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Old 09-01-2016, 14:00   #1
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Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

As I've been encountering these issues more, I'd like to share why it's Very Important to do Maintainance and Inspect your Terminal ends, Cables, And connections frequently.
These pictures are to show how easy it can be to miss a potentially serious problem, and even possibly a disastrous situation.

This battery cable looked pretty good if you just looked at it to see if there was any reason to clean the ends.
Upon further inspection you can see two very small holes in the insulation, these were probably done to quick probe the wire for voltage, possibly just damage done to the cover due to other reasons.

The point I'm trying to show is why it's so darn important to check insulation, terminal crimps for tightness, and to repair any breaches in the insulation, as well to coat ends with lanocote, or other corrosion inhibitor.

This potential problem was not immediately seen, and only after finding excessive resistance in this start bank causing low cranking speed, and discharging the battery abnormally, I went further to remove the cables and check closer.

What I saw was a very slight swelling under the cover and these puncture marks on the side not visual, not seen was the crimp was loose and not good under the rigging wrap that had been used to "seal" the terminal end.

This problem probably has been going on for years, as I've inspected this vessel before and didn't notice these problems before any symptoms appeared.

As you can see the corrosion creeped down the cable and was progressing.
Check closely these terminal ends, and even wipe the cables down now and again to discover any other possible issues hiding in the dark, and somewhat inhospitable areas you really don't want to look at... It will pay off some day... Guaranteed!

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Old 09-01-2016, 19:45   #2
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Re: Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

Very good advice.

Bump.
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Old 09-01-2016, 20:28   #3
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Re: Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

This appears to be quite severe. Any idea as to why this got so bad? Was it a long period of neglect? What else may be going on here? Spillage of water or H2SO4? Any physicists or electrical engineers wish to weigh in? This may provide some answers. Does it only happen with flooded batteries? Corrosion Of Battery Terminals: Explanation, Cleaning & Prevention | Benign Blog
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Old 09-01-2016, 20:36   #4
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Re: Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Annapolis View Post
Does it only happen with flooded batteries?
U gotta be kiddin', right?
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Old 09-01-2016, 22:02   #5
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Re: Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

Yikes.

I was avoiding the boat yoga, but I wrote it down on my 'to do' for tomorrow ...
Old cables, and haven't checked them that well since I'm planning on renewing everything
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Old 10-01-2016, 08:35   #6
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Re: Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

not only battery connections but all crimped connections, c
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:20   #7
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Re: Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
U gotta be kiddin', right?
Dear "U" I just don't find this reply to be helpful on any level. Perhaps you'd be a bit clearer, unless U were just kiddin', right?
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:25   #8
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Re: Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

The cable shown doesn't appear to be tinned boat cable. That's probably why the corrosion advanced so quickly with a small hole in the insulation.
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:39   #9
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Re: Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Annapolis View Post
Dear "U" I just don't find this reply to be helpful on any level. Perhaps you'd be a bit clearer, unless U were just kiddin', right?
He wasn't kidding... It's the electricity, cable, moisture and salt issue no matter where the electricity is stored.
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:52   #10
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Re: Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

Hey Boatyarddog,

Another lesson learned from your good heads-up post is to always use the correct cabling; in this case ultra fine strand tinned marine cable- especially for battery connections.

The cheap stuff from the auto parts stores will not do for long term use as your findings demonstrate...

It looks like you are in for some rewiring. In case you didn't already know, a reasonably priced source [at least in the US] I use and is often cited on this forum is Marine Wiring, Boat Cable and Electrical Genuinedealz.com.

Best wishes with your project, and thanks for reminding us all of the importance of remaining vigilant.

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:13   #11
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Re: Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

This may be thread drift but considering the importance of engines on boats, isn't it a shame most of them depend on batteries, wires, switches, and electric motors to start?

I had an 8hp Yanmar that started easy, and I could release the compression, get it going, then recompress and it would start - but, I was never able to do with any other engine - the older Volvos had that huge flywheel/pulley on them, and you were supposed to be able to get that going and it would have the momentum to crank the engine enough to get it started - good luck with that.

Pretty much every city bus has an air starter doesn't it? Why can't they put those on boat engines?
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Old 10-01-2016, 23:54   #12
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Re: Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

Boatbrain has raised an issue which may need another thread.

"Pretty much every city bus has an air starter doesn't it? Why can't they put those on boat engines?"

There are (or maybe were) at least two makers of 'Spring Starters' and these offer an alternative when all else fails.

The common term for the internals is a string of Bellville Washers which are, tor those not familiar, a cupped or dished circular spring in disc form.
These are able to store significant linear force which is used (when released) to spin very large and many small diesel engines via a fast pitch thread and additional gearing.

The snag (isn't there always one?) is that you would be carrying this item unmounted in most cases, and it would be a change-out to use it.

The springs are hand charged through a lever action.

There is one more problem though, as with air starters, if your engine needs to have an injector pump inlet solenoid energised to run the motor, you would also need a small backup battery.

Probably best to ensure a sound electrical system for many reasons.
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Old 11-01-2016, 08:32   #13
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Re: Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

Forgive my ignorance, I know to use marine grade wire but what do you look for visually to confirm it is tinned wire?

-- Bass

Quote:
Originally Posted by wgoodbye View Post
The cable shown doesn't appear to be tinned boat cable. That's probably why the corrosion advanced so quickly with a small hole in the insulation.
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:07   #14
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Re: Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

When you cut a piece of tinned or non-tinned wire it will look copper color at the end. When you take off insulation to make a crimp connection tinned wire will be silvery and shiny. The tin looks like polished silver when it is new.

The OP of this thread is 100% correct as to the importance of routinely checking for problems with connections, insulation, etc. Unfortunately heat shrink can sometimes cover up corrosion issues underneath, and sometimes, just plain poor crimps. I have had cables pull out of crimps when the heat shrink was removed. That is scary. (Not ones I have done - so far). At least, make it a habit to wiggle each termination to see if it is tight and the crimp seems good.
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Old 11-01-2016, 13:47   #15
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Hidden Problems in Battery Circuits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Annapolis View Post
This appears to be quite severe. Any idea as to why this got so bad? Was it a long period of neglect? What else may be going on here? Spillage of water or H2SO4? Any physicists or electrical engineers wish to weigh in? This may provide some answers. Does it only happen with flooded batteries? Corrosion Of Battery Terminals: Explanation, Cleaning & Prevention | Benign Blog

No vented compartment, damage to the cable sheathing, improper crimps and lack of proper sealing or inspections
Flooded batteries, yes, H2SO4, yes, as these are not in boxes, or vented.


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