Electric start "back in the day"....

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Electric start "back in the day"....

Postby NJ-boatbuilder57 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:07 pm

Just curious:

Back in the '50s, electric starters were fitted to engines years before on-board charging generators came on the scene. So it got me wondering: On a typical OMC, in the 18 - 40 HP range, how many starts could a properly-sized battery perform before charging was required?

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Re: Electric start "back in the day"....

Postby david bartlett » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:20 pm

Well, lots of difference between an 18 and a 40, but if you had a new or "good" battery, and your motor was in good tune, then you should be able to get through several weekends of use before recharging. Of course, any use of other drains on the battery will change this.
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Re: Electric start "back in the day"....

Postby FrankR » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:22 pm

Never counted them, but "a whole bunch". Especially on an 18, which spins over so easy and starts almost instantly.

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Re: Electric start "back in the day"....

Postby melugin » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:23 am

The manual for a '56 30 hp Johnson said to charge the battery once every 200 starts or once a summer.

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Re: Electric start "back in the day"....

Postby chas56x » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:58 am

Back in 1957 I had an electric start 1957 Johnson 35. Back in the day, I did not know about Marine Batteries, so I used 12 volt car batteries in the boat. We lived on a lake, so I used the boat almost every day in the summer, fishing, waterskiing, and just joy riding. As I recall, I had to take the battery to the local gas station about once every 2 months to have it recharged, as I would run it until it was dead. I just pulled the rope until I got the recharged battery back. I cost me $2.00 to have the battery charged. I had to get the money from my Dad, as I spent all of my cash on oil and gas for the motor. I had to buy a new battery every couple of years, as car batteries would not last very long with constant charge/discharge cycles. For Christmas in 1960, my Grandmother gave me a "Silver Beauty" battery charger, which I still use to this day.

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Re: Electric start "back in the day"....

Postby JimmY » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:25 pm

I used a common "lawn tractor" battery to crank my 18hp, and it would handle dozens of starts over a weekend. Since it is not a deep cycle marine battery, I pop it out and charge it after a couple days of use. Like Frank says, it cranks over easy and fires right up, so it is not using a lot of juice. I plan to add a solar trickle charger to keep it topped off and so I don't have to haul it home each weekend.

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Re: Electric start "back in the day"....

Postby Mumbles » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:37 pm

When I was a punk I had a 14 K+C Thermoglass with a 55 Chrysler hanging on the back. That boat was used every opportunity available and it was a long, long time before I realised the motor didn't have a charging system. The battery was for starting and accessories only.

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Re: Electric start "back in the day"....

Postby outbdnut2 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:59 am

Back in the 1950s and early 1960s, on Dad's boat, we ran a 30 Johnson and later a 40. At the cabin we skied a lot every weekend, using over 200 gallons of gas each summer (had a 50 gallon drum in the backyard filled by a bulk tanker truck). We used a car battery, which was more like light truck batteries today in terms of size. We would charge the battery when it no longer cranked the motor and that was every 4 to 6 weeks of heavy use. We seldom went out at night running lights, and there were no other electrical accessories. In 1966, we got a V4 60 - same usage, same charge interval. On all these motors, of course, we could start by the recoil when the battery got low.
I still run car batteries in my boats. When I need another boat battery, I take the oldest car/truck battery I have out of the vehicle and buy a new one for it - an aging vehicle battery that may go bad the next winter will often run a few more years in a boat. By doing this, I never have a battery go bad in my vehicles, and I don't pay a needless premium price for a marine battery.

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Re: Electric start "back in the day"....

Postby skanders01 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:32 pm

Lots of nostalgia you brought up, with this post. Wished I had such memories. Mine revolved around my dad and I tag teaming the old big twin's starter rope. Never thought to do anything about it, it was simply a father and son thing.

Anyway, my purpose in all of this is to ask the question, now that a charging system is not a must or even a need for some...me included, that should make the task of adding electric start to my '71 Evinrude 25 Sporster a lot easier. It will start with a few healthy tugs on the rope, but it is getting awkward for me to get into a good position to accomplish the task multiple times during a day of fishing. My youthful balance function just ain't there any more. Therefore I am intent on getting a starter motor, a solenoid, and some wire to simplify the starting process.

Anyone ever attempt the task? I would think to most critical item would be the starter mounting bracket. Anyone have one to swap for some cash? Anyone ever Rube Goldberged one that I might copy? Don't anticipate any issue finding a 12V starter motor and solenoid. Just need to be sure the starter gear matches the teeth on my flywheel.

Many thanks for any help that might be available to share. Just starting to work thought the process. First task will be to see if I can find a picture of the OEM setup for a better mental picture of what the end result should look like. If anyone has a lead on that for me to follow, that would also be appreciated.

Again, nice original post and followups.
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Re: Electric start "back in the day"....

Postby NJ-boatbuilder57 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:50 pm

Thanks all....

Skanders: I had a '69 Evinrude 25HP. It was manual start but it had a ring gear on the flywheel. I know the buyer converted it to electric start, so I'm sure yours can be done, too.

To the rest: great stories. The reason I asked was that I'm nearing completion of my '57 Javelin restoration, and I've given up on finding the charger bracket I was seeking in this other thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=14799

Figuring I'll need to do periodic charging, I asked the question...and what you've all told me is nice to hear! My boat lives on a trailer and enjoys daytrips only, except for 2 or 3 straight weeks in August when we're in Maine and it's at the dock. Sounds like daily use for those few weeks shouldn't pose a problem. I'll take my charger with me, of course, but I'm guessing I won't need it...

Thanks again

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