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Old 11-02-2018, 07:29   #106
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Re: Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

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I dont see how that equates with the way in which my bank has been used? Even in float I would imagine over the week in the marina the bank would be brought back to 100%.
Depending on voltage, float may do no charging at all.

Easy enough to test.

Say endAmps Full for a 400AH bank is 2A.

From a well depleted SoC, run your charge source normally however long you like without tweaking settings or restarting.

Let the bank sit isolated for a couple hours.

Then measure Amps while you apply Absorb voltage. If current is greater than that 2A, your charger never did get the bank to Full.
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Old 11-02-2018, 07:35   #107
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Re: Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

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Cheap Walmart golf cart batteries will tolerate it much better, and last much longer than a high quality AGM.
Please, let's set the minimum bar a little higher than JCI / Interstate.

Deka-made Duracell flooded 6V GC's as sold by Sam's Club and Batteries+, 12V pairs still cheap at under $1/AH.

IMO excellent value, as you say very robust and more tolerant than the best AGM.

I don't think Walmart or any other Big Box retail sells any true deep cycling, maybe their best is rated at half the lifetime of those Duracells.
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Old 11-02-2018, 07:40   #108
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Re: Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

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if Rolls outsources their AGMís then maybe they are only Rolls on the label?
I personally think they are not so stupid to threaten their stellar reputation, their greatest asset.

How an AGM batt behaves poorly cared for is not a fair example to denigrate the brand IMO.

But also not enough feedback yet to unreservedly recommend, similar to Trojan's AGM line.
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Old 11-02-2018, 11:35   #109
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Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

Walmart is Samís Club?
Their golf cart batteries are I think either Deca or East Penn?
Point I was trying to make is if your going to short cycle a battery, buy an inexpensive true deep cycle flooded battery and it will last longer than most good AGMís and for a fraction of the price.

Now there may well be logic in essentially living between 50% to 85% or so SOC, with inexpensive batteries and replace as necessary, that I believe is what most cruisers have been doing for decades, and it works.

In the 21st Century there are not so many actual manufacturers of anything. From band aids to razor blades almost everything is rebranded. Yanmar does not Iím sure manufacture any of their filters, in fact Iíd bet from one year to the next who does changes, but seemingly most people want ďgenuineĒ Yanmar filters.
If memory serves there are only two plants antifreeze is made in the US? There are only two sources of Hypalon, so all dinghies use one or the other, no dinghy manufacturer makes the fabric. Antifreeze I may be wrong, that goes back a long time ago, one plant had a fire and there was supposed to be a shortage of antifreeze because of it. But you get the point
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Old 11-02-2018, 11:59   #110
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Re: Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

The odd thing is the same charger also charges the engine batteries (two) and the bow thruster (two). The voltmeter on the main panel can be switched betwen banks. I cant recall the exact volts of the engine and bow thruster after a period on charge, but from memory both are well into the 13V and are always significantly higher than the house bank.

The engineers have so far checked each battery with a laser temp. prob which they say often gives a pretty good indication of a defective battery; no such indication presented. The batteries are all now coming out as they feel other evidence suggets there may be a defective battery.
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Old 11-02-2018, 12:34   #111
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Re: Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

a64pilot - I would be interested how you manage your batteries when off grid for a long period please, but not at anchor. So if you are working a three or four day, or even a three week passage, running throughout the night and using the autopilot, what would be your charging regime during the day?
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Old 11-02-2018, 13:04   #112
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Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

I have a kilowatt of Solar, ugly but itís usually enough to cover the basics, however I find myself having to burn Diesel in Winter for at least an hour a day to keep the bank fully charged. Best to do that in the morning when the batteries are at their lowest and they can accept the most charge amps, Use Diesel to slam the amps in fast, then as the charge is high enough so that itís trickling in, (less than 50 is my cut off), shut down the Diesel and let Solar top them off. I can go for several days without it getting too discharged, just itís not truly topped off, and one hour isnít so bad.

However when itís not as in cloudy / overcast days, I crank either the generator ( a Nexgen) but if I had a 485, Iíd have a Northern Lights or the main engine. The main has a 125 amp alternator and a Balmar 614 regulator.
I usually use more power at anchor, which is opposite of most folks as we watch Satellite TV and wash clothes at anchor and usually do not underway.
I can make water with my Cruise RO by either running the main engine which almost, but not quite covers the 100 amp DC draw, or the generator. The Cruise RO is an AC Watermaker, but my Magnum MS2812 inverter easily runs it, but without the alternator it would chew though my bank in a hurry and may damage it, of course the generator makes AC so it runs it direct.
Iím not in the trade winds, and find myself motorsailing more than Iíd like to, so power when we are traveling has never been a problem. If we get becalmed and itís stupid hot, I can run the front Stateroom AC from my alternator as itís just a 6 KW, but to Air condition the whole Boat of course requires the generator. I have only done that once that I can remember, but if she isnít happy, crank the generator
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Old 11-02-2018, 14:34   #113
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Re: Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

Sounds a reasonably similiar set up, interestingly, I have just a little less solar, but have thought about one more panel which would bring it to about 1,200w. I think my Outback can just about handle that. My water maker is AC only. I havent tried running it off the Inverter and have always used the Genset. I am going to check if it could. However the IP does have reasonably large fresh water tanks (300 gallons) so range is reasonable. We also have a washer / dryer but stirctly A/C of course. I can run the smallest A/C on the inverter and have done so to check it works. I cant run the compressor on the inverter so that is Genset or shore only.

As I mentioned I think I have a much better appreciation as to how to look after the batteries at anchor or shore (thank you). I think that in reference more to your last post you are more addressing shore passages.

Running on batteries for days or weeks is perhaps a different challenge. My Genset runs fine underway so I appreciate that is an option and of course you are right the engine packs a charging punch. Perhaps you find that with some engine running time and the solar that is sufficient?

I intend to do a proper audit, and know I should. We will not use the sat TV off shore much or at all (especially as it may not work in some parts of the world anyway), and it does draw a reasonable amount of power. I am conscious that when night sailing the autohelm is probably the most significant demand on the battery. I also intend to look at the range of sensitivity to see how much impact that has on the draw. I am guessing it might be reasonably significant. Our night sails so far havent suggested there is too much of a problem (and we have just replaced all the Nav. lights with purely LED as well) but I am now much more conscious of the need to try and get the house bank back up to 100% (or nearly) during the day. Perhaps on Atlantic crossings with my new found wisdom one might still not bother too much and just accept it isnt ideal? On previous crossings I have never bothered too much but then again the whole set up was much simpler, and, although I shouldnt say this, my ignorance and the fact it was someone elses batteries may have made me less careful than I should have been.

I know there is some controversy but I am now thinking about fitting a SmartGauge as well. It seems to me there is enough evidence that it works, and provides a better means of ensuring 100% charge is being reached without the need for constant recalibration.
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Old 11-02-2018, 15:56   #114
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Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

Smart gauge works, it is well worth what it costs. For the longest it was all I had to monitor my bank.
I fitted the BMK to the Magnum more than anything to track use, I had no idea really how much power I was using overnight. Yes the Smart Gauge would tell me in the morning what my state of charge was, but how many amps is that?
By the way, a Smart Gauge is not supposed too be accurate during charging, itís supposed to lag as much as 10%, however mine seems accurate, even during the charge phase, if it says Iím 96% charged, then Iím not really, fully charged. I did have an issue with it that turned out to be corrosion on its fuses, easily fixed.
Itís my opinion that with a Smart Gauge and an amp hour counter, you can determine Your banks true capacity roughly, without doing a capacity check, which I have never seen anyone do, cruisers just donít usually carry that kind of equipment.
Way I see doing it is simple math, let the AH counter tell you many amps you used, then the Smart Gauge tells you your SOC and then itís easy to determine total capacity.
Using it that way I come up with my 660 AH bank that is closing in on three years old is a 600 AH bank, which I believe is right on with what it should be, being three years old. It may be a little more, I like being conservative.
Long story short, I was VP of an aircraft manufacturing facility, Concorde batteries are far and away the best lead acid aircraft battery there is, so I had an inside if you will with Concorde. Concorde is Lifeline, they are a family owned US business that manufactures in the US. If you look at their phone directory, almost everyone up top has the last name of Goodbar I think, or Good something.
Anyway I had a long discussion with one of them and he laid out exactly how to make my bank last. It worked out to getting them to 100% once a week, and an equalization once a month and Iíll get five years out of a bank. Itís nice of course if you can beat that once a week, it only adds life if you do.
However he told me that if I didnít get to 100% once a week at least, I may not get two years out of them.
I understand how a battery is built, itís dividers, how each cell is connected, even the metal the terminals are made from, a Concorde / Lifeline battery, takes no short cuts.
Very, very few people truly understand what 100% is, Maine Sail is one that does, do some reading over there, and you will save yourself lots of grief and loads of money, and stuff will work like itís supposed to.
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Old 11-02-2018, 17:34   #115
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Re: Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

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Walmart is Samís Club?

Their golf cart batteries are I think either Deca or East Penn?

Point I was trying to make is if your going to short cycle a battery, buy an inexpensive true deep cycle flooded battery and it will last longer than most good AGMís and for a fraction of the price.
Yes to the last, but again minimum IMO is the EPM/Deka-made Duracell flooded GCs.

Not sold at any big box other than Sam's Club, otherwise Batteries+.

Sam's has nothing to do with Walmart other than common ownership.

Nothing at Walmart, Costco, any other big box or automotive source is IMO worth buying for deep cycling use.

Corrections welcome, I'd love to be proven wrong.


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Now there may well be logic in essentially living between 50% to 85% or so SOC, with inexpensive batteries and replace as necessary, that I believe is what most cruisers have been doing for decades, and it works.
Yes, many boats' setups are such they have no choice, owner doesn't care, that can be economic.

But for long-term cruisers without access to shore power, perhaps travelling to third-world places, I recommend doing what it takes to get good predictable longevity out of your banks, even if the ROI is over a decade just looking at the numbers.
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Old 11-02-2018, 17:47   #116
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Re: Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

John-
The wholesale clubs (all of them, not just Sam's and Costo) and the national chain stores (again, not just WalMart but all of them) and the battery makers and distributers (again, all of them) will pretty much confirm what a large number of them have gone on the record and said.
1-The "house brand" batteries at Costo, WalMart, etc. are all bid out to contract, often every 1-5 years. the same way that Westerbeke has never made an engine, they just put out contracts for engine blocks and parts.
So, when Costco puts out an RFP for batteries, three battery makers may bid on it. They will, as the bid allows, offer a stock battery at one price, or a custom battery to meet a contract price. If they say "We can sell you our Group 27 for $53.00" and WalMart says "We need a battery for $49.95" then they may offer an OEM version with plates that are 5% shorter, in the same case.
This is not unique to the battery industry, it is how OEM contracting goes for everything from dog chow to winter coats to car stereos.
And as part of that bidding cycle, transportation costs are figured in. So if Deka/East Penn is bidding, their freight locally to PA and NJ is low. But there's no way they can ship competitively to San Diego, so someone with a Mexican factory may win the bid for THAT geography.

Bottom line? What one man gets in one place, is not and will not necessarily be the same as what someone else gets two years later, or ten states away. Not necessarily the same maker, same brand, same internal spec, anything except the same label slapped over the manufacturer's marks to purposely conceal them.

And if the retail seller has a good reputation and good warranty service, that's really all that matters. You're relying on THAT more than anything else.

FWIW.
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Old 11-02-2018, 17:51   #117
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Re: Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

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I am now thinking about fitting a SmartGauge as well
Ö
provides a better means of ensuring 100% charge is being reached without the need for constant recalibration.
SmartGauge is great as a Battery SoC Monitor, but is less accurate while charging, and **does not show Amps** acceptance by the bank.

And that last is the only reliable indicator of true 100% Full.

Fortunately a shunt-based ammeter is not at all expensive.

Not to be confused with a full fledged shunt-based AH-counting Battery Monitor like Victron 702-BMV.

Which not only tries to accurately measure SoC, but also shows Amps in and out, and logs AH in and out over time, can control a solenoid, lots of cool features.

If you can afford it, the SG + BMV would be IMO an unbeatable combo for getting intimately familiar with your usage patterns, and help get maximum lifespan from an expensive bank.

But most people will scoff at that level of OCD overkill. 8-)
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Old 11-02-2018, 18:09   #118
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Re: Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

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"house brand" batteries at Costo, WalMart, etc. are all bid out to contract
My understanding is wrt FLA, JCI gets all that business, as with Interstate's.

None of which has anything to do with the Duracell FLA GCs I'm talking about.

The Duracell brand is licensed by Deka/EPM, and are 100% guaranteed made by them in their factories.

​The Duracell labeled GC2 is Deka's GC-10, and the EGC2 is a Deka GC-15 with a Duracell Sticker.

What you wrote is exactly why I recommend them specifically for those choosing to save lots of money up-front on a true deep cycle bank.

IMO spending more than $1/12vAH is only justified if you have the knowledge, gear and motivation to truly coddle an expensive bank, so that you are pretty certain to get the 8+ year lifespan required for the ROI.
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Old 11-02-2018, 18:12   #119
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Re: Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

Or of course those who actually require much fussier, expensive and shorter-lived AGMs, e.g. installation space only has room for batt lying on their side.
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Old 11-02-2018, 18:53   #120
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Re: Battery problem thoughts much appreciated!

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....

Now there may well be logic in essentially living between 50% to 85% or so SOC, with inexpensive batteries and replace as necessary, that I believe is what most cruisers have been doing for decades, and it works.
.....
This may have been true decades ago when cruising boats used their main engine to charge, but today with most all cruising boats having significant solar installation I don't think it is that common.
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