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As most saw my post I was pulled over by the coasties and checked on Sat and could not get the boat started. Eventually it finally startded but with alot of strain. I noticed that My Voltage was only reading about 12.8 volts on my digital readout. Normally it has always put out approx 13.3 to 13.7 volts. I am an elecetrician and I know that cars put out approx 14.5 volts.

I am curious to know what most of you have for voltage output on your alternator. Mine has been pulled and is headed in for a rebuild. It was covered in brush dust and Im sure that the armature needs to be resurfaced.

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The alternator should be putting out more than 12.8V. They usually put out around 14v. Even shut down a fully charged battery will read 13v+ It could be as simple as a loose or worn belt. Check the alternator output right at the alternator.

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I have 2 optima batteries. I also have a batterie tender system built in for Gel filled batteries. Now my read out that I am giving is off of my Garmin fishfinder and my garmin Gps. I put my Fluke Meter on it last year and I was getting around 14 volts at the alternator. My batteries are still reading the same voltage as they did when they were new as they are 12.58 volts right out of the box. The batteries never went dead just seemed odd that they were struggling to turn the engine over. I shut off all the electronics and it rolled over the engines as well as it normally does. I have just never seen a reading of 12.8 v. My alternator is the original from the boat being new in 1989. So I guess I should knock on wood and say I got my Moneys worth.

The other ? in my head is how long will these gel filled batteries last as they are on there 7th season. Being that they were a new product when I bought them, everyone could only take the manufactures word for how long they last. So these I feel are still Questionable.

Im tring to talk myself out of spending money on batteries but I feel my concious getting the better of me and saying just buy two new batteries if for anything a piece of mind.

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The better auto stores can test them. Does it have a built in voltage regulator? If so they can be replaced.

Yes I belive there is a voltage regulator and that is another thing I will check. thanks for the reminder.

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I would defiantly put a load tester on those 7 year old batteries.

When I was researching batteries for my 24 volt bow mount, every one steered me away from the gel batteries. (it may be different for cranking?)

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Quality batteries will last a long time I have seen well maintained batteries last 10 years. The funny thing with a lot of batteries is you only get one warning shot. Once you know the chargeing system is ok check all the wiring and the batteries. Load testing is seldom done right and correct testing varies from battery to battery. In a starting application a fully charged battery should maintain a 50% draw for a min of 15 sec with very little drop off. ( keep in mind you will see a drop when the load is applied however after a couple of sec it should stabilize and maintain a solid draw) Most people test a battery with one of them toaster testers that vary from 75 to 125 amps however most batteries can pass that test and still not start your boat. On most older equipment with starting and charging problems the cables end up being the biggest problem as they break down under the insulation and you never see the actual problem.

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Thanks for the feed back guys. Being an Electrician I have access to some pretty good equipment. My father in law a retired electrician from Steelcase has a DC load tester good up to 1000 amps. We put the load tester to my batteries last night and They are good to go.Voltage lastnight was 12.85 volts at each batterie after the load test was done. I belive nailer hit it on the head with my regulator being the root cause and being that this unit is not electronic ignition your regulator comes right off of your alternator. Lohrburgs up in wayland is a family friend so we drove the alternator up to him lastnight and my suspision of the brushes being shot was accurate. He is going to just go ahead and do a complete rebuild of it for me.

The only batterie I got ten years out of was my Mason batterie out of my jon boat, aka (just duckin off). It was a lead acid batterie. So far I am happy with the optimas. But being they are 7 years old Im starting to loose my piece of mind. I am going to buy new ones. I feel at this point I will go with the optimas again. If I go lead acid I will go with Masons.

Ken

I am curious to know what it is that was found to be a problem with the gell filled that you mentioned.

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Thanks for the feed back guys. Being an Electrician I have access to some pretty good equipment. My father in law a retired electrician from Steelcase has a DC load tester good up to 1000 amps. We put the load tester to my batteries last night and They are good to go.Voltage lastnight was 12.85 volts at each batterie after the load test was done. I belive nailer hit it on the head with my regulator being the root cause and being that this unit is not electronic ignition your regulator comes right off of your alternator. Lohrburgs up in wayland is a family friend so we drove the alternator up to him lastnight and my suspision of the brushes being shot was accurate. He is going to just go ahead and do a complete rebuild of it for me.

The only batterie I got ten years out of was my Mason batterie out of my jon boat, aka (just duckin off). It was a lead acid batterie. So far I am happy with the optimas. But being they are 7 years old Im starting to loose my piece of mind. I am going to buy new ones. I feel at this point I will go with the optimas again. If I go lead acid I will go with Masons.

Ken

I am curious to know what it is that was found to be a problem with the gell filled that you mentioned.

I never had one myself. I was told you don't get as much run time for the bow mount. We do a lot of stealth trolling over at Muskegon Lake in the fall, so run time is an issue.

On a side note, Your ignition can be converted to electronic. I did this on my Sea-ray that we use here on our lake. It was a %110 improvement.

I got my kit from Napa. forget the cost, maby in the $100-$150 range?

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Gel cell battries need to be weighed ....the gell in the batteries will shrink an expose the plates over time an the battery will become lighter..each manufacter has a max an min weight for their batteries..if you were having a hard time cranking the motor over you may also want to have your starter checked out...

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Thanks for the replys from everyone. It is the alternator as it has been taken in and tested. That alternator should be putting our atleast 13.5 volts or higher at Idle speed and should be reading over 14v accoding to lorburg who is my alternator and starter guy. He has been in business out of wayland/Dorr for over 25 years. Very thourgh guy.

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