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  1. #1
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    Cranking Battery Dying

    Well first off, this sucks. I just spent 10 minutes typing this up and it failed to post so here we go again...

    I have a 2017 Nitro Z-21 since July of last year.

    I need help with why my cranking battery which is dying before the day is over. I go fishing once a week and literally fish all day; yesterday I fished from 0700 until 0100 totaling 18 hours on the water. The boat has 4 batteries total; starting last week, my cranking battery is dying hours before the trip is over. The entire time I am out, I am usually running both of my fish finders, both recircs for my live wells, and my hydrowave. I am also constantly using my 112 ft lb MinnKota Ultrex and do not use the engine very much for moving around the lake. I will spend hours trolling a shoreline and then use the engine for a few minutes to move to another spot on the lake.

    Please continue to reply below as this will not allow me to post a longer block of info so using replies to finish my topic. Maybe a moderator can put these all together but the internet is being unkind to me right now, I apologize for the inconvenience.
    Last edited by devildog999; 06-13-2018 at 04:06 AM.

    2017 Nitro Z-21 Pro Performance w/ 250HP OptiMax Motor
    Minn Kota Ultrex 112lb/36v/45"
    2018 GMC Sierra 2500 HD SLT - Diesel

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  3. Member
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    #2
    After being on the water for 10 hours or so, I'll try to crank the engine and I get absolutely nothing. Both my fish finders are also dead at this point but everything else runs fine (I must admit, I do not know exactly what batteries power what things, I was surprised to find the fish finders are using the same battery as the engine). When this happens, I switch to battery two via the selection in the battery compartment.
    Last edited by devildog999; 06-13-2018 at 04:05 AM.

    2017 Nitro Z-21 Pro Performance w/ 250HP OptiMax Motor
    Minn Kota Ultrex 112lb/36v/45"
    2018 GMC Sierra 2500 HD SLT - Diesel

  4. Member
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    #3
    Once I get where I want to go, I switch back to number one to make sure I don't draw from that battery as I do not want to risk the last batter to start my engine until I am close to my dock. Once I am, I do not need it as much for the engine as I can troll back to the dock and get on my trailer.

    2017 Nitro Z-21 Pro Performance w/ 250HP OptiMax Motor
    Minn Kota Ultrex 112lb/36v/45"
    2018 GMC Sierra 2500 HD SLT - Diesel

  5. Member
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    #4
    As for charging my batteries, I plug in the boat when I get back from my weekly fishing trip and it gets unplugged when I take the boat from storage the day I fish.

    Any help as to what is happening to cause this is greatly appreciated.

    2017 Nitro Z-21 Pro Performance w/ 250HP OptiMax Motor
    Minn Kota Ultrex 112lb/36v/45"
    2018 GMC Sierra 2500 HD SLT - Diesel

  6. Mechanical Engineer mikesxpress's Avatar
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    #5
    As your concern is realted to the engine cranking battery only (yes this battery powers everything except the trolling motor).
    You don't mention any of the pertinent battery information? Brand of battery, group type, CCA, etc..

    If everything was working properly previously then you should get the battery tested. Auto parts store with a carbon pile load tester can do it in the parking lot for free. Charge the battery fully. Remove all connections to the battery. That will give you the most accuate test.
    <3% of the fisherman catch >97% of the fish. Sorry it's hereditary.

  7. Member haus9393's Avatar
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    #6
    In a bass boat everything should be wired to the cranking battery except for the trolling motor. That will be independent on the 3 other batteries. Find out how big your battery is as far as group size and reserve capacity. If it’s not a group 31 with over 1000 marine cranking amps (mca) and about 200 reserve capacity then you need to do yourself a favor and buy a big group 31 agm battery that can handle being on the water for a long time. Most boats do not come with big enough batteries to handle full days on the water.

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  8. Member mysuzytoo's Avatar
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    #7
    That Opti needs 950+ CCA's (check recommended batteries here in the Mercury 3.0 Liter Forum ... FAQ's). I got a Batteries Plus X2 AGM and it works like a charm!

  9. Member
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    #8
    I don't have battery specifics at the moments as the boat is in storage; I can get that info next time I go to storage (work week starts tonight and I work 13 hr shifts so going before off again not possible). I know two of them are green interstate batteries; bigger than a car battery. Other two are also larger than a car battery but I do not know specifics off top of my head.

    I should have noted then that while the fish finders lose power and I cannot start the engine, my live wells can both recirc and fill and my lights on the boat (nav and lights in storage boxes) still work so I am guessing those connect to a different battery?

    Are my other 3 batteries just for the trolling motor then?

    2017 Nitro Z-21 Pro Performance w/ 250HP OptiMax Motor
    Minn Kota Ultrex 112lb/36v/45"
    2018 GMC Sierra 2500 HD SLT - Diesel

  10. Member jtracc's Avatar
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    #9
    If you purchased your boat new from a dealer and you didn't ask/pay for a large capacity agm battery then you need one. I switch to an optima group 31 blue top after my interstate cranking just couldn't do the job. So far so good, 3 graphs, pumps and Talon no issues. I don't do 0700-0100 but I do 0700-1800 with an issue.
    Follow me on Instagram @ one_tracc_mind

  11. Member
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    #10
    When I bought boat, I went with the Pro package which meant an extra battery, 3 gallon oil reservoir, and a couple extra goodies but I am not sure if that meant better batteries though thinking probably not.

    My real curiosity though is why was I able to fish once a week, sometimes more, without an issue before but now I am having an issue. Clearly the battery it's using primarily was up to snuff before but something has changed. Also, if the boat comes with a switch to change over to another battery for cranking when needed, is this other battery likely being used for other stuff is it likely purely a backup for the engine?

    Lastly, what is the best way to determine what is connected to what? Is there an easier solution than turning everything on and disconnecting batteries one by one to map what connects to what?

    Appreciate the suggestions greatly, they are giving me some roads to go down.

    2017 Nitro Z-21 Pro Performance w/ 250HP OptiMax Motor
    Minn Kota Ultrex 112lb/36v/45"
    2018 GMC Sierra 2500 HD SLT - Diesel

  12. Member
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    #11
    99% of the time all acc are wired to the starting battery. The switch that you turn for the second battery is jump switch - used in case you run your starting battery down.
    All batteries will lose capacity over time, check you battery before you go fishing and when you get back - with an ohm meter -tell us what readings you get. If you have a 36 volt trolling motor then the other 3 batteries are for that. If you rewire the graphs and live well pumps to one of he other batteries then you will cut power from your trolling time.
    You should have a breaker by your starting battery, turn it off - then check your acc to see what works - that will tell you what is wired to main battery. Your graphs should also be wired to starting battery but should have there own power wire.

  13. Electrical/Wiring/Trolling Motors Moderator CatFan's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by devildog999 View Post

    My real curiosity though is why was I able to fish once a week, sometimes more, without an issue before but now I am having an issue. Clearly the battery it's using primarily was up to snuff before but something has changed. Also, if the boat comes with a switch to change over to another battery for cranking when needed, is this other battery likely being used for other stuff is it likely purely a backup for the engine?

    Lastly, what is the best way to determine what is connected to what? Is there an easier solution than turning everything on and disconnecting batteries one by one to map what connects to what?

    Appreciate the suggestions greatly, they are giving me some roads to go down.
    If your battery was undersized, you were using it hard. Batteries wear out no matter how you take care of them, but they go downhill faster if they are used hard. You have 3 TM batteries and everything else in the boat is on your cranking battery. Also you may want to check electrolyte levels in the cells.
    Remember, Happiness is a way of travel, not a destination.

  14. Member fishnfireman's Avatar
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    #13
    The more things you have running off the starting battery -- the more often you need to start the motor to charge the starting battery.
    Just like me.. the older we get the quicker we run out of juice.
    There are more and more people going to a two battery setup for these new electronics.




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    #14
    18 hours is a long time, particularly with only the occasional run of the big motor. Although a good quality 31 size battery, like the Northstar/X2 often works for a lot, with your fishing habits, you may be a candidate for a separate house battery just for your accessories so that your crank battery is dedicated just for your engine. In the meantime, get us the info on your batteries, charger, etc.
    2015 Bass Cat P2

  16. Member
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    #15
    I will do that and appreciate the tips. When I go Monday, I will test all batteries and then again when done. The batteries are indeed 36v batteries as well. Appreciate the help. Will also look into re-wiring all accessories to a separate battery. I also checked water levels when I was last at boat and they are all full.

    2017 Nitro Z-21 Pro Performance w/ 250HP OptiMax Motor
    Minn Kota Ultrex 112lb/36v/45"
    2018 GMC Sierra 2500 HD SLT - Diesel

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    #16
    HEY!! Do you have a charger on the engine battery? Some boats only have a charger on the trolling batteries (like mine). If you do have a charger on the motor battery, maybe it's no good.
    With a 4 (or more) batteries maybe all the legs of the charger are busy on the TM batteries.

    It's starting to sound like one of the 36 volt batteries doubles as the starting battery. Since it's been "run into the ground" repeatedly, he might as well go shopping for an AGM size 31 for that slot.
    Last edited by billnorman1; 06-14-2018 at 05:22 AM.

  18. Member berudd's Avatar
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    #17
    Some things in the info the OP provided don't add up.

    Says he has a 36v trolling motor but also said "I know two of them are green interstate batteries; bigger than a car battery. Other two are also larger than a car battery but I do not know specifics off top of my head". With a 36v TM, three batteries should be identical and with one, the starting battery, being different.

    He also said: "The batteries are indeed 36v batteries as well" For that to be true, that would mean he has lithium batteries. That would tend to agree with the above statement. You'd know if they are lithiums because they are thousands of dollars instead of hundreds. What kind of TM do you have how much thrust does it make and stated on the head of the motor?

    Not trying to nitpick details but providing good info is how you get good info.

    As for your jumper switch, all that likely does is connect to another battery just like jumper cables would.

    Yes, it is expected that everything except the TM would be on the starting battery.

    Its likely the starting battery that came with your boat is very small, like a Grp 24. For some reason, that seems to be how a lot of bass boats are equipped.

    The fact that the sonar units won't power on while the lights and pumps still run is expected. The units have a minimum voltage requirement and won't come on if that is not met. Lights and pumps will still run they will just be dimmer and slower, respectively.

    Batteries don't last forever. Either between chargers or over longer period of times. If you frequently spend 18 hours on the water then you have been discharging the battery very, very low each time. That is hard on batteries and shortens their life span. So, it would not be surprising that what might have worked before not longer does. You killed your battery.

    For your use case, I'd recommend a house battery. You won't need another battery, just re-purpose the 4th battery you already have. You'll need to do some rewiring but basically you want a battery that is dedicated to electronics and and other accessories such as lights and pumps. This means your cranking battery to only has to start the motor. It will sit there unused, without being discharged, until you need it so it will probably be good for days or weeks like this. The house battery will need to be charged however.
    Bruce
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    #18
    Start simple, have you checked your batteries water levels?
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  20. Member
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by berudd View Post
    Some things in the info the OP provided don't add up.

    Says he has a 36v trolling motor but also said "I know two of them are green interstate batteries; bigger than a car battery. Other two are also larger than a car battery but I do not know specifics off top of my head". With a 36v TM, three batteries should be identical and with one, the starting battery, being different.

    With 100% certainty, they are not all 4 identical. 2 are black batteries and 2 are green batteries. I checked water levels for batteries when last on boat so I got a good look at color, at least.

    He also said: "The batteries are indeed 36v batteries as well" For that to be true, that would mean he has lithium batteries. That would tend to agree with the above statement. You'd know if they are lithiums because they are thousands of dollars instead of hundreds. What kind of TM do you have how much thrust does it make and stated on the head of the motor?

    As mentioned earlier, I am running a 112 ft lb Minn Kota Ultex;, 36 volt. The boat originally came with a MinnKota Fortrex 112ft lb 36 volt. I matched specifics when I bought the motor, just changed the model for the spot lock.

    I could be wrong on the batteries, I am going off appearance as mentioned. I will be able to verify battery info specifics when I go to boat on Monday.

    Not trying to nitpick details but providing good info is how you get good info.

    As for your jumper switch, all that likely does is connect to another battery just like jumper cables would.

    Yes, it is expected that everything except the TM would be on the starting battery.

    Its likely the starting battery that came with your boat is very small, like a Grp 24. For some reason, that seems to be how a lot of bass boats are equipped.

    Directly from Nitro boats, the package I bought comes with a "31M-AGM cranking battery upgrade," and after googling this, it shows the green battery my boat has 2 of. Again, without checking specifics in person on my batteries, this is the best info I can give atm.

    The fact that the sonar units won't power on while the lights and pumps still run is expected. The units have a minimum voltage requirement and won't come on if that is not met. Lights and pumps will still run they will just be dimmer and slower, respectively.

    Batteries don't last forever. Either between chargers or over longer period of times. If you frequently spend 18 hours on the water then you have been discharging the battery very, very low each time. That is hard on batteries and shortens their life span. So, it would not be surprising that what might have worked before not longer does. You killed your battery.

    For your use case, I'd recommend a house battery. You won't need another battery, just re-purpose the 4th battery you already have. You'll need to do some rewiring but basically you want a battery that is dedicated to electronics and and other accessories such as lights and pumps. This means your cranking battery to only has to start the motor. It will sit there unused, without being discharged, until you need it so it will probably be good for days or weeks like this. The house battery will need to be charged however.
    Can you explain this a little more specifically? Not sure what a house battery is or anything else you said unfortunately.

    2017 Nitro Z-21 Pro Performance w/ 250HP OptiMax Motor
    Minn Kota Ultrex 112lb/36v/45"
    2018 GMC Sierra 2500 HD SLT - Diesel

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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by cfm56doc View Post
    Start simple, have you checked your batteries water levels?
    I did mention a couple posts ago that I checked water levels for all batteries and they are all full. This was my first and only real though as to what could be going on.

    2017 Nitro Z-21 Pro Performance w/ 250HP OptiMax Motor
    Minn Kota Ultrex 112lb/36v/45"
    2018 GMC Sierra 2500 HD SLT - Diesel

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