My Boat Won’t Start

Today was my day off this week.  I try to take one day off every week, but it doesn’t always work that way.  I’ve got one payment due on the 18th (today for the car I bought for my mom), so I figured I better get that taken care of.  While I was sitting there figured I’d just pay some bills and catch up some books.  Should only take a few minutes… right?  Yeah, about 12:30 I finally walked out of the office.

I almost decided to go ahead and work the rest of the day, but NO, DAG-NAB-IT!  It’s my day off.  I decided to do some work on one of my boats instead.  Okay I had a buttock (half ass) thought that I’d do a few quick things and go fishing.

The last time I messed with the ProCraft 210 (upgrading (still not done) the graphs) it wouldn’t power up.  I guessed it would need a new cranking battery, but first… I have had a 4-bank charger on the shelf for years.  The ProCraft has four batteries, but only a 3-bank charger.  I decided to tackle that first.  I knew it would be a project since the new charger (**it actually is new never before installed), is a lot larger than the old one.  It had to go somewhere else.  I got out a tape measure and had a buttock plan to make a custom battery tray to hold all the batteries and leave room for the charger in the bilge.  It looks like it would work, but the new charger is not really sealed and the owner’s manual cautions against putting it in the same compartment as the batteries.

Armed with all that information I thought I’d make a video of the process.  One camera battery into it, and working around a tripod I said, “Wrap this around a helical incline plane.”  Everything takes longer to video, or you get terrible video.  I had to sacrifice a different storage compartment for the bigger charger.  That’s the compartment where I planned to put my beverages and my lunch.  I have an identical compartment on the other side of the boat, but I already promised my YVRGC derby partner for the coming season that he could have that compartment for his cooler and his lunch.  I guess I’ll just have to drink lake water and go hungry.

I’ll just use a different compartment up front for my cooler.  Oh, well.  I don’t need that much fishing tackle anyway.

After extending one of the charging leads, I finally got it all hooked up.  Time to smoke test it.  Plug it in and see what smokes.

I figured for sure I’d at least get an error on the charging circuit for the cranking battery.  No.  It showed charging.  Everything worked.  If a battery gets too discharged it won’t charge with most modern chargers.  They just give you an error even if it is possible to charge it with an old school dumb charger.  I was a bit surprised, so I looked in the manual for the  new charger.  It actually says it will charge a battery that is discharged down to as low as about 4 volts.  Below that it will give you an error.  Out of curiosity I pulled the charger plug and checked the voltage on that battery.  It had only been charging a few minutes, and it showed about 10.6 volts.  Okay.  I plugged it back in.  I still plan to replace it with a new larger battery before our series starts, but I may not have to do it until then.   I will keep jumper cables and a wrench in the boat anyway.

** I ran the Antique Kitten with just a 3-battery 36-volt system.  The cranking battery was also the base battery for the 36-volt trolling motor.  It worked fine.  I would get 18 months out of Wal-Mart batteries, or three years out of AGMs back when I used to fish 2-4 days a week.  At one point I got a deal on the 4-bank charger, and I planned to change the Kitten over to a 4-battery setup, but I never got around to it.  The ProCraft has four batteries, but the previous owner counted on the big motor to charge the cranking battery.  Well, it’s been a while since I had had it out, and the other day when I was working on the new (to me) graphs for the ProCraft it wouldn’t turn on when I flipped on the master power switch.  I figured I’d just throw two stones at one bird.  Replace the cranking battery and upgrade the wall power battery charger.  Yeah, I didn’t go fishing today.  Now, I can finish swapping out the graphs.  

*** Actually, I already swapped the front graph.  Turns out the old one was the same model sonar only as the GPS sonar I planned to replace it with.  It was literally a plug and play replacement.  Now that I have power, I can roll the boat outside and check the GPS.  

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