CARS HOMES JOBS

On-board chargers help trolling motors

Thursday, June 26, 2014
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Since I put my boat in the water last month, I’ve witnessed some boater’s problems with their electronics at the launch sites, namely their electric trolling motors.

They’ve either had little or no power. As a long-time bass fisherman for fun and cash, I learned a long time ago that as soon as I got home, I should charge my trolling motor batteries.

I also know that after returning home from a full day of fun in the sun on the water, most don’t want to take the time to pull out and hook up the battery chargers for the trolling motor batteries, especially if the boat has a 24- or 36-volt trolling motor that runs on two or three batteries.

More than once after a full day on the water, I didn’t want to hook up the three battery chargers I needed to charge my 36-volt, three-battery system and I put it off for the next day.

But sometimes, it didn’t happen the next day, and on my next outing, I didn’t have enough power to last the day. After several instances of this, I invested in an on-board charger that only requires running a cord from an outlet to the boat.

Recently, I had to replace my charger, which I believe was about 10 years old. I bought an XPS iT (Intelligent Technology) Onboard Marine Battery Charger, which is considerably lighter than its predecessor.

The new unit has precision software control for multi-stage charging and real-time battery bank LED service indicators that identify errors in installation wiring or, most importantly, failing batteries. The Go Fish indicator lights up when the batteries are fully charged.

Something else I learned about boating the hard way — the best way to protect it from the elements. I’m not talking about cleaning and polishing, but when it’s being trailered, docked overnight or sitting in the driveway next to your house.

Those, and I know there are quite a few, who have uncovered boats either at home or tied to a dock did some bailing and drying out after all the rain we’ve had. They also had wet carpeting and seats, not exactly fun to sit on.

Most of today’s boats have seats that can get wet and marine carpeting, but they still can stay wet, get moldy and even fade. Boats are expensive, and keeping one nice starts with a “good” boat cover. I started with a $79 fits-all cover, but they really don’t.

I recently ordered the Bass Pro Shops (BPS) Exact Fit Boat cover for my deck boat. It’s 100 percent Sharkskin plus polyester, and has superior strength and durability.

Anyone who trailers a boat should do it with the cover on. Keeping the cover on while trailering will protect shinny fiberglass from getting chipped by road debris. This cover has a custom trailering kit, is abrasion-, UV- and mildew-resistant. It also comes with a seven-year warranty and a three-year free replacement.

There are three areas on most boats, especially fishing/bass boats, that need a little extra protection and this cover has reinforcement at critical wear points. If an electric trolling motor is bow-mounted, use a throw cushion to cover and protect the head and propeller before putting the cover on.

Every boat should have fenders because concrete launch walls, wooden and aluminum docks and definitely the walls of the state lock system can scratch and dent a boat very quickly. Buy good ones. The size will de

pend on the boat, but I prefer those a little bigger than what I need. I recommend at least three or enough to make sure the side of the boat never touches any of these docking areas.

As you may or may not know, what’s probably the biggest aftermarket supplier of boating products is located in Gloversville.

The Taylor Company recently announced it’s new Super Gard Swirl Fender, a new inflatable model with newly designed swirled colors that can be inflated with rubber football needles. Color choices are blue, green, cranberry and black, and all with an attractive swirl of white.

Sizes include 51⁄2 inches x 20 inches for boats 15 to 20 feet, 61⁄2 inches x 22 inches for boats 20 to 25 feet and 81⁄2 inches x 26 inches for boats 25 to 35 feet. Prices range from $30 to $85, and carry a lifetime Taylor warranty.

Quite often, we overlook the importance of maintaining boat trailers. They’re the only thing protecting a boat from the macadam when it’s attached to a vehicle. Here are some things that should be checked before heading to the launch.

Make it a habit of checking the wheel bearing grease. If the trailer doesn’t have Bearing Buddies, spend the $20 to get them. They’re well worth it.

It’s also a good idea to replace steel lugnuts with stainless steel. Tires should be physically checked for damage and pressure, usually 50 to 65 pounds per square inch.

Check all the running, directional and brake lights.

Be sure the safety chains are criss-crossed below the tongue so there’s less chance they’ll bounce off.

One last thought — to protect an outboard motor, transom, steering cables and hydraulics while transporting a boat, invest in a motor support brace. There are plenty to choose from with prices starting at about $30.

 
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