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Topping up batteries - difficult

There is insufficient head room above my batteries for me to see the acid level to top them up with water. I currently check the level with a shortened transparent biro case - dip it in the chamber - finger on top - lift the tube to check the level. I have calibrated the biro tube which has a mark to indicate the required level. However, even this method is difficult when topping up at the back of the battery chamber. Does anyone know of a gadget that will give me a direct readout - perhaps with a float to indicate the level? Does one of the battery manufacturers sells one? The ideal would be a device that is inserted into the battery that gives a readout of acid level and also has a water tube attached to enable me to add distilled water? I have tried to invent a device, but the difficulty so far has been getting something to float on the acid surface to indicate its level. Any thoughts?

Asked by: Philip Dale  | 5.49pm, Thursday 25 March

WW says:

I don't know of a device like the one you describe but I wonder if it would be the best solution anyway.
A friend of mine had a similar problem on a cruiser stern boat. His solution was to have the rear deck modified to give him direct access to the batteries for inspection and topping up. This was not particularly cheap but it has provided a more positive and permanent solution.
Alternatively, is it possible to move the batteries to a different location where you can get at them more easily?
Another solution would be to use maintenance-free batteries but, as you might have seen from a previous post on this site, these are not without their drawbacks.
It is a shame that some boatbuilders produce boats with so little thought given to how easy they are to maintain.

Graham Booth  | 10.31AM, Friday 26 March

Hi Philip
I dont know of a device to do what you suggest, you seem to have come up with an ingenius solution with the pen barrel! I have solved the problem in another way by making the battery box and batteries slide out for easy access. I can provide pictures if this is of interest and feasible in your case.

Mike Jordan  | 8.55AM, Saturday 27 March

Good thinking Mike Brown! I have one of these top-up bottles and find it very useful for filling batteries whatever position they are in. Provided you have about 12 inches clear above the batteries to get the nozzle in and out, it should do the trick.

Graham Booth  | 10.15AM, Tuesday 30 March

Readers say:

I had a similar problem and solved it by buying a top-up bottle with a spring loaded valve which does not require a sight-line - you just press it down and it automatically cuts of when the correct level is reached, I was told that it is used in the automotive trade, but bought mine at a canal chandler (Nantwich Marina I seem to remember)

Mike Brown  | 9.13PM, Saturday 27 March

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