Friday, February 14, 2014

Starting Battery Locker Redesign

In the C&C 37’s interior there is a storage compartment on the port side underneath the head of the quarter berth. This area is also used as the seating for the navigation station. Underneath that seat and in the storage locker was the original Raritan hot water heater, long since rusted out and in a landfill, the starter battery in a black plastic battery box in front of the hot water heater and all the main battery cabling and wiring to the distribution panels. It was, not surprisingly after 30 plus years, a mess. Time for a redo!

The space missing a battery, hot water heater and fresh water pump:

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I had plans for the space above and beyond cleaning it. Right off, the Isotemp Basic Slim 5 gallon 115 volt and engine heat exchange tank I had purchased for replacement of the shore powered only Raritan needed to fit. I had vague thoughts of doubling up the battery capacity in that area too. The fresh water pressure pump and accumulator tank had been and still needed to be nearby. And finally, I wanted to run all the upgraded cables and wiring through that area and install the new battery management pieces.

I did some simple fitting of the hot water heater so that it was as far outboard in the locker as possible. This was a good fit which then allowed me to use the spot where the former hot water shelf was for battery storage. I never like the way that the starter battery was right in the way when accessing this space. Pushing it aft freed up a fair amount of space for other things.

First dry fit:

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As I mentioned earlier, I had notions of doubling the battery capacity in this are, going from one to two batteries. I’m not sure that using the primary starting bank as a second house bank was a prudent move. Nonetheless, test fitting showed that two group 21 or 31 batteries with battery cases would fit quite nicely.

Second test fit:

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With proof of concept validated I grabbed my favorite tool, the Fein Multimaster, aka the “Wonder Tool” and made short work of the battery box shelf. It looked like C&C forgot to put one in and at the last moment as the truck was getting ready to haul the boat off to the dealer they rummaged around in the waste bin out back for some wood and glued one up quickly.

Old starting battery support:

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While I was in there I cut out the original hot water heater shelf. With the storage locker empty I ground out all the old fillet bonds and sanded the entire area. Repainted the entire area with white Interlux Bilgekote.

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I used non-marine plywood and pine boards to work up a new shelf. The new shelf was a bit larger and wider. After a couple of dry fits to ensure that grinding for the angle of the hull was accounted for I painted it with more of the Bilgekote. After it was dry I expoxied the supports into the hull and screwed the new shelf into place.

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The end result with the cleaned up locker space, a secured battery box and the space for the hot water heater worked out well and looked nice.

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I always enjoy upgrade projects and maybe making things a bit better.

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