How to take care of your batteries in 5 easy steps

A concise guide to batteries
16/08/2018
batteries

Batteries have always been an important issue for all boat lovers and sailors. In addition to their main function as an energy source to start the engines, batteries run a host of and have to feed all those cool electronic onboard appliances and all sorts of apps.

Spring maintenance is key to ensuring the lifespan of your batteries. Make sure your batteries are in top shape for the coming season.

While working with your battery, always use safety glasses and gloves. Be careful having contact with metal objects and make sure to remove your wrist watch and jewellery.

  1. Clean battery terminals.

Make sure the terminals of your boat battery are nice and shiny clean. Take a wire brush and some of your favourite good old-fashioned baking soda and water mixed up. That will neutralize all corrosion built up on the terminals. Clean gently, then reinstall and tighten back up.

During the summer, once a month tighten up your battery terminals to prevent losing the connection. It’s important to have a good connection so that the battery is going to charge properly while in service.

  1. Check the electrolyte levels.

If you have a Flooded battery, It’s important to maintain its water level. Use only distilled water – regular tap water causes calcium sulfation.

Remove the water fill caps and control the water level in the battery. If the plates are exposed, just add enough water to cover the plates. Check the water level regularly, especially during hot days and after heavy usage.

  1. Lightly grease the terminals.

You could prevent electrical problems using grease. It’s actually a type of silicone lubricant called dielectric grease. Dielectric grease insulates, seals and lubricates the place of use while making it somewhat waterproof. It stops corrosion and helps maintaining your battery terminal posts clean.

  1. Secure the battery.

Make sure the battery is seated properly in the battery compartment. Boats move through the water in a jerky motion which might cause your battery sliding or bouncing around. Ensure that it doesn’t move at all and is placed secure for sea.

  1. Charge the battery fully.

Charge up the battery with a battery charger. Make sure you have the right cables going to the correct battery terminals. Negative (–) goes to negative (–) and positive (+) goes to positive (+). Make sure you charge your battery at the right amp.

Batteries are at play between two variables: how many times can you use them and what’s the depth of discharge. The deeper the depth of discharge, the least amount of cycles you’re going to be able to use.

Why it is important to have a battery monitor on your boat

We all have serious need for electricity on board. The only way of knowing where we are, what is the depth of the discharges is a battery monitor.

A good battery monitor delivers the boater in a clear and understandable way a lot of pertinent information like:

  • voltage,
  • amperes coming in and out,
  • battery consumption,
  • remaining ampere-hours,
  • capacity expressed as a percentage.

Keeping your batteries charged and clean will keep them a lot longer. Maintaining them by using a battery monitoring solution will maximize your fun on the water!