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WalleyeWarrior

On board charger - which one?

16 posts in this topic

I'm looking to install an onboard charger because I'm tired of using a "normal" charger and with having to go battery to battery until they are all charged. I've got a 24V trolling motor with the (2) batteries located in the bow as well as the starting battery near the transom. What would you suggest as a good option? I certainly don't need the best charger on the market, but I want to get something decent. Also, would it make sense to install it under my console? I've got a Fishhawk and don't really have any other options that I can think of. Thanks in advance.

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(note from admin, please read forum policy before posting again, thanks)

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You shouldn't have to worry about your starting battery as most engines have alternators in them that will keep your battery charged as you run from spot to spot. Just be careful if you are running any electronics or a radio/cd player from that battery because the slow draw from those devices will eventually wear it down if you let them run all day and you don't run your motor. I too have a Fishhawk (1850) and our charger is located in the center rod storage compartment just in front of the two batteries. It's a tight fit in there, but is protected from the elements. Mine is manufactured by a popular trolling motor company and has performed perfectly. If you can't do that, then you should be fine running it under your console. The hardest part about having it tucked under the rod storage compartment in the center and then behind the two batteries is it is very hard to see the charging lights when it's plugged in. When it's under the console you can see everything that is going on. Just my .02

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It would be a good idea to get a three-bank charger as long as you're buying one. The engine doesn't charge the battery to capacity like a dedicated charger will and running across the lake doesn't do the job to keep a deep cycle in top condition. It's best to completely charge a deep cycle after every use.

You'll need an longer charging cable for your starting battery if you're going to mount the charger near the console and most companies that sell chargers also sell those longer cables. The cables that come with the charger aren't that long so depending how far away you mount the charger from the batteries you may end up needing three extensions.

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I agree with Limit, get a three bank and save yourself buying a bigger one in the future. I would never trust my motor to charge the battery enough. I get home, plug in the one cord and the whole boat is ready to go out next time.

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Probably the biggest question is how quickly do you need the batteries recharged?

If you fish late into the evening, then need the batteries to be fully recharged first thing in the morning, a 10A or maybe even 15A per bank charger is probably the way to go.

If you have 10-12 hours or more between outings, or don't drain the batteries heavily, a 5A per bank charger is probably going to be fine.

The one I sort of have my eye on right now is the Guest ICS 16153. It's a 3-bank, 6A per bank charger with selectable battery type per bank. You can find this one shipped to your door for about $235.

Another one that is usually about 1/2 the price of that Guest charger, but not as deluxe, is the ProMariner ProMite 5/5/3. It's also a 3-bank charger but has two 5A banks for your two trolling batteries and the 3A bank goes to your starting battery.

Xantrex has a couple of very interesting chargers with lots of features, but they're not fully sealed so they have more stringent mounting restrictions.

I mounted my OB charger under my console and it works fine there. I did have to extend the battery leads, but that was no big deal. Just be sure you check with the manufacturer first. Some claim they will not honor the warranty if you cut and splice the charger leads.

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go with a three bank as the guys said. That way you KNOW that your starting is ready too! Call the company( which ever one you go with!) about extending the leads. I have a three bank dual pro. They were great when i called and asked what gage wire to use and where and how to make the splice. Check with the company also about your warranty.

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That's interesting. I never charged the starting battery one time last summer. It fires every time and didn't charge it this spring either and the volts hold at 13. I'll have to make sure to watch it just in case.

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It does make a big difference on where you fish. I am restricted to some lakes where we can idle only. From my understanding, idling puts very little charge back into the battery. If you make alot of runs at half throttle or more, then you should be good.

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That's interesting. I never charged the starting battery one time last summer. It fires every time and didn't charge it this spring either and the volts hold at 13. I'll have to make sure to watch it just in case.

Probably depends on what you have connected and how you use the boat.

If you do much night fishing, have depthfinders, livewells, radio, etc to the starting battery and don't run the engine much, a charger on that one is nice to have.

If one runs the big engine a fair bit, it probably would keep the starting battery charged up adequately.

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I would highly recommend a Minnkota 330 onboard charger. The only downside of this model is its length, you need a lot of room for installation. Go for 10 amps to each bank,an automatic shutoff, and a waterproof design no matter what charger you decide on. Back in the days when I worked at scheels, I spent a lot of time talking to an interstate rep. He said that a battery's charge capacity is kind of like a balloon. It gets harder to blow up a balloon (charge a battery) towards the end when it gets filled up (like 90% charged). You need the extra amps to get the top 10% of the batteries charged up. If you leave batteries sitting without a full charge, a chemical process prevents the lead plates from accepting a full charge in the future. You'll get a lot more life out of your batteries this way.

I also like the idea of a 3 bank charger, for the reasons stated above. If I forget to turn off the circut breaker, my lowance gps (net system) will drain my cranking batter even when it's off. I've had bad luck with 2 dual pro chargers from CSI. Both were replaced, but they would both overcharge and fry my batteries. Don't forget to add distilled water to your batteries every 3 months during the boating season as long as they are not sealed or gels.

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You shouldn't have to worry about your starting battery as most engines have alternators in them that will keep your battery charged as you run from spot to spot.

Here's my take on the 2 vs 3 bank charger (and charging the starting battery):

I already (in my mind anyway) know I don't spend enough time on the water, and reducing the number of things that can go wrong when I want to fish goes a long ways when it comes to my limited time on the water. If one can swing it, it's nice to have that peace of mind.

I'd check with Dave (Perchjerker on the forums) at Pro Fishing Supply as others on here have had good luck with his service and pricing.

Good Luck!

marine_man

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Dual Pro makes a good battery charger, so does Minn Kota. I have Dual Pro in my boat. There's other good chargers out there too, but I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for when it comes to battery chargers ---- not just the number of amps they put out, but also their quality and longevity, and how well they maintain and extend the life of your batteries. As expensive as boat batteries are, extending their life for a year or two will quickly pay for the cost of a battery charger.

I recommend you get a bank for every battery on your boat, so 2 trolling motor batteries and a starting battery would be a 3 bank charger.

The number of amps per bank is up to you, it depends on how much you run down your batteries and how much time you have to recharge them before you go back on the water. I have 10 amps per bank just to make sure I get the batteries fully charged before I need them again.

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I'd like to thank everyone for their input. It is nice to have somewhere to go where a person can get good, unbiased advice/information. That being said, I definitely am going go with the 3 bank (now I gotta convince the wife if it's a worthwhile expense).

Bak2MN: I see your post got deleted (before I wrote your info down) because it violated forum policy. I may be interested, but don't want either of us to get booted from the forums. I'm guessing you may have to put the listing in the sales forum. Or maybe someone else has an idea on how we can do this without problem.

Thanks again, everyone.

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There's a new MK 330 selling in the Detroit Lakes regional section. It's in the for sale section on top. Looks like no one has bought it yet. Might be worth while making a counter offer.

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I have a MinnKota 460 Charger, and it works well. 4 banks of chargers, 15 amps each - doesn't take long to charge, and it's a solid unit.

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