Prep Your Batteries for Summer
Get your boat's electrical system back in action after a winter's layup.
If your boat's been on the hard over the winter, make sure to check your batteries! PulseTech Products suggests these tips to help "thaw out" your batteries as you get ready for the summer sailing season:
-Give the battery case a quick clean to remove any dirt from the outside case.
-Clean terminal posts and make sure they are free of any corrosion. If corrosion is significant, clean the terminal posts with a small wire brush to remove sulfate deposits and use dialectic grease or corrosion inhibiting spray to minimize corrosion developing on the terminals in the future.
-Make sure the electrolyte levels are high enough if you have batteries where you can check and add fluids. If levels are below the maximum line add distilled water (not tap water) up to the line. Not all batteries have a visible maximum fill line. It that's the case with your battery, simply fill to 1/8th of an inch below the ring of plastic that extends into the cell. Never overfill the battery.
-Use a battery tester to ensure the battery has a minimum charge of 12.6 volts. If the charge is below this level you will need to charge the battery in a well-ventilated area. To ensure best performance use a smart charger for a week or more to dissolve the capacity-robbing sulfates so the battery can be fully charged and retain full capacity. Smart chargers can also monitor your battery's charge state and keep it topped up.
Of course, the best way to avoid battery problems is routine maintenance!
For more on battery maintenance, selection, storage, and safety, check out Trojan Battery's video tutorial series: "Trojan Tips." You can find a new tutorial each month on Trojan Battery's website. Here is their first tutorial on how to choose a deep-cycle battery: