Battery Blues

I thought that once my AC outlets were working ( and they are, and it’s lovely), it would be a short hop to getting the DC linked in to the panels and I’d be back to full power.  I figured the hardest part about wrapping up the electrical adventure would be getting the wires threaded through narrow hull openings.  Think again.

At some point during battery charging I noticed that one of the batteries had gotten hot and was bulging a little on the sides.  I immediately shut off the power to the charger and started researching online.  Yesterday’s lesson was, do not believe anything anyone tells you without confirming it first hand yourself.

Two Deka Unigy I 12AVR1003ET batteries came with the boat as house batteries.  The guy who sold me the boat told me they were gel and sealed and I didn’t need to mess with them at all.  Well, they are sealed, but they are lead acid, and meant for telecommunications applications, as it turns out.

After a long talk with a very patient and kind Deka tech, we determined that not only are these the wrong batteries for the job ( marine, steady draw ) but that my new battery charger, a ProMariner Sport12 is the wrong charger for these batteries.  Double whammy.  Beware any product that claims it is “smart” as in a “smart charger” because the sub text is “it’s smart so you don’t have to be.”  When you have fewer choices, such as at what rate your battery will be charged and for how long, you cannot adjust for individual circumstances – such as an inappropriate battery installed where it ought not be.

Today I am tearing the boat apart looking for some tiny little plastic screws that came with the charger to set it for lead acid, glass mat construction, not gel.  Hopefully I didn’t cook the batteries by charging them too fast, too much.  The Deka tech is optimistic that it will be ok.

And to all the quiet technicians who answer their cell phones after 5 pm to help random folks wrestling with science, I salute you.  You are a clan of calm and clarity.

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