October 21, 2020
Florida company unveils a brainier battery maintenance system.
With the growing accessorization of bay boats—GPS trolling motors, shallow water anchors, multiple livewells and the like—anglers are demanding more and more of DC battery systems.
Any boat which features a 24V or 36V battery bank to power a trolling motor, along with a separate house or starting battery, is going to require daily re-charging between trips to maintain a healthy voltage supply. This end is typically accomplished by installing an onboard charger that you plug in back at the dock or house each night.
Despite your best efforts, there will eventually be a day when you have either drained batteries to a point where you can no longer operate your trolling motor, electronics, or even possibly crank your engine to get back to the dock.
Part of the problem stems from being unaware of the “actual” state of charge any one battery carries as you begin the day or continues to provide throughout the day. Simply plugging in a charger overnight until the next morning leaves a lot of guesswork when it comes to your battery levels. The ability to accurately monitor and maintain the proper charged level would eliminate a few different dilemmas. First, not discharging your batteries to a point that renders them useless while you're on the water has obvious advantages. Second, not taking batteries down below a level from which they can regularly recover before suffering damage would save you from having to replace them before their intended useful lifespan elapses.
It might surprise you to learn that a wet-cell, gel or AGM being fully charged at between 12.6V and 12.9V when drawn down to 12.1V-12.2V is now only 50 percent charged. Deep cycle batteries are designed to withstand discharging down to 20 percent of capacity (12.0V) but will last much longer if not allowed below 50 percent. Knowing the actual charged state of each battery as your day progresses could be difficult without installing a voltmeter on each battery, then monitoring each one individually as they discharge.
JL Marine Systems, of Tampa, FL, has come up with a smart maintenance system for batteries that transcends simple battery charging. The Charge Marine Power Station
does much more than recharge your batteries. Designed to maintain systems with up to three trolling motor (deep cycle) batteries and one (cranking) starter battery, this 500W power station delivers up to 40 amps to your cranking battery and 25 amps to your deep cycles. It works with all battery types (lead acid, AGM, gel, and lithium) and will display real-time battery status in digital percentage form for each battery on your smartphone or tablet.
The Charge is capable of transferring power from one battery to another, as necessary to balance the available power to auxiliary batteries and move power to the cranking battery from your auxiliary bank if needed for a start. With your engine running, the Charge will automatically top off your cranking battery first, then charge and balance auxiliary batteries. It will also prevent your starter battery from discharging below a preset state without warning, making dead starter batteries a thing of the past.
Used in conjunction with the C-Monster App you can easily control and configure your system settings by specific battery type while viewing in real time all battery levels and flow rates. This allows you to be completely aware of your charged status enabling better decision-making on the water. The Charge Marine Power Station retails for $1,299. FS
Published Florida Sportsman Magazine November 2018