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Old 09-07-2017, 20:50   #1
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Basic Battery Switch question....

Good afternoon!

My Navy44 has two main battery switches, one to control the starting battery and one that controls the 4 house batteries and 5th windlass battery.

Lately I have found that the house battery switch, when turned to the "on" position sometimes doesnt actually turn anything on. I need to back it off about a 1/4 inch and I can almost feel it engage and it will then make the connection. This is a new issue.

I guess my question is do battery switches like this have a useful life and need to be replaced? These look REALLY old- they are round about the diameter of a soda can and have no brand name. Would a new Blue Sea or other quality switch fix my issue you think?
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Old 09-07-2017, 22:13   #2
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Re: Basic Battery Switch question....

Replace it.
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Old 10-07-2017, 01:17   #3
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Re: Basic Battery Switch question....

Quote:
Originally Posted by CourageousME View Post
..........
I guess my question is do battery switches like this have a useful life and need to be replaced? These look REALLY old- they are round about the diameter of a soda can and have no brand name. Would a new Blue Sea or other quality switch fix my issue you think?
What Terra Nova said +1
No brand name often (but not always) means low quality.
Quality switches last forever - well not really but they do last decades and decades- if not overloaded.

Good brands includes:
Blue Sea
Col Hersee
Eaton
Cuter Hammer (now Eaton I think)
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Old 10-07-2017, 04:17   #4
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Re: Basic Battery Switch question....

Just went through that with the original engine Guest battery switch. Wasn't making good contact. At first I thought it was the typical corrosion, and working it would clean it up. Closer examination, turns out the face was cracked and separating from the body. It was mounted from behind,with just enough space behind to get it in and out, and barely room to get my hand in to start the screws. Nothing is forever.
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Old 10-07-2017, 05:38   #5
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Re: Basic Battery Switch question....

Hugely thankful for the advice
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Old 10-07-2017, 06:43   #6
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Re: Basic Battery Switch question....

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Replace it.
+1

Don't mess with it. I would replace it as soon as I could. My concern would be a poor contact and resulting heat build up.
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Old 10-07-2017, 09:37   #7
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Re: Basic Battery Switch question....

Some additional thoughts:

1. I think the original Navy 44s were built by TPI, and I doubt they used off-brand components. Those boats were very specifically built (I am looking for the right way to say this; tightly scripted?) as to the gear. I suspect the original switches were from a known brand.

2. The poor performance may show up in several ways, but the most serious is heat due to resistance causing deformation of the switch and all sorts of problems. Blue Sea Systems came up with a new UL standard for battery switches, as I recall, which simulates the way battery switches are actually used. This was about 20 years ago.

3. The less damaging issue would be to have voltage drop affect your loads and cause them to have chronic bad behavior. Battery switches should have extremely low resistance. It would be interesting to measure the voltage drop between the battery and load terminals when the house loads are high to see what the actually voltage drop is.

Cheers,

Chuck
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Old 10-07-2017, 11:26   #8
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Re: Basic Battery Switch question....

Switches, even milspec switches, do physically wear out. From what you describe either the contacts have worn or worked their way loose. This is some cause for concern because if the contacts are not seated properly, they may be able to overheat and start a fire. So replacing the switches should be up there on the top of the ToDo list.

If you don't find any maker's mark in or on them, BS or Guest or another brand probably can replace them, but you might want to send some digital pix by email and speak to their phone support to make sure you are getting the right parts. Don't be surprised if you need to put a small new panel on the bulkhead because you need different mounting holes now.

And if the power cable lugs are corroded at all, now's the time to clean or replace them too, as needed.
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Old 10-07-2017, 11:31   #9
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Re: Basic Battery Switch question....

If the existing switch is all metal including a metal knob it is probably a high quality Cole Hersee product. A model 2784A or a big brother comes to mind, many models even had high-silver-content contacts. If it is indeed a Cole Hersee it is probably not a defective product but simple at the end of it's useful life. These older model all brass cased switches are far superior to the MODERN all plastic cased models. They even have a toggle contacts inside instead of a simple drag contacts. These switches have been widely used on large construction equipment and well respected in the industry.
If the switch does not make a sharp click when it is energized it is an inferior switch design!
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Old 10-07-2017, 11:35   #10
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Re: Basic Battery Switch question....

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
...you might want to send some digital pix by email and speak to their phone support to make sure you are getting the right parts...
Just measure it and pickup a close match at your nearest chandler.
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Old 10-07-2017, 12:06   #11
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Re: Basic Battery Switch question....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Hawley View Post
Some additional thoughts:

1. I think the original Navy 44s were built by TPI, and I doubt they used off-brand components. Those boats were very specifically built (I am looking for the right way to say this; tightly scripted?) as to the gear. I suspect the original switches were from a known brand.

2. The poor performance may show up in several ways, but the most serious is heat due to resistance causing deformation of the switch and all sorts of problems. Blue Sea Systems came up with a new UL standard for battery switches, as I recall, which simulates the way battery switches are actually used. This was about 20 years ago.

3. The less damaging issue would be to have voltage drop affect your loads and cause them to have chronic bad behavior. Battery switches should have extremely low resistance. It would be interesting to measure the voltage drop between the battery and load terminals when the house loads are high to see what the actually voltage drop is.

Cheers,

Chuck
Chuck, thanks. These boats were way overbuilt which has been beneficial for the academy and now me. These look original to the boat- off the mold in 1990 one of the last MK1's. everything mounts in the battery box and all that pokes through it is the dial itself. Round, Black and matches the second switch below it. I'm fortunate the entire electrical system has been updated and upgraded so I'm hoping this truly is a wear item. Will report back and bring my voltmeter.
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