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Old 12-07-2007, 18:15   #1
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Automatic battery fill system.

My batteries are located under the seats in the galley and half of them are located in such a way that it requires me to pull all the batteries out just to fill them. Needless to say, I've lost a few years of good battery life due to the effort needed to keep them top-off.

I've been thinking about buying an automatic fill system for $319 and figured it would pay for itself in the first year. Does anyone have one of these systems, and if so, does it do the job?

Battery Filling System
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Old 12-07-2007, 18:30   #2
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Why don't you consider changing to no maintenance batts like Gels or AGMs. No electrolyte testing, adding water or acid spills. I think that is the way to go. AGMs can be mounted in any orientation as well so it gives more install options.

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Old 12-07-2007, 18:35   #3
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Qwik Fill

Here's a similar system, it's $69 for a complete kit for 2 batteries:
Jan Watercraft Products: Marine Applications
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Old 12-07-2007, 18:52   #4
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There are water caps you can get to reduce water loss, but for the price you are considering and the situation you have conversion to AGM would be cheaper, easier, and better. The key is making sure the charging system can be reset for AGM. Failing to do that important step would be a disaster too.

To spend this kind of money for system to fill flood batteries with water means you already have a problem some place. A re examination of your power use and charging system would be money better spent. You may have other factors that are requiring so much water.

You can research a lotof threads here using the search tool on baterries and AGM. It's been a widely discussed topic over the years.
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Old 12-07-2007, 19:31   #5
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Trim, I'd agree with Paul that if you are boiling off so much water--you are charging them too hot. While you are checking the charging system, do you have a temperature sensor installed or available for the regulator? That and the new battery caps could make a big difference.

If you think adding water on your boat is a problem...in the 70's the Israel main battle tanks had the batteries located in such a tight spot, that a mirror on a stick was the only way to inspect the water level in them. Needless to say in a desert situation--they needed water! And you can be sure the "mirror on a stick" technology is still robust enough to use on a boat, they didn't have webcams available then.<G>
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Old 12-07-2007, 19:41   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais
A re examination of your power use and charging system would be money better spent. You may have other factors that are requiring so much water.

You can research a lotof threads here using the search tool on baterries and AGM. It's been a widely discussed topic over the years.
Yeah, I had my battery charger on the wrong setting for lead acid and was boiling them...I fixed that. Nonetheless, it is still impossible to check water level without pulling the batteries out.

As far as AGM, great technology if you remain in US waters. If you are cruising a long distance and need to replace a battery or two...you're SOL. You can buy a 6V golf cart battery anywhere on the planet. I'll stick with my 6V lead acids.
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Old 12-07-2007, 19:51   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdope71
Here's a similar system, it's $69 for a complete kit for 2 batteries:
Jan Watercraft Products: Marine Applications
No explanation on how it works? I'd be afraid to trust something like ball floats to control electrolyte filling. No other idea for a simple way it could work, but that's just my guess.
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Old 12-07-2007, 20:43   #8
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Originally Posted by jdope71
Here's a similar system, it's $69 for a complete kit for 2 batteries:
Jan Watercraft Products: Marine Applications
This one looks pretty good...my only concern is that it may be too high profile to fit in the location of my batteries.
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Old 12-07-2007, 20:44   #9
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Originally Posted by hellosailor
No explanation on how it works? I'd be afraid to trust something like ball floats to control electrolyte filling. No other idea for a simple way it could work, but that's just my guess.
This explains how it works...basically a balanced valve arrangement.

http://69.94.120.118/graphics/valve_...w_it_works.pdf

I'm not sure how they got a patent, the balance valve has been around for a couple hundred years.
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Old 12-07-2007, 20:53   #10
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A check valve, yeah. And when (not if) it fails, it will flood the battery and then flood electrolyte, yech. I know, it "should" never fail.<G>
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Old 12-07-2007, 21:09   #11
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Originally Posted by hellosailor
A check valve, yeah. And when (not if) it fails, it will flood the battery and then flood electrolyte, yech. I know, it "should" never fail.<G>
Well, it's that or pull the bateries out one at a time, fill them, wipe them down, reinstall, reconnect all the cables...and do this once every 6 months. I think I'll give this a try and let ya know how it works.
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