Battery Charger Location

By Don Casey

Revised by BoatUS editors in April 2012

Battery chargers should be installed as close to the batteries as possible. Why? Because of the wire size. For example, a 30-amp charger mounted within 5' (wire distance) of the batteries can be connected to them with #10 AWG wire, but if battery and charger are 15' apart, you need #4 AWG wire. Not only is 10-gauge wire much easier to handle, but 10' of 10-gauge wire and four crimp terminals cost less than $8, while 30' of 4-gauge wire and four crimp lugs will set you back more than $80. Plus, you will need the tool to install those lugs; they are too big for a standard crimping tool. Soldering, by the way, is not an allowable alternative.

Don Casey has been one of the most consulted experts on boat care and upgrades for 30 years, and is one of the BoatUS Magazine's panel of experts. He and his wife cruise aboard their 30-footer part of the year in the eastern Caribbean. His books include Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual, and the recently updated This Old Boat, the bible for do-it-yourself boaters.


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