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Battery Charging problem!!!


Guest Jupiter Mist

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Hi all,

For those who were with us on NYE please dont take the mickey but we have a battery problem two guns

The story so far....

Mrs Bling has complained that I had tried to kill her once we found out (with the help of MBird) that we had a cooked battery giving off hydrogen fumes :naughty::naughty::naughty:

For the more technically astute, the failed battery was on the starboard side of our F33, therefore, one of the two leisure batteries.

Mrs Bling got a new one and our friends very kindly fitted it whilst I was away doing a wedding!

Everything has been fine so far, however, we moored back up at St olaves on Sunday 2nd and hooked up to shore power as normal (ie battery charger is on).

For no real reason, I decided to fire up the engines before our departure from a week on the broads.

To my surprise, there was no power in the starboard batteries (one having been replaced just a few days before).

But what was more strange is that neither the alternator from the running engine (once it had been started by linking the port battery) nor the battery charger when the engines were stopped, seemed to be giving the batteries a charge.

Weird huh?

Now my thinking is that its neither a battery problem, alternator problem, nor battery management system problem, but more likely a connection problem, bearing in mind that during the summer we experienced a failure of the intercooler due to a connection fault in the alternator on the starboard side.

Any clues???

Lb :pirate :pirate :pirate

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Hi Adam,

Was your battery charger switched on at Coldham Hall?

As you had just done a 3 hour run down the river then either one of the leads is lose or you have a problem that effects the charge from both the alternator and Battery charger.

Would start with the obvious and check the battery leads.

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As you have already had a "boiled" battery I wouldn't rule out the management system so quickly it's really a case of follow my leader with an instrument from the battery bank to the alternator checking for charge rate and that everything is bright and tight as you go. Another reason I hate the ubiquitous volt meter, what a boat should really have is a proper charge - discharge amp meter hooked up to each bank or separate.

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thanks so far chaps...food for thought.

OK. Trev could be right in that the isolation switch could be faulty but I dont think its off.....I am not on the boat at the minute so cant check, however, I think that it is switched on because the lights on the dash were illuminated when the key was turned. That , of course , doesnt mean that its not faulty, and to be fair, its the first time it has been used since we bought the boat last year...so the switch is one possibility.

The charger was on at Coldham, and of course we were running for three hours for the journey back.

I kind of favour the battery lead thoery in as much as when the batteries have been "spent" before, the minute that you either engage the battery charger or the alternator, the Ammeter shows around 40 amps of current being drawn into the battery.

In our case...there is zero, either from alternator or battery charger.

I am rather hoping that it is just a loose lead!!! :naughty::naughty::naughty:

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The worry here is that you have already boiled a battery, it could be that your charging system has clicked something out due to a fault condition.

I am afraid that if it is not a loose lead, Much as I hate spending money, I would invest in paying someone who knew how the charging system worked to check it out, or at the very least be doing some serious reading on charging systems and having a chat to Sealine to find out how it is wired.

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Difficult to pinpoint anything definate Adam, but try the simple stuff first. Check all the wires that were disconnected when I removed the dud battery have been put back on (I remember there were 4 negative leads on the one terminal on the knackered battery), just incase one had dropped behind the battery box.

Next, I would turn on the battery charger and check the voltage across all the batteries (which should be around 13-14V I would guess). After that I would start the port engine and check the voltage again on the port battery, to make sure it is getting charge. Repeat this with the starboard engine, and that should give some indication of whether a charge is being sent to the batteries.

When we first bought Serenity, we had a problem with the starboard batteries not maintaining charge. It turned out to be a combination of a knackered battery (a cranking battery being used as a deep cycle domestic) and a knackered battery charger. The charger had failed inside such that it was permanently connecting the port and starboard banks together. This meant the good batteries were trying to charge the kaput one in an endless cycle and bringing them all down.

If you want me to pop over with my voltmeter any time Adam, just let me know and at least we could try to find anything simple.

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Guest DAYTONA-BILL

I remember one of my cars years ago had a voltage regulator fault, and every so often it would charge at 20+volts, then it did the same continuously. I was`nt that bothered, but someone told me it could fry all your electrics, and burn out the battery, even make the battery explode :o . I was wondering if it could be a similar problem, or the voltage regulator has just completely given out?. I`m probably just clutching at straws, but it might be worth thinking about. I hope you sort it soon, and it does`nt break the bank. Regfards ............. Neil.

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I am afraid that if it is not a loose lead, Much as I hate spending money, I would invest in paying someone who knew how the charging system worked to check it out, or at the very least be doing some serious reading on charging systems and having a chat to Sealine to find out how it is wired.

I can't agree more as these new electrical management systems can be a nightmare for an amateur. However I'd still take up Mark's kind offer first!! :clap:clap:clap

Mark said:

difficult to pinpoint anything definite Adam, but try the simple stuff first. Check all the wires that were disconnected when I removed the dud battery have been put back on (I remember there were 4 negative leads on the one terminal on the knackered battery), just incase one had dropped behind the battery box.

If you want me to pop over with my voltmeter any time Adam, just let me know and at least we could try to find anything simple.

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Hi All!

Thanks for all of your replies and I seem to have miraculously solved the problem...no-one more surprised than me!! :naughty: :naughty: :naughty:

For the benefit of anyone has, or experiences in the future, here is what I found out through (slow) process of elimination.....

Upon returning to the boat today, the port engine was fine (as it was before), however, the starboard engine (which has the new battery)...dead...barely a click of a solenoid, however, pressing the link switch to engage the working port side electrics...starts first time.

I checked the obvious things like Isolator, battery connections etc and could not see anything particularly obvious.

So then the head scratching started but then I had a Eureka moment. Our assumption all along has that the leisure batteries had run flat since the replacement...

I couldnt understand why the battery charger was not charging a flat battery and once the engined was started using the battery link, why the alternator was not giving it the 30-40 amp charge that it should do when it finds a flat battery!

Duh!!!

The batteries are already still fully charged!!!!!!! :shocked

This was easy to confirm as the Volt meter on the electric panel was reading a healthy 14v and my handheld voltmeter showed 13.2v on both batteries.

When I switched the isolator off, as you would expect, the electric panel volt meter drops to zero.

Further confirmation, now I know what the leisure batteries power, was that all my 12v electrics are fine...fridge, water pump etc etc.

So if there isnt a problem with the batteries what could it be???

A further few pokes of the wiring then she suddenly fired up ok...

At one point I thought it might simply be a faulty ignition switch but this did not stack up with the fact the it would start when linked.

Anyway....a bit more perseverance and, lo and behold, she started firing fine, time after time (in fact 25 times without failure.)

Each time the Ammeter did what you would expect when you start the engine and a healthy charge from the alternator for the first 10 second or so indicated that the alternator was not anywhere in the problem after all.

Similarly, the battery charger has been ruled out.

So whilst all is now fine...I am still not entirely sure what caused the problem, but given all of the above, could it not have been a sticky starter motor, especially given how cold it was at the time????

Hope this may help someone, somewhere, sometime save what could have been an expensive job identifying that nothing appears to be wrong or worse, a dodgy electrician replacing an alternator unnecessarily :naughty:

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Hi Adam

Are the leisure batteries suitable for cranking from ? with a high cranking amp output. Also worth disconnecting the two batteries from each other leave for a week and check them separately as the old one could be showing charge straight away causing the new one not to charge. Batteries in a bank should be all changed together.

Jonathan :Stinky

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Hi Johnathan,

More food for thought....

I believe that they are suitable, although not replaced both at the same time, the other is less than a year old having been replaced by Burton Waters when Ian surveyed the vessel.

They are both 105AH so each would be enough to crank in their own right.

As I left the boat, everything seems absolutely fine, however, I will be monitoring their performance as we still have not uncovered the reason for the first failure cookout!! :naughty::naughty::naughty:

adam...

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Hi Adam

the 110ah is the capacity of the battery and if a true leisure battery (deep cycle traction) is happy to deliver 10 amp an hour for 11 hours in theory, a cranking battery will happily deliver 400amp for 15 mins .

I am sure this has been posted before but worth a read for anyone buying batteries.

http://www.power-store.com/view-item.as ... 229&id=44&

Jonathan

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