Save those batteries...
Friend/Neighbor at our Farm told me he was needing suggestions of new trolling batteries as his 3 yr old batteries can only keep him going for 3 hrs now where in the past 7-8 hrs was no problem.
Passing along what I told him to let others know as well.
I suggested Interstate Batteries but also told him Fleet Farm batteries with this set-up should last him much longer then 3 yrs as well on batteries. Reserve Capacity know it and bigger is better.
He already has a good MK smart charger for the trolling batteries only. Smart chargers are key to life as well as for wet cells checking water level at least a few times / season. I told him to save money and use wet cell due to more RC in battery for the same size and keep it charged.
Told him I would suggest some welding cable and Combiner 100 and Trollbridge 24 (if he had a 36 volt system you only need the Trollbridge36 as it has the combiner as part of the unit). Welding cables from the motor start to Trolling battery 1 is overkill but price is right at local dealer. Flexible and good solid copper. [url]http://www.yandina.com/[/url] has info on this equipment and I purchased at [url]www.defender.com[/url]. Looks like for the 4th of July sale they have the combiner discounted in the spring they had a whse sale and I was able to get both at 10% off.
He was on Green Bay the other weekend and had a 20 min drive to the launch after his day was thru on the water. He does have a kicker outboard as well but used his electric pulling spinners till that wasn't an option due to battery life.
Suggested Purchase: Cable, Combiner 100, Trollbridge24 and connectors. Defender.com had the best pricing on the Combiner 100 (C100) and Trollbridge 24 when I looked for him.
From the Motor Start to trolling battery 1 shared Ground between the two batteries and Combiner 100 connected. This keeps the two batteries independent unless a charge raises the voltage above 13.1 volts and around 40 seconds or so. So when underway the motor start battery is charged first then after it raises the motor start battery it then "combines" to trolling motor battery 1 to start charging it. Now at first if the trolling battery is deeply discharge it will only charge for a short period of time before it disconnects. During this time it is dumping a lot of amps, but heat isn't a issue because of this shorter period then disconnects. As the motor start battery gets to 13.1 and 40 sec again the relay switches back to combined and the process starts over again. If you have 15 amp output or 80 amp it doesn't matter, just the more output the faster each cycle of dumping amps into the trolling battery 1 occurs. At some point the batteries stay above 13.1 and you now have 2 batteries being charged by your outboard...
Now what about the 2nd trolling battery:
The Trollbridge 24 (36 does both the combiner feature and series feature as one unit FYI) when the trolling motor is in use it switches the connection to series so the trolling motor gets its 24v it needs and even if the combiner is connected and trolling battery 1 is charging this still works for your trolling motor in series. Once your trolling motor is turned off and a few seconds trolling battery 2 switches back to parallel connection so now trolling motor battery 1 and 2 are equalized and when the combiner 100 is connected your outboard charges all 3 batteries at the same time. If it drops below 13.1 and around 40 seconds it disconnects the charging to the trolling batteries and keeps cycling as noted above.
So how is this going to help him:
First the worse thing for a battery is below 50% depletion for most deep cycle batteries used. In this state the longer it remains below this level the life of the battery is reduced. Keep them above this state longer gives you longer battery life. His drive to the launch is normally 10 - 20 mins depending and he does run a kicker which has a 17 amp output. Not much.. But will still charge the trolling motor batteries just not as often. When driving with my outboard I have 60 amps available and 2/3 of that are at 1000 RPM. So when I am pulling in boards I fire up the outboard and rev to 1000 rpm under load. Then motor back to the launch and if the batteries aren't staying connected I rev to 1000 rpm under load as I get the trailer. I have 1 week vacation where we fish and ski all week and purchased this so I wouldn't need to walk up the steps getting bit up at night just to charge the 2 batteries with power. So far I'm 2 seasons doing that and will do it again in a few weeks with full confidence that I won't have any problems. When I have returned my voltage shows they are fully charged and my Automotive smart charger has told me I am fully charged as well as I check when I return. Then I hook up to the MK330D and let it maintain the batteries till I go out next.
I've discussed this with a engineer from Interstate battery along with 2 electricians who work on industrial batteries prior to purchasing and now that I have the 3rd season underway I have no problem recommending it to my friends and others. Main point is even if you go home and plug in this set-up reduces or eliminates time below 50% discharge by getting much of your bulk charge time done on the water. You can add 1 bank smart charger (if all your batteries are of the same type) to the motor start and it will now charge all 3 batteries which if you are purchasing new the savings could offset the purchase price for the Combiner 100 and Trollbridge 24. I had a 3 bank charger already and like 30 amps to charge up quickly but a 10-15 amp single bank charger would be plenty. This same system you can use your tow vehicle to charge as well with no additional items other then cabling. Just connect to to the motor start wire by your trolling batter and let the combiner do the work. I was planning on doing this for camping but haven't had any problem doing most of the charging on the water so I skipped doing this. If you troll to the launch and have long hauls home this might be helpful for others.
I like to watch my fish finder voltage as I can see the charging going on but I don't worry about it anymore either. My kids like watching it work as well as they know up north this means more following the contour and no one is carrying batteries up to the cottage at night. If we run hard at night I normally just run at 1000 rpm while I am cleaning the catch and can hear when the batteries are always connected. This isn't fully charged but much of the bulk charging is done then and I know I can fish in the morning w/o any worries. Ski during the days and when I see 14.1 volts I know everything is fully charged. I purchased for up north use, but in hindsight does more for longevity of the batteries even when only fishing and driving back to the launch.
Other systems are available that do this but I would highly suggest not getting the MK version of the alternator charger as it is only a flat minimal output and you can quickly do the math to see why it would take 7 hrs or longer to charge a battery. They have great shore/home charging systems however. The Combiner/Trollbridge dumps amps in quick if deeply discharged for shorter lengths of time but reduces amps as you get near full charge. The cycling on and off is the key to reduced heat and I have only needed to put in a small amount of water once so far and I am in my 3rd season so far with these batteries.
Camping over the 4th with the boat then my weekly up North trip. Keep the lines tight and the batteries charged. ;-)
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