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Wing Nut Battery


How To Install Your Boat’s Battery To Be ABCY Compliant.

Well it turns out that the battery issue I raised last week got some of our regular readers a bit excited because as they looked at the photo I used, they saw other issues besides the wing nuts wrong with the installation shown. Fair enough, I can’t just ignore correct observations and we need to share lest anyone with a bit less knowledge in these matters thinks that the only thing wrong here is the wing nuts.

First of all, the battery shown is a flooded battery, sealed, but flooded with good old liquid electrolyte, water and sulfuric acid.

So to comply with battery installation standards, there needs to be a drip tray under the battery or it needs to be in a box so that any electrolyte spillage has a place to go.  As far as the battery being secure in place, I would say that the straps holding it down are good enough.

The orange and black hose entering in from the right side of the photo is actually a vent hose that exits outside the compartment the battery is sitting in, which is really a nice way to deal with the whole compartment ventilation issue with “sealed” batteries. Actually these batteries are more precisely known as SVR, or “sealed valve regulated” batteries.

Basically there is a check valve that will open if excess pressure builds up in the battery due to overcharging as an example. The gasses (hydrogen) get vented away.

The two issues I see with the compartment here are that it is a natural catch-all space to throw other gear in that could cause damage, or if metallic, short out the unprotected (no insulating caps) battery posts. These should always be covered, at least the positive post. Battery boxes should be dedicated spaces exclusive to the job at hand, just as with LPG tank storage spaces.

The standard says that the materials in proximity to the battery should not be affected by battery electrolyte, wood will be eventually. I contend that is really not too much of an issue with modern batteries as little gassing actually occurs and case leaks are quite rare.

I don’t see that as a major concern here. The positive and negative battery cables could use a bit more support, although they actually comply with ABYC E-10 standard that allows for up to 36″ of unsupported cable for the primary battery cables at the battery end. So the above is a bit sloppy, but compliant. I think I caught everything here this time. Thanks to the readers who weighed in on this one!

If you have a question about this or any other post on my blog feel free to ask it below.

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