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Old 06-05-2013, 10:05   #1
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Batteries and Being on Shore Power

Just wondering,

When I leave my boat in slip, I won't be on her for another 3 weeks. She is plugged into shore power.

Should I turn the battery to "off" when I leave?

Or do I leave it in the "1" position?


Thank you.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:14   #2
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re: Batteries and Being on Shore Power

It is best to turn it off but only after verifying that the bilge pump auto will still operate. Turn the switch off and lift the float switch if the pump comes on you are good to go. If it does not then leave the switch on. You can change the wiring of the float power so that it is connected to the hot side of the switch so that you cannot accidentally turn it off. This is the best way to go.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:16   #3
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re: Batteries and Being on Shore Power

Depends.

1. Does the charger connect directly to the battery or through the switch?

2. Do you have a smart charger that doesn't overcharge the batteries?

3. Does the bilge pump connect direct to the batteries (with a fuse of course) or through the switch?

If yes to all the above then I would switch the batteries off.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:16   #4
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re: Batteries and Being on Shore Power

Your boat probably has a battery charger, which is fed via the AC current from the shore power inlet and lead to the batter bank(s). There are a lot of variances in the installation of a battery charger. Not trying to complicate things but you might want to spend 15 minutes in the battery compartment and trace the lines from the charge controller, seeing what goes where.

In my boat the batter selector switch (1/2/both) doesn't mean anything.

All of my charging sources (solar, alternator, battery charger) go to the house bank and then a relay (blue sea ACR) connects the starter battery whenever charging voltage is present. When it isn't, it opens the circuit.

Mine might sound complicated but it's quite simple and works great.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:33   #5
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re: Batteries and Being on Shore Power

It all depends on how it's wired. I suggest you find out first.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:44   #6
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re: Batteries and Being on Shore Power

I prefer to set up my boat so that I don't ever have to leave it for long with a shore power cord plugged in--too many things can go wrong. For me that means I have solar panels that will keep the batteries charged up when I am away. If there aren't any major loads running you batteries should be fine left unplugged for a month or less. Longer than 30 days and I would figure out a way to provide a charge.

Also, I suggest setting up your electrical system so that you can turn the main switch to Off when you are away in order to prevent leaving something on by mistake. This means having a special circuit for the bilge pumps that remains on.
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:41   #7
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I'm not really sure at all. This is my first boat in a slip.

I'll look over the wiring charts and get back on it.

Not sure if the bilge pump works. Guess I should have figured that out before I left :/
Hopefully she won't be sunk by the time I return. Haha
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Old 07-05-2013, 06:03   #8
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re: Batteries and Being on Shore Power

The wiring diagrams should be used for reference ONLY, not gospel. The actual wiring in the boat may or MAY NOT be as depicted in the wiring diagram.

Get a pencil and paper and draw it out. Follow each wire beginning at the battery. Label them.

Then, if you don't understand what's going on, consult with someone familiar with DC boat wiring.

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Old 07-05-2013, 06:06   #9
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re: Batteries and Being on Shore Power

I have left boats plugged into marinas for months. No issues. Normally My 220VAC is wired to ensure the charger is powered on and charging.

For long durations ( > 4 weeks) I put the mains charger on a simple digital timer and set it to come on once a week for a few hours. I do this over the winter. ( again the boat is mains powered all the time ).

WIth a proper electrical installation there is no issue.

The DC circuitry show be wired to always allow the battery to be charged from shore power , even if off.

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Old 07-05-2013, 06:16   #10
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re: Batteries and Being on Shore Power

In the USA the standard shorepower connectors are very prone to creating a bad connection, leading to overheating and fires. Even if you leave the shorepower cord nicely plugged in with a nice clean connection, the motion of the boat or someone disconnecting and then reconnecting your boat can lead to a bad situation. Plus, frequently marina power is incorrectly wired up, which can lead to a dangerous situation or excess corrosion.

That's why I don't like leaving my boat plugged in for long periods without me being around.
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Old 07-05-2013, 06:36   #11
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re: Batteries and Being on Shore Power

Quote:
In the USA the standard shorepower connectors are very prone to creating a bad connection, leading to overheating and fires.
Ive had these connectors systems in the past. A few have overheated to the point of fire, but I dont think the phrase "very prone" is justified.

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Old 07-05-2013, 06:51   #12
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re: Batteries and Being on Shore Power

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Ive had these connectors systems in the past. A few have overheated to the point of fire, but I dont think the phrase "very prone" is justified.

Dave
I upgraded my boat side connections to Smart Plugs. So if there is a fire it will happen on the dock end of the cord and not on the boat.

But if the docks are wood and catch fire then I guess it's all for naught.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:14   #13
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re: Batteries and Being on Shore Power

ah yes big decision. but my charger would not float the batteries unless switched on.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:27   #14
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re: Batteries and Being on Shore Power

I can't understand being away from the vessel for extended time
An inexpensive solar charger would solve a lot of potential problems.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:54   #15
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re: Batteries and Being on Shore Power

Quote:
I dont think the phrase "very prone" is justified.
It depends on your definition of "very." To me, one fire is too many. I have been disappointed how often shore power connections at the dock are in bad shape, to the point it is difficult to get a good connection in the first place. And, even if you don't get to the point of a fire you can get arcing, or such a bad connection that you lose power. But, one of the biggest problems is that when you are not around someone will inevitably unplug your cord, and/or replug it badly so that it is loose. In my experience there is nearly a 100% chance of this if you leave the boat for a few weeks in a busy marina. It has happened to me when mine was the only boat on the dock in the middle of the winter--some workman came by and unplugged the cord for some reason and left it, so no heat on the boat. In other words, my advice is don't rely on shorepower to keep your batteries up in a busy marina unless you are there fairly frequently monitoring things.
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