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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I'm having a problem trying to use a new Li-ion battery (Ebay 9800 mah jobbie) for my sounder - a Lowrance Mark 5x.

Basically the battery cannot turn the sounder on.
At first I thought the battery was flat or dead as I was able to run the sounder fine off a SLA battery.
I ended up hooking up the Li-ion to the sounder with the charger plugged in and the sounder turned on fine,
when I disconnected the charger, the battery kept the sounder running.

So what seems to be happening is that the battery can't provide enough power to fire up the sounder, but can run it ok.
I have actually tested this with 2 Li-ions now and the results are the same.
Is anyone else using a Li-ion with a Lowrance Mark 5X?
Is there anyone on the forum with thoughts on how to get around this?

Thanks, Jeff
 

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Hi Jeffen,
I have had a quick look at the specifications for both your sounder and the LIPO battery.
It appears to me that the batteries should power the sounder quite happily.
Your sounder should work with a 10 volt to 17VDC power source with a current requirement of 250ma.
This is well within a charged LIPO batteries capabilities.
Ideally if you had a voltmeter you need to connect the battery to the sounder and turn it on. Measure the battery voltage and make sure it is above 12 VDC.
You may be losing voltage if your connecting wires are too long and two thin.
I would keep the power wires as short as you can which may fix your problem.
I would also ensure that the connectors you are using are clean and making good contact.
If none of this works I would suggest that you find someone electrical to check it out for you.
Hope this helps, if you PM me a photo of your setup, I might be able to make some other suggestions.
Mark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply OldDood,

The battery voltage reads 12.58V
Connecting wires (after the battery lead itself) are pretty heavy duty for the purpose.
Total length of power lead would be about 50cm, and resistance in the leads is negligible.

I'll have a good look at the connectors, fair chance of some corrosion there.

Thanks, Jeff
 

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It is a connection problem guaranteed, letting 12v through but insufficient current. I had the same thing with a power switch only 3 weeks ago tests well above 12v but not enough amps to start my sounder.
Replacing my sounder did not change the situation, now have two sounders and a new switch. Only cost me $700 to replace the switch in the end, marginally expensive.
 

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Jeffen said:
Thanks for the reply OldDood,

The battery voltage reads 12.58V
Connecting wires (after the battery lead itself) are pretty heavy duty for the purpose.
Total length of power lead would be about 50cm, and resistance in the leads is negligible.

I'll have a good look at the connectors, fair chance of some corrosion there.

Thanks, Jeff
If you are reading 12.58 volts at the battery with the sounder turned on then you can guarantee that you have a high resistance between the sounder and the battery.
Corrosion is a major problem in salt water enviroments, my prefered option would be to remove all connectors and make solid joints by soldering.
Not always possible though because the sounders usually have a socket on the sounder itself.
By the way make sure that you have a fuse at the battery end of the lead. LIPO's can explode if they are discharged to fast!
Mark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
mangajack said:
It is a connection problem guaranteed, letting 12v through but insufficient current. I had the same thing with a power switch only 3 weeks ago tests well above 12v but not enough amps to start my sounder.
Replacing my sounder did not change the situation, now have two sounders and a new switch. Only cost me $700 to replace the switch in the end, marginally expensive.
Ouch - that would have hurt.
Certainly sounding like a connection problem.

kraley said:
What gauge wire are you running?
Not sure off the top of my head, but it is significantly heavier gauge than the battery power lead.

OldDood said:
If you are reading 12.58 volts at the battery with the sounder turned on then you can guarantee that you have a high resistance between the sounder and the battery.
Corrosion is a major problem in salt water enviroments, my prefered option would be to remove all connectors and make solid joints by soldering.
Not always possible though because the sounders usually have a socket on the sounder itself.
By the way make sure that you have a fuse at the battery end of the lead. LIPO's can explode if they are discharged to fast!
Mark.
That 12.58 reading is straight off the battery - not connected. Should I be expecting a different value?
I'll test it connected & running tomorrow.
I have a 3A fuse in place.

While far from an ideal configuration, I have 3 connections.
This is due to how I wish to mount the sounder.
My yak has a bungeed lid over a central hatch. I have mounted the sounder on that lid.
I have a cable that runs through the lid, so there is a connection in the hatch to the battery box,
a connection outside the lid to the sounder power cable, and finally the plug connector for the sounder.

The outside connection is a marine connector.
As mentioned, I agree it is far from ideal, but it is the most convenient approach.
I'll give the plug & socket on the sounder a good clean and see how it goes from there.

Thanks for all the assistance so far.

Regards, Jeff
 

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That 12.58 reading is straight off the battery - not connected. Should I be expecting a different value?
I'll test it connected & running tomorrow.
I have a 3A fuse in place.
A 3A fuse is a good thing. If you are using a fuse holder I would check that the contacts and the fuse ends are clean. They are usually poor quality and corrode quickly.

The battery voltage without a load connected tells you very little about the actual condition of the battery.

A 12 volt battery with no load will always read above 12 volts regardless of how much charge is in the battery. (Unless the battery is completely shagged and no longer useable)
If you connect the load and the battery drops below 12vdc then the battery is not charged. (Or stuffed!)
If you connect the load and the battery stays above 12 volts then you most likely have too much resistance between the battery and the load.(Bad connections)
Hopefully this info will head you on the right track.
Electricity and saltwater really sux. Somehow you need to try and keep everything dry all the time. Very hard to do worse luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well I had a chance to check everything today, no obvious corrosion, pins & plug are fine (I do wash them down & spray with wd40 every use).
The power lead itself measures 0 ohms, and is only about 50 cm long anyway.

I fired up the sounder (by having the battery charger on) then ran it on battery alone for 2 hours.
The battery measured 12.4 volts under load initially over 2 hours it dropped to about 11.8v or thereabouts.

Originally I powered this sounder with the supplied 8 X D dry cell pack, that finally ran out hence the switch to the rechargeable.
I bought another 8 D cells today, and using that pack, the charger fired up just fine.

As I get about 80 hours run time out of the dry cells - I might stick with them for the time being and repurpose the rechargeable
for lighting duties or something.

So unfortunately no obvious cause, and no solution, but thanks all for your assistance.

Regards, Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks guys,

yes frustrating indeed.
I think one of the Li-ions is problematic - the other one seemed fine (did all the measurements with the one I believe to be fine).
They were from different vendors, but seem to be pretty much the same device. (Blue ebay ones).

Anyway, I bit the bullet and redid the setup with the dry cell pack, and that's working fine - I'll get about 80 hours of sounder time out of it,
so it's not too bad. In the meantime, I'll do some more research to try and understand why the battery couldn't power the sounder up.

Also, I had read that thread, which inspired me to go down this path. Seemed like a good idea at the time :)

Thanks, Jeff
 

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"Also, I had read that thread, which inspired me to go down this path. Seemed like a good idea at the time"
Shame it didn't work for you Jeff, and unfortunate you couldn't figure out why.

I have found that even the smaller the li-ions - 4500mah - worked fine to power up my little elite 4x for several hours, even with a relatively long old power cord from the rear hatch.

When I changed recently to massive HDS7 touch, the battery fired it up OK, but the unit gave me a "less than 11v" warning. It still worked fine on max brightness - running GPS plus normal sonar plus DSI plus map-logging simultaneously - for about 4 hours (on a 9800mah), so wasn't overly concerned. I moved the battery to the middle hatch, and shortened the lead - mainly to enable me to change to a fresh battery on the water during longer trips. The shorter cord immediately fixed the voltage warning issue, so I assume it was a resistance problem caused by my long old cord. All works perfectly now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah, I put it down to bad luck,

I checked the connections, the whole power lead length is about 50 cm, no high resistance paths,
so should be fine. I'm actually pretty good at soldering - spent a year working with Telecom (now telstra),
and on the odd occasion did a couple of thousand solder joints over a day or two - exchange meter racks.

If I can find someone with an oscilloscope, I'll work out what the issue is - I get that the sounder only needs 250ma to run it,
but the issue seemed to be what it took to fire it up. Anyway, not a biggie - it isn't an expensive sounder, and I figure there aren't
many oscilloscopes in Hervey bay :)

Bottom line - it's still working so I'm happy, just need to find a new use for the Li-ion battery.
 

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"OldDood
By the way make sure that you have a fuse at the battery end of the lead. LIPO's can explode if they are discharged to fast!"
Mark - I think the battery Jeff tried is a Li-ion, not a LIPO. I wouldn't use a LIPO battery on the kayak, even with a fuse.
 

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MrX said:
"OldDood
By the way make sure that you have a fuse at the battery end of the lead. LIPO's can explode if they are discharged to fast!"
Mark - I think the battery Jeff tried is a Li-ion, not a LIPO. I wouldn't use a LIPO battery on the kayak, even with a fuse.
Yep those LIPO's are a bit scary, but the issues with the original ones seems to be fairly well sorted now considering how many portable appliances are now powered by them.
I would not like to see what happened if you overheated them though!
I would be interested if anybody has submerged one in saltwater! I would be quite concerned about the outcome. Hot lithium, salt water plus the hydrogen generated in an enclosed space could put on quite a spectacular display I would expect.
 

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"I would be interested if anybody has submerged one in saltwater! I would be quite concerned about the outcome. Hot lithium, salt water plus the hydrogen generated in an enclosed space could put on quite a spectacular display I would expect."
Yes Mark, there have been some genuine concerns on the forum about the lithium/water/hydrogen explosions. Lithium reacts with water and gives off hydrogen - a flammable gas. These batteries contain lithium ion only, not metallic lithium, so water not a danger at all with these batteries.

That said, if you submerge a lithium-ion battery in water, it will quietly die - just like any other battery.

Only solution is to avoid dunking the battery. Keep it somewhere dry - like in a sealed hatch, or store it in a waterproof container.
 
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