Batteries and Battery Charging

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Important fact about batteries and Polaris PWC
The battery must deliver more than 10.6 volts while cranking the engine.
If it does not crank with more than 10.6 volts then the battery is too weak.

Voltage measured while the battery is just sitting does not matter.

If the battery is internally aged or degraded it does not matter how much you have charged the battery. If it cannot deliver over 10.6 volts while cranking it is no good.

A weak battery is the most common reason for having a weak spark at the spark plugs, or no spark at all.

Replace a weak battery with a new factory sealed AGM type battery.

Tip: If you only have spark just as you release the Start button then the battery is weak, or there may be a wiring or grounding problem.
(Primarily applies to red domestic engines with carburetors)

Battery voltages - what voltages should happen when?

Battery voltage chart

Note: The following applies to the Polaris PWC charging system on carburetor 2-stroke engines, both Fuji and red domestic.
Ficht and Weber engines use a different charging system.

How does the Polaris PWC battery charging system work?
How the LR module controls battery charging

When diagnosing battery and charging system problems, you must use a multi-meter, not the MFD or MFI display's voltage reading.
Polaris recommends Fluke brand multi-meters, such as the Fluke 77 series. Any brand of meter can be used for battery and charging system diagnostics, provided it is reasonably accurate.

Diagnosing problems with the Charging system

Other functions of some LR modules
Orange wire (switched output)
RPM limiter
start solenoid control
Analog fuel gauge low voltage

Possible flywheel damage to stator wires inside flywheel housing
Sometimes the wires are positioned too close to the flywheel and become damaged.
Recheck stator charging coil ohms to ground (with unplugged Yellow and Red/Purple) while cranking the engine

Diagnosing problems with the Starting system

Battery types - What is best for PWC use?

It may surprise you that the most common battery type used for PWC is not really the best choice.

The traditional lead-acid PWC battery can often be recognized by the six small battery cell caps in a row down the middle of the battery top. These batteries are common because they are cheap to manufacture and have been available for decades. Used in a PWC they tend to have short lives, often only lasting one or two seasons.

A much better battery is the AGM (absorbed Glass Mat) type, in the factory sealed configuration. AGM batteries are resistant to vibration, will not leak acid even if punctured, and can maintain charge during storage. Properly stored off-season, an AGM battery will still have plenty of power to start the engine, even though it has sitting all winter.

When you buy a new factory sealed AGM battery you can just install it right away and start the engine. No need to first charge it up - it comes fully charged from the store shelf.

Note: AGM batteries are not the same as Gel or Gelled batteries. Gel batteries do not have the glass matting between the battery plates, and are not as resistant to vibration and degradation in PWC use.

East-Penn Deka AGM battery Technical Manual

East-Penn Deka sealed AGM batteries
East-Penn Deka Sea-Mate Marine battery models
(ETX16LM fits Polaris PWC)
Also sold by West Marine under SeaVolt brand

Odyssey sealed AGM batteries
(PC625 fits Polaris PWC)

John Zigler sells the Power Source brand of AGM battery

Battery Chargers

Don't use a low quality or cheap automotive battery charger.
PWC batteries can easily be overcharged, even by a 2 Amp 'trickle charger'.
Over-charging damages a battery and shortens the remaining battery life.

Use a Battery Tender type charger/maintainer (there are other brand name decent quality battery chargers). It will automatically maintain the correct charging voltage and adjust as the battery reaches 100% charge. Sometimes called a Battery Maintainer, these chargers electronically monitor the battery condition and charge.

If you use an AGM battery, make sure the charger is compatible with AGM batteries (check the charger specifications or manual).

Battery Minder (VDC Electronics)
Anti-Sulphation battery Maintainers/chargers

Battery Tender

battery chargers

External battery charging port

If you are often charging your battery, or just want a tidy way to keep a battery maintainer connected during storage, you can install a charging port. Makes it easy to keep the battery topped up.

Marinco SeaLink 12VPK Marine Grade 12 volt locking Receptacle & Plug

Marinco SeaLink 12VPK Marine Grade 12 volt locking Receptacle & Plug (more details)