Marine Electronics Reviews

ProMariner Pro Sport 20 Review

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>Most of us who own boats tinker with them all the time. We  retrofit, redesign and tweak  them to meet our needs and fishing styles. When we buy a new one we still find ways to customize them to make them more individualized. Some of those very ideas that we tinkerers come up with end up becoming OEM. Its great to have options with boat accessories and add-ons that give our boats personalities all of their own.

The pro’s do the same things. They organize their boats to fit them. Many completely re-wire. Some add extra aeration and others add tool pouches and holders to keep everything they need orderly and within reach. Elite Series pro Zell Rowland told us he always likes to rig his own boat. He wants to know what goes into it and he wants to know about failure points. Professional anglers are all about spares too. Spare props, spare tires, spare batteries, spare wires and always a spare trolling motor. At no time do they want to be down if they could have prevented it.

Many Wired readers followed our “Fixing up the Old Washtub” articles where we took a Ranger Banshee and customized it to fit our needs. When we got it it was a shell. No lids, holes in the deck, no front seat and just about everything stripped from the original factory version. No poling or casting platforms and no wiring. We started the project last winter and fished out of   it this year and to be honest it is one fine boat. Guess what? We thought we were done with it and we should have known we were not. Half the fun of owning a boat is tricking it out  so tricking it out we will.

We added Bluewater LEDs, an Electric T&H Atlas Jackplate, a Yamaha 9.9 Four Stroke engine, a 120 Quart Igloo Cooler, a Minn Kota 80 pound 24 Volt Maxxum Pro Trolling Motor, a 997 C2 Si and a 798 C2 Si Humminbird with GPS, two Ranger Butt Seats, and 3 batteries. We also painted the front and back decks with Ultra Tuff Marine paint with rubberized aggregate, added a rear deck platform and an electric panel with marine grade switches. We wired the boat with the best wire we could fine and used number 6 wire for the trolling motor. We wired the trolling motor separate from the electronics and accessories too. We still had some cosmetic things we wanted to do but overall our mission was complete…..we thought.

A vital element we had on our large boats but had yet to put in our little one was a on-board battery charger. It is something you get spoiled with having and we thought having three clunking automotive chargers would work fine. Wrong oh battery breath! Something that is crucial on a boat is the choice of battery chargers. It isn’t just nice its necessary. That is our project for this Next Generation Tackle Box article. There are several good ones out there including Dual Pro, Guest and Minn Kota and one that we just ran into called ProMariner. We went with the ProMariner both because we had heard great things about them but also because of functionality. We will get into that in a bit.

ProMariner is not a new company by any stretch with over 30 years under their belts They have over 1 million on-board chargers manufactured and installed on boats. They have over 25 models of chargers on the market as well as inverters, remote gauges, crossovers, and isolators. The more we read about them the better we felt about our choice.

They have recreational models, those for larger vessels and a professional model for tournament anglers too. We have 3 batteries, wanted one that was fairly priced and wanted a profile sensitive to the limited space in our boat. The model we chose is 10.75 X 7.25 X 2.5 inches and fits nicely on the Ranger Banshee. Two of the batteries are on one side of the boat and one is on the other so cable length was important too. This charger comes with 5 foot cables. We have lead acid batteries but may upgrade to AGM or Gel down the road so we wanted flexibility too. We settled on the ProMariner ProSport20 Plus. It’s a 3 battery model and is a 20 amp charger and can be changed to charge all three kinds of marine batteries.

The ProSport20 Plus uses Distributed-On-Demand charging which senses which battery needs the most charge and gives it 100% of the available charging amps. In a nutshell that means that the battery with the least amount of charge gets the most from the charger. It stays cool and is 100% waterproof and shockproof  which was another big consideration for us.

We also like the LED status indicator. It is easily read and monitors AC Power, Charge Mode, Battery Type and Ready/Maintenance Mode. It is wired with in-line fuses to protect the engine and trolling motor from accidental shorts or reverse polarity issues.

The ProMariner ProSport20 Plus also conditions the batteries at each charge to eliminate sulfation of the battery plates that can cause failure.

We added the Universal AC Plug Holder on this install to keep the cord neat and ready when we want to charge.

We no longer worry about 3 clunky chargers all charging at different rates or overcharging and the install looks slick. We placed the charger on the inside lid of the Banshee and open the lids during charging when in the shop. We noticed it does stay cool however when the lid is closed as well. We vented the battery compartments on the Banshee for added ventilation.

When installing the charger we organized our wiring even further and separated electronics from engine and charger cables to keep RF issues to a minimum.

To learn more about ProMariner click here.

You can buy ProMariner Chargers at Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Gander Mountain and West Marine.