They might have changed that since they were bought out, I had one replaced under warranty awhile back. No questions asked, gave me a new one after a very short diagnostics test on it.
Yep, it's a blue top. Thanks, I'll check into it!

erkoehler
11-08-2005, 01:46 AM
It takes 30 seconds at most to do and my family has always done it with their boats so I guess thats why I do it. I have not quantifiable data to back up why I do it or you don't need to do it. I guess I am just a lemming here :D


Same goes for me, the battery would most definetly freeze and thaw possibly up wards of 10 times if I were to leave it in. That can't be good for it even if it is charged. I waste the 1 minute and pull it out.

Ric
11-08-2005, 09:18 AM
I can't go skiing if I take the battery out :D
OK, I have three mechanic ( yes, all certified and two are ASE master techs. One with 20 years in, the other 2 with 10 years each) buddies that all told me that it is unnecessary to remove the battery from my boat for the winter as long as it has a full charge and I turn my battery disconnect switch off. They said that battery life can sometimes be reduced by "positive plate deterioration" if its subject to warm temps too. :confused: anyway, they said its a waste of my time to pull the battery out every fall. They said just make sure is a good charge at fall, and give it a good charge in the spring and I am good to go.
Now one of the master tech friends is a boat guy, and he is VERY anal retentive about proper boat maintanence on his boat and he leaves both his batteries in his boat for winter. he just charges them good and turns the battery disconnect swtich off. so with 3 out of 3 very proifiecient and knowledgeable techs telling me this I am thinking I should listen.

Just curious what everyone else thinks on this. :confused: all votes in teh poll and comments are welcome. :)

now for what its worth I have a car battery that I have always left in my classic muscle car during winters, and it always starts like a champ every spring, never misses.

UMP

jmac197
11-08-2005, 09:49 AM
I have always removed it. For the few minutes it takes to remove it and the small storage spot in the basement, it seems like a good idea. Besides, how would I wax the battery box if I didn't?

Later
Jim

John B
11-08-2005, 09:51 AM
I disconnect and leave in but my boat lives in a garage :D

Workin' 4 Toys
11-08-2005, 09:59 AM
Yep, it's a blue top. Thanks, I'll check into it!
If they do, watch what they give you. They have I think 4 different bluetops now(may differ from what you have). Some are for starting and deep cycle, and others only deep cycle. I think they only designate the blue meaning it has marine threaded terminals on top. If you don't deep cycle it OFTEN, then a red or yellow top my fit your application better with marine terminal adapters.
In my opinion the yellow or red tops work better in ski boats. Blue is better for fishing boats, and pontoons and the like.
Last I checked the blue were the most $, and if you get a good person at the battey shop, they may exchange it for a different model of your choice.

vogelm1
11-08-2005, 10:48 AM
Take it out, but not sure why - habit I guess. It is nice to inspect the case and give it a general cleaning, lube the posts, trickle charge, etc. There is some peace of mind that when installed in the spring it's charge is topped-off and the boat will start, just about guaranteed.

stevo137
11-08-2005, 10:56 AM
Thanks W4T, I'll check into it.
By the way, I noticed that my battery case has a small crack on the bottom and there is water underneath that won't drain.
I would think that it would drain into the bilge but it doesn't.
Now I'm concerned that it will freeze in there and I don't like the fact that many times there is water in the battery case surrounding the battery.
Anyone have any ideas???
Thanks in advance.

bigmac
11-08-2005, 10:57 AM
Same goes for me, the battery would most definetly freeze and thaw possibly up wards of 10 times if I were to leave it in. That can't be good for it even if it is charged. I waste the 1 minute and pull it out.

The freezing point of the electrolyte in a charged lead-acid battery is -92 degrees F, so keeping a charger-maintainer on it - it simply WILL NOT freeze. Keeping a charger-maintener on the battery will also help to prevent sulfation, which WILL occur if you store the battery, even in a warm garage. The sulfate crystals will create little short between plates - the more you get as the battery ages, the more the battery is susceptible to self-discharge. Storing it in a partially charged state is the primary cause of sulfation. You can charge it at the beginning of the storage season, but they will all self-discharge a little, and the more it self-discharges the more sulfation takes place, and the more sulfation the more self-discharge etc etc etc.

bigmac
11-08-2005, 11:29 AM
Thanks W4T, I'll check into it.
By the way, I noticed that my battery case has a small crack on the bottom and there is water underneath that won't drain.
I would think that it would drain into the bilge but it doesn't.
Now I'm concerned that it will freeze in there and I don't like the fact that many times there is water in the battery case surrounding the battery.
Anyone have any ideas???
Thanks in advance.

The case of the battery is waterproof. Water in the battery box with the battery in there won't matter in the summer. Naturally, not such a hot idea to have much water in there in the winter as it might put a lot of pressure on the battery case and crack it if it freezes (unlikely, but possible).

In the old days, the cases of lead-acid batteries were porous, and letting them sit in water was bad. Likewise, the battery cases of yesteryear and their porosity led to the current old-wives-tale that you shouldn't store a lead-acid battery on concrete or it would self-discharge and/or erode the concrete. Those things haven't been true for many many years.

(caveat: if the battery is dirty or greasy enough to provide a conductive path to the terminals, it COULD self-discharge to ground as well as to the other terminal - so it would be more accurate to say that storing/charging a CLEAN lead-acid battery on concrete is not a problem.)

stevo137
11-08-2005, 11:35 AM
It's just strange that underneath the battery case there is an area where water doesn't drain and I'm not sure what can be done about it.

JDK
11-08-2005, 11:51 AM
Keeping a charger-maintener on the battery will also help to prevent sulfation, which WILL occur if you store the battery, even in a warm garage. The sulfate crystals will create little short between plates - the more you get as the battery ages, the more the battery is susceptible to self-discharge. Storing it in a partially charged state is the primary cause of sulfation. You can charge it at the beginning of the storage season, but they will all self-discharge a little, and the more it self-discharges the more sulfation takes place, and the more sulfation the more self-discharge etc etc etc.

Excellent expanation......and this is the reason I use one of these instead of a 'battery tender' type charger.
http://www.accumate.co.uk/it010003.html
Yamaha recommends them for snowmobile and bike batterys, and they're about $50 at most dealerships.
They work fine on car/truck size batteries (the cycle just takes longer) and I have recovered 3 batteries that I thought were junk.
Excellent product for the $$$

bigmac
11-08-2005, 11:57 AM
Excellent expanation......and this is the reason I use one of these instead of a 'battery tender' type charger.
http://www.accumate.co.uk/it010003.html
Yamaha recommends them for snowmobile and bike batterys, and they're about $50 at most dealerships.
They work fine on car/truck size batteries (the cycle just takes longer) and I have recovered 3 batteries that I thought were junk.
Excellent product for the $$$

Yes, this is the newest technology in these "float" chargers and charger-maintainers. Some sort of "pulsing" technology during the charge/float cycle which theoretically breaks up the little sulfate bridges and (theoretically) has the capability of recovering a battery from sulfation.

Yamaha sell them as "Optimate" IIRC and they are indeed supposed to be pretty good.

88 PS190
11-08-2005, 11:57 AM
If the little area beneath the batter were to drain, I'd be pissed as well. If my battery were to leak/boil over, i'd want to contain as much of the acid in the battery box as possible so that i could neutralize it with baking soda and water before it ate my boat.

stevo137
11-08-2005, 12:07 PM
If the little area beneath the batter were to drain, I'd be pissed as well. If my battery were to leak/boil over, i'd want to contain as much of the acid in the battery box as possible so that i could neutralize it with baking soda and water before it ate my boat.
I could understand that but let me clarify. The actual case should be sealed but it has a small crack and a very small hole on the bottom.
Underneath this area is where the water is and it does not drain out. I would think that that would be the bilge area..
I could use some type of poly or epoxy resin to repair it but want to get that water out of there first.
(Sorry about the threadjack)

88 PS190
11-08-2005, 02:08 PM
We use a computerized peak charger that desulfates/reconditions as well, it has a maintainer function to it as well, that switches on a trickle charge every so often.

bigmac
11-08-2005, 02:21 PM
We use a computerized peak charger that desulfates/reconditions as well, it has a maintainer function to it as well, that switches on a trickle charge every so often.
It's the latest thing in battery chargers, I agree. My contention is that a $30 charger/maintainer on your battery and there's no need to remove or disconnect the battery - in fact leaving it in the boat with the C/M attached is better for your battery than removing it and storing it on a warm shelf in the basement.

Upper Michigan Prostar190
11-08-2005, 04:43 PM
Well then......this is quite interesting!!!! :popcorn: I have always removed batterys from my parents jetskis every winter. those last a few years then they are done. I bought an Interstate cranking battery for the boat this spring and I checked the charge several times over the summer and it was fine. This is a controversial topic. lots of opinions. I will have to think about it. I know there are dangers of the battery freezing in the temps we get here. and I have a good # of people who say that a battery sitting in a warm basement isnt a good thing either. so I dont know...... maybe I will flip a coin. :confused: or should I call up Miss Cleo, that mystical fortune teller with the conry commercials and see what she says?

Thanks for all the input and keep it coming!

UMP :)

88 PS190
11-08-2005, 06:42 PM
I remove them and they go on a wooden shelf in the garage, where it doesn't freeze, but it also isn't in a warm basement either. Then they are cycled repeatedly over the course of the winter. I think it is best. My issue w/ putting a charger on in the boat under the tarp is that batteries on chargers release acidic fumes, these fumes can damage the boat, and are explosive to an extent. Trapping them in a confined area w/ your carpet and such is just not an ace move in my mind. Also it is impossible to know if something has gone wrong w/ your battery when you cannot see it. That's why my batteries or taken off the charger, after a cycle, then i run them again a week later. This goes for snowmobile batts. boat batts. and even car batteries in the cars that don't get driven in winter. Keep em up...

bigmac
11-08-2005, 07:59 PM
I remove them and they go on a wooden shelf in the garage, where it doesn't freeze, but it also isn't in a warm basement either. Then they are cycled repeatedly over the course of the winter. I think it is best. My issue w/ putting a charger on in the boat under the tarp is that batteries on chargers release acidic fumes, these fumes can damage the boat, and are explosive to an extent. Trapping them in a confined area w/ your carpet and such is just not an ace move in my mind. Also it is impossible to know if something has gone wrong w/ your battery when you cannot see it.

The volume of hydrogen released from a charged battery on a maintainer is negligible. Even more negligable compared to the 30-60 gallons of gasoline the boat is sitting on, and even worse than that for those that don't fill the gas tank full. One should worry FAR more about gasoline fumes in the bilge and under that tarp than the itty bitty amount of hydrogen released from the battery.

LakeZoar32
05-03-2006, 06:57 PM
If the boat is left out in a below freezing area, I would take it out.
I leave mine in the boat because it is uncovered in the garage that stays above freezing. I do disconnect the ground wire to prevent any accidental drain and put a 24hr trickle charge on before I launch in the spring. :cool:

bigmac
05-03-2006, 08:37 PM
If the boat is left out in a below freezing area, I would take it out.
I leave mine in the boat because it is uncovered in the garage that stays above freezing. I do disconnect the ground wire to prevent any accidental drain and put a 24hr trickle charge on before I launch in the spring. :cool:
The freezing point of the electrolyte in a charged lead-acid battery is -92 degrees F, so if left on a float charger it simply won't freeze. Storing it in a partially charged state will cause sulfation, so it can self-discharge even if disconnected from everything and kept in a warm garage. Trickle chargers can still overcharge the battery.

Bert
05-03-2006, 09:36 PM
Take it out for the winter

tommcat
05-04-2006, 07:38 AM
i'm also an ASE master (which is pretty meaningless) and a Ford senior master tech and i leave mine in the chevelle and the boat all winter.

the reason for this is because i'm lazy;)

6ballsisall
05-04-2006, 08:26 AM
Friends left theres in and hooked up all winter in their Tige. I was shocked (as were they) when they dropped it in the water it started right up! :eek:

Hoff1
05-04-2006, 11:30 AM
I leave mine in the boat, temperature gets to around 0 around here every year (I think this year was 4). I've had the boat for 5 years and it cranks up right away. I've never charged it our even disconnected it. I also usuaully play the stereo for a couple of hours before I put it up for the winter while I'm working on it. Even had to jump start my Jeep one year and still didn't seem to affect it's ability to start in the spring. :twocents:

Hoocher
05-04-2006, 08:59 PM
I live in Arizona with temperatures up to 115, but I leave the 2 batteries inside the boat. But the trick is to have a solar panel going thru a solar charger and then thru a battery isolater to maintain the batteries. I put a quick disconnect on the solar panel to remove when going to the lake and the panel rests on the swim platform. It works great for boats. You can get small panels at checker auto pretty cheaply. The solar charger prevents discharging at night or overcharging depending on voltage.

Kevin 89MC
05-04-2006, 11:04 PM
I always pull mine now, after killing 2 by leaving them in (car & motorcycle) one winter. They froze & even swelled up. Must not have been fully charged (and it gets f'n cold up here!) Went for many years with just a manual charger to juice them up in the spring (they always seemed to be mostly dead). Seems I was only getting a few years out of them. Got a trickle charger/maintainer that I rotate thru 3 batteries, and it seems to help. Interesting read here seeing the wide range of answers & results.