Monday, October 3, 2011

Powering Up for ABA Nationals

When I first began straightening out my tackle in preparation for the upcoming 2011 Nationals, I thought it would be a smaller task than it turned out to be.  Tackle was the easiest part, but checking out my boat’s power supply proved I was not ready for Nationals yet. 
First, I pulled all four batteries out of my boat.  Wow, what a filthy mess.  Grime seemed to cover everything.  My three Bass Pro Shop AGM 175 Deep Cycle batteries were going on four years old and holding strong.  Yet, I wanted to computer test them to make sure I did not have any bad battery cells.  My Motorguide Tour Edition 36v trolling motor was going to need all the power I could supply.  The local Advanced Auto Parts store tested my batteries and showed the battery cells were just fine.  When re-installing them I found the battery straps to be loose and in need of adjusting.  A loose battery can do some series damage in the bilge compartment of your boat when you are navigating six foot waves. 
Two items down and more maintenance to go.
Next, I went over my trolling motor wiring system connections.  I was amazed at how loose the wires had become.  Although I only tighten the connections a smidgen, the slack was enough to cause reduced power to my trolling motor.  Both the front plug connection and the stern breaker connections needed adjustments. 
With my batteries and wires in good shape, next I needed to verify the charging systems.
Looking over my XPS on-board battery chargers made me realize that I did not have any spare fuses for the three battery leads.  Each positive and negative battery lead is fitted with its own fuse for safety.  I do not remember ever reading about these fuses in a modern day boat-check list!  I visually checked each fuse and re-seated the connections.  Spares are now kept stowed.
Lastly, I replaced all my battery wing nuts with stainless steel marine locking nuts I purchased at my local ACE Hardware.  Locking nuts are easier to tighten and stay secure. 
Finding five items that needed maintenance reinforces the need to go over my boat's power supply system more often.  Doing it myself gave me the peace of mind knowing that my boat is ready and the knowledge that I have spare parts and the know-how to quickly replace them.   
This pre-tournament prepartion will allow me to focus on finding fish and avoid worrying about my equipment. 
When ever you get the opportunity check out the power connections on your boat do so, it will help avoid any on-the-water mishaps.