Projects: Guest Battery Charger

Ariel came to us as a blank slate, much like she would have come from the factory back in ’79. She was in great shape, meticulously cared for, fresh water kept all her life, but lacked a few of the accoutrements we wanted for comfortable cruising. One of the things we wanted to add was an onboard battery charger to ensure that her batteries would not only be ready to go whenever we were, but to increase their longevity while decreasing our dependency on using the engine for charging during day trips.

Following the experts’ recommendations, we began looking for a quality three-stage charger – bulk, absorption, and float – that would automatically adjust the amount of current flowing into the batteries as they reached full charge. We found a Guest 15 A, two bank charger at a local marine store – model 2614 – at an unbeatable price that would serve us well.

Then came the decision of where to mount it. Both my father and I are committed to maintaining Ariel’s original aesthetics, so we wanted to locate the charger where it would be visible and accessible without being too obnoxious. We finally decided that the access panel at the foot of the quarter berth was a logical location: it’s out of sight and it provided easy access for wiring. I did have to drill a fairly large hole in the panel to accommodate the inline fuses – rather than cut the wires and splice them. I intended to find a couple of grommets that would give things a more finished look, but I haven’t found grommets that will work yet. Fortunately, it’s not too offensive and it’s out of sight.

We currently use the charger to maintain one 12-volt starting battery and two 6-volt, E-3600 golf cart batteries. This season we’ll be adding two more E-3600s to the house bank, so we’ll see how it does then. So far we’ve been very pleased with the charger and installation. It was incredibly easy to wire, too – it’s basically foolproof.

Guest two bank battery charger mounted on bulkhead at the foot of the quarterberth.

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