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396 Lights Draw

Discussion of batteries, chargers, wiring, generators, distribution panels, battery switches, etc.
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650Guy
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396 Lights Draw

Postby 650Guy » September 3rd, 2019, 10:12 am

So this sounds like a dumb question to me but I just bought my 03 396. When I turn on all my lights in the boat and cabin, they are pulling some 35-45 amps on my panel. Is that normal?? They are still the original style lights.

I came across this as my boat has a freedom lift on the back and when it is in use, the lights dim to almost nothing and radio cuts out (indicating a dead battery to me). Battery is new 2019, so wondering if I either have bad batteries, bad charger, short someplace, or a lack of knowledge on how to run stuff. New boat and all there is ALWAYS something to learn!

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Re: 396 Lights Draw

Postby bud37 » September 3rd, 2019, 10:24 am

So have you sold the 350 ?

Each old style light could be as much as 10 watts draw at 12 volts.......so 10x how many lights.....then your charger will try to recharge the battery or bank whatever you have there.......looks like you may have some investigation to do.

You may just not have enough capacity....does the lift suggest you have the engines running while operating ?

Edit.....dummy me I wrote amps instead of watts....thanks Tom
Last edited by bud37 on September 3rd, 2019, 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 396 Lights Draw

Postby tomschauer » September 3rd, 2019, 10:33 am

If you have the original 20 watt halogen lamps. Each bulb draws about 1.7 amps.
I assume your 35 amp reading is 120 volt unless you have an inverter/ charger that reads 12v loads
If so it's the charger drawing the current. 35 is really high for a charger. Maybe turn off battery charger breaker and find your base load. Maybe water heater or fridge also on.
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Re: 396 Lights Draw

Postby 650Guy » September 3rd, 2019, 11:15 am

I did sell my 350! She was an AWSOME ship that is now in the hands of some super nice folks! I love boaters! you run into some of the nicest folks!

Tom your correct, the 35 am reading is on the 120volt side. The charger its self is much lower (Maybe 15-20 amps?). I could watch the amps drop as I turn off each rooms lights, which leads me to believe that's just normal for the lights... the lift really is what has me thinking. Man that thing draws some power!

As far as the engines running during Lift operation, I don't see anywhere in the manual that would indicate such? the lift is wired into the house batteries so I wouldn't THINK the engines would support that much? I could be wrong... and have been before!! HAHA..
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Re: 396 Lights Draw

Postby bud37 » September 3rd, 2019, 12:30 pm

Also check the lift specs for what batteries they say to use......see if it specs start type batteries for operation.....if so it wont like the deep cycles for big draws.......just like always check and clean everything and go from there.
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Re: 396 Lights Draw

Postby buster53 » September 3rd, 2019, 3:11 pm

Ok, on my 356, My shore power is 2 x 30 amp power cords, so if I turned on my lights to pull 35-45 amps, I'd be popping circuit breakers. Something is obviously wrong that needs the attention of someone at least somewhat savvy to marine electrical systems.

If you turned on all the 12v electrical lights on your boat, it shouldn't pull more than a few amps at most to power up your battery charger.

As far as 12v lights go, do yourself a favor and replace all with LED's. No need to replace the entire fixture, just the bulbs. They use about 1/10 the power of your standard halogen and the heat output is considerably less.
I bought LED equivalents from Amazon for about $13 for a 10 pack. I measured the heat output. My halogens were in the 200 degree range and my LED's were down around 120
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Re: 396 Lights Draw

Postby 650Guy » September 6th, 2019, 7:48 am

Thanks guys!! Buster53, were you able to get LED's that were "warm" lights? I replaced the lights on my last boat with LED's and they were great! my only issue was they still seemed a bit bright. I was going to install a dimmer on them, just never got around to it.
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Re: 396 Lights Draw

Postby buster53 » September 6th, 2019, 9:07 am

Ok, got mine from Amazon. Brand..Kindeep, pack of 10, color temperature, 3000 which is the warm side of the color spectrum. Brightness is very close to the halogens I had. When you first get them, you will think they are too big and won't fit, but they do. They may be slightly brighter, but only slightly. Paid less than $15 for the 10 pack
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Topic author United States of America
650Guy
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Re: 396 Lights Draw

Postby 650Guy » September 6th, 2019, 1:52 pm

This is awesome! I really want to keep that warm feeling of the salon. For 15 bucks it’s hard not to try!!
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Re: 396 Lights Draw

Postby km1125 » September 6th, 2019, 4:14 pm

There should be a breaker or fuse on the line from the battery charger to the battery. Might want to check that.

I'd also check the connections on the battery to make sure they're clean and tight. The fact that lights dim to nothing and the radio cuts out means you either have a bad connection somewhere or the battery is discharged or bad.

And definitely upgrade to LEDs. It will save you a lot of current when you need to be on battery power alone and you can adjust the color temperature and the brightness of the bulbs to get the ideal lighting. I was able to go much brighter in my salon with the new bulbs which makes reading much easier, but have smaller bulbs in the aft and v-berth sleeping areas.

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