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  1. #1

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    Battery Charging Question

    I have used Odyssey Batteries since 1998 with great results. I just charge them once in the spring before I go out for the first time of the season. We all know not to charge while the battery is hooked up to protect the MPEM and other electronics. I would like to know if both cables need to be removed or just the ground cable. I know the circuit is not completed with the ground removed, but can the voltage travel up the positive cable to the electronics and cause damage?


  2. #2
    wkuadam07's Avatar
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  3. #3
    It is a myth that charging the battery will cause damage, nonsense. Manufacturers warn not to do this because so many bozos hook it up backwards, not because of voltage concerns.

  4. #4
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Bilford View Post
    I have used Odyssey Batteries since 1998 with great results. I just charge them once in the spring before I go out for the first time of the season.

    We all know not to charge while the battery is hooked up to protect the MPEM and other electronics. I would like to know if both cables need to be removed or just the ground cable?

    I know the circuit is not completed with the ground removed, but can the voltage travel up the positive cable to the electronics and cause damage?
    As with most things electrical, the answer is simple and not so simple.

    With the negative battery cable disconnected from the battery, the entire electrical system in the watercraft is isolated from the likely causes of electrical damage while charging the battery. Of course some people can find a way to cause damage despite everything.

    Regarding charging the battery in the watercraft while the battery is fully connected to the watercraft electrical system, it all depends. If the battery charger is well made and properly connected, there is no real risk to the watercraft electronics.

    If the battery charger is not well made or not working properly then it is possible for the electrical system to be exposed to voltage spikes from the defective charger.

    By far the most common owner error is connecting the battery with the polarity reversed. Black wire on the + post will make for a bad day.

    If the positive (red) cable is left connected to the battery then it is much harder to accidentally reconnect the battery backwards since one cable was never removed.

    Another common error is jump starting the watercraft from a car or truck battery or using an automotive grade battery charger to 'boost' the watercraft battery. All sorts of potential for voltage spikes and incorrect polarity, and damage to the ski electronics from this sort of abuse is not uncommon.

    Personally I only use high quality sealed AGM batteries and a high quality brand name smart battery charger. I have installed polarized charging cables in the watercraft so I can directly connect the charger, which comes from the factory with the mating polarized connector. I do not disconnect the battery from the watercraft when charging.

    One of my chargers is the waterproof version of the Deltran Battery Tender. You can see the polarized connectors and the ring terminals that go to the battery.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5

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    Odysseys and other AGM batteries need higher voltage than wet cell batteries to be fully charged. AGM batteries should be charged at 14.7v until fully charged and around 13.5v for maintenance. My CTEC charger with AGM mode does exactly this and is one of the recommended chargers from Odyssey. It is circuit protected if hooked up backwards. I was concerned about the 14.7v with the battery fully installed since it is above the voltage output of the stator. Does disconnecting the neg lead prevent current from reaching the MEPEM and other electronics? Is it necessary at 14.7v?

  6. #6
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Bilford View Post
    Odysseys and other AGM batteries need higher voltage than wet cell batteries to be fully charged. AGM batteries should be charged at 14.7v until fully charged and around 13.5v for maintenance. My CTEC charger with AGM mode does exactly this and is one of the recommended chargers from Odyssey. It is circuit protected if hooked up backwards.

    I was concerned about the 14.7v with the battery fully installed since it is above the voltage output of the stator.

    Does disconnecting the neg lead prevent current from reaching the MEPEM and other electronics? Is it necessary at 14.7v?
    14.7 volts from a controlled source like your CTEK charger should not cause problems for the watercraft electronics.

    The primary concern is cheap chargers and incorrect usage which can cause voltage spikes of dozens or hundreds of volts and accidental reverse polarity which is never a good thing.

    Electricity always travels in a loop. When one end of the loop is disconnected then the circuit is 'open' and the still connected 'other end' does not matter much. Which is why disconnecting the negative cable from your battery effectively isolates the entire electrical system from the charger even though the battery positive is still connected to the red cable in the ski.

  7. #7

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    K447,
    Thank you for verifying my thoughts. Your responses were informative.

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