Battery care and maintenance
As batteries age they gradually lose their capacity as their function is performed. The constant charge and discharge eventually leads to failure. Components corrode over time, electrical shorts occur and vibration causes damage; all eventually causing failure. Overcharging and undercharging of a battery will also have a bearing on battery life.
Check electrolyte level – fluid below the tops of the separators indicates overcharging or poor maintenance. Overcharge condition may be due to incorrect voltage setting, low voltage caused by heat or internal defects, or old age deterioration.
- Is there electrolyte on the top of the battery? This can indicate overcharging or overfilling.
- Is the battery loose in the carrier? This can cause failure from vibration.
- Does the battery have signs of damage or mistreatment? This can also cause failure.
Early warning signs
Batteries often fail when least expected. The usual warning is a slower than normal battery ability to crank the engine. Other less noticeable factors, such as changed usage patterns and colder/hotter weather will all have an effect on the life of a battery. It is good practice to check your battery regularly and if the battery is near failure, have a licenced electrician service or replace your battery system to avoid costly breakdowns.
Installing an integrated battery monitor on your boat is highly recommended. It takes the guess work out by collecting detailed information on the status of your batteries. A remote panel with touchscreen control provides information on the charge process as well as all other system information for all your on-board electrical devices.