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Wintering: Tips for electrics and electronics

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On modern pleasure boats, almost nothing works without electricity, especially not the navigation and entertainment electronics. We reveal how to get devices and systems fit for hibernation.

Networked individual devices such as chart plotters, radar, autopilot and echo sounder are now often grouped together on the same screen, on which the data on sailing and engine performance can be read and from which the entertainment system on board can be controlled. There is no doubt that this is a fine thing, convenient and informative, but so that everything will continue to work as desired in the coming season, the devices and power supply must be prepared for winter storage.

The good news: Anything that proves to be waterproof or waterproof at sea should also withstand winter storage in a dry place as long as the temperature extremes are within limits (approx. -20 degrees, see information from the device manufacturer). Ball compasses and liquid crystal displays are usually also winter-proof, at least in the temperate climate of Central Europe.

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Networked devices do not have to, or should not, be removed so that the watertight plug connections remain intact and therefore effective against corrosion. It is important and useful to use the covers for the devices and screens, which may not be put back on after every trip in summer, but now offer effective protection against dirt or scratches. It is also advisable to protect switches and fuse boxes with a specially made preservative spray. Modern electronics should be technically armed in terms of design and construction against the winter conditions to be expected in Germany, but not against occasional thieves in poorly or unsecured winter storage. The only thing that really helps is dismantling.

The starter and house batteries, which should be removed at the end of the season so that they can be properly checked and serviced, are completely different. This includes measuring and supplementing the acid level and testing the acid density with a siphon. If it is less than 1.2 kg / l, the battery must be charged. This process should be repeated several times during the winter break, because an unused battery ages faster than one that is regularly charged. The batteries of the handheld devices, such as GPS, VHF radio, flashlights, etc. should also be removed if they should be wintered on board.

Otherwise, batteries feel most comfortable in a cool, well-ventilated and dry storage area. Heat is harmful because it promotes self-discharge. By the way: The AGM batteries, which are popular because they are maintenance-free and sealed, should be regularly connected to the charger, just like normal lead-acid batteries.

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