Marine Battery Chargers, Batteries, and Accessories

Marine Battery Chargers, Batteries, and Accessories How-Tos

Blue Sea Systems Tech Tip: Battery Charging Explained

Learn all about how charging a boat battery works.

There is a certain art to charging a boat battery that requires correct timing above anything else. Charging the battery is similar to the concept of air pressure, when air is blown into a balloon - the more pressure you blow into the balloon, the larger the volume in the balloon becomes. Likewise, the more electricity that is charged to the battery, the greater the amperage volume will be.

Batteries are charged by applying varying levels of voltage/electrical pressure to the battery itself. The process of charging batteries amplifies the voltage to higher levels than what a normal battery has. The energy charge flows into the battery and creates a chemical reaction. That saves the energy, such that, the chemicals form until the time when extra power is required, at which, it will turn into electrical energy. Again, timing is crucial when charging batteries.
There are three main levels of battery charging that decrease or increase in intensity:

Protecting Your Boat's Alternator and Battery Systems

There are certain important precautions you will want to follow in order to preserve the internal circuits and systems in your boat.

Step 1: Choosing a Wire

  • Identity where the current flow is located in your circuits.
  • Choose the circuit type.
  • Non-critical: consitutes at least a 10% voltage drop, which covers all general appliances, general lighting, etc.
  • Critical: at least a 3% voltage drop, which covers navigation lights, electronics, etc.
  • Determine the circuit length.
  • Circuit length: the length of the negative wire combined with the length of the positive wire.
  • Intersect the current flow with the circuit length in order to calculate the wire size that will work best for you.

Step 2: Choosing Fuses and Fuse Amperages

  • Choose the fuse while simultaneously referring to the AWG wire size that you selected from Step 1.
  • There are four different fuse amperages to choose from:
  • Single Wire, Outside Engine Room.
  • Single Wire, Inside Engine Room.
  • Bundled Wire, Outside Engine Room.
  • Bundled Wire, Inside Engine Room.

Step 3: Choosing a Fuse Holder

  • Refer to the fuses and fuse amperages you selected from Step 2 in order to determine which fuse holder/fuse block will work best for you.
  • Two environmental standpoints to consider depending on which fuse holder you choose:
  • Ignition Protection: a mandatory choice when there is a possibility of flammable vapors collecting.
  • Ingress Protection: shields the fuse holder from humidity and other environmental features.
  • Inline Fuse Holder Vs. Fuse Block
  • Inline fuse holders are compact and hold single low-amperage fuses.
  • Fuse blocks attach to solid surfaces and can hold either single or multiple fuses.
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