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Old 30-08-2011, 06:02   #1
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Fairly Urgent: Batteries Are Dead, Shore Power Won't Charge, Bilge Pump Runs On 12v

Ok so here's the deal. The marina I bought the boat from turned the battery chargers off for some reason, so since this weekend we've just been running the 12v system off the batteries. Last night they finally drained, so I turned the charger back on, and began charging from shore power. Ends up, this charger doesn't work very effectively. I had it running for 6 hours to no avail. It was enough to start the generator, but the generator doesn't charge the batteries directly, it powers the battery charger that doesn't work, so the generator died really quickly.. There's not enough juice to fire up the main engines either.

Will a regular portable car battery booster be alright to get these batteries back up and running so I can start the engines? Or do they require more/different power? My fiancee is there right now keeping an eye on things because there is a small leak. Any help would be appreciated, I don't want my baby to sink.. Either of them.
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Old 30-08-2011, 06:16   #2
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Re: Fairly Urgent. Batteries are dead, shore power won't charge. Bilge Pump runs on

IF the motors are 12V (single 12v battery) yes a car charger should get the motors started. The question is why the batteries didn't charge after 6 hours. What type batteries are they? Check first to be sure the batteries have water in them. Also monitor the batteries for excessive heat at the casings. This is a real quick answer to your question but you should have the batteries checked for shorts and a load test.

Steve in Solomons MD
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Old 30-08-2011, 06:18   #3
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Re: Fairly Urgent. Batteries are dead, shore power won't charge. Bilge Pump runs on

For short term to keep power for the bilge pumps bring on whatever battery charger you have. 12V is 12V so if your boat is wired 12V (most are but some are 24V) then any battery charger should work short term.

BUT, be very careful as home/auto type chargers may have a higher risk of shocking you on a boat. Long term they may have a chance for stray current corrosion that will eat up your prop or other metal parts. All depends very much on how your boat is wired and how the charger is constructed.
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Old 30-08-2011, 06:29   #4
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Re: Fairly Urgent. Batteries are dead, shore power won't charge. Bilge Pump runs on

The Tojan F-36 comes with 2 12v and 2 120v batteries I believe.

If I buy this product and connect it to one of the batteries:
(Motomaster Battery Charger with 75A Engine Start | Canadian Tire)
TL;DR (Motomaster 75a quick start battery charger)

1) I should be able to start the one engine that is connected to that battery correct?
2) While that engine is running, both batteries should be able to charge.

The reason I need to get the batteries charged immediately is because the bilge pumps run on the 12v system and the bilge is starting to fill up. Not fast, but enough to necessitate pumping it out. Once I take care of this issue, I can tackle what the real problem is.

I don't think there is a short after the battery, because once they are charged they last over a week. There's just an issue of actually getting them charged. Regardless, I just need ot know if I pick up this charger, should I be able to start the boat?
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Old 30-08-2011, 06:39   #5
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Re: Fairly Urgent. Batteries are dead, shore power won't charge. Bilge Pump runs on

Definitely understood. Now all I need to do is have my fiancee go pick one up then wander around asking random boat people to hook it up for her.
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Old 30-08-2011, 06:41   #6
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Re: Fairly Urgent. Batteries are dead, shore power won't charge. Bilge Pump runs on

If this was my boat I would start by directly connecting one 12v battery to the bilge pump, then 1 charger, (auto or otherwise), directly to the battery and to shore power. ...

Then go find that leak! Start with the packing box, turn off all seacocks, check the fresh water and sumps, ( one leak I found was condensation from A/C). Check packing box again.

I use a different battery just for the engines for this reason. My generator charges it's own battery. You can always take one battery out, charge overnight at home, and use it to start the engine in the morning, that should provide enough power to run everything else.... Don't forget to reopen the engine cooling seacock after you find the leak...Good Luck.
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Old 30-08-2011, 06:43   #7
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Re: Fairly Urgent. Batteries are dead, shore power won't charge. Bilge Pump runs on

Have never heard of 120V batteries on a Trojan. Maybe you have an inverter that makes 120V AC from your standard 12V batteries?

You really do need to confirm where the problem is on your boat. It could be the batteries or the charger.

As recommended, look in the batteries to see if they have water in them. Also, a quick, easy test is to connect the charger and check the voltage with a standard, digital volt meter. If the charger is working you should read over 14V at the battery. if you read less you either have a bad charger or a bad connection between the charger and the battery.

You should also get a manual bilge pump installed asap.
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Old 30-08-2011, 06:55   #8
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Re: Fairly Urgent. Batteries are dead, shore power won't charge. Bilge Pump runs on

Quote:
Originally Posted by Punx View Post
If I buy this product and connect it to one of the batteries:
(Motomaster Battery Charger with 75A Engine Start | Canadian Tire)
TL;DR (Motomaster 75a quick start battery charger)

1) I should be able to start the one engine that is connected to that battery correct?
2) While that engine is running, both batteries should be able to charge.
The charger might have enough to start an engine, depends on what's in the boat. For a large diesel that might not be enough.

Q2, depends on how the boat is wired. With twin engines some are set up with separate, independent starting batteries for each engine and a parallel switch to temporarily combine the starting batteries in case one side dies and the other is good.

You really, really need to figure out the 12V system on your boat or start spending money for a marine electrician.

Short term, charge the batteries and pump the bilge. And yes, FIND THE LEAK.
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Old 30-08-2011, 07:06   #9
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Re: Fairly Urgent. Batteries are dead, shore power won't charge. Bilge Pump runs on

Ok so I'll keep my fiancee there to monitor everything until I get off work.

1) I am going to pick up a car/marine battery charger. I don't own one so it's a good thing to have anyways.
2) Check the batteries for water
3) Check the battery with a meter, make sure the batteries are putting out 14v
4) Turn the charger on and check the leads going to the battery

capn_billl: The leak is at the shaft, it's not huge, but its enough to make things wet. I'm going to tackle that as soon as I figure out how to stop it. I'll post that question in a different thread though.
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Old 30-08-2011, 07:19   #10
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Re: Fairly Urgent. Batteries are dead, shore power won't charge. Bilge Pump runs on

What charger do you have installed?
Some Inverter/ Chargers, such as the older Vanners, Need to recognise some remaining "trigger voltage" in the battery, before charging will commence. If the batteries have been drained, to below this "trigger", nothing will happen. Jumper to flat battery with a charged battery, and see if this fires up the charger function.
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Old 30-08-2011, 07:36   #11
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Re: Fairly Urgent. Batteries are dead, shore power won't charge. Bilge Pump runs on

Quote:
Originally Posted by Punx View Post
1) I am going to pick up a car/marine battery charger. I don't own one so it's a good thing to have anyways.
If you have concerns about connecting a new or second charger get one that plugs in to a standard wall socket. Then on your boat you can plug it into a standard extension cord or AC socket on your boat.

Then get one with large alligator clips on the 12 V charging side. Connect the RED clip to the red cable or the + (positive) battery terminal and the black clip to the - (negative) terminal. The battery will be market to show the + side.

Takes care of any installation questions and gets you power for the bilge pumps right now.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Punx View Post
3) Check the battery with a meter, make sure the batteries are putting out 14v
Not quite correct. A fully charged battery depending on when you check it after charging, will show 12.5-13.0 V. You should only see > 14 V with the battery charger connected and functioning correctly.

A battery with some charge but not enough to crank the engine might show 10-11V or less.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Punx View Post
4) Turn the charger on and check the leads going to the battery
Follow the output wires from the charger (very probably will be red and black) all the way from the charger to the batteries. See if they go direct or to a switch or some sort of connector. Look at any connection, especially the last one directly on the battery, to see if it looks green or rusty or anything but clean. Also check all connections to make sure they are tight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Punx View Post
The leak is at the shaft, it's not huge, but its enough to make things wet. I'm going to tackle that as soon as I figure out how to stop it. I'll post that question in a different thread though.

If the leak is at the shaft it is probably the stuffing box. That will look like a short piece of pipe that the prop shaft passes through with two large nuts around the middle of the pipe. The nuts may be close together and look like one nut but it is two. You can tighten this up but just enough to slow the leak. Too much and you will burn your prop shaft. Here are some good photos and directions on how a stuffing box works. Thanks to forum member Mainesail for this.

Re-Packing A Traditional Stuffing Box Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com

Good luck,

Skip

PS
Sounds like you have a good fiancée. Be nice to her.
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Old 30-08-2011, 07:53   #12
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Re: Fairly Urgent. Batteries are dead, shore power won't charge. Bilge Pump runs on

Holly hell, out of any other forum, for any other type of community, this is by far the most helpful group of people I have ever come across. I've got a lot to learn. Thank you all so much, I really appreciate the help. Anywhere else I'd get "learn how to use google noob" etc.. Anyway, I'll post my findings as soon as I get home!

Thanks again!
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Old 30-08-2011, 08:15   #13
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Re: Fairly Urgent. Batteries are dead, shore power won't charge. Bilge Pump runs on

Also, Purchase a manual bilge pump. They are not that expensive.
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Old 30-08-2011, 08:49   #14
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Re: Fairly Urgent. Batteries are dead, shore power won't charge. Bilge Pump runs on

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V_Surya View Post
Also, Purchase a manual bilge pump. They are not that expensive.
Yeah, I'm going to pick one up and hook it into the current line so I don't have to rip everything apart to use it.
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Old 30-08-2011, 09:35   #15
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Re: Fairly Urgent. Batteries are dead, shore power won't charge. Bilge Pump runs on

Quote:
Originally Posted by Punx View Post
Ok so I'll keep my fiancee there to monitor everything until I get off work.

1) I am going to pick up a car/marine battery charger. I don't own one so it's a good thing to have anyways.
2) Check the batteries for water
3) Check the battery with a meter, make sure the batteries are putting out 14v
4) Turn the charger on and check the leads going to the battery

capn_billl: The leak is at the shaft, it's not huge, but its enough to make things wet. I'm going to tackle that as soon as I figure out how to stop it. I'll post that question in a different thread though.
A quick temporary fix, I keep a can of teflon plumbers paste on board, it comes in a white can with an aplicator brush. a quick swab around the shaft where it is leaking will slow or stop it until you can repack the packing box as per the above instructions, ( a tube of graphite will do the same thing)

I think you mentioned this was a recent purchase? This is a common problem, let the boat sit a few months and the flax packing will harden, then move the boat and it will leak,...everytime. Newer graphite or teflon packing is less likely to have this problem, so are dripless packings.
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