We called in Tim, who has the local chandlers and seems to be the ‘go to’ man in Sovereign Harbour for anything batteries related! He came down to the boat and had a look at our set up, tested both domestic batteries and pronounced them dead!
He then disappeared down into the hold to test the starter battery, this was fine and in good health, however by then I was feeling a bit uneasy as it was an original battery too and at 7 years old could fail too. The prospect of a duff starting battery in the middle of Kiel Canal is not a happy thought so I had that one replaced too.
So we have three new batteries coming on Wednesday, we could not get Banner, which was the original equipment fitted by Bavaria but have got Endurance Marine ones which are a bit bigger but should do the job.
Problem solved? Well, we hope so, we don’t think that the smart charger is at fault here as the engine starting battery is in good condition. It was just old age causing the Cells in the domestic battery to fail so not holding their charge properly which meant that the charger kept on charging, ultimately boiling the batteries! Tim spend a happy hour or so tracing the wiring and it looks like a bit of adjustment had been made by the previous owner. Tim also figured out why we could not get shore power without the batteries in place and the charger charging, not really a problem until our recent battery problems. Not being able to isolate the charger meant it just kept on cooking the batteries. Apparently it is not necessary to charge then all the time, so we will have a switch installed so we can charge the batteries when we want to! Tim will also remove the the inverter, a gizmo for changing 12v to 240v, in 6 months we have never used it and therefore it should go. It also canes our precious batteries. So in a ‘Carruthers moment’ (see Riddle of the Sands) its going over the side!
So, I have had any expensive lesson in battery management!
1. They don’t last forever.
2. Smart chargers are not that smart.
3. Check them regularly to make sure they are happy.
4. You need different types of batteries for the domestic supply, ones that supply a steady current for a long time, whereas starting batteries need to supply lots of amps in a big lump!
5. Even sealed batteries need good venting – and our setup is good. Well done Bavaria!
6. Two big 135 a/h batteries full of boiling sulphuric acid is alarming!