Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Winter Maintenance: Top Off the Batteries

This last weekend, we tackled one of the annual tasks on Eolian:  battery maintenance.  Eolian has 8 batteries - 6 group 31 12V batteries (think truck battery), and 2 Trojan 6V golf cart batteries.  (In this picture from 2002, the starboard side batteries had been removed to refurbish the compartment.)

The 6-12V batteries are arranged in two banks of 3 each, with a total of 300 amp hours of rated capacity in each of the banks.  These are the house/engine starting batteries.  The 2-6V batteries are connected in series to serve two other purposes:
  • Generator starter battery bank
  • Windlass battery bank
In this way, should all the house batteries be drained, say in trying to start the engine, it will still be possible to start the generator to recharge the house banks.

But I digress.  This weekend, I crawled down in the bilge with a gallon of distilled water (always use distilled water - you don't want the minerals in tap water to foul up the chemistry) and topped up the batteries.  Tho none of the cells was particularly low, a total of 2/3 of a gallon of water was gone when I climbed back out of the bilge.  Those 8 batteries have a combined total of 42 cells, and even a little water added to each adds up to quite a bit altogether.

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