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Hoffer

One more battery question please!!

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OK, i just went out and checked the fluid level in my batteries....I couldnt believe it!

In the trolling motor battery all the cells were dry - i could see with the flashlight the metal slits and they were not under water. The rear accessory battery was also dry - but some of the cells were under water.

The starting battery was also dry with only some cells being covered.

This really surprised me as the guy I bought it from was a real 'mechanically inclined" guy and I just figured he would have had the battery fluids full.

So, I have 2 questions...is there any chance that once I fill these up - would the batteries actually still be OK?? or are they shot now?

Last, do I need to add anything special other than just plain old distilled water? Do they make any kind of battery additive to replenish the proper electrolytes - or will just plain old distilled water work?

Thanks again!

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Yeah I believe it's the water only that escapes from the battery-the acid should still be there. Fill them up with water like lmitout said.

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I agree with the others, should only need distilled water.

You might want to take the batteries out of the boat and do it somewhere "safe", if the batteries are cracked from being dropped or frozen you don't want to get the acid in your boat.

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yeah - I called napa and they have a pint of battery acid you can buy. i asked the guy there and he said it would be better than adding just distilled water...but I would also think the acid should be there still too?

The batteries arent cracked or anything...they just have some low levels of fluid - this I thought can be pretty common? Thats why you have to remove the top tabs and "top it off" sometimes?

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Be extremely careful about adding more electrolyte to an old battery. If I'm correct, this is not a good thing to do. You only need to add water (preferably distilled). I think I read somewhere that you should not add more electrolyte.

Bob

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Don't fill them completely before charging the batteries. The liquid expands as you charge the battery and some may boil out the caps if the cells are to full.

Cover the plates with distilled water but leave the water well below the bottom of the vent tubes. Charge the battery then bring the water level up to the bottom of the vent tubes and charge again.

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alright - thanks for all the help FMers!!

I did talk to the NAPA guy by where I live. He said i can charge my batteries - and then bring them in to have them tested for their capacity for free. Taking Pat Ks advice I am just going to fill them up enough to cover the plate a little and leave room. Charge them. The check and fill again if neccessary. Then I am going to bring them in to get checked. i have 3 batteries to get checked- so you guys may save me alot fo money if some or all turn out to be good. I will try to get them charged and brought in by this week. I will post my results as soon as I know! Thanks again!

PS Lets say my battries are somewhat dry - and I charge then on my on board charger and the charger now goes "green" and says they are now charged. If I add distilled water - then plug the on board charger on again - will the on board charger then go "red" again and start charging them more??

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Yeah, usually the charger will sense that they aren't completely topped off, which is normal after they've been off the charger, and give them another zap hence the red light which probably doesn't stay on long I'm guessing.

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Whether you are able to salvage these batteries, which I think you might for a while, or buy new ones try to remember to check that fluid level periodically. Batteries will warm up and the water will evaporate during the charging process. Keeping the fluid level up over the plates is important. Letting that level drop below the plates will shorten battery life a lot. It allows the plates to become contaminated.

Bob

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Hoffer, Fill the cells with distilled water, NOT battery electrolyte. Electrolyte is ONLY to be added to a new battery that has never been charged. After you top off the cells, charge with a slow charge and you should be good to go. Phred52

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I picked up a large jug of distilled water this morning. I used almost the WHOLE jug between all 3 batteries - and did NOT even fill them muc more than over the metal plates on the bottom. I couldnt believe how dry they were! The trolling motor battery was VERY dry - I dont know how it even held a charge to run my troller - but it was.

Before I added the distilled water I had them on the on-board charger and it showed "green" = all charged up.

After I added the distilled water, I hooked the on-board charger back up and it went to red - that was this morning - and it is still going red "charging" at almost midnight!

I wonder if these batteries will still be good? I will keep them on the on-board charger till it goes green (probably by tomorrow I would think...) then I am bringing them in to get them checked out. I was also thinking If I get a green light by tomorrow morning I was thinking of just hooking up the transon light and turning on the radio and then letting them run until they fail..at least I will know if the batteries are lasting for awhile or not depending on how long they run....I will post the results. Thanks again for all the help.

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I did talk to the NAPA guy by where I live. He said i can charge my batteries - and then bring them in to have them tested for their capacity for free.

I was not aware that you can have a marine battery "tested". We have the latest and greatest battery testing equipment and every time I "test" marine batteries that I know are bad they show good on the test equipment?

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If the plates have been exposed to air the battery capacity is probably significantly reduced.

Will they work, yeah, probably some. Whether or not they work good enough for you will depend on how much you expect from the batteries.

If you had a charger that has what's called an "equalization" mode or "desulfation" mode (different same for same thing, afaik), it might help bring them back to a higher degree than just a plain old recharge.

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Quick update.

After charging last night and today - I unhooked the charger. I then checked the voltage on my depth finder and it read 12.6 volts. I then turned on the radio and the interior lights. I di that over 4 hours ago and just checked and they are running strong and the voltage now reads 12.3 on the depth finder.

I dont think I would ever run my interior lights for more than 4 hours - or even the radio. i might run my depth finder for all day - but i didnt want to have the depth finder on for long for this "test". I wonder if the depth finder takes more "juice" than say the radio or the lights? In any case I was pleasantly surprised that the battery charge lasted as long as it has so far - and only went from 12.6 to 12.3 volts in over 4 hours of use...is this a positive sign smile

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Thats a good point!

I think tonight I will hook up the troller and let it run on medium speed for an hour - and see what happens. Do you thinbk that would hurt the troller at alI? havent tested out that battery yet - just the accessory one. I did leave the radio and lights on all night long - and they were still going strong this morning...checked the voltage and it was down - but only to about 11.4. and that was after being on for over 15 hours. I guess the real way to tell if these things are holding a good charge is to get out and use them - but I may leave for about 5 days to canada and probably wont be able to test them out much before that. I think the safe thing to do is just bite the bullet and buy 1 new starter and 1 new troller, have the others along for back up. We do havea generator to charge up the batteries but if I have a back up then I just have to switch the battery over real quick - and away you go.

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Are you going to have power to recharge while on your trip? I've been at a remote camp without 110 but have been able to rig up a line to batteries with some heavy cord and alligator clips to the photo cells the camp used to charge their system.

Sort of hard to rationalize buying a battery this late in the season and let it sit in the garage. How about one of those power packs that give you a quick jump $35-40?? It would be enough to get the motor started if things go south on you.

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Tom 7227

You hit the nail on the head. That is why I am posting so much on this - just trying to save some bucks on one last trip this Fall. If it were this Spring - i would just buy a couple new batteries and not even worry about it smile

I think I am going to just buy one new good starting battery. I will move my older starting battery to the front as a spare for the troller - even though its a starter it should still run the troller for awhile. Then just hope the troller one up front lasts awhile and the accessory battery lasts. I really only need the accessory battery to last to run the depth finder...I dont need to run my lights much or use the radio etc...so hopefully it will last for awhile. We do have a generator up there (it is a private island...not a resort) but the generator always seems kind of iffy...for when it runs etc..and I dont want to take a chance with my starter battery - would rather just get a new one and be safe than sorry - but I think I will hold off on any deep cycle batteries until next spring. Thanks!!

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Mr. DeLuca is dead on with this one. I have spent a bunch of time trying to understand batteries and have found that articles by Bill Darden have been helpful. Google him and spent some time reading his explanation of what the different types are, what helps and what hurts the batteries, and how to buy and care for them.

FYI I bought a 15 amp photo cell from Northern and rigged it up on the top of my boat lift. It works like a charm, pumps up the trolling battery in a day and has saved me from lugging the batteries home every two weeks. Might be a good investment for that cabin. Around $145 for the entire works.

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