Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Best Position For Batteries Placement?"
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Thread: "Best Position For Batteries Placement?"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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Best Position For Batteries Placement?

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek


Would like to build battery boxes and relocate batteries, if possible, for better access and maintaince. Am thinking of converting to Trojan golf cart batteries for the house bank.

My W32 batteries are one starter battery mounted on a shelf just aft of the forward engine bulkhead, stbd. side, plus two house batteries mounted on a shelf straddling athwartship above the packing gland. They are in the commcercial black plastic containers. They are all about 150 amphours, if I recall correctly. The house batteries are wet and need topping off with water regularly (and slosh some), and one cracked and cracked the plastic housing (bad).

I would like to get the location as right as possible for ease of maintenance and remove weight from the extreme aft end of the boat.

Any suggestions for relocating, especially the two house batteries in a proper box?

Also, with a dedicated starter battery, I am thinking of doubling that battery Have you ever seen or recommended two dedicated starter batteries.
Thanks in advance.

Stephen and Lu Ann Yoder

I'm not Bud, nor do I play him on TV, so pardon my butting in. I know a 32 is not a 28 but take a look at this thread and see if this might work for you:
http://www.westsail.org/discus/messages/506/2406.html" id="post_1249051578
There are also some pictures of the installation with the companionway ladder in place somewhere on the W28 page.


Bud Taplin

Most of the W32 boats have batteries on either side of the engine, up close to the bulkhead. A possible solution to water maintenance is to use sealed batteries that do not require refilling with water.
There is no need for two starting batteries, if you can connect your house batteries over to be able to start the engine in case of a problem with the starting battery.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Thanks for all.
Plan: make some decent wood/fiberglass boxes for the current batteries and be ready to modify/rebuild the boxes when the current batteries need replacement (since 2 of 3 are new).
Moving the house bank to the after side of the bulkhead should make them much more available for maintenance, get weight (a lot of lead) off the extreme aft end of the boat (reducing hobby horsing, they say), and open up the packing gland and shaft for service.
Final plus, batteries are closer to the main loads, reducing length and resistance in wire runs.
Now, what to do with all the extra space in the back of the engine room?
By the way, how can one even climb back there over the old 4-108 without opening the cockpit hatch?

Jeff Matthiae


To help keep up with the battery water level there are various replacement caps to help limit water loss. There are also self-filling systems. I think I first read about them in a discussion on the SSCA board, you may wish to search that. A quick google came up with:




I have not tried these yet but they look like a good option. I'm currently using 4 Trojan J305H 6V batteries for the house bank and they only need water every couple of months. I'm usually on a float charge now that I'm back in the water. The six months that I was out of the water but still living aboard they were discharged and recharged (using a portable generator to run the charger) every day or two and I only had to add water two or three times.

For a starting battery I really like the Optima 1000M, same as the Optima 34M listed in Defender. They are a little pricey but I wouldn't even consider anything else. I have two, one for the engine and one under the V-Berth for the windlass. Some of the new chargers have a setting for the Optima. On my last boat I charged them with the AGM's. Now they are charged as wet cells using the stock Beta alternator with internal regulation. I haven't even bothered to tie them into the charger for the house bank. They will also hold a charge much longer than wet cells, I have no problem cranking the engine on the occasions that I went 2 or 3 months without starting it.


Tom and Barb Koehl

The so-called self-filling systems are actually just caps connected in a series by thin hose, each cap with a simple float shut-off valve. As one cell fills, the water goes to the others, etc. Most also come with an LED light on the cap to indicate a low-water condition. If you are cruising in warm water areas it might be a good investment.

Ken and Debra Bridger

I saw a boat with this placement. I wonder if the regular 6 volt golf cart batteries would fit in there. Last time I checked they were only about 50 dollars and reportedly lasted 7-10 years with care. Found at Sam's so easy to get them replaced if needed. Should not be too difficult to build a box out of ply and glassed to seal. Ken

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Great thoughts.

This project is weighing heavily on my mind. Recently, I discovered an old survey our fearless leader did on the boat years ago. Bud recommended proper battery boxes way back then (for serious offshore work). Lot's of authors agree. We've been using the black plastic boxes. One fairly new battery (marine grade) broke a cell and cracked its case after a couple of short offshore trips. In turn the black plastic exterior protective case cracked, luckily in the top half. Battery acid (probably diluted with our distilled water) started leaking into the bilge anyway due to our overfilling the damaged cell, luckily at the dock while we were there trying to top off the untoppable battery cell. Used Cholorox bleach and water to neutralize, I believe. Lots of flushing water. No damage, just needed new battery and case, again marine grade, as my research indicates the plates and case are built extra-heavily.

They say the batteries lose some efficiency in a hot engine room, but I cannot bear the thought of taking up valuable inboard stowage space, especially with so much space availabe in the engine room. So, I'm inclined to mount the new boxes in the engine room per Bud's comments. There are already shelves port and stbd. of the engine on the bulkhead. Maybe the hydro cap gizmos will still be a good idea.
My plan is to build marine plywood and epoxy/fiberlgass cloth covered boxes per Nigel Calder's design.
I suppose that Trojan golf cart batteries come in different sizes and dimensions. Can anybody tell me any of the dimensions and model numbers on the ones that work well on our W32s, please?
The battery boxes are going to cost some time and money and I'd like them to do double duty on my current batteries and the eventual conversion to Trojans.

Bud Taplin

Go to their website www.trojanbattery.com and check out the sizes available.

John Humphrey

On Sapphire W32 #703 I have 6 T105 under bench seat. In this location gasing is a concern. To prevent gasing I use "Hydro Caps". The 6 batteries require a total of 2 qt water when I chck them once a year. Good product well worth the money.

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