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Green_Giant

Low Battery signal but no other symptoms

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Green_Giant

Hello,

I've done a bit of searching but didn't find this exact situation and thought I'd run it by you guys.

04 RLxi, 340 monsoon, 2 battery setup and I put in a Blue Sea system on top of a perko switch with all new 2/0 cables, lugs soldered on, etc.

Symptom: usually after startup if it happens at all, at idle, will get the low batt signal from the display gauge / beeper. The voltage meter agrees with this, under 12v. a few revs bring it back up to 13 but it never gets to 14 like it used to.

Batteries: probably 7 years old. They measure 12.46 and 12.6 v at rest.

All connections I am familiar with are clean and tight (ground at block, connections of alt wire at starter, all battery connections, perko and blue sea connections.

Is there a decent spot to verify the voltage at the dash? I'm not familiar with the wiring up under there and it seems like all the connections are sealed.

I'll check the alternator output next time I have the boat out on the water.

Anything else to look into? I know the batteries are a bit old but I also have no symptoms, starts and runs fine.

Thanks

Edited by Green_Giant

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jonredcorn

When you say "The voltage meter agrees with this" do you mean the built-in dash voltage meter or are you using a different one?

If I were you, I would test the voltage (using a separate voltage meter) on one of the unused breakers (you'll have to take the breaker panel to get to them) as if you go test directly to the main bus bar (on mine its on the starboard side behind the breaker panel) it could increase your chances of causing a fire if you 'crossed a wire'

disclaimer - I haven't personally experienced your problem, but I think you're on the right track - check the alternator output as well and I hope its 'only' that!

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justgary

Swap your cranking battery with your tow vehicle and see if the problem moves with it. I suspect you have gotten the full lifetime out of your batteries.

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shawndoggy

It sounds like you know what you are doing with your cabling and know your way around how a 12v battery setup works, so forgive the dumb question: is it possible that you've got your add-a-battery hooked up backwards, so that your starting battery is not also connected to the alternator and it's not seeing the alternator charge until the vsr opens after you rev it a little?

You are right though... it sure seems weird for the voltage to drop from 14 to 13 for no other reason than adding the add-a-battery kit. how much additional battery cable length did you add when you added the kit?

I added a voltmeter on my stereo battery bank so I can see visually when the vsr opens and closes. The voltmeter is cheap and I suspect it runs a few tenths high, but it does give me a little visual indication of what's happening on each side of the vsr (the factory dash gauge reads the "other" battery bank).

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Green_Giant

Thanks for the replies, some follow-up information:

- when I said the voltage meter at the dash aggress with the indicator warning, I'm referring to the standard voltage gauge so that and the beeping are in agreement, they must run off the same input

- Agree the batteries may have run their life, can't complain about 7-8 years of trouble-free service (interstate deep cycles)

- I have everything wired correctly, I've had the same setup for over 7 years

Will see if I can get out for a ski in the morning and check alternator output.

Where can I find the voltage regulator? How to test that?

Thanks!

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Green_Giant

So it seems the alternator is fine, kicking out 14.4 v measured at the orange wire on the alt, so maybe I have corroded connection somewhere between the alternator and the dash...

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Green_Giant

also confirming that I have 14.04v at both batteries while running as well as both sides of the main breaker/fuse in the storage compartment so must be some voltage drop at the dash somewhere.

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rustydust

I am having this same issue. Both of my batteries are at 14.3 V but when I turn on the key, the dash show 11.8v. Did you ever figure out what the cause was?

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Green_Giant

well I ducked this issue for 4 years after replacing the batteries but it is back.

Always at initial startup, volt gauge on dash reads between 10-11 volts and BATT indicator and beeping.

During this time, I can confirm both batteries, at the battery, are at 13+ volts and alt is charging, 13+

Then, suddenly the volt gauge jumps to 13 and the beeping stops. It's not creeping up to 13, it zips right up there so I don't think this is showing that it is charging, seems like something else either loose or something going on with the Blue Sea and its lock-out mode? (link above is dead)

Open to thoughts or other things to check.

post-2790-1215125459_thumb.jpg

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justgary

So replacing the batteries fixed it?  And you now have four year old batteries that have a typical lifetime of four to five years?

Assuming that you have cleaned all of the electrical connections, it might be time for new batteries. 

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MLA
8 hours ago, Green_Giant said:

During this time, I can confirm both batteries, at the battery, are at 13+ volts and alt is charging, 13+

How is this confirmed? Once the manual switch is ON, the ACR has no bearing on the voltage of the battery supply, to the loads wired to the switch. To the degree that battery voltage passes through the switch to the loads. Only alternator charge passes through the ACR to the battery. 

Sounds like the house battery is dropping low while the boat is laid up. Once started, it takes a moment for the ACR to close, registering alternator output to the helm. This is why I asked how you verified both batteries are at full charge before starting. 

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shawndoggy

As @MLA is alluding to, the diagnosis really depends on how you have wired up the acr.  is the wire to the helm on the "alternator wire side" of the ACR or is it on the other side?  Me personally, I'd wire those to be on the same side of the acr, but it really depends on how you want your system configured.

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Green_Giant

I think you guys have it nailed.

been a long time since I wired that up but I think the alt goes to the acr and it distributes charge to the batteries while keeping them isolated but not sure, I followed the diagram.

I forget, terminology wise,  house battery is for the engine and gauges and the other battery is called accessory for the stereo, am I right?

wull check connections and probably ready for some batteries.  Man time flies .

thanks

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MLA
27 minutes ago, Green_Giant said:

been a long time since I wired that up but I think the alt goes to the acr and it distributes charge to the batteries

High probability that the alternator is wired to the starter's main post, thus supplying the main cranking bank ALWAYS. 

My deffanition of house is, anything we may want to have on, when the engine is not running. Main cranking side, is everything we need to make the boat go.  

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Green_Giant

OK I found some new information. The cranking battery is just 1 year old, Interstate. The House battery is 2 years old. 

The cranking battery is draining on its own, I can watch it go down even if the battery switch is fully set to Off.

When I plug in my trickle charger, it begins charging both batteries. I the House is already at 12.6v and climbs from there. the Cranking battery was at 11.4 and started climbing from there. At some point I heard a click and the Blue Sea light went on indicating "Combined"  From there both batteries read 12.8 v and even though the charger was charging, the combined voltage was sinking until the Blue Sea clicked off  and then the cranking battery was back to low 12 or high 11's.  Seems like even with the battery switch off the cranking battery is pulling down the voltage.  

Year old still under warranty will probably head to Costco with it to see if they'll swap it out.

I haven't read up on how the Blue Sea switching works but it seems to be cycling back on and off every minute or so with everything off and a trickle charger going that can't be normal.

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MLA
43 minutes ago, Green_Giant said:

Year old still under warranty will probably head to Costco with it to see if they'll swap it out.

I would not assume that a new battery will resolve. Good chance there is a load, drawing the battery down. 

44 minutes ago, Green_Giant said:

but it seems to be cycling back on and off every minute or so with everything off and a trickle charger going that can't be normal.

It is a voltage sensing relay, remember. IMO, its wired to the wrong side of the switch. 

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formulaben
4 hours ago, Green_Giant said:

I haven't read up on how the Blue Sea switching works but it seems to be cycling back on and off every minute or so with everything off and a trickle charger going that can't be normal.

If you don't have it wired correct then that's exactly normal.  The ACR ties the battery banks together when it sees the required voltage.  Adding the charger does that if you don't have it wired so that the batteries are isolated from the charger.  Here is how I have mine:

Blue-Seas-2-1-Wiring-Diagram-Rev-2-BQ.pn

 

Edited by formulaben

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Green_Giant

99% I have it wired  exactly per the diagram above, meaning the two primary ACR connections tie to the top (load) portion of the battery switch. Will verify.

Agree with the comment there could be a load somewhere.  Definitely everything was/is turned off so how on earth to locate a mysterious load/drain in the Starting battery circuit?

I really appreciate the information here, been away from the site for a few years, thanks.

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formulaben

This might sound like a dumb question, but you've verified that the battery switch is in the OFF position, correct?

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MLA
42 minutes ago, Green_Giant said:

meaning the two primary ACR connections tie to the top (load) portion of the battery switch

If the switch is off and the green ACR light comes on after a charger is plugged in, then the ACR has to be wired to the battery side of the switch, not the boat/load side.

56 minutes ago, Green_Giant said:

so how on earth to locate a mysterious load/drain in the Starting battery circuit?

Any loads wired direct to the battery, would be where I would start first. next, would be measuring the parasitic draw of the ACR itself.  

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Green_Giant

OK you guys are smart and correct my ACR was not wired to the load side of the switch I still think I may have a parasite there’s a little slight spark when I hook the terminals of the trickle charger I wonder if it’s the charger itself that has a slight draw to it this happens even with the battery switched off.   I’ll get them good and charged up and see how things go from there I did reverse the batteries to see if that has any impact between house and starting .

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1HELLUVALIFE

I have been having a similar issue all season with perfect pass booting due to low voltage even while the engine is running, Alternator is putting out the correct voltage all the way up to the switch . i bypassed the perko switch last time out and didn't have the issue.  how many people have had a perko go bad or drop voltage, the switch is only 3 years old.  

Edited by 1HELLUVALIFE

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MLA
9 hours ago, 1HELLUVALIFE said:

, Alternator is putting out the correct voltage all the way up to the switch

Main battery switch, "Perko" as you call it? Did you then check to see what level of voltage made it to the battery(s)? 

9 hours ago, 1HELLUVALIFE said:

i bypassed the perko switch last time out and didn't have the issue. 

Something not making sense here. Alternator supply should come to the same switch terminal as the helm and everything else, draw off of. What circuit(s) did you actually bypass the switch, with. 

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justgary
14 hours ago, Green_Giant said:

OK you guys are smart and correct my ACR was not wired to the load side of the switch I still think I may have a parasite there’s a little slight spark when I hook the terminals of the trickle charger I wonder if it’s the charger itself that has a slight draw to it this happens even with the battery switched off.   I’ll get them good and charged up and see how things go from there I did reverse the batteries to see if that has any impact between house and starting .

Any device with a filter capacitor in the circuit will probably spark when you first connect it because of inrush current to charge the cap.  The only way to really know about parasitic current is to put an ammeter in the circuit. 

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