Most of you will have experienced that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomachs when things don’t quite go to plan.
You get a late call from your fishing buddy saying the moon is in the right phase, the tide is right and the weatherman is forecasting 10-knot variables for the next morning.
“Let’s go fishing,” they say. “We haven’t been for ages and the whisper is the fish are on the chew.”
They arrive in the morning all set to go – rods, bait, ice and food aboard. You swing past the servo for fuel and a coffee before driving 30 minutes to the ramp.
The boat is backed in and your mate drives off to park the trailer while you ‘warm ‘er up’.
You switch on the batteries, pump the fuel line bulb and turn the key, but the only result is deafening silence at the transom; or at best a solenoid click or half-hearted attempt by the motor to start. Flat batteries.
“Bugger,” you think, “they were fully charged the last time I used the boat four months ago!” There’s that sinking feeling again!
So it’s off to take the battery out of the car – if you have the tools – and by the time you finally get to your Spot X the tide is wrong, you have missed the bite and that 10-knot forecast has now turned to ‘15, gusting 20’.
There are several ways the above scenario could be avoided, and all involve checking the battery at regular intervals, especially when the vessel is not being used over an extended period.
This winter we have been field-testing a Century BM12V battery monitor fitted to our company project boat Fishing News, a Billfisher 735. It provided us with an easy way to keep track of our battery’s charge status and was simple to install. Attaching the monitor’s leads to the battery terminals is all that needs to be done, which is a five-minute job with a spanner.
The BM12V helps prevent situations outlined at the start by transmitting real time battery data to my iPhone. It was easy to set up and by clicking on the app, I can see in an instant the state of the batteries and whether I am good to go to sea.
The BM12V performs three main functions: state of charge – the number of total volts available in the battery; cranking test – the volts available to crank the engine during start up; and a charging test – the amount of charge being put into the battery at idle. As a bonus, it will also record trip durations and perform high RPM tests, letting you know how much charge is going back into the batteries at over 2000RPM.
The data is stored for 31 days, and it will send out an alert once the charge drops beneath a certain level.
Internally, the Century BM12V monitor has a recoverable fuse for protection against short circuits and reverse connection protection to prevent damage if the connecting leads are installed on the wrong terminals.
The unit is suitable for all Bluetooth enabled iOS and Android smartphones and will check on all lead acid – flooded, AGM and Gel 12-volt batteries.
Boat batteries are just one application. The unit is suitable for cars, trucks, motorcycles, tractors, caravans, Personal Water Craft and garden maintenance machinery – if it has a 12-volt battery, the BM12V will keep an eye on it, warning you of any issues.
The units are available through marine and automotive outlets nationwide – anywhere Century Yuasa batteries are sold. They come with a 24-month warranty.
This article is reproduced with permission of
28 February 2021