Feb 10, 2022

Typical Battery Switchestypical battery switches.

Last week we explored how to diagnose battery drain – the unexplained dead battery that ruins all boating plans. The problem rarely ends with diagnosis, however. Most of us can agree, the only thing worse than discovering a flat battery at the turn of the key, is the worry that keeps you awake during the week wondering if it will happen again!

Once identified, problems can be addressed – lets look at some of the most common faults, and how to implement some preventative strategies:

Beginning with last edition’s diagnosis, including performing an amp-draw test, we’re left with two results:

1) Amp-draw was discovered in one of the wires on the battery’s positive terminal.

Once discovered, the wire in question can be traced and identified. It’s important to note that amp draw will only pinpoint a draw that’s happening during the test – meaning that it will point to one of a few likely culprits:

a) A load that is wired directly to the battery, that is unintentionally always on. In many cases, items like GPS units and stereo may include directions that instruct the installer to wire directly to the battery. Instructions like this may not be ideal for every boat (since every boat is different), and are really written as a straightforward way to get power to the appliance in the greatest number of applications. Whenever an appliance or load is wired directly to the battery, it will need to be manually powered down to prevent the battery from draining
b) A load that is designed to be a constant draw. This is an intentional design from the manufacturer in order to make their products work well – sometimes without consideration for the boater’s battery. These loads can include Power Poles, ‘Smart’ gauges, battery monitors, corrosion-protection systems, and GPS deck-mounted pucks. Each of these items draw a very low amount of current, constantly. If left for weeks at a time, the result will be a dead battery.

Battery Postfour connections on the positive battery post. Each wire can have an amp-draw test performed to help diagnose why a battery runs down

2) Amp-draw was not discovered.  What this really means is that the amp-draw wasn’t happening at the time of the test. A bit more investigation may be needed in this scenario. In this case, a flat batter could be caused by:

a. A float-operated bilge pump to cycle regularly. In some cases, bilge-pump cycling may be caused by a fault or stuck float, or by debris preventing the pump from turning off. In other cases, heavy rainfall or a leak may be raising the water level often.

b. A switch left on. It happens to the best of us – either if forgotten, or accidentally bumped to the on position.

c. The key left to the on or accessory position

 Whether amp-draw was discovered during the test or not -  here are a few ways to proactively address the issue:

i) Install a battery switch between the battery and the loads. This switch can be a simple ‘on/off’ switch, allowing you to choose when current is available to those loads that are constantly drawing from the battery. When leaving the boat for an extended, turn the switch to off to keep the battery from drawing down in your absence

ii) Determine if there are options to wire devices via a switch (a key or panel switch), rather than direct constant draw from the battery. This allows greater flexibility between loads that you want to be constantly powered, vs those that you don’t

iii) Install a battery charger and use it appropriately

Smart Battery Monitoringan example of a smart battery monitoring system including a vessel mounted screen, as well as cell phone connectivity via an app. Image credit (https://youtu.be/Y68WfFHoeDU)

iv) Install a battery monitoring system (many modern systems allow you to monitor the battery via a smartphone) so that you can see if there are any patterns with loads  cycling on/off, and alert you to the need to charge the battery before trying to leave dock.

The off season is a great time to track down and address some of these issues. In many cases, preventative maintenance is the key to bigger and most costly issues down the line. I would recommend performing an amp-draw test whenever a new appliance is installed or changed, and at the first sign of any battery drain issues.

As always, contact a qualified marine technician if you aren’t comfortable working through the test or repair processes.

 



Andrew McDonaldAndrew McDonald is the owner of Lakeside Marine Services – a boat repair/maintenance firm based in Toronto. Andrew has worked in the marine industry for 12 years and is a graduate of the Georgian College ‘Mechanical Techniques - Marine Engine Mechanic’ program.

Questions or comments for Andrew? Email him directly via: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Related Articles

Wednesday, 09 August 2017 02:52

The moment we all dread. It’s a warm sunny day and you’re out for a cruise. Suddenly the boat shudders beneath you, pings, dings and clangs are heard and you realize that you’ve hit something...

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 05:00

If you walk the aisles at a boat show, visit a marine store, or stop in at a repair shop, you’ll likely be inundated with digital displays, vivid touch-screens, NMEA compatible devices, and...

Wednesday, 08 November 2017 04:38

Water has a funny way of making its way into a boat: through through-hulls, stuffing boxes, leaks, hatches, windows and portholes 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 06:10

The moment we all dread. It’s a warm sunny day and you’re out for a cruise. Suddenly the boat shudders beneath you, pings, dings and clangs are heard and you realize that you’ve hit something...

Wednesday, 10 May 2017 00:43

Question: Can I buy generic automotive parts or products for my boat, or should they specify ‘marine’?

Tuesday, 11 July 2017 07:16

For most of us – this is the time to make the most of the boating season – launch and set up are done. Systems have been recommissioned. Let the fun begin!

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
Boats have been in high demand for the past two years and there’s no sign of this easing. ...
When we arranged to interview the designer and manufacturer to write a profile of the X Shore Eelex ...
The weather wasn’t cooperating for our test of the new Fountaine Pajot Isla 40. Rain, storm clouds ...
Last August, we were again invited to the Neptunus Yachts facility in St. Catharines, Ontario to ...
Cruisers Yachts’ 34 GLS is the latest model in the Cruisers Yachts line that includes a dozen ...
On a beautiful summer morning in July, I hopped aboard a new-owner delivery from the Outer Harbour ...
When company founder Marcio Schaefer designed the Schaefer 303, he managed to really dial in the ...
There is an unmistakable look to the Azimut S6 Coupe that will stand out in almost any marina. The ...
No longer an outlier or a flash-in-the-pan idea, electric boating is fast becoming a viable ...
Sea-Doo’s all-new Switch marries the performance of a personal watercraft with the versatility of a ...

Video Gallery

 

 

X Shore Eelex 8000By Andy Adams

100% Electric performance available now

When we arranged to interview the designer and manufacturer to write a profile of the X Shore Eelex 8000 for the June 2021 issue of Canadian Yachting magazine, it was on the understanding that we always prefer to actually drive and experience the boats we write about, and we were especially keen to drive the X Shore when BCI Marine here in Canada, got their first boat from Sweden.

There has been a lot of media attention around everything electric lately, especially electric vehicles, but so far, most electric boats are a concept, not yet a reality. The X Shore Eelex 8000 is a reality and a very impressive one at that.

Read More

 

 

Beneteau Oceanis 34.1

 

Beneteau Oceanis 34.1By Zuzana Prochazka

Boats have been in high demand for the past two years and there’s no sign of this easing. Sailboats, that can move with the power of the wind, have made an especially significant comeback probably because of the high prices of fuel.

Even more interesting is the increased interest in smaller models that have been doing well at recent boat shows. These compact cruisers have definitely held their own even among the 50-foot behemoths at the docks. A good example of this is Beneteau’s new Oceanis 34.1, the second smallest in the line. 

Read More

Destinations

  • Prev
Cowichan Bay is a waterfront village with a row of shops, artisan products, marine supplies and a ...
Instant towns have sprung up in the past, especially on the BC coast. In the late 1850s, Victoria ...
Following the War of 1812, a battle that Canada narrowly won against the United States, the ...
You’ve weathered COVID and you’re ready to book your charter to paradise. You’ve done some ...
If you are looking for an interesting destination for a weekend trip or longer, Quebec City will ...
A holiday often is defined by the experiences we make in unique and beautiful settings. But what ...
St Vincent and the Grenadines is open to tourists and Horizon Yacht Charters are looking forward to ...

Cowichan BayText and Photos by Marianne Scott

Cowichan Bay is a waterfront village with a row of shops, artisan products, marine supplies and a variety of places to eat. It also has a delightful Maritime Centre. You can easily spend a day or more here at one of three marinas hosting transient moorage. The place feels like an old-fashioned fishing village.

We arrived at this quaint hamlet on a calm day when the sun burned off twists of mist and created undulating oval diamonds on the wavelets. From the water, the village looks enticing with its dense jumble of colourful character buildings, float homes and houses-on-stilts lining the coast.

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Boat names and puns go together like …. Well, like nothing else. Here’s a couple shared by our pal ...
Frequent Windsor racing contributor to Sailing in Canada Roger Renaud, caught this gorgeous ...
The Kingston Yacht Club (KYC) celebrated its 125th anniversary in the summer of 2021, in all the ...
A study on water levels projects an unprecedented drop of water levels on Lakes Michigan-Huron and ...
Ahoy me hearties. June is Sailpast month, so Keelly and her pal Tracey were themed out as (not ...
Last month, Canadian Country Singer Brian John Hardwood, released his new single “Rich”, featuring ...
Things are busy on the Trent already and it’s barely June. Mike Gridley sent us this shot last ...
From cottage boats to luxury cruisers, there have been a host of major design changes over the past ...
Thanks to Louise from Gyles Sails and Marine for catching us up on this weekend’s massive parts ...
The marine industry provides exciting opportunities for Canadians. Every month CYOB will introduce ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
Words of exasperation wafting across a marina often signal a boat owner fighting with a jammed ...
Chatting at the club bar last week, the subject of current boat projects popped up. One boater ...
Books to read while you’re semi-snoozing in the cockpit on a lazy summer afternoon. Some diversion, ...
With Albin Group Marine's new line of Cartridge Submersible Bilge Pumps, Aerator Pumps and Twinport ...
The Freedom LTE-A is a Dual Band MU-MIMO 2.4Ghz + 5Ghz WiFi transceiver with a built-in universal ...
Three books in a series of books by Canadian author Erik Skovgaard. These three books, as the ...
The little darlings can’t wait to get on the boat. Just make sure they have properly fitting PFDs ...
With a bold, fresh look and key features, the new JBL-R4500 is the latest in the WAKE Series of ...
When the twist-type connector was invented in 1938, production boats were made of wood and didn't ...
Luxor Marine & RV products offer boat owners an innovative architecturally pleasing range of ...

News

  • Prev
As bonus of my journalistic responsibilities here at CY Media, I occasionally get called upon to do ...
Professor Charles Spence, from Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory, has researched ...
Cut out for adventure and marine activities, the NC 895 Sport offers seriously convincing arguments ...
The Canada Games, held every two years, alternating between summer and winter, are the largest ...
The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge (MEBC) took place in the principality July 8 to 13 and shows how ...
Parks Canada has just released an Up-to-Date Big Chute Marine Railway Status Webpage with weekly ...
Groupe Beneteau is launching a partnership with Quebec-based Vision Marine Technologies to develop ...
Portsmouth Harbour in Kingston was the site of this weekend’s Canadian Waszp Class Championship ...
A resistance force has mobilised in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. Threats of crowds egging Jeff ...
For more than 18 years since the launch of the first model, the Elan Impression line was one of the ...

RS Electric BoatsSailGP, the international racing series featuring high speed F50 wingsailed catamarans, is partnering with RS Electric Boats – sister brand of sailboat manufacturer RS Sailing – to use the Pulse 63 electric RIB as chase, coach and support boats.

RS Electric Boats will supply SailGP with four Pulse 63s, which were designed to be electric boats from the outset. The unique aerodynamic hull form is designed to support the weight of the batteries while allowing rapid acceleration, functional speeds up to 23 knots and ample range.

 

 

Read More