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Old 29-06-2016, 19:24   #1
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Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

This is what I do however I am interested in what other boat owners do. I heard a story about a boat fire in a marina where the insurance company sued a neighboring boat owner for damages because the battery selector was on. So you would think that it would be safer to turn the battery selector off whenever you leave the boat in a marina. However, if you are anchored out or on a mooring, and you leave the boat, then common sense dictates you leave the battery selector on with the keys in the ignition just in case the boat drags and someone needs to start the engine while you are away. In addition, If there is a chance of thunderstorms then turn it off.

What do you do and why?


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Old 29-06-2016, 19:42   #2
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

I've turned off the house and start batteries maybe 3 times in the last five years.

Everything is properly fused.....I don't worry about it......don't care what an insurance co. Has to say about it.


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Old 29-06-2016, 19:45   #3
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

Do you turn your circuit breaker panel off when you leave the house?
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Old 29-06-2016, 20:07   #4
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

I switch everything off on our boat where the vital systems are wired round the selector.

However, this cannot be done on the big boats I work as there are countless systems dependent on power (fridges, at least).

On some boats, if you switch of the main selector, the bilge and other sensors go off-line and you lose touch if you are ashore or in another country. A good reason not to wire such stuff via the selector.

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Old 29-06-2016, 20:57   #5
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
I've turned off the house and start batteries maybe 3 times in the last five years.

Everything is properly fused.....I don't worry about it......don't care what an insurance co. Has to say about it.


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+1

Properly sized, fused and maintained installations are not a fire hazard. Insurance companies are incentivized to reduce payouts. They are also legally required to honor what they sell.

If you isolate your batteries then they dont get charged.

We do isolate our starting batteries when on the hook. Usually we isolate just one and not both so we can start the engine if needed. This is not for fire safety but to avoid a failure in one battery pulling down a good battery.

We also have a backup jump battery.

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Old 29-06-2016, 21:01   #6
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

I only turn off stuff I don't want other people to turn on. So, mains, gensets, crane, underwater lights, bow thruster, electronics, and holding tank pumps.
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Old 29-06-2016, 21:56   #7
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

Mine is but a little boat. The bilge pump is wired around the selector, and the selector gets turned off. Not for any real good reason, however. Habit, I guess.
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Old 29-06-2016, 21:58   #8
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

Leave mine on. All breakers off except the one that powers the memory on the radio. Everything is properly fused, I'd leave other stuff on if I wanted to.

Main bilge pump is wired around the switch, to both banks (with diodes).

Fridge runs 24/7 on shorepower while at the dock.
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Old 29-06-2016, 22:23   #9
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

I've always turned my batteries of when the boat is unattended. However, the solar panels, battery charger, bilge pumps, fridge, anchor light and some aux power sockets are powered directly from the main bank. Not that I'm worried about fire, more so inadvertent discharge. The always on circuit is protected by a self resetting circuit breaker for panel switched items in series with a higher capacity circuit breaker with an integral switch that protects the high powered devices.

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Old 29-06-2016, 23:09   #10
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

When I leave Cbreeze, Main battery switch remains in normal operating position. I do turn off all but 3 circuit breaker. I leave most of the breakers in the off position because over the years I have found less corrosion on electrical connections exposed to a salt atmosphere when they are de energized.
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Old 30-06-2016, 02:16   #11
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

I switch off the selector if I leave for more than a few hours. The few times I did not something or other happened and/or a chain of events was triggered as a result of it not being off. Once a small leak in the pressurized water system developed. By coincidence that day I forgot to switch off. So the pressurized system kept the leak going which in turn led to the bilge switch being stuck in the up position which drained my batteries (this was in my pre-solar days and actually was an impetus to get the solar panels). Another time I did not switch off (also pre-solar), unbeknownst to me a guest's kid turned on some of the lights in the v-berth. I came back to the boat a few days, needless to say to dead batteries.

My bilge, fridge and CNG solenoid are wired bypassing the main switch. And they have little lighted switches to remind me they're on. Also I have my windlass battery on its own selector switch and can use it as a back up starting one if needed.
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Old 30-06-2016, 02:55   #12
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

I turn off both batts.... but there are several circuits "always on".... 1 12 cig plug... bilge pump, Link power, and one clock circuit on the audio system circuit and of course the solar panels are "on" because they charge the house bank. two switches... easy peasy.
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Old 30-06-2016, 05:34   #13
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

We do not have a battery selector switch between the start battery and the house setup. An echo charge handles the link for charging and we carry old fashioned jumper cables in case the need arises. The house bank is supported by a 130w solar panel and a 400w airex wind generator. The bilge pump draws from the house bank (4 gc2 6v @470 ah). This set up has worked for us so far. All links are fused. DC panels are usually off when we leave the boat except for the propane sniffer/solenoid. If there is something truly unsafe about our setup we would like to hear constructive advice.
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Old 30-06-2016, 06:44   #14
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

Turn off the power, That's crazy!!!! The beer will get warm!
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Old 30-06-2016, 08:35   #15
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

I have always left the main house battery switched on in most cases. I would turn it off for working on wiring or devices downstream. My bilge pumps and some alarms are wired before the switch although I can turn those off manually if I wanted for some reason, e.g to work on them.

I always turn off all unneeded circuit breakers when leaving the boat. I leave nav lights on (especially anchor light) when I will be anchored out at night. I leave the fridge breaker on if I am using it. I rarely turn off the main DC breaker unless working on the panel.

I fuse or have a circuit breaker (both with the proper rating) for every wire coming off of the battery. I also make sure that every wire is at spec or over spec'd for the most amperage it will need to carry.

I do know some turn off the main DC switch when leaving and that is totally OK is they don't need any circuits on. I would never leave the batteries paralleled when leaving a boat unless it was an emergency need to charge the batteries together. I don't recommend that unless all the batteries are the same type, etc.

If you don't have adequate fusing and/or circuit breakers or wires in poor condition or undersized then you should certainly turn everything off and plan to improve it all to spec so you can. The way I look at it, if it is too unsafe to leave on at the dock, then it is too unsafe to leave on when you are on it. The issue then is whether you might leave on a circuit (lights, fridge, propane solenoid, inverter, etc.) and then drain the battery when you don't need to, then that is the main reason some will turn off the main switch when leaving. I have done it on occasion but not as a rule.
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