The number one factor which contributes to hard starts, no starts, and intermittent electrical faults is not always the battery or the boats primary power source. However, wet cell batteries are recommended for replacement every twenty-four to thirty-six months, and recommended replacement of dry cell batteries is thirty-six to forty-eight months. Some gel cell batteries will last as long as sixty months.
The most common problems discovered when solving intermittent electrical faults are the obvious dirty connections and corroded terminals. But, more often, the problem is not so obvious, and by this I mean loose connections that have developed under the heat-shrink tubing that was installed over the crimp to protect it from moisture.
The fastest way to conduct a preliminary search for this culprit, if an electrical meter is not available, is the pull test. A slight pull on the wire directly behind the connector can reveal the problem quickly. Amperage or current flow produces heat when electricity flows through the wire, thus the connection expands and contracts many times over a long period and the crimped connector eventually works loose. The pounding of the boat over waves can cause batteries to shift and move, which produces further stress on connections.
In conclusion, a new connection requires the right tool and a new heat shrink connector to remedy the problem. Keeping an electrical kit on the boat along with 12-volt meter can save the day.
Have a fun and safe summer fishing season.Chris Mapp