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Alternator question

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Hey All,

Is there a way that an alternator would be producing voltage, but not actually charging the battery?    When my engine is running the voltage at my battery is 13.8v which is good, but after some time, it always seems like my boat struggles to pull enough amps to start.  (Slow cranking)  And my battery voltage when the engine isn't running is slowly dropping over the past few times being out and I'm at a point where I think I need to pull my battery and charge is externally.

Thanks for any input!


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I think that's the sign of a bad battery.  The "load test" is you trying to start the boat, and if you have 13.8v once it is running then that means your alternator is charging.

I put a new battery in last year worked great.  I got lazy/busy and did not remove it from the boat, although I put it away with a full charge. This year it was slow cranking.  With the key off I had 12.8v I think, enough that it seemed good.  But it still cranked slow.  I bought a new battery and installed it, and it cranks way faster now.

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Could also be a bad connection on the terminals on the starter (positive) and engine block (negative.)  To save a trip I'd clean them first and re-check, but if the battery is old then I agree with @Michigan boarder, it's probably a bad battery.  They definitely have a life limit based on duty.

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