Do I need and onboard charging system?

Discussion in 'Boat Tips' started by Flatheadhunter33, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. Flatheadhunter33

    Flatheadhunter33 New Member

    Yuma, Arizona
    I just got a pontoon that Im debating putting another battery on to give it two batteries. It currently has a power inverter on it for whatever I want to plug in which is why I was debating the second battery. I have heard of onboard charging systems along with Perko (sp?) switches. What do these things do exactly? How strong of an onboard charger do I need (if I need one)? Thanks in advance.
  2. Fishmaster1203

    Fishmaster1203 New Member

    Onboard chargers are nice, especially if you use your boat a lot and have more than one battery.

    Cabelas offers several different brands. Check out their website.

  3. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Shelbyville, TN
    I feel that onboard chargers are necessary if you are doing a good deal of fishing. Plus its really convienent, just plug it in and forget about them until morning. No more dragging those batteries in the garage!!
  4. cathog

    cathog New Member

    Lone Oak Texas
    I have had several boats that didnt have them. Now I wouldnt own a boat without it. For example my old onboard charger went out about 3 weeks ago, the next day I bought another one to replace it. They will save you tons of headaches, and make your batteries last a lot longer. I have 2 cheap walmart deep cycle batteries in my boat right now that are 5 years old and still going strong, I give all the credit to the onboard chargers. Bass pro has one that is $99 that is a 2 bank 4/4 amp charger. It is electronic so if your starting battery needs 2 amps to charge it gets 2 and the trolling motor battery can get 6 amps.It charges with a total of 8 amps. Only the really expensive chargers seem to work that way. I have had one for 3 weeks now and it seems to work great.
  5. brad kilpatrick

    brad kilpatrick New Member

    Kansas City
    Stay away from the Cabela's advanced Angler series of on board battery chargers I've had two that didn't last a whole season. Minn Kota brand seems to last the longest.
  6. gilmafam

    gilmafam Well-Known Member

    I don't have one, and never had one...."I'm the on board charger"... I have three batteries on board. One at the back which is the cranking one, and two more mid ship. My Honda motor does a great job keeping the crankng battery up. I have a portable automatic charger and climb on board the boat and hook up one for a period of time, and then hook up the other. I would have to run lots of extra wire to have the "onboard" type, and I dont mind to climb in the boat and keep things up... my third battery is more-or-less portable as I use it mostly for night lights and my other boat when needed.

    Just my lazy way of doing things...

    Bayrunner Ray
  7. olefin

    olefin New Member

    I've used a Guest onboard charger for several years. It's plugged in 24/7 except when I use the boat.
  8. Bubbakat

    Bubbakat New Member

    Once you start using an on board charger you will ask your self why in this world didn't I buy one of these long before now.
  9. Mike81

    Mike81 Well-Known Member

    I have a 3 bank Minn Kota charger with a starting battery and 2 trolling motor batteries. This is the first on board charger I've ever owned but will always have one from now on, they are great!!! Get home your hot and tired, clean out the boat...pull out the cord, plug it in overnight and your ready to go back out...:wink:
  10. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    O.P., KS

    If you have to recharge multiple batteries, an onboard charger is the only way to go. But with 2 batteries you only have to worry about charging 1, while the alternator will take care of the other, just like it does now. I've got a setup like that, and I just use a portable charger through the trolling motor plug to charge it, so it's really not any more complicated to use than plugging in an onboard charger. It helps that I usually have the boat in my garage, because the charger I use is not waterproof like the onboards. I've got about $70 invested in it, $50 for the charger (Shumacher Marine from Walmart), and $20 for the trolling motor plug.

    The Perko switch will let you switch to use one battery or the other, or use both at the same time. In theory, by switching back and forth, you could let your alternator charge both batteries. But if you use a lot of battery power, like you would with a trolling motor or heavy use of that power inverter, your alternator might not be able to keep up, and it also might fail prematurely from being overworked. The switch will let you use both batteries together in parallel, but I don't recommend that unless you have 2 identical batteries. Also, one great thing about having 2 batteries is that you have a backup in case your starting battery has a problem, but if they are hooked together you might run them both down and get stuck somewhere.

    Not trying to talk you out of an onboard by any means, they are definitely nice, but you do have alternatives.
  11. Backlashed

    Backlashed New Member

    Derby, Kansas
    I have a four battery setup in my pontoon, two for the 24volt trolling motor, one for starting, and another house battery for everything else. By using a battery combiner I can charge the start, and house with the outboard's alternator. It charges both while the motor is running but only uses voltage from the house when the ign. switch is off, that way you never run your start battery dead, and get stranded.
    At home with the use of the combiner, and a three bank onboard charger, I can charge/maintain all four batteries at the same time.
    With a two battery system, by using a combiner, a single bank charger will charge both batteries, and still have the automatic charging/switching from the outboard, and it doesn't necessarily have to be an onboard charger, any good automatic charger will do.
  12. lendog

    lendog New Member

    berks, PA
    gotta agree with ya on that, my first charger was a cabela's advanced angler and i think mine lasted a year of two if that, i think the one i have now is a minn kota, mine is a two bank and i've had mine 3 or 4 years now without a problem
  13. roadkill636

    roadkill636 New Member

    warrenton misso
    have been thruogh a few electronic courses and auto indistry related classes,Iv learned that an alternator "DOES NOT CHARGE A BATTERY"
    now now I know what your thinking, PETOOEE!!! I thought the same thing for years
    An alternator only "maintaines" a charge, such as your car or truck,all it pretty much does is replace the "surface charge" after a start up.
    for instance if your battery is dead and you use jumper cables to start it. it seems fine, but the battery will take a very long time before it is fully "charged".. weeks possably... its its kind of like a thinderstorm that dumps 3" of rain in your yard in 1 hour, 90% of the water just runs down the hill..
    but if that same 3" rain falls over a 24 hour peroid it soaks into the ground much deeper to the roots where its much more useable, same way with a "SLOW" battery charge. the electricty soaks much deeper into the "roots" of the plates

    hope I schooled someone:roll_eyes:
  14. bluejay

    bluejay Well-Known Member

    Napoleon, Mo.
    You don't NEED an onboard charger. But they sure are nice!!