Gary Oakley - Submarine battery power

Running time
2 min 29 sec
Date made
Place made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


You usually do an equaliser when you leave, which means you run the battery down pretty flat and then you charge it right up to its maximum point and then you'd trickle charge it. You do what they call float the load so that when you're propelling through the water and what you're burning electrically wise, ampage wise, it's coming out of the battery but the generators are trickle charging enough so that you're floating the load, so you're not losing anything in your battery and that's what you do on the surface.

So, they work out how fast the boats got to go, for whatever distance. and then we work that out so that the battery and you just scoot along on the surface, and you're not losing any power, but you're not making any power, you're just floating a load. And when you dive, you're on your battery because O boats, there is no mechanical connection between the diesel and propulsion.

The diesels are basically two big battery chargers, they charge your battery. So, when you dive, you've got to charge the battery. If you can't charge the battery, the battery gets lower and lower and lower and lower and lower until there's nothing in it and that means you don't go anywhere, nothing happens.

So, yeah, that's when you do snorting and all that kind of stuff. So if you're on a patrol doing sneakies, you really got to watch the battery. That's where the greenies, we battery dip every watch, every two hours just to make sure the battery's not playing up, all the cells are blowing up and things like that … Well , you can operate the tank tops, you can operate them and surface.

Well, you don't need to if they're shut Anyway, you've got compressed air in bottles and you just blow the water and you surface, you can blow the water out of the tank, and you surface. But you never run the battery down to a point where, because if you run it down to a certain point, and it gets too low, it may reverse polarity. If it reverses polarity, you’re stuffed.

So you would run the battery right down, you know, 15% or 20% or something like that. You try not to go any lower than that. But that battery, if you're not charging it, it runs everything. Everything. Propulsion, conversion machinery, lighting, air conditioning, refrigeration, you name it, communications, everything. 448 cells about a ton each.

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