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Old 28-07-2014, 14:55   #1
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pirate Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

Hello, I am a new skipper (23) and my wife and I just purchased a sailboat (Corronado 30) and joined a fleet.
We set up a 100W solar panels and have been maintaining energy consumption solely on two small marine batteries. (Our A4 engine is currently being repaired so alternator recharge has not been an option.)

we are going to finalize our battery set up for real now, and in the past month of fixing my boat, Ive learned that you get what you pay for in this boating world, and its not worth it to make workarounds if you have a chance to do it the right way.

I planned on buying this 8-D GEL battery, its CCA is 1150, reserve power for 475 mins. It costs $470.
LINKY: NAPA AUTO PARTS

The other option was a Lead 4D battery, CCA @ 1050 and 290 reserve power,
Its cost is is $148. Considering the cost of the 8-d I could buy two of these.
LINKY: NAPA AUTO PARTS
-These seem to be more common.

I have the opportunity to purchase the GEL battery, money is not the issue, its just that I have a specific budget I will probably never have again and I want to make the most practical decision.

PLANNED ENERGY CONSUMPTION:
We plan on having two 100W solar panels.
-common consumption VIA 12VOLT would be:
Radio, Plotter, phones/vhf handheld chargers + laptops and refrigeration-(during the day)

-Less common VIA 12volt dc & SINE WAVE INVERTER AC:
Small fans at night, LED lights for cabin, nav and mast.
AC power for small LCD tv for gaming/movies
AC power for kitchen appliance
AC power for various tools.

sorry to give a big post, but if anyone is genuinely interested In giving me advice, I figured all of this information would help for someone who has already done this.
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Old 28-07-2014, 15:02   #2
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Re: Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

Only thing I would suggest is do some reading, I haven't clicked on either of your links, but as you quoting CCA, I have to assume they are not read deep cycle batteries.
If you can fit them, My personal opinion is it's real hard to beat Golf Cart batteries, Trojan's probably the gold standard, but Sams Club batteries my be a better buy if the price is good.
But do some searching as I'm sure there are almost as many battery threads as anchor threads
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Old 28-07-2014, 15:05   #3
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Re: Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Only thing I would suggest is do some reading, I haven't clicked on either of your links, but as you quoting CCA, I have to assume they are not read deep cycle batteries.
If you can fit them, My personal opinion is it's real hard to beat Golf Cart batteries, Trojan's probably the gold standard, but Sams Club batteries my be a better buy if the price is good.
But do some searching as I'm sure there are almost as many battery threads as anchor threads
Thank you for your reply, How well would golf cart batterys hold up when we are trying to create a large energy house with solar panels and a inverter?
(Im assuming they are small?)
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Old 28-07-2014, 15:18   #4
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Re: Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

Quote:
Originally Posted by masterolive View Post
Thank you for your reply, How well would golf cart batterys hold up when we are trying to create a large energy house with solar panels and a inverter?

(Im assuming they are small?)

They hold up amazingly well, better than almost any other alternative
Do some reading do not take my word on this, this whole battery thing especially maintenance and upkeep and re-charging isn't as simple as keeping your car battery going.
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Old 28-07-2014, 15:30   #5
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Re: Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

8D batteries are very heavy. I would opt for the 4D or smaller. Personally I will never buy an 8D again. I've had 4 new ones in my life and 2 of the four failed in 1-2 years. Both Shorted out in a cell. I don't know if it's Voodoo or what, but no more for me.
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Old 28-07-2014, 15:57   #6
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Re: Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

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8D batteries are very heavy. I would opt for the 4D or smaller. Personally I will never buy an 8D again. I've had 4 new ones in my life and 2 of the four failed in 1-2 years. Both Shorted out in a cell. I don't know if it's Voodoo or what, but no more for me.
Thankyou for the suggestion.
Im reading more and more about it, and a friend of mine told me he will never get GEL again.
He told me he thinks that best is to get the normal lead 4D from interstate batteries.
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Old 28-07-2014, 16:11   #7
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Re: Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

It sounds like these will be for house loads IE lights, radios, etc and not for engine starting. If I understand correctly then the CCA rating is not really what you need to look at. For this you need to get a real deep cycle battery. The deep cycle design will deal better with deep discharges and last longer for this use.

The spec you want to see is Amp hour capacity, usually rated at 20C. Also for ease of handling and the most bang for the buck it's hard to beat 6V golf cart batteries. It takes a little extra wiring to wire them in pairs in series to get 12V but I think well worth the effort.

As someone mentioned the Trojan T105 is a great battery. I found generic equivalents for $90 each. Rated at 220 amp hours capacity I have 6 for a total of 660 amp hours at 12V.

Regarding gels and other battery types like AGMs, lithiums, etc. in general they are more money and more sensitive to correct charging than the basic deep cycle FLA (flooded lead acid).
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Old 28-07-2014, 16:23   #8
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Re: Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

Quote:
Originally Posted by masterolive View Post
Thankyou for the suggestion.
Im reading more and more about it, and a friend of mine told me he will never get GEL again.
He told me he thinks that best is to get the normal lead 4D from interstate batteries.
I had DEKA 4D gels and they were fine. But certainly nothing wrong with wet cells.... If you can get at them to check water occasionally. I think they are the most bang for the buck. Not sure who makes NAPA batteries now. I've had pretty good luck with Interstate and of course Trojans in regular size batteries.
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Old 28-07-2014, 16:56   #9
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Re: Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

All I know is I'll never put another "Bulldozer" battery in a boat, had two in a Sportfisherman but way too heavy, crazy to not break that weight up into smaller loads.
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Old 28-07-2014, 17:16   #10
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Re: Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
It sounds like these will be for house loads IE lights, radios, etc and not for engine starting. If I understand correctly then the CCA rating is not really what you need to look at. For this you need to get a real deep cycle battery. The deep cycle design will deal better with deep discharges and last longer for this use.

The spec you want to see is Amp hour capacity, usually rated at 20C. Also for ease of handling and the most bang for the buck it's hard to beat 6V golf cart batteries. It takes a little extra wiring to wire them in pairs in series to get 12V but I think well worth the effort.

As someone mentioned the Trojan T105 is a great battery. I found generic equivalents for $90 each. Rated at 220 amp hours capacity I have 6 for a total of 660 amp hours at 12V.

Regarding gels and other battery types like AGMs, lithiums, etc. in general they are more money and more sensitive to correct charging than the basic deep cycle FLA (flooded lead acid).
Thankyou for this post.
YES I alredy have two deep cycle batterys dedicated to the engine ONLY.

I must say Im a little overwhelmed with the information, and since Ive just come back from advanced auto and read this, it is the seccond time today I am 2nd guessing myself after making up my mind.

I just looked at a huge tractor 8-D LEAD battery with 1100+/1400+ CCA for $200 from advanced auto.
I figured that was my best cost option instead of buying the GEL or TWO 4,ds

But after reading your post, I shouldn't be looking at CCA.
you have me interested in the gulf cart batteries.

Im still having to re read your post so I can fully understand the benefit of them.
One MAJOR option we are trying to solve with solar/battery consumption, is running our refrigerator so we dont have to keep buying ICE all the time, and to save perishables and cold drinks out at sea.
How long will golf cart batteries run the fridge while being sustained/getting power from a 100w solar panel? (the fridge has a optional 12volt power supply connection for batterys, and is 40w)
My thought process is to buy a gigantic battery, possibly over kill so I dont have to worry about running batterys down.

(And Im also interesting in how well a series of golf car batteries would work whith a sine wave inverter, running a tv with videogame console, or computer for movies at night)

Thankyou very much for your help.
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Old 28-07-2014, 17:21   #11
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Re: Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

What type of use do you expect from your boat - Weekend warrior with some days on the hook during vacation? Full time cruisers "off the grid"

The 3 common battery types - Wet, AGM & GEL all require different charging and handling. You should understand the differences & choose the type with your needs in mind.
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Old 28-07-2014, 17:25   #12
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Re: Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
What type of use do you expect from your boat - Weekend warrior with some days on the hook during vacation? Full time cruisers "off the grid"

The 3 common battery types - Wet, AGM & GEL all require different charging and handling. You should understand the differences & choose the type with your needs in mind.
we are full time cursers off the grid.
We have one 100W solar panel that we want to maintain a battery bank exclusively for the cabin, our goal is to try and run the fridge without jeopardizing the battery condition or rendering ourselves without power while the fridge is running.

Ive assumed that getting a giant 8-d wet lead battery would take care of it all, but Im newly Interested in the golf cart batterys, and how many I would need to accomplish the power output we need.
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Old 28-07-2014, 17:27   #13
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Re: Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

Quote:
Originally Posted by masterolive View Post
One MAJOR option we are trying to solve with solar/battery consumption, is running our refrigerator so we dont have to keep buying ICE all the time, and to save perishables and cold drinks out at sea.
How long will golf cart batteries run the fridge? (It has a optional 12volt power supply connection for batterys, and is 40w)
My thought process is to buy a gigantic battery, possibly over kill so I dont have to worry about running batterys down.

(And Im also interesting in how well a series of golf car batteries would work whith a sine wave inverter, running a tv with videogame console, or computer for movies at night)

Thankyou very much for your help.
This post is key - You are sort of starting at the wrong end of the equation.

Any consumption needs to be figured out first. Then you need a charging plan to produce that consumption plus a charging efficiency loss, say 10%.

A fridge is gonna consume 60-70amps a day + everything else means you are looking at maybe 150 amps a day.

First you gotta figure out how to produce that number of amps.

The battery then is simply how long you can go before charging considering the max you want to use is about 50% of battery capacity - a 600 amp bank will let you go ~2 days without charging.

Finally deeper cycles reduce battery life - 30% cycles are easier on the battery than 50% cycles all things being equal.

AGM batteries really need to get to 100% frequently and the last 10% is hard to get into the battery.

Wet cells are more tolerant but they also have certain maintenance needs.

GEL batteries are probably the most "finicky" but have their own advantages.

It isn't really, "Get the biggest battery for cheapest" equation here.
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Old 28-07-2014, 17:28   #14
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Re: Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

Deep cycle batteries are rated in amp hours, usually at I believe a 20 hour rate, the slower you pull the amps out, the more you can pull out so the time is relevant
It matters not where the amps come from, several smaller batteries or one large one.
A way to do this if money matters at all is to determine the cost per amp hour, sort of like determining cost per ounce of a food product, but realize of course that 100 amps at 6 volts is equal to 50 at 12, or said another way it takes two 200 amp 6V batteries to equal one 200 amp 12V battery.
Usually golf cart batteries are the cheapest per amp hour, your usage is very similar to a golf cart, daily discharge and recharge cycles
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Old 28-07-2014, 17:30   #15
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Re: Help with batteries: TWO lead 4Ds or ONE gel 8D.

Quote:
Originally Posted by masterolive View Post
Thankyou for this post.
YES I alredy have two deep cycle batterys dedicated to the engine ONLY.

I must say Im a little overwhelmed with the information, and since Ive just come back from advanced auto and read this, it is the seccond time today I am 2nd guessing myself after making up my mind.

I just looked at a huge tractor 8-D LEAD battery with 1100+/1400+ CCA for $200 from advanced auto.
I figured that was my best cost option instead of buying the GEL or TWO 4,ds

But after reading your post, you have me interested in the gulf cart batteries.
Im still having to re read your post so I can fully understand the benefit of them.
One MAJOR option we are trying to solve with solar/battery consumption, is running our refrigerator so we dont have to keep buying ICE all the time, and to save perishables and cold drinks out at sea.
How long will golf cart batteries run the fridge? (It has a optional 12volt power supply connection for batterys, and is 40w)
My thought process is to buy a gigantic battery, possibly over kill so I dont have to worry about running batterys down.

(And Im also interesting in how well a series of golf car batteries would work whith a sine wave inverter, running a tv with videogame console, or computer for movies at night)

Thankyou very much for your help.
Some generalizations about golf cart batteries, deep cycles, etc. The whole point is to get the right tool for the job. Sure you can use wrench to drive a nail but a hammer will do a better job. You can use a starting battery to run your house loads but a deep cycle is the better tool.

1. Deep cycle batteries can be discharged to about 50% without damage. Starting batteries prefer to stay charged.

2. Starting batteries are designed to give a lot of power (a starter takes a lot of amps to crank an engine) for a very short time (rated in CCA or cold cranking amps) and again, do best if they are charged up all the time. Deep cycle batteries are designed to give smaller amounts of power for a very long time AND to be discharged to a lower level without damage.

3. What you need is amp hour capacity, not CCA. In non technical terms, how much power the battery can give you over a period of time. You can get 100 am hour capacity from one 12V 100 amp hour battery or two 6V 100 amp hour batteries or two 12V 50 amp hour batteries. Doesn't matter how you add it up. So why muscle around 150 lb monster battery when you can get the same results from several smaller batteries and save a chiropractor bill.
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