Posted by: Dan Sprague | February 4, 2013

Marine Battery Charging

Battery Charging.

Keeping the batteries on your boat charged up and ready to go can be frustrating. A battery just sitting can lose charge by itself. If the battery has a constant draw on it from some electronics on the boat, that can also drop the voltage over time. Clocks and many LED lights draw very little.  The float switch for a bilge pump and the pump need power to it all the time. Some things just need constant power.

The type of batteries you have makes a difference. Wet lead acid batteries lose a charge faster just sitting then do AGM batteries. Wet plate batteries need to have the water level kept up…under heavy use they heat up and the water level drops. Charging these batteries cause water loss also.

All battery chargers are also not the same. The different types of batteries have different charging procedures to obtain full charge and to get the maximum battery potential from it. Chargers come in a wide price range and feature range. Most will safely charge your batteries. There are multistage, high-frequency chargers that have built in microprocessors that are designed to safely charge batteries, and to get the fastest full charge on the battery and not damage the batteries.

The new lithium ion batteries require a special charger to safely charge them. An incorrect charger with these batteries can cause thermal run away in the battery and cause a fire.

I have a cheap portable charger that works OK and it has an auto shut down if its limited electronics sense something wrong. It will not charge up my deep cycle batteries after a heavy use…it just shuts down. My multistage high frequency charger has no problems charging them. It will charge the batteries if they only need a small charge up.

Getting a battery charger that is specifically made for the type of batteries you have is always best. That way you do not trash your batteries. If you have different types of batteries like I have, it is worth getting a hi tech charger that handle different types of batteries. Minn Kota has the Precision Line of chargers that have been pre-programed with different battery manufacturres requirements.

Many premium chargers will also compensate for low line voltage you can get at your marina and for overloaded circuits. These features help keep your batteries charged and ready to go, safely.

The temperature can also effect charging time. Low temperatures require a higher voltage to charge the batteries than in higher temperatures. A smart premium charger can deal with this also.

I want to spend my time boating, and a smart premium charger helps make keeping my batteries charged up safely. They can protect me, my boat and my batteries, so I can be on the water more often.

2 bank batter charger

Portable two bank marine battery charger.

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