Fishing & Boating News

Questions for Captain DieHard

by: Bill AuCoin, AuCoin & Associates, Inc.

(Thursday, December 02,1999 - Hoffman Estates, IL)

Dear Captain DieHard: I keep my boat (Luhrs 320 open) in the water over the winter season. As long as I keep the batteries charged and the fluid levels normal, would there be any problem leaving them on board? I need 12V current for the bilge pumps. Pasadena, Maryland

Dear Pasadena: There shouldn't be a problem with this approach if you keep the batteries charged. Fluid in fully-charged batteries won't freeze unless the temperature gets to 61-below-zero (Fahrenheit.) However, if your battery is only half-charged, the electrolyte freezes at just below zero and, where you live, reaching that low temperature is a possibility. Even at room temperature, batteries lose about 10 percent or more of their power each month and much more if they're connected and powering clocks, burglar alarms, bilge pumps and other on-board systems. Recharge your batteries every two months or so or keep them on a trickle charger and you should be OK. Check them periodically, though, to make sure fluid levels are sufficient and that corrosion is not building on terminals.

Dear Captain DieHard: I like to use an electric trolling motor on my canoe but my battery weighs 50-pounds and it's difficult to load and unload plus it makes the canoe stern-heavy. Can you recommend a lighter trolling motor battery? Presque Isle, Wisconsin

Dear Presque Isle: Yes. DieHard has several lightweight batteries that should be suitable for powering your trolling motor on a canoe. DieHard U1 model 27011 weighs only 20 pounds and is rated with a respectable 45 minutes of reserve capacity. You need to visit a Sears Auto Center and look at all their batteries, especially model 27011. If you need more capacity, get two and use one as a backup. You could place it in the bow of the canoe to counterbalance the stern weight.

Dear Captain DieHard: We live on a lake where you have to use an electric motor. We recently purchased a 1-Hp, 4-speed and a DieHard battery. No specifications or performance data were included. How can I find out about it? Sears no longer deals with them. I want to know if it will get a 4-person aluminum row boat out and about in the lake or is it a waste of money? Troy, N.Y.

Dear Troy: Four people plus the boat might be too much weigh to expect good performance from this small motor. It's your call, though. A 1-hp motor produces 15-20 pounds of thrust, which should generate 2-3 miles per hour in calm conditions. With two people in the boat and with our DieHard 27582 group 29 HM marine battery, which has a rating of 115 Ah (ampere hours), you should get 3, perhaps 4 hours of performance at high speed. With the DieHard 27494 group 24M marine battery, under the same conditions, you can expect 2 hours of power. Windy, cold and choppy waters will reduce these performance levels.

Send your battery questions to Captain DieHard at Sears, Roebuck and Co., Sears Tire Group, 3333 Beverly Road, BC-103B, Hoffman Estates, IL 60179.