Jump to content

Winterising Batteries - options?


Jay88
 Share

Featured Posts

Hi,

 

Quick one, we have recently bought a narrowboat and for the next 5 years or so we plan on using it for 4-5 weeks per year then store it on hardstand the remaining time (10-11 months). The boat is currently winterised and on the hardstand and the 6 x leisure batteries (all knackered) will be replaced before our yearly cruise of 5 weeks during the 2020 summer.

 

Question: As we have the boat winterised each year, what do we do with the leisure batteries after our yearly cruising season? I've done some research which indicates leisure batteries (or any) shouldn't be totally discharged which would happen if we don't do anything with them, but what is the best course of section to ensure the new batteries have a chance at a long(ish) life? Buy a small solar panel and hook up during our periods away? If so what would be the ideal size? Obviously we would something that can do its thing without any oversight / monitoring. 

 

Any thoughts / ideas are highly appreciated.

 

Cheers!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lead acid batteries discharge themselves 4 to 5% a month, going below around 12.3 volts sulphates them so over winter they will be substantially damaged if left alone.

A PV panel and controller will save them if there is enough sun and the panel is not covered in snow. I would suggest you need a 100w panel and a 10 Amp mppt type control box as a minimum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tricky one. 6 leisure batteries are expensive and I would be surprised it they are much good at all after 4-5 years whatever you do with them. The normal advice is to charge them once a month which is what I do but they still don't last very well. If you are using the boat daily for a few weeks every year then maybe just get a couple of batts. We have two 'leisure' batts. and one starter, this is OK for us, we usually move every couple of days and we use a tv (sparingly) mobile phone and laptop charging and l.e.d lighting (plus candles) The boat is in France so mains electric tends to be available at more moorings than the UK but we also take the view that as its a boat we just cannot have all the electric gubbins that boats tend to have nowadays.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Six leisure batteries does seem a lot, especially if only used for five or six weeks in the summer.  I would reduce it to four for a start.

Fit a minimum 100W panel, but unless you are going to be cruising for several hours a day, I would go for at least 200W, with a 20A MPPT controller.  It won't cost you much more than a set of batteries and will almost certainly save you a set or two over four or five years.

They will go a long way to keeping your batteries charged over the summer so you will need to do little static engine running, and will be more than adequate to maintain the batteries through the winter (I was getting over 2 amps at around 11:00 am last week).

 

The alternative is to take them home and wrap them up in a nice warm garage with a battery maintainer on them.

  • Greenie 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, dor said:

Six leisure batteries does seem a lot, especially if only used for five or six weeks in the summer.  I would reduce it to four for a start.

Fit a minimum 100W panel, but unless you are going to be cruising for several hours a day, I would go for at least 200W, with a 20A MPPT controller.  It won't cost you much more than a set of batteries and will almost certainly save you a set or two over four or five years.

They will go a long way to keeping your batteries charged over the summer so you will need to do little static engine running, and will be more than adequate to maintain the batteries through the winter (I was getting over 2 amps at around 11:00 am last week).

 

The alternative is to take them home and wrap them up in a nice warm garage with a battery maintainer on them.

They will just sit there on charge from the solar for 45 weeks, I think that would be both a waste of good batteries and solar. Considering the investment of having a boat sitting for 11 months doing nothing the cost of a couple of batteries is nothing.

  • Greenie 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Bee said:

The normal advice is to charge them once a month which is what I do but they still don't last very well.

That's because you are listening to the wrong advice!  The correct advice is to charge them fully to 100% as soon as possible after discharging them to maximise battery life.

 

Whether this is worth doing economically (cost of diesel vs cost of batteries) is where the subject gets complicated!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually Bee may not be listening to the incorrect advice. When I worked at a battery agent we had to freshen charge all batteries that were waiting to be sold once a moth to keep them in best condition. What you say is best practice for batteries  that are in use but as the OP's will in effect be in storage for 11 months a monthly recharge would probably be best although some sulphation will take place it will be minimised..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Tony Brooks said:

Actually Bee may not be listening to the incorrect advice. When I worked at a battery agent we had to freshen charge all batteries that were waiting to be sold once a moth to keep them in best condition. What you say is best practice for batteries  that are in use but as the OP's will in effect be in storage for 11 months a monthly recharge would probably be best although some sulphation will take place it will be minimised..

It's very rare I disagree with you on technical topics Tony, but this is going to be one of them.

 

If the boat is not hooked up to a reliable shoreline and left on charge, there is no valid reason at all not to have a solar array and controller fitted.  Batteries left for months on end are prime candidates for at least a modest solar system, keeping them fully charged even through winter.

 

I agree that many battery distributors only charge stock once a month, but that's the trade-off between too much faffing and acceptable battery condition.  It's also why I always check rested voltages on delivery!

  • Greenie 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

... or even a turnkey Victron system ...

 

Break

Out

Another

Ten grand!

 

The OP must be pretty loaded to be lifting his boat onto the hard for most of the time and launching it just for just a month of use in a year, don'tcher think??

 

Most of us would just leave in in the water....

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

The OP must be pretty loaded to be lifting his boat onto the hard for most of the time and launching it just for just a month of use in a year, don'tcher think??

 

Most of us would just leave in in the water....

 

 

 

 

 

The licence fee difference will cover it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think on the hard is better than in the water especially if the base plate is blacked as well, boat could well last for ever. In fact defo a candidate for zingering do it once in 25 years perfik 

Edited by peterboat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

The OP must be pretty loaded to be lifting his boat onto the hard for most of the time and launching it just for just a month of use in a year, don'tcher think??

 

Most of us would just leave in in the water....

 

 

 

 

 

If you do it at Aqueduct Marina on the Middlewich Branch it's cheaper than 12 months afloat because they ran out of space.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the responses and I'll probably go with installing a solar panel and controller to help the batteries out when the boat is on the hardstand.

 

The only reason for 6 x batteries is that's what's currently on the boat, may need to look into doing a decent power audit to determine if we could maybe get away with 3-4 during the next few years before we finally live aboard permanently as CC...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, Jay88 said:

Thanks for all the responses and I'll probably go with installing a solar panel and controller to help the batteries out when the boat is on the hardstand.

 

The only reason for 6 x batteries is that's what's currently on the boat, may need to look into doing a decent power audit to determine if we could maybe get away with 3-4 during the next few years before we finally live aboard permanently as CC...

That is a very good idea, also how you intend to use the boat in that 5 weeks. Do you plan to sit around in one spot for days or go boating for a few hours every day?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is almost certain that a "few hours each day" with staying somewhere for a day or two will not be enough to keep the batteries charged to avoid premature loss of capacity and life. Naturally it depends on what you mean by a few hours. If six plus then it will probably be OK but if two hours probably not. So i would advise you get a decent voltmeter and ammeter fitted and then learn how to infer the state of charge. A decent amount of solar will help venomously though. It will also keep the batteries very well charged when you are off the boat.

 

However without solar or shoreline charging on the present facts I would suggest that planing to replace batteries annually is not as off the wall as it sounds, especially if you don't run enough when on the boat to keep them very well charged. So its an exercise in working out what is most cost effective.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

A decent amount of solar will help venomously

That's a cracker !!!!

 

adjective

(of an animal) having a gland or glands for secreting venom; able to inflict a poisoned bite, sting, or wound: a venomous snake.
full of or containing venom; poisonous: a venomous wound; a venomous potion.
spiteful; malignant: a venomous attack; a venomous tongue.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.