Minn Kota Portable Battery Chargers are specifically designed and built for charging trolling motor batteries. Without fully charged deep cycle batteries you will go nowhere. It is very important to understand the do’s and dont’s about how to maintain them because your trolling motor batteries must work at their full capacity. Minn Kota portable battery chargers are great.
Highly corrosive poison gasses that are produced by wet lead- acid batteries when recharged will explode if ignited, so make sure that there is plenty of ventilation around your charging station. Also never mix salt water with the battery electrolyte because this will produce chorine gas that can kill while the deep cycle battery is charging.
- It Is Good Practice To Follow These 8 Guidelines
1) Try to recharge the trolling battery as soon as possible after using it thereby helping to prevent sulfation. To extend the life of your deep cycle battery, recharge it slowly. Some manufacturers claim that if your marine battery is well maintained it could last for as long as 6 years. I have had some last as long as 4 years and others a disappointing 2 years or less.
2) When removing your cables from the battery always disconnect the NEGATIVE cable first and then the positive cable. When reconnecting you fix or clamp the POSITIVE cable first and the negative cable last.
3) Cheap unregulated trickle chargers can quickly decompose the water from the electrolyte resulting in over charging and killing the battery.
4) Any battery that has been deeply discharged or is sulfated must never be boost charged.
5) Avoid letting the electrolyte bubble turbulently because this creates heat which produces dangerous volatile gasses while charging deep cycle batteries.
6) When the weather is hot you will need to add distilled water (never tap or rain water) making sure the plates are covered but do no overfill. (low maintenance batteries). Storing your battery in a place where temperatures are above 80Deg F or below 32Deg F will shorten its life, so make sure you keep it in a cool place.
7) Never allow a discharge of less than 10.5 volts and when not in use, fully recharge at least once a month.
8) Regularly removing corrosion and doing the monthly recharge (batteries naturally self-discharge by 1% to 15% per month when stored) is about all the preventative maintenance required for deep cycle batteries.
- Some Myths:
In the old days battery casings were made of materials like wood which is quite porous and storing it on a concrete floor would increase their discharge. Today’s battery is encased in well-sealed polypropylene so that no discharge is possible.
- Wet lead-acid batteries do not explode.
The spark retarding vent caps do prevent most explosions. However if these vent caps are clogged or defective, explosions can occur when either jump starting, connecting or disconnecting battery cables to battery chargers. So Take Care.
- Maintenance free batteries need no Maintenance.
Often due to high room temperatures in hot climates, even normal charging of wet maintenance free batteries can cause water in the electrolyte to decompose. Due to overcharging, water is lost so that in these conditions it is often better to use non sealed batteries that can be refilled.
- Different climates do not affect batteries
The life of Wet sealed lead- acid batteries used in hot climates is about A third LESS than those used in cold climates.
- Deep cycle batteries Have A Memory?
The answer is No. Unlike Ni-Cad batteries, lead acid deep cycle batteries do not have the memory effect.
- Time It Takes To Discharge A Battery
It is important to note that the length of time it takes to discharge your trolling motor battery /batteries depends on many factors. They are: initial state-of-charge, depth of discharge, battery capacity, its age, the load and temperature. The ampere -hour rating divided by the load in amps (what your motor is drawing) provides a rough estimated life of that cycle. Example – a new 100 -ampere- hour battery with a 10 amp load should last about 10.0 hours.
- How To Revive A Sulfated Battery
Plates that have become heavily coated with lead sulfate block the plate pores causing the battery to lose capacity and cannot always be recharged. You can try to restore them by applying a constant current of about 1-2 amps for 48 to 120 hours at 14.4 volts DC.
Now discharge to 50% and then recharge the battery. Repeat this process a few times and test its capacity. You can try to increase the voltage a little but if the temperature of the battery goes higher than 110 deg F stop charging and allow it to cool down before continuing.
- Battery Types
Deep cycle batteries are either the flooded (wet) cell type or valve regulated type( VRLA). Flooded deep cycle batteries are either low maintenance or maintenance free (sealed), based on their plate formulation.
Advantages of maintenance free(sealed} batteries are:
- Less preventative maintenance
- 250% less water loss
- Faster recharging with good overcharge resistance
- 40% more life cycles
- 200% less self-discharge
- Gas-recombinant Valve Regulated Lead- Acid (VRLA) Batteries
These batteries are divided into Gel Cell or Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)
- Spill Proof
- Can be used in semi- enclosed areas
- Completely maintenance free with a longer shelf life
- Initial high cost
This is only a general guide to maintaining your trolling motor batteries. If you want more technical information about how a battery works you can go to the BCI web site at http://www.batterycouncil.org/works.html