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What Battery Charger? / Charging Tips

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I bought a 1997 Bass Tracker, 40hp Tracker/Mercury motor and troll motor is a Minn Kota or Motor Guide Model 30 with 37 lb thrust. The boat has an onboard charger but the seller said it doesn't work. For the life of me, I canNOT find the plug where I'd plug in the extension cord. I have looked all over that boat.

 

I think it says 5 something on the charger. If I replace it, with what?

 

And what is the best strategy for recharging the troll motor battery?

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The charger has to have an AC power cord. Can't you just follow it to the plug? Most likely mounted in the gunwal or deck near the charger. Should be a couple inches in diameter with a round rubber cap over it.

They may just have the power corb laying in the boat and you just plug it in.

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My new charger just arrived today!  My original charger that came with the boat is still working fine but it is 18 yrs old so I'm "updating" with a new Minn Kota PC 330.  The other will continue it's use in the winter in the garage to keep the batteries charged.

 

You might consider this one....

 

http://www.hodgesmarine.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=Minn+kota+PC+220&Search.x=0&Search.y=0

 

Dual Pro chargers (Charging Systems International) are also really good and very popular.  This is what the original unit in my boat is, 18 yrs and still going.

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Just a thought. The previous owner may have cut the power chord to the charger. If so, I would suggest getting a new charger that is automatic, charges at a rate of 10 amps per bank, and with the same number of banks as the number of batteries you have.

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I assume that you have a two bank charger; one for the trolling motor battery and one for the starting motor.  Therefore there are only three wires coming out of the charger.  Two of them will lead to the batteries, and the third will lead to the AC power plug, or the end of a wire that has been cut and leads nowhere.  Either way, you have found the correct wire.

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I assume that you have a two bank charger; one for the trolling motor battery and one for the starting motor.  Therefore there are only three wires coming out of the charger.  Two of them will lead to the batteries, and the third will lead to the AC power plug, or the end of a wire that has been cut and leads nowhere.  Either way, you have found the correct wire.

 

I want to thank you, I found it! This is by Charging Systems International and the label is red/black and it says "5 Amp Pro Charger." There are two black wires coming out of the bottom and one is a standard 3-prong male connector that would go into my extension chord. I assume that the other wire goes to the troll motor battery, a one bank? It's cramped back there, I will have to dig around and see.

 

Can you recommend a way to figure out if this charger is working?

 

What is best strategy for recharging, immediately upon return from lake or what? Should I run the battery down to a certain point and not go below that? I'd have to have some kind of gauge to tell, if so. Is it bad to run a troll motor battery down a long way? This is a one-battery 12-volt setup. (Plus one for the big motor.)

 

Weird, we had a big thunderstorm, over an inch of rain and my boat was uncovered (had the cover drying out!) and got water in it. I went to check my boat and the troll motor was just a spinning! Could extra water have caused a short to kick it on or how could that happen? I had to unplug it to get it go off. Then, I pulled the drain plug on the boat. I couldn't see it but there was quite a bit of water that drained out, drained for about 3 minutes.

 

Lastly... if this onboard charger will work, it requires me to connect my long extension chord from the outside electrical outlet at my house. But if it doesn't work, there isn't much difference in dragging the same extension chord and connecting my very small Black & Decker 6 amp charger to the battery. What am I missing? Is there another advantage to the onboard charger?

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"Most" onboard chargers are designed to be left on the battery 24/7 without doing damage to the battery and to keep the battery charged while not in use.  I would not trust leaving your B&D on the battery after it has reached full charge, and it needs to be reconnected every six weeks or so the top off the self discharge the battery is going to do.  If not, once the battery gets below approx. 80% charge, it will start to sulphate (dying a slow death).

 

Most typical battery chargers are designed to charge the battery only.  Leave them on the battery and voltage leakage from the charger can over charge, and fry the battery over time, or it can turn back on and fry the battery. 

 

Yes, you want to charge the battery as soon as you get back from fishing.  Again, a battery below approx. 80% will start to sulphate within 24 hours.

 

If the charger is only one bank, and is bad, I would recommend replacing it with a two bank (three bank if 24V TM), so the cranking battery and TM battery is charged and kept on a maintenance charge.  The cranking battery is almost never fully charged by the big motor and needs to be charged when you return, or you are back the to sulphate issues again.

 

If you do replace it, make sure the replacement charger has a maintenance charge feature, preferably a float charge.  Some of these cheap Chinese things being sold don't.  It will pay you to stick with a name brand that has a good reputation.

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...If you do replace it, make sure the replacement charger has a maintenance charge feature, preferably a float charge.  Some of these cheap Chinese things being sold don't.  It will pay you to stick with a name brand that has a good reputation.

 

Can you recommend a 2-bank one with that?

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I've never run one or had any dealings with one, but these seem to be getting pretty good reviews, and when you add the $30 rebate, that's a pretty good price for a 10 amp per bank charger, which I would recommend.   http://mk.factoryoutletstore.com/details/20873-36569/minn-kota-220d.html

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If you plan on upgrading the trolling motor any time soon I would get a 3 bank charger so you dont have to purchase another one when you upgrade to a 24v trolling motor

 

If you arent planning on upgrading then I suggest this

 

 http://bbgmarine.com/minn-kota-mk220d-2-bank-x-10-amps-p-2490.html

 

If you are planning on upgrading then I would suggest this,

 

http://bbgmarine.com/minn-kota-mk330d-3-bank-x-10-amps-p-2489.html

 

I have the 3 bank and so far it has worked like a charm. Not too expensive either.

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Add the shipping and those are higher than others with free shipping.. As for upgrading later, if that time ever came, just get a 6 amp single bank for the cranking battery and use the two bank for the TM batteries.

This post jest cost me $220. I needed another charger and looking at these for you, I ordered the 330D. I guess I'll find out if they are good or not. It was $249 with a $30 rebate so I figured what the heck.

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Add the shipping and those are higher than others with free shipping.. As for upgrading later, if that time ever came, just get a 6 amp single bank for the cranking battery and use the two bank for the TM batteries.

This post jest cost me $220. I needed another charger and looking at these for you, I ordered the 330D. I guess I'll find out if they are good or not. It was $249 with a $30 rebate so I figured what the heck.

Its been fine for me so far

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I am the OP... how can I tell if this unit is working? When I plug it in, nothing happens. Should I see a light or should I hear it "running?" When I plug in my Black n Decker charger, I can hear it. Plus, it has lights. Should my onboard charger make a noise?

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I do not like to trust a battery charger that does not have a meter. I want to see what's going on. My on-board charger has lights (idiot lights) so I use my other charger with a meter. Batteries can be run down but must soon be fully charged and it helps to carry a zero float for a half hour to top the charge off. A hydrometer will measure the specific gravity in each cell and you want a reading of 1270. Add water after the charge and not before. Once a battery is over 3 years old you might as well replace it. Sure some will give you 6 years and then one day die on you at the worst time. Why invite a problem?

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Normally, you will have some sort of visual indication, LED or something that will let you know the charger is on.  Most chargers are also going the emit a small amount of noise when working.

 

How do you check to see if its working?  Connect it to a battery, connect a voltmeter to the battery, fully charged it's going to be reading approx. 12.6-12.8 VDC or less depending on state of discharge.  When you plug the charger in, that voltage is going to increase to a little over 14.  Now, if the battery is fully charged, it may drop back after several seconds.  If when you first plug it in and the meter does not change after several seconds, then it ain't working.

 

Most onboard chargers are sealed but you might want to look and see if there's a fuse hiding someplace on it.  If there is no serviceable fuse, then it's probably junk, unless you are pretty good with electronics.

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OP - you can tell if that old charger is working by checking the voltage of the battery. First check the voltage before you turn on the charger - probably reading somewhere in the 12.whatever range. Then plug in the charger and the voltage should be 13.something.

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BPS has a BPS SPS brand 2 bank; it says 5/5 10 amp. So, I guess that is 5 amps per bank. Why do I care about amp rating, does more amps equal faster charge? That one is on sale for $120. Then they have ProMariner ProSport 12 which is 12 total amps for $130. I guess the 12 amp is better. I wonder if those shut off upon full charge. I guess that's a good feature.

 

Or, the Minn Kota 212 PC at BPS is $200 but has $50 rebate, so, net $150.

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