Battery MaintenanceBattery Maintenance
Positive or Negative?
By Bonita Staples
The battery, one of the most abused, mistreated and misapplied pieces of equipment on your boat. Charged up the day before the fishing trip after sitting discharged for at least a week, usually more than pushed to the limit by the trolling motor all day long. I've fished with other anglers and used loaner boats from dealers where the batteries on the boats were in such bad shape that it was a miracle the outboard even started, and the trolling motor lost power in a couple of hours of use.
Marine batteries are specifically designed for the extremes of long days of use with trolling motors and outboards. Automotive batteries tend to be less expensive than marine batteries and are used sometimes to save a few dollars, by both dealers and boat owners, but they won't hold up as long under the heavy draw of a trolling motor.
I usually take the furnished batteries out of my boat and use the same marine batteries I pulled out of my last boat. I've used the same three batteries for over five years in three different boats.
Besides using the right batteries for the right application, how well you take care of them will determine their useful life. Most batteries are only designed for three years of normal use. If the battery is not taken care of, then that life is shortened.
The accessories I use are designed to enhance the connection, eliminate corrosion, keep the charge in the batteries and extend the battery life. The Connector, by PulseTech is a solid brass terminal that screws onto the battery post and seals against the base of the post with an 0-ring. The Connector has multiple brass terminals to give you several places and direction to connect the power cables as well as your accessories. PulseTech's Marine Solargizer small solar panels that mount either on your boat or outboard motor cowling. The Marine Solargizer will help extend the life of your batteries. It uses an incredible patented break through, called Pulse Technology, emitting a pulsating DC current into the battery that re-energizes and removes the lead sulfate deposits from the plates, then returns them to the battery acid as active electrolytes. Lead sulfate deposits on the plates is one of the main causes to a short battery life and loss of amps.
These products, Solargizer and PowerPulse are not battery chargers. They are electronic devices designed to ensure battery performance up to five times or more.
Besides these accessories to improve your battery connection and battery life there are regular maintenance procedures that can help make your days on the water more enjoyable.
First, always use marine batteries, cranking or starting type for the outboard and deep cycle for the trolling motor. Second, check the electrolyte or water level in the battery before each charge and keep it filled to the manufacturer recommendations DO NOT overfill. The gases from batteries are very explosive, keep flames and anything that could spark away while you are filling or working around the battery and do not smoke either. Third, always charge the batteries as soon as possible when you get off the lake if you stay the night or as soon as you get home from your fishing trip. The longer the battery stays discharged the shorter the life the battery will have. Lead sulfate will build up on the plates. Fourth, if you're not using the Connector, the battery manufacturers recommend cleaning the terminals every three months. Fifth, check all of the connections for tightness. If you try to follow these guidelines your day on the water will be more enjoyable and your battery problems will be few.
Bonita is sponsored by Cobra Boats, Mercury Motors, Bowie Marine, Hamby's Protectors, Solargizer, Falcon Rods, Bob's Machine Shop, Minn Kota, OutdoorTexas.com and Tournament Chasers.
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