However, for this winter the yard has ruled that charging without the owner present is prohibited (i.e., no overnight charging). So once again I'm pondering battery removal vs. leaving them aboard and charging with a solar panel system (which is permitted).
How do you folks store your batteries during the winter? Do you remove them, or do they remain aboard? If you leave them aboard, what sort of charging system (if any) do you use?
Greenwich Bay, RI
I replaced them with 4 220AH golf cart batteries (from Sam's club, great deal). I also added a separate starter battery with a Blue Sea combiner, which I HIGHLY recommend. I can now use both deep cycle banks, where I used to have to save one for starting.
But I don't want to have these batteries go sour over the winter, so I considered all the alternatives. I could go down and put the charger on them for an afternoon every month, IF I can find an open outlet in the storage yard. But instead, I decided to go solar.
I just got my 40W Kyocera panel (20" x 24", 10 lbs), rail mounting brackets, a Solarguard 6 charge controller, 35' of #10 round cable, and a Blue Sea cable clam to pass the cable into the boat. I'm planning on mounting the panel on the stern rail, probably after removing the bimini frame. I should be able to point the panel south from whatever direction the yard puts the boat (I'll leave the cable real long, just in case I have to mount it somewhere else in future years.)
Why did I pick the equipment I did? I did LOTS of research on the web, and learned a heck of a lot. Then I called e-Marine, which specializes in marine solar, and they told me just what I had learned - that you need a 40W panel to keep 440AH of batteries topped up over the winter. (
As for the starting battery, I plan to take that one home.) I bought the gear from them.
Total cost, about $450. It should last virtually forever, and pay for itself in not having to replace the batteries - and not losing battery capacity, either. As a side benefit, the Sunguard controller also de-sulfates batteries, so if there is any sulfation on my batteries by time I haul out, it should be gone by spring.
Outside temp could get down to about 32F. Engine will be winterized and not available to run.
In reading the thread and provided I check battery level and SG periodically I think we should be good. Batteries are new.
Any concerns or recommendations?
Do you have shore power where the boat will be-- if so use that to charge them up/or leave it plugged in with smart charger on.
If not, consider either a solar panel or take over a small generator a couple of times to power either the built in charger or a good portable one.
League City, TX
Message Board Moderator
C350 # 351
Lake Lanier, GA
You are very fortunate that the batteries still had a charge after that many months. All batteries self discharge, even with no load on them.
Any idea what the voltage was in the spring?
League City, TX
I don't remember the voltage, but the battery meter was usually around 70-75% for both. I installed a Victron Battery monitor this year with the new batteries (I replaced the 4Ds with 6V Golf cart batteries). So I should have a more accurate state of battery in the spring.
Sure wouldn't hurt them (actually it would lower their freeze point and help with longevity) to go over a time or two with a portable generator to either power your on-board charger or a good high-amp portable battery charger.
League City, TX