Last Updated on June 21, 2021 by Ellis Gibson (B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering)
Shore power is the power that provides electrical energy to the marine boat after traveling. The boats have batteries that need a charge after some time, and this battery enables the engine of the ship to turn on when starting the journey and turn off when it is docking.
Therefore, it must charge from an external source for the boat’s battery to have power when it is not moving to support its traveling times without accidents. If the battery’s charges drain in the middle of the journey, it needs more charge from the shore power. To charge this battery, you will have to find a way to connect the battery to the shore power.
So, how to charge a boat battery with shore power? To charge the battery with shore power, connect the battery to the shore power with a camper which sends power to the converter or inverter that transmits energy to the battery itself. The battery power provides energy to the boat depending on the lifespan of the battery.
The battery provides power for lights in the boat, but they use minimal amounts of energy. The ship consumes much larger voltages when starting. Connecting the battery to the shore power charges the battery. Plugin the battery cables to the show power appliances while all the power cables are off for safety measures.
Steps of charging a boat battery to the shore power
Step-01: Switch off all the terminals that are connecting the battery with show power.
Step-02: Remove the terminals and clean them by wiping dust particles and grease that lubricates some parts in the boat system. Ensure the terminals are clean before starting another connection.
Step-03: Using screws and pliers, connect the power cables to their sources and tighten the connection with the pliers to charge the boat battery effectively.
Step-04: Make sure you connect the terminals and cables accurately in the positive terminal connects to the positive cable, which is always red to indicate it is a live wire as the negative terminal connects to the negative cable, which is always black to show it is a neutral wire.
Step-05: Put the battery charger into the shore power socket and switch to transmit power from the shore to the battery.
Step-06: A charging battery will show by either blinking with a red color or any other color or make some noise showing it is charging.
Step-07: Give the battery some time when you are docking for it to have full charge in that it can start the boat since starting the boat needs a lot of power than the power the boat needs for lighting.
Step-08: When the blinking color disappears, the battery will be complete, or it will alarm you that it is full of disconnecting it. In most cases, the smart chargers only do show that the battery is full. The other chargers will continue charging until you realize by yourself. So if you have such a charger, you should be keen to check it after a few hours because when the battery stays while charging for it will damage its battery life and fails to perform effectively.
Step-09: Unplug the charger from the shore by removing the neutral wire first the live wire at last.
Step-10: Clean the terminals and apply an oiling agent like grease for maintenance and future purposes.
Safety measures to take when charging boat battery with shore power
When charging the boat battery with show power, follow specific tips and measures to avoid using batteries that drain the energy quickly. Before charging the battery, consider discharging it first, then charge it again. The information below is good before charging a battery with shore power.
- Prepare the battery:
Before charging the battery, prepare a battery that suits the boat and is compatible with shore power since power is from the water. Check if your battery has some features within that it lacks corrosions, lacks cracks, and has actual liquid levels for the battery. If the battery has any of these issues, replace the battery or repair it for effective charging with shore power. The fluid level always adds water to raise the actual liquid level as a low level of liquids makes the battery drain faster.
- Decide on the best charger:
Use a charger that has specific outputs which are safe for use with the battery. The battery must have a particular resistance of five to fifteen amperes. If the charger is old enough, check the state of the wires and cables to make sure the charger can produce an excellent current to the battery.
- Decide on whether to add charge or remove the charge from the battery:
It is advisable to discharge the battery before charging it again to increase the battery life. However, in some cases, you have to charge the battery after lowering it to a certain percentage as deficient power levels reduce the battery’s life. Allowing the battery to a significantly lower level causes the battery to struggle to work. Therefore train your battery so that it adapts to specific instructions according to your preference.
- Inspect the charge condition:
Checking the charge condition helps you identify the average time to take while charging the battery using a voltmeter. If the charger is a smart digital charger, it is better as it alarms when the charge is complete.
- Set the alarm:
An alarm notifies the boat user when the battery is full since batteries should not overcharge as it spoils their operations’ ability to hold on for charge.
- Prevent the battery from extreme conditions:
Prevent the battery from extreme humidity and temperatures, which are not conducive to the operations of the battery. Charging the battery when temperatures are high or low makes the battery strain while charging and can charge for a short while then before. When the battery charges for a quicker than expected time, the battery will drain its charge as fast as possible.
Boat batteries vary according to their sizes, types, and their time to charge. It is essential to know how to charge a boat battery with shore power. Read the manufacturer’s instructions when connecting the battery with shore power to identify the parts that do not need contact with water when charging the battery.
It is advisable to use smart chargers when charging the battery with shore power to avoid overcharging the battery that reduces the battery’s life span and makes work easier for the user instead of manually disconnecting the charger.
Consider maintaining your battery terminals and cables after use by greasing them to avoid rust and washing them after use. By doing this, the battery components are safe and suitable for use in the future. It also increases the battery life. Take care when connecting the positive terminals as they carry much power as can cause.
What are factors to consider when choosing a charger and a battery for use with shore power?
When choosing the battery for use, consider using a charger that fits it since charging the battery differs according to the charger that is charging. The factor below helps decide the battery to use for a particular charger that is compatible with the shore power.
a) Size and shape of the charger.
The size of the charger delivers a certain level of current in the battery; therefore, the larger the charger, the more current the battery gets, and when the charger is small, the current is also lower. Good chargers for use must have a reasonable size that is in the same ratio as the size of the boat using the battery.
b) Type of the charger.
The best type of chargers to use when charging the battery using the shore power is the regular chargers since they have more currents hence charging the battery faster. The disadvantage of these chargers is that they shorten the battery life span as it causes high temperatures in the battery.
c) Time the battery takes to charge.
Choose a charger that takes standard charger time to charge the battery and use a battery that accepts charge faster. A charger that takes much time to charge is not suitable for the battery since it can input too much energy into the battery damaging it. And a charger that takes less time to charge the battery makes the battery lose power quickly that it cannot end the journey is undertaking successfully.
d) Choose a smart charger.
A smart charger alarms the user when the battery is full or disconnects itself from the shore power source when it is complete. A smart charger helps prevent the battery from overheating and hence increases the life cycle of the battery.
Can my shore power charge other batteries like RV?
Yes. The shore power charges the RV battery as long as the battery is connected to the shore power using the correct charger.
Can I leave my boat battery charging continuously?
After the battery completely charges, it is crucial to plug it from the power supply source to the land. But if the battery is on water, keep it charging all the time.