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wastewaterguru

What's the difference??

20 posts in this topic

What is the advantage of using an on board charger?

I don't use a charger on the starter battery (haven't needed to charge it in two year).

My two trolling motor batteries are in parallel (12V) so I just hook a $35 sears charger (trickle charger) to one of those batteries and it charges both(takes me 30 seconds to hhok up the charger).

Is there another reason for having an onboard that I'm missing? Seems to me that it would just take up more space on the boat.

Several people have asked me why I don't have one, and I just wanted to ask if there were any performance reasons that I wasn't aware of......those onboards are expensive. Why do they cost more than the one I got at Sears?

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John K., a.k.a. wastewaterguru
Prior Lake, Minnesota

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John,

It's purely marketing.

If the charger manufacturer can create a perceived notion that an on-board charger is something you need, or better yet can't live without, you will probably buy it. If that perception were not created for you, you would need to exersize your option of deciding for yourself if the convenience of plugging in an on-board charger vs. hooking up your existing trickle charger would justify the additional costs.

Just my 2 cents worth.

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I will never get a boat without an onboard Charger. First, I just don't want to have to worry about bringing a charger along every trip. Second, it is just convienient to have it onboard, don't have to worry about forgetting it. I guess it is more of a convience thing but for fishing tournaments it sure is slick. The less stuff I have to remember to bring along the better. Just my preference.ScottS

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I don't fish a lot of tournaments and the boat is in the garage when not on the water so its no big deal to use the normal trickle charger.

Any ideas on why the big cost difference?
I think the word "marine" or "on board" is pretty much the only reason.

Why couldn't you take the components from a cheaper off the shelf charger, put them in a water resistant enclosure and mount it to your boat?

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John K., a.k.a. wastewaterguru
Prior Lake, Minnesota

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I have often wondered the same thing, WWG. My batteries are a little inaccessible on my boat, so hooking up the trickle charger takes me two minutes, instead of your 30 seconds. However, I think I can live with that. The convenience would be great, but I'd rather buy another rod or something with that money.

On board chargers seem to be much smaller than a regular trickle charger, which may explain some of the cost difference. They also must be completely water/moisture proof, which would add cost. Other than that, I think Hydro is right....the cost difference is just marketing. They can't be THAT much more expensive to manufacture.

It's like the cat litter deal. Scoopable is more expensive than non-scoopable only because it's a new idea. It actually costs less to manufacture than the regular stuff....it's all in how they position the product in the market.

And don't ask me why I know the cat litter thing.

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Onboard charges are built to take a pounding! If you are a weekend angler that doesn't fish real often or fish big water. Do what you want, I still recommend an onboard charger. They are more expensive then a $35 Sears charger and a lot more convienent.ScottS

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Guru,

I agree with ScottS- it is much more a convience thing than a necessity. I like mine, but I agree that it's definitely not something you need.
One drawback is that it takes up permanent space in your boat (not much room, but a little).
I'm glad I have mine, but it sounds like you're doing just fine without one.
Don't fix it if it ain't broken.
Scoot

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I just got my first boat last year and have been wondering about an onboard charger too... Do you still run an extension cord out to plug it in every night, or does it charge off the alternator on the outboard? And, if it runs off the alternator, do you have to troll around for an hour to charge the trolling battery? Thanks in advance for the info!

Capt'nJosh

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WastewaterGuru,

A couple of pluses to onboard charges. When you come home you just plug in the onboard charger and forget about it. the next time you go out fishing (whether it be one day or one month) your batteries are fully charged and ready to go. They monitor your batteries and automatically shut themselves off to avoid overcharging. The other advantage to this, you no longer need to pull your batteries out of the boat when you store it inside for the winter. Just make sure that you onboard charger is plugged in and it does all of the work

Josh,

It needs to be plugged in to work. No trolling around grin.gif Just plug it in!

------------------
Paul
PWaldow123@attbi.com

[This message has been edited by Pwaldow123 (edited 05-23-2002).]

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since you have your batteries hooked up so you only need one charger, it is not a big deal. if you run the outboard enough your alt. will keep your starting batt. up. the on board chargers are very handy for those of us that have two or three separate batt. to charge and a starting batt. i don't make very long runs so a couple times a year i do put a trickle charge on the starting batt.( just to make shure it is fully charged) it is much easier to just plug one unit in to charge my two trolling batt. ( i have a 24 v system) the on board units are spendy compared to a standard charger,but they are built to take the pounding of being in the boat all the time and are water proof. del

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Man I love the info I get off this site.

Thanks guys.

Pwaldow123, the charger I have is a trickle charger. If I attach it the batteries, it regulates the current just like the on-board chargers. I had it hooked in parallel to all three of my batteries all winter long.

If I had a 24v system where I needed to charge the batteries separately, I would consider an onboard. But since the boat stays in the garage and I only need to connect to one battery, I just couldn't justify that kind of expense when I could buy 2 or 3 rod and reel combos or a buttload of new baits for the price of an on-board.

------------------
John K., a.k.a. wastewaterguru
Prior Lake, Minnesota

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There is one major down fall of onboard chargers. If you go on a trip where you will be leaving your boat in the water for a few days and there is not an electrical outlet close to the dock you have no way to recharge your batteries. Sure it is a pain in the one-just-like-silly-me, but at least you have the option.

[This message has been edited by Herkey (edited 05-24-2002).]

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Whether you have a portable or an on-board, you still have to run the cord to the boat. There is no difference between the two in that respect.

Nevermind....I get it.

Take the batteries out of the boat, right? Yeah that is a pain in the butt. Good thought though. Mine are pretty easy to remove anyway....just heavy.


------------------
John K., a.k.a. wastewaterguru
Prior Lake, Minnesota

[This message has been edited by wastewaterguru (edited 05-24-2002).]

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I just installed an onboard and love it, I never have to worry about overcharging and wondering if the batteries are fully charged...just unplug and go.

They really are not as expensive as they used to be unless you need a charger that will fully recharge in less than five hours. I found one on hsolist for less than $80.

Most onboard chargers use a multi stage charging method that is supposed to be better for your batteries (won't overcharge and always keeps them topped off) Just plug it in and forget about it till the next fishing trip. With the price of batteries going for near $100 anything you can do to better maintain them seems like a good investment.

[This message has been edited by Pwaldow123 (edited 05-24-2002).]

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Hmmn.....Musky Hunter, I like that idea. Any trick to wiring that plug up? I suppose not.

That would be easier than climbing in my boat to put the clips on. I've got the trickle/auto shutoff charger already, so your plug idea would make the process even easier.

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Gents, If your battery is accessable a trickle style charger works great. I have a thirty six volt trolling motor, the batteries are buried under the center rod locker...Also when you charge over nite at a dock or resort an evening rain showr doesn't ruin an on-board charger..My starter battery is hooked up to the on board also, if you operate a gps/finder, livewell system, marine radio for a long day with minium running of the big motor it zapps good batteries very quickly...both have their place....Good Fishing!!

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I'd like to have an on board charger but there have been too many other things to get first. But rather than dealing with battery clips, I bought a trolling motor plug and installed in on the end of my battery charger leads. Now to charge I just plug it into the trolling motor socket. Not as convenient as on board, but less monkey business that with aligator clips.

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I too have an on-board charger for my three battery setup; did I absolutely need it? Probably not; but, less time messing around with batteries and chargers means more time for other things.

While I'm not a battery or electronics expert, I did a lot of internet-based research on batteries and battery charging. Based on my research, I purchased an on-board charger in belief that the multi-step charging process and equalization feature will enhance/extend battery life (not to be confused with time between charges) compared to the linear taper charge delivered by most "standard" battery chargers.

If, because of the charger, I have to replace batteries less often, it will pay for itself at some point (added convenience not withstanding). The only problem is that I won't know if this is true for another year or two...

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Two years ago I did the same thing as Musky Hunter. Plug into the trolling motor port to charge the batteries. My system is 12V with a 3 position switch, for battery 1, battery 2, and off.

The down side for me was that I only had one charger (that was not the three stage charging process) and it took 8 hours to charge one battery, and 8 more for the other battery. Thus, I never had 2 fully charged trolling motor batteries at the same time. So I got the 3 battery on board charger.

Plus, as BFJ stated, with the running lights, depthfinder, and a new GPS running on the starting battery, I noticed that on short trips that battery never got fully charged. On one trip the starting battery lost charge overnight. Waiting for it to charge the next morning wasn't fun.

I believe that the batteries need to be stored fully charged while sitting unused otherwise the batteries will start to sulfide. The boat sits on the lift until weekends. Buying a battery every two years is expensive, I'm hoping this will make my batteries last a while longer.

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I have an onboard charger that charges two of my three batteries and I would have to say that it saves alot of time and hassle. Instead of hopping from one battery to the next hooking up a conventional charger I just plug in the onboard for the two batteries and hook up the trickle charger to the other and I'm good to go. Later!

Jimmy

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