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Battery is dead?

Your old Riva electrical system can be a challenge. If it runs on electricity pose your questions and offer your advice here.

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Battery is dead?

Postby FCE woodiesparts » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:53 am

35 years long I hear yachtsman asking for the best maintenance chargers.
Naturally I don't tell this to my clients

But the answer is so simple.
After the yachting season , check your battery and take it OUT of the boat.
First check the liquid level, if to low make it level with distilled water.
Secondly charge it full with a low current.
When fully charged you can check the acid level. In a good battery it is at all places (almost) equal.

Than put it in a Cold, dry place!

You can keep it their for the complete winter. It may go below zero. Why?
Easy, the liquid in a battery is acid and water. When fully charge the acid is in the liquid, when empty it is in the plates.
So it cannot break by the frost when it is charged!

And the colder the battery the smaller the self discharge. See it like normal people. When it is cold outside we do not tend to be very active. However as soon as spring enters and the sun is up we spring to life and we are much more active and burn a lot of energy.
The same happens with the electrons in the battery.

Now in springtime, take your battery out, discharge it to 10.6V for a deepcycle battery and 11.6 for a normal start battery. DO NOT GO LOWER. if you go lower, you can do it 40 times and the battery gets damaged havely ( so i was told by the brands)

Charge it again and start your engines :D
Last edited by FCE woodiesparts on Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Battery is dead?

Postby FCE woodiesparts » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:15 am

The worst thing you can do is:
:ugeek: Not charging it before winter.
:geek: Keep to battery connected to the device, in this case your riva. There are always leak currents draining the battery. (did you know that some cars like mercedes drain the battery in 2 weeks time :oops: )
:ugeek: Even when you do what I wrote above, put it in your garden house or summerhouse or even your garage.

Even in winter the sun heats up the summerhouse or garden house . You don't notice but it can go up to 30°C
The battery wakes up and starts to discharge very fast.

And most garage tend to have the house heating system in it, again heat : NOT GOOD

Result: in springtime the battery is dead. Good for my business bad for you!
That is why so many people come to us in springtime for their motorbikes and lawnmowers :D

P.S. Don't ask me for a battery price is not the intention from this forum nor from my topic! I can help you with advice, and please support your local dealer! :idea:
My job in the company is advising industrial clients for portable devices, not selling these batteries.
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What can you do when the battery is dead?

Postby FCE woodiesparts » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:16 am

Not many things.

On a personal level I can give this experience.
Once upon a time I used a charger from a friend. The red wire was the negative and the back the positive :twisted:
HOW could I know that! Who on reach did that.
Well when I came back the battery was inverse charged. Oh my god :roll:
Luckily it was the best battery VARTA had in that time.
I've discharged it with a car light bulb to 0V.
Naturally the battery was dead and was not happy to take charge.
So I used a Half charged battery and put in parallel ( plus to plus and minus to minus) on it.
The second battery puts power into the other until they are equal.
Later I've charge it at a very low current.
:D I can tell you 4 years later I still use it without any problem in my super Florida. And it is has a sea V M80, an engine that does not want to start the first time or the second and third time for that matter ;)

A good idea is to have a yellow optima battery in your boat it can give a lot of punch when your normal battery is almost dead.

Ps: be careful with putting batteries in parallel! If one battery is very low or damaged the current can be VERY high and can cause damage to the batteries or you.
If possible put the negative from one battery as far as possible from the other negative, in a wooden boat that is a little difficult. But use the engine as block between it.
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Re: Battery is dead?

Postby Don Ayers » Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:06 am


Very good post and good tips on battery care.

I can tell you that many in the US use the Optima battery products from Antique Auto Battery in Ohio.

Eric, do you have pictures of the battery in Dirk's Ariston? Please post the details on that as it was very authentic looking.


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1959 Ariston 266
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