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Old    Blueliner (Blueliner)      Join Date: Sep 2013       05-19-2014, 6:36 PM Reply   
My first boat (Moomba Mobius 2007) First time out on my own away from the dealer today when the engine died. After about 30 minutes of learning how everything works I was on my way back in when I noticed the screen on my chart plotter was flashing on and off rapidly. I turned it off, and not long after that the boat died...that is to say the engine stopped running and would not start, like someone turned off the ignition, nothing electrical appeared to be functioning at all, starter did not even attempt to crank. I got towed that last 1/4 mile by a fisherman, trailered and called it a day. At the dock I tried to start and all I could hear was a faint clicking sound. Later at home we were just poking around and I noticed that the blower would now work, as well as the wake plate, the voltmeter in the dash shows 12v. Is this an alternator or starter problem or what? I plan on taking this up with the dealer tomorrow.

Thanks
Blueliner
Old    Noah Brown (doubleup16)      Join Date: Sep 2007       05-19-2014, 6:42 PM Reply   
typically when the boat is already running and then dies,then will not start, it means your alternater was not charging your batteries and you ran on battery power only. I would bet money that your alternator is not putting out power.
Be sure to charge your battery fully from a charger and don't rely on the new alternator to charge it, as this will put undo stress on the Alt.
Old    Bryce Pool (bryce2320)      Join Date: May 2012       05-19-2014, 6:43 PM Reply   
Bad connection at the ignition, batteries, perko? I wouldnt think it'd be the starter if nothing else is coming on.
Old    Charlie Zulu (Pad1Tai)      Join Date: Jan 2013       05-19-2014, 7:52 PM Reply   
^^Bull^^............ the alternator is designed to carry the complete electrical load of the boat plus provide amps to fully charge your batteries... If the stereo amps draws more amps than the alternator can put output.. then your pissing up a rope... Dead batteries Dead Boat... If you put a digital voltmeter (fluke) on the battery terminals with the engine running.. A fully charged battery with indicate 13.2 -13.5 volts.. a charging battery with indicate 15.5 volts.. thats the tops that the regulator will allow without boiling the batteries... The higher voltage is proportional to the higher charging amps.... the formula is E=IR E=volts I = amperage R = battery internal resistance... If the voltage across the battery with engine running is less than 12.5 volts... the alternator is at fault..
Old    TigeMike (chpthril)      Join Date: Oct 2007       05-19-2014, 8:32 PM Reply   
Charlie,

I hate to argue, but an alternator makes for a piss poor battery charger. Noah's advice is spot on. Those depleted batteries need to be recharged by an actual battery charger.

The batteries need to be recharged, then the entire charging system can be tested.
Old    Charlie Zulu (Pad1Tai)      Join Date: Jan 2013       05-19-2014, 9:16 PM Reply   
Mike
the boat started and ran for 30 minutes with no problem.. Thats an indication that the batteries are good but not getting charged.. I'm an jet aircraft guy.. The batteries are essential there for starting only.. after that they float and stay charged while the alternator, may it be a 65 amp, 95 amp or 110 amp, carries all the load.. Kinda like if you run the battery down on your car with the radio and need a jump, the alternator will produce the current to run the systems and charge that run down battery.. Elect 101..

I'm curious on your theory of it making a piss poor charger?
Old    Noah Brown (doubleup16)      Join Date: Sep 2007       05-19-2014, 9:40 PM Reply   
If he wasn't running a stereo, ballast pumps etc. The battery could easily sustain 30min run time if the alternator is not charging. After that you get nothing. Just faint click from the starting system.
Old    Noah Brown (doubleup16)      Join Date: Sep 2007       05-19-2014, 9:49 PM Reply   
What does being a jet aircraft guy have to do with bad info? http://www.optimabatteries.com/en-us...ead-batteries/
Old    Blueliner (Blueliner)      Join Date: Sep 2013       05-20-2014, 4:30 AM Reply   
Thanks fort your replies

Would the easy way to trouble shoot be to remove the battery and have it tested? A neighbor...another aircraft electrical guy said that if the battery is no good it will not charge while the engine is running and eventually cause what happened. Before the battery is tested should it be charged up?

The other thing I remember is that there was a lot of water in the bilge around the transmission that was not there after the last time it was in the water (another problem) it had been on the trailer since. So the bilge pump ran almost from the time we launched the boat until the charging system failure. (I may have had it on manual) that would have put a big load on the system right?

Furthermore would a dual battery system have kept me going?

If I had one of those jump boxes would that have allowed me to start up and get back?

Blueliner
Old    TigeMike (chpthril)      Join Date: Oct 2007       05-20-2014, 5:37 AM Reply   
I am a little familiar with 12V automotive 101.

Dont know chit about planes and wont pretend to. Cars may be different because the battery is not there just for starting. ALL electronics basically filter through the battery. Loads draw from the battery, while the alternator replenishes. If the alternator is not charging enough, or at all. The engine and other electrical systems will continue to run until the voltage drops below their operating threshold. They will shut down, and at that point, its a good chance the battery will not have enough reserve to turn the engine over.

Quote:
the boat started and ran for 30 minutes with no problem.. Thats an indication that the batteries are good but not getting charged
Theres been no dispute of this. At the initial start up, one would draw the conclusion that the batteries were sufficiently charged. Based on his symptom, I would suspect that the batteries are not receiving ample charge from the alternator to sustain the demand. In effect, he was running off just what was stored in the battery, until its voltage dropped below the point the electronics could run on.....engine died. Switched to battery #2 and repeated, resulting in final tow to dock and boat that wont start and run.

What I disagree with is that statement that, once the problem is fixed, that the boat can be put right back into use and alternator will simply recharge 2 depleted batteries. Plain and simple, an alternator is not actually designed to be a battery charger and they dont do a good job at it. Will the alternator eventually recharge the batteries, yes, if the batteries are good, just low, and there is enough run time. An alternator is designed to maintain normal operating loads and replenish what was used to start the engine. Well, dual batteries and a high current draw audio system on a boat is well beyond normal loads. This requires more from the alternator.

IMO, the charging system can not be accurately diagnosed with 2 dead batteries. They need to be charged prior to testing. And they should be tested and fully charged prior to putting the boat back into service.
Old    Swatguy (xstarrider)      Join Date: Jun 2007       05-20-2014, 7:28 AM Reply   
I am not a jet pilot nor do I play one on tv. However I have been the victim of both a fried alternator on more than one occasion and a dead battery cell. Both of which produce the same final result.

Because you were running the boat and it then went dead my guess would be a fried alternator. Especially w water sloshing around in there. It's very simple to pop that off and take it to be tested. You can usually just smell it and tell its burnt up, but for sure have it tested. Good news is they rebuild them cheap (which I highly recommend) and with the rebuild you can usually up the amps to give you a better ceiling if you are running a decent stereo. An easy way to tell if it's fried is if your boat is running and you have you're throttle just past 1000rpm your volt gauge should read anywhere from 14-15 volts. If not the alternator is dead. At key off your batteries should read above a12.5volts more along the lines of 13 for fully charged, healthy batteries.

The other scenario is that one of the two batteries has crapped out. When in dual mode the crapped our battery will pull all the juice from the good battery to try and kept itself charged if it's never charged it will continually draw from that charged one with Perko switch in dual mode.
I tend to think it's not a dead cell on the battery because if it had enough juice to get you started and then crapped out it means the alternator couldn't give it enough to maintain its level. Now if you drove out to sand bar and cranked tunes and had a very short session of tunes before the battery went dead and then couldn't get boat fired up I would say it's more of a battery issue.

In any event I think most would agree its one of these two. Myself I would check the alternator first It's easy to pop off and almost any auto store can test it for you. If that's good then check batteries .

Last edited by xstarrider; 05-20-2014 at 7:31 AM.
Old    Charlie Zulu (Pad1Tai)      Join Date: Jan 2013       05-20-2014, 7:47 AM Reply   
Good point Mike and Noah... If I may take this a step further..

If the batteries had a dead cell (shorted) the boat would not start.. Agreed? So the batteries were at a state above the voltage requirement to start and run the boat.. So lets get the dead battery phrase out of the discussion.. So the claim that Optima has is correct.. a Dead Battery (possibly shorted) (0 volts) will max out the alternator rated amperage output and fry the alternator and a shorted battery.. I've changed a few fried alternator because the guys wet sounds amps drew more amperage than the alternator output..

Back to Elec 101.. And correct me if I'm wrong.. After the boat is started, the charging system sees the battery as just another "load" wanting amperage to run.. In the case of a discharged battery, it will proportion the amperage to that load to bring it up to full charge ( 0 amp flow)..

BTW.. Our Boeing 787 is so power hungry with electric brakes, electric pacs, electric module hydraulic systems that it has three 1 GIG "alternators"... ( called IDG's)..

Anyway Blueliner, the alternator has a higher charging amp rating than any "on the bench" charger.. You probably going to find the batteries are OK but a bit low on charge, charge them and have them load checked, and the alternator is either cooked or the internal regulator is not supplying the proper voltage to the field windings to produce the required output..

Thanks Gents..
Good luck..
Old    Charlie Zulu (Pad1Tai)      Join Date: Jan 2013       05-20-2014, 7:55 AM Reply   
Good reading here folks...

http://www.bcae1.com/charging.htm
Old    David (DavidAnalog)      Join Date: Sep 2013       05-20-2014, 8:27 AM Reply   
Let's go back to the very beginning.
If the alternator was not operational and/or the battery was in such a poor state that it would not accept a charge, then how did the battery get back up to a 12 volt threshold at rest later at home without another charging source? 12 volts is plenty to start the boat and keep the ignition running.

Could it be an intermittent ground or supply issue? Resistance translates to a voltage loss. A resistive contact point can pass voltage at a low amperage and impede voltage at a high amperage. I would first fully charge the battery with an AC shore charger. Make sure you are getting 12.5 volts once the charging voltage has fully dissipated. Then measure the voltage at key points while under load. If you see a voltage differential that departs from the voltage measured at the battery terminals then you may have narrowed down the culprit.
If the voltage increases once the boat is running then that would suggest that you have a good alternator.
If the battery can maintain a 12.5 volt charge in isolation for several days and without self-discharge then that would suggest the battery is okay.
A little systematic testing with a multimeter will end the speculation and save tons of time.
Old    TigeMike (chpthril)      Join Date: Oct 2007       05-20-2014, 8:29 AM Reply   
Quote:
So lets get the dead battery phrase out of the discussion..
Dead is not yet determined to be bad, just depleted. When your beer cup is empty, you refill it, you dont toss the cup, right? Now, if its empty due to a hole, then you can refill all you want, your beer will still leak out.

The battery is dead, run down, depleted or what ever other description you want to use, but net yet determined to be bad, failed, shorted, toast, took a chit, blowd up, etc. A rechargeable battery can be good, just need recharging, or, a deep depletion may just have finished off an old well used battery.

I agree that if a battery had a shorted cell, it would not start. But, that cell may have fallen apart during the outing. In this case, switching form that battery to the other, via the switch, would eliminate that problem. IF I am reading correctly, he switched to the 2nd battery, fired back up, then soon experienced the same problem. I highly doubt both batteries shorted out on the same trip. Im back to good batteries run dead due to no alternator output.

To the OP,

Recharge the batteries, then test the alternator output. I would not pull the batteries or the alternator. You can test the alternator, and all of the boat wiring, with the system intact. If you pull the alt and have it bench tested, it may test good. This bench test cannot tell you that a cable or connection is bad, etc. Now you are back to square 1. You have to bolt the alternator back on an diagnose the system. If the alternator seems to be the issue on the boat based on some testing, then pulling it for a bench test will confirm.
Old    Blueliner (Blueliner)      Join Date: Sep 2013       05-20-2014, 9:01 AM Reply   
Fellas There is only one battery. I was just asking if I had a dual battery set up like I see some boats have, is that redundancy that would have helped in a case like this?

I am starting to wonder about a bad ground, how does it go from dead stick to having voltage an hour later to run some of the accessories (did not try to start on dry land...can I do that for a split second to see if it cranks?) , I wish I had time yesterday to be more thorough in my trouble shooting, I wont be able to do more tests until Wednesday and then after that mid next week.

Thanks again.

Blueliner
Old    David (DavidAnalog)      Join Date: Sep 2013       05-20-2014, 9:44 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blueliner View Post
Fellas There is only one battery. I was just asking if I had a dual battery set up like I see some boats have, is that redundancy that would have helped in a case like this?

I am starting to wonder about a bad ground, how does it go from dead stick to having voltage an hour later to run some of the accessories (did not try to start on dry land...can I do that for a split second to see if it cranks?) , I wish I had time yesterday to be more thorough in my trouble shooting, I wont be able to do more tests until Wednesday and then after that mid next week.

Thanks again.

Blueliner
A second battery is a good idea, especially if you are running any electronic accessories while at rest.
However, change or add absolutely nothing until you diagnose and correct your present issue. Then you will know without question whether the redundancy of a second battery would have made a difference.
Old    TigeMike (chpthril)      Join Date: Oct 2007       05-20-2014, 10:20 AM Reply   
Ok, only one battery, my misunderstanding. My gut feeling and approach remains the same. Charge battery and test alternator in place.
Old    Blueliner (Blueliner)      Join Date: Sep 2013       05-26-2014, 7:18 AM Reply   
FYI So far I charged up the old battery and had it tested, apparently it is no good (see attached) After a lot of research , reading your reply's, and talking to people who know more than me I plan on removing the alternator and send it for testing.
Attached Images
File Type: pdf Batterytest.pdf (8.2 KB, 50 views)
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       05-26-2014, 7:41 PM Reply   
If you replace the battery with a fresh one and start the boat and don't see better than 13 or 14 volts then your alternator is not charging the battery. At that point you either have a bad alternator or a wiring fault. Btw if you need an alternator checkout DBElectrical.com. I've been running a starter and alternator from there for years. They work, ship fast and you can't beat the price. I do believe that it's all made in China though.
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       05-26-2014, 7:45 PM Reply   
Oh and good luck getting the alternator tested. When mine was bad I went to the usual places (autozone, oreilly) and none of them would test it. They had to be able to enter a year model and vehicle into the computer to proceed. I tried giving them vehicle models with similar engines but they couldn't make it work. I'd bet if you went to a real shop or maybe NAPA where they had a less automated/idiot proof testing station they could test it for you.
Old    David (DavidAnalog)      Join Date: Sep 2013       05-26-2014, 8:21 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blueliner View Post
FYI So far I charged up the old battery and had it tested, apparently it is no good (see attached) After a lot of research , reading your reply's, and talking to people who know more than me I plan on removing the alternator and send it for testing.
I'm another one that doesn't understand why the alternator needs to be tested outside of the boat.
If the voltage measures up ^^^ once the engine is running and increases with rpm up to a point then that would seem to indicate a functional alternator. If the battery voltage is stable from the start of the day to the end of the day, again, that would seem to indicate a functional alternator. If the alternator can maintain a relatively high voltage once you add a moderate stereo load then that would seem to indicate a functional alternator. All you need is an inexpensive multimeter to get an accurate reading. If there is more to it then I'm all ears. I certainly want the education.
Old    Blueliner (Blueliner)      Join Date: Sep 2013       05-26-2014, 8:35 PM Reply   
Took 10 minutes to remove the alternator (faster than getting it in the water), visually the lead end and innards were all rusted. Took it to a starter/alternator place (last one in the area!) nearby while I was out doing some running around, tested it while I waited....output exactly ZERO. Testing the voltage while it is in place whilst running on the water will be a something I watch from now on.

Thanks

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