Lesson: Always Check Your Batteries

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Riley-pillow
Jason is exhausted from all this battery nonsense and Riley is NOT amused at being used as a pillow

Just when we think we’re getting somewhere Chance decides to throw us a curve ball and laugh in our face. The other night Jason was finishing up some wiring so we could get our girl in the water when he tested the amps on our batteries. 17.3! You see, we have 12 volt battery banks that should NEVER get that hot. He immediately disconnected the charger and tested individual banks – 17.1, 17.3, 17.1. Cue a major freakout. Then, our entire panel shuts down. Cue an even major-er freakout. At this point the only thing we could do was hope and pray that if we called it a night that they would drain down overnight to a more manageable level so we could put a load on it.

At the crack of dawn the next morning we woke up and found the batteries to still be way too high so Jason immediately called Xantrax (the maker of our battery charger). Even they were dumbfounded by our predicament. Upon hearing our situation our Level 1 tech told us, “Sir, I’ve never heard of such a situation. I am going to have to refer you to a Level 2 tech.” Splendid.

“Sir, our chargers physically cannot charge a battery that high. It just isn’t possible. But, I can give you a 30% discount off a new charger if you would like.” Well, how kind of them to give us a discount, but we’re going broke over here just trying to get all this set up! After a little more sweet talking on Jason’s end the tech asked us to check our batteries with a different volt meter. Our volt meter is currently broken and we were actually borrowing this volt meter from a friend. Then Jason remembered he had an old electric panel in the boat that happened to have a volt meter attached to it. Stretching the wires on the back he got a reading on the first bank – 10.5. The next bank, 10.6. “Sir, I think the batteries in your volt meter may be shot.” The irony was not lost on us.

Luckily I have an entire properly labeled box full of batteries on board so we switched them out and retested. 10.5, 10.6. It seems we have found the problem – our batteries weren’t overcharged, they weren’t charged enough! Add in the fact that we also had a butt sliced battery cable that was acting up and we had solved our problem.

Moral of the story: Always check your batteries. All of them.

PS. We have our splash date scheduled!!

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