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JimBuck

On-board Battery Charger

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I've been looking at the on-board battery chargers and don't quite understand if it's right for me or not. Here's my situation...I've got an 87' Sylvan Backtroller with a 45hp. Mariner tiller. The boat is currently running 3 batteries (1-Outboard Motor,1-Trolling Motor+Electronics,1-Stereo). I know many of the newer boats run on-board chargers but I'm not sure if it would be possible with an older model boat. I guess I'm not sure where the power is coming from to charge the other batteries while on the water....do I need my engine on and running in order to charge? I do most of my fishing either anchored or trolling with my trolling motor. I guess I'm just trying to figure out if an on-board charger is right for me. Thanks guys.

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JimBuck, they do make chargers that do what you are saying, but most on-board chargers are simply chargers that are installed on-board the boat connected and ready to plug-in and charge when you get home (or your nearest AC receptacle.)

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JimBuck,

I've got the same boat and I have an onboard charger. Like mentioned, they don't charge while you're on the water. Basically, I back the boat into the garage, plug it in, and it tops my batteries off. Very nice to have.

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I see, thanks for the quick responses fishwater and ralph. Come to think of it, I remember seeing a few photos of your backtroller a couple months ago. She looked to be in very nice shape. Have you replaced the flooring or carpet in that beast yet? I've got a list of additions/improvements that I need to tackle this spring but I'd like to think replacing the flooring isn't one of them. Again, thanks guys for clarifying this for me.

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The run n gun chargers that are starting to become more popular work best on a larger motor (135 hp and up, or there abouts, depending on the alternator / rectifier amperage output). It would definitely not be a good solution for your rig as your rectifier puts out very few amps.

A on board charger (plug in style) would be a good addition to your boat, depending on how many times you end up charging your trolling motor battery, or if you want piece of mind that all of your batteries are full.

marine_man

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Thanks for filling me in marine_man. I have fishing buddies that have the run n' gun style but they also have significantly larger boats (there is some boat envy wink )....your explanation makes sense. So with the charger, would you connect your batteries in parallel, use a bus bar? I have my stereo battery in the front end of the boat, would that be an issue if I were to add an on-board charger? I've got some sorting to do in terms of my electrical and I'm trying to plan ahead here before the wallet comes out, or burns a hole in my pocket. Many thanks.

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I just run 2 batteries, have a 78 lund pike with a 98 yamaha. Simple set up, got the on-board charger, installed in 20 minutes. It has simple diagrams to hook up. So I only have the 2 to charge, but I know that there was a larger model that could charge up to 4 and/or purchase an adapter to hook in.

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So with the charger, would you connect your batteries in parallel, use a bus bar?

For on-board chargers, get a "bank" for each battery you have, ie. with 3 batteries get a 3 bank charger. You can get smaller chargers, like 3 banks x 5 amps per bank, or bigger / faster / more expensive chargers like 3 banks x 15 amps per bank. Each bank has it's own set of black and red leads for each battery.

On Board Chargers at Pro Fishing Supply

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Have you replaced the flooring or carpet in that beast yet?

I've only had the boat since September, so no. The floor and carpet are in pretty nice shape for a 21 year old boat. If they have been replaced in the past, whoever did it did a pretty good job. It looks very professional.

IMG015.jpg

Vroom, vroom, vroom! grin

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Doesn't it all depend on how fast you need your batteries fully charged? If I go home each day after every trip, a 5 amp charger per battery is just fine. If I go to Canada and only have the use of a generator for a few hours every night, then I need a 15 amp charger for every battery if I intend to use the trolling motor.

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Doesn't it all depend on how fast you need your batteries fully charged? If I go home each day after every trip, a 5 amp charger per battery is just fine. If I go to Canada and only have the use of a generator for a few hours every night, then I need a 15 amp charger for every battery if I intend to use the trolling motor.

Correct, if you have ample time to recharge between uses then there is no need for the bigger chargers. Same goes for if you're not running your batteries down very much, then it won't take as long to recharge them and you can get by with a smaller charger.

They're automatic chargers, you can just plug them in and forget them. The only time mine is not plugged in is when I'm using my boat.

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Cool. Much thanks to everyone for chiming in on the subject. I think I might just have to put an on-board charger on my list...

Ralph, your boat is too clean man! How do you keep those nasty waterlines from the river off? I've got the exact same trailer as well, fold-away tongue and all.....Bring on the open water already!!!!

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Ralph, your boat is too clean man! How do you keep those nasty waterlines from the river off? I've got the exact same trailer as well, fold-away tongue and all.....Bring on the open water already!!!!

I was getting it ready for storage and had just scrubbed it down!

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All the info provided here is right on... you would need to extend the wires that come with the charger to reach your batteries that are not near the charger. That's not a big deal.

When you start looking at chargers, check out Perchjerker's webpage - Pro Fishing Supply... his prices are pretty tough to beat.

marine_man

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Another option is a charger thats hooked up to yor truck battery and you plug it in everytime you trailer your boat and drive it charges the battery the same way it charges you truck battery. I think its called stay n charge. I just got it but havent tried it yet. Sounds like a good idea if your trying a couple lakes in a day or doing a weekend fishing trip.

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I just talked to Jim at StaynCharge today. I'm getting one of those! We fish some long 2-4 day trips running the tm all day, and usually sleep in the truck with no elec. access. So I was looking at getting one of the new Honda generators, which I can't afford, until I heard about the StaynCharge. Marine Man, I trust your opinion when it comes to electrical hookups - this thing sounds almost too good to be true, but it all makes sense. I think the alternator on the suburban is like 100 - 120 amps, he says I can charge those batts in like 40 minutes, or if they're not dead maybe only 10-15 minutes. And it will do it on idle, don't need to drive around. My only concern is I had always heard you're supposed to trickle or slow charge batteries. And I did a previous search and there was quite a few posts about them back 5-6 years, everyone thought they were the cat's meow then. What's your take on these - any concerns?

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These work... a friend had it installed on his pickup that he used for charging his trolling motor batteries for use in his fish house.

It worked well... the only drawback he came across was where he stored the plug split at the rear end of his vehicle - it was exposed to corrosion and rusted eventually.

marine_man

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I think I'll get creative and make a waterproof storage box for the plug underneath the bumper. So everything you read about slow charging a deep cell is not necessarily a concern - you know, the bulk, absorption, and float stages of charging? Maybe it's because the alternator of your vehicle has a regulator that makes it not a worry. Thanks MM.

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Jimbuck-- I don't think you need 3 battiers a stereo isn't going to ues that much juice.

On borad charger is the only way to go. Don't have to take the batties out to charge them.

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Do I think the stay n charge is the best all around option? Not for the way I fish I guess, but everyone's different.

The big plus that it gives you is the ability to charge your batteries in remote areas without power, and that the alternator is a bit more flexible than a straight charger.

I still prefer the on-board charger whenever there is power available though; I do fish some distance from home, but more of my time is spent close to home, and the distance from the lake to my home is not long enough to charge the batteries... if all I had was the Stay n Charge I'd have to let the pickup idle until they were charged or put a separate charger on it.

marine_man

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Jimbuck-- I don't think you need 3 battiers a stereo isn't going to ues that much juice.

On borad charger is the only way to go. Don't have to take the batties out to charge them.

Agreed. Your stereo should be fine hooked up to your starting battery.

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I hear ya MM, the ability to recharge in remote areas without elec. access is what I was looking for. It appears you are saying that whenever possible, you would prefer to slow charge with an onboard charger, which I could still do. Is there good reason I should do so as well when possible? Thanks

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Propster - I don't think there's any serious damage done by always using the stay n charge. But, I like the convenience of plugging the charger in once the boat's at home and forgetting about it until the next time I go out.

Charley - yes, if you have a 12V trolling motor you can connect the batteries in parallel, giving you approx. 2X the run time of one battery by itself. The charge time will take longer as well, but you get the idea.

If you'd like more info regarding this, tell me how your batteries are set up right now.

marine_man

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