Need some Help Battery Draining

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  1. #1
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    Default Battery Draining

    While bottom fishing, I have the CB, the Lowrance and the live well on. After a couple of hours, my Lowrance will begin to flash, and if I stall the motor it won't start because the battery is dead. It happened the last 2 Sunday's. Thank You to all the friends that were making calls trying to help me get a jump, and a big thanks to the guy that ended up giving me a jump.
    After getting the boat started, I turned off all electronics and the livewell and ran the boat for 15-20 minutes, it conked out again while I was going in and out of forward and reverse trying to liveline the pilings in the wind, but it started back up. SO, I am assuming my motor is charging it well enough. I never have this problem when I do not use the livewell. I am just wondering if anyone else has this problem and what they did to solve it.
    I do not think I have room for another battery except to just carry an extra. But why would more amps be going out than coming in while the boat is idling while bottom fishing? Is there a short somewhere in the live well wiring? Or do I need a new Live well pump that is more efficient?
    John
    I will always have my jumper cables, an extra battery and my jumper box with me all the time now.

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  3. #2
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    1st - How old is battery ?

    A livewell pump can draw about 5-6 amps - this will drain a starting battery in short time. Starting battery is designed to give a lot of amps but for short time.

    If you plan to use live well more then an hour - best to have a deep cycle battery. These deliver low amps over a long period.


    The engine will not recharge a battery at idle - RPM's need to be up around 2,000 or better to deliver enough amps and be ran for a while at higher RPM.

    Short run from bridge back to ramp might not be enough - wise to use a charger at home.

    If you can not fit a deep cycle - might have to use a bucket to take water out of live well - then add new every 10-15 minutes.
    They say that life's a carousel - spinning fast, you've got to ride it well.

  4. #3
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    John do you have a multi meter? It's not a particularly hard problem to solve usually. If there was a short your fuse would trip for the live well pump. We need some details though. What boat and motor? How old is the battery? Your circuits are all fused correctly?
    Take your meter and put it on the battery before starting the boat. Write down what is says. Then put it on the battery while at idle. Write down what it says. Your battery before starting should be 12.7v. At idle I would expect over 13, but it depends on your outboard. Also check engine grounds, and battery terminal tightness.

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  6. #4
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    Sounds like a bad cell in your battery.

  7. #5
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    You didn't say what kind of motor you have. If it's an outboard especially and older carburetor-ed one they don't charge much at idle. Not enough to keep a battery up with a pump running. They will at higher rpm. Below around 1200 it only puts out a few amps. Brands vary on how much they put out at idle. At cruising speed it should be enough for everything. Even an inboard engine does not charge much at idle but is more forgiving than and outboard. It could also mean that your battery is about to crap out on you. If its old than it could be the reserve in it is very low. They will still have enough power to start an engine but drain down quickly. Another thing that probably sounds confusing if you are using a large deep cycle battery and idle alot without much cruising time the battery will never come up to full charge. If that's the case you need to slow charge it back or keep a battery tender charger on it when not in use. My brother in law had this problem on a grady with older yamaha's on it. He trolled alot and didn't use it much and they would drain down while he was trolling. They were 31 group deep cycle batteries. I told him they were too big for what he was doing and his motors did not put out enough amps at idle to keep them up. I finally convinced him to put smaller 24 group starting batteries in it. He did and has had no more trouble and the batteries stay up while trolling now. The thing about deep cycle is it takes along time to drain a good one but also a long time to charge back up.

  8. #6
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    Bottom line is don't run your live well and electronics on a starting battery for an extended period. A deep cycle will start a boat and run live well but not the reverse........ Gary

  9. #7
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    Skip, a Rule 1100 gph livewell pump draws 3.3 amps when running. On a small group 24 starting battery that is 14 hours of time.

  10. #8
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    All very good points, thanks for the info, The battery is 2 years old, it is a deep cycle battery from walmart. I did idle for about 2-2.5 hours looking for spot and waiting for the current to turn on. My first plan was to put a newer battery in and make sure all contacts are clean and tight.
    Idle volt meter on boat is at 12.5-13, up on plane it is charging at 14-15.
    I have a 2001 Johnson Ocean Pro 130 2 stroke on a 2001 SeaPro 190wa.
    NRGarrott, thank you, I will try that.
    longcreek, thank you, very good info, what is this 'group' you are referring to?
    Skip, i do believe it is a deep cycle marine battery. It seems like each year around this time, with the livelining, I have this problem. I usually just carry an extra battery and a jumper box and jumper cables, I just haven't stocked them on the boat yet.

  11. #9
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    Group is the size of the battery 31 group is mainly for diesel engines. 24 or 27 group would be a good fit I would think. Deep cycles are actually designed to have a longer reserve time. But still take longer to charge back up and the bigger the battery the longer it takes to recharge. A duel purpose starting/deep cycle battery would probably be best fit. If at idle you are showing 12.5 then it is only holding its own. If you see it go below than idle it up a little and you should see it go up. Johnson actually has a pretty good charging system.

  12. #10
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    A starting battery will work the live well when it is new but it wears them out sooner. One point not mentioned is to use marine batteries instead of car batteries. They have thicker plates and can take the pounding better. Keep batteries clean and connections tight. I have 2 batteries and Perko switch. One dead battery on the water did that!...... Gary

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