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Old 25-09-2018, 11:01   #1
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My battery decisions.. please advise

I know there are 2 or 3 million threads on this but my internet is my phone hotspot so kinda slow. I need to replace the interstates i have, one dedicated to windlass and think i'll go that route again. others, two interstates want to replace with gc2 (4 of them) costco's by recommendation from a good man on this site. (thanx64) getting ready to purchase a sterling ultra charger and one of the questions, because of dollars, is the 60 amp a little overkill. iow can the 40 or even the 30 suffice or do i recharge at full power with the 60 amp and be done with it? always thought that trickle charge was best to avoid wear on the cells. but now hearing that's old school.. I will use a honda 2000 to run it. have a cpt auto pilot, b&g chartplotter, maybe a stereo runnin and an engle cooler/freezer. hoping to end up full time liveaboard on the hook. thanx in advance. also have an isolator to separate the engine batt from others that i still need to install. solar panel i have and will reinstall but was leaning to a wind unit. all help appreciated.. money is an issue but just want to do this once and right.
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Old 25-09-2018, 19:47   #2
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Re: My battery decisions.. please advise

Not Costco, that'll get you more meh Interstate / JCI.

The best battery value by far is Duracell (actually Deka/East Penn) FLA deep cycle golf cart batteries, 2x6V, around $200 per 200+AH pair from BatteriesPlus or Sam's Club.


2 pair = 400+AH @12V so 60A charger is smallest I'd go for.
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Old 25-09-2018, 20:05   #3
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Re: My battery decisions.. please advise

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Not Costco, that'll get you more meh Interstate / JCI.

The best battery value by far is Duracell (actually Deka/East Penn) FLA deep cycle golf cart batteries, 2x6V, around $200 per 200+AH pair from BatteriesPlus or Sam's Club.


2 pair = 400+AH @12V so 60A charger is smallest I'd go for.
Meh.. There is nothing wrong with Costco batteries. We have lived 3 years as a family of five on a Coscto 6V golf cart battery bank (6x6V). In those 3 years we were plugged into a dock a total of 12 days. I abused, cooked, undercharged, overcharged and generally abused that bank. After 3 years its still wasn't dead.

If John has some actual data on Costco battery banks being crap (other than a rehash of stuff he has read somewhere online), I would love to hear it. I know of MANY boats that lived full time on Coscto batts with no problems.

Anyway, our 600ah (ish) Coscto bank was charged mostly by solar (900W). However we had a 60A house charger for cloudy days (one year it rained in Bequia for 10 days. Our 1000w solar array averaged 5W during the height of the day on those 10 days). Yes we did have 200Ah more than your proposed bank, but 60A was actually small for that bank. I don't think you will have any problem with a 60A charger on a 400Ah bank.
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Old 25-09-2018, 20:08   #4
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Re: My battery decisions.. please advise

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Meh.. There is nothing wrong with Costco batteries. We have lived 3 years as a family of five on a Coscto 6V golf cart battery bank (6x6V). In those 3 years we were plugged into a dock a total of 12 days. I abused, cooked, undercharged, overcharged and generally abused that bank. After 3 years its still wasn't dead.

If John has some actual data on Costco battery banks being crap (other than a rehash of stuff he has read somewhere online), I would love to hear it. I know of MANY boats that lived full time on Coscto batts with no problems.

Anyway, our 600ah (ish) Coscto bank was charged mostly by solar (900W). However we had a 60A house charger for cloudy days (one year it rained in Bequia for 10 days. Our 1000w solar array averaged 5W during the height of the day on those 10 days). Yes we did have 200Ah more than your proposed bank, but 60A was actually small for that bank. I don't think you will have any problem with a 60A charger on a 400Ah bank.

thanx, got a good recommendation from bay marine on crown gc2's .. immense help i got.. thank you for the replies
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Old 26-09-2018, 05:15   #5
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Re: My battery decisions.. please advise

A 60A charger is definitely NOT overkill for four GC2 batteries. Assuming you are connecting series parallel, 2x2, for 12v, you are looking at 400 to 450ah. So that would be a charge rate of C/7 or thereabouts. Even if you split your batteries into two banks, 220ah each, that is still just a bit over C/4. On the verge of overkill, maybe. And if this is a multistage smart type charger, it will first bulk charge a deeply discharged bank, at high current, then go into absorption mode where the voltage is maintained and as the batteries come up, current falls off. Finally it goes into float mode. In float, voltage is maintained but at a slightly lower level than during absorption. So the size of the charger should have little to do with the float current or voltage.



Be sure your connections are nice and tight, and terminal lugs are properly crimped or soldered or both. I do not like the screw clamp type lugs very much. They tend to loosen and I feel that the connection is much lower quality than a crimped lug. Don't skimp on the wire size. I would go with absolutely nothing smaller than 2, and would rather see 0. I use 2/0 but my bank is also my gas tank for my electric engine. You got to actually check your batteries periodically. Check specific gravity and voltage after disconnecting the bank for a day. Check electrolyte levels, too, of course. With 6v batteries in series for 12v, you have twice as many connections as with 12v, so make sure that they are not corroded and are nice and tight. Very important.
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Old 26-09-2018, 05:18   #6
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Re: My battery decisions.. please advise

There is no doubt Deka makes a better product than JCI, and they don't cost any more.

Taken care of properly many get 7-8 years at 70% SoH being EoL, maybe a decade pushing past that.

So if you think 3 years is good, no problem, meh does not mean bad, just not great.
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Old 26-09-2018, 05:20   #7
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Re: My battery decisions.. please advise

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thanx, got a good recommendation from bay marine on crown gc2's .. immense help i got.. thank you for the replies
yes Crown is excellent, as is Superior and US Battery.

And Alan is a tremendous resource, even if his pricing were higher, would be well worth it for his support
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Old 26-09-2018, 06:13   #8
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Re: My battery decisions.. please advise

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There is no doubt Deka makes a better product than JCI, and they don't cost any more.

Taken care of properly many get 7-8 years at 70% SoH being EoL, maybe a decade pushing past that.

So if you think 3 years is good, no problem, meh does not mean bad, just not great.
"No Doubt" to you. I can find no data to back that up, nor has my experience shown that. Just opinions espoused on the Internet and then reposted.

You also misread my post. I stated that "I" used the bank for 3 years. I did not state it was dead at 3 years. Now after 3 years of my abuse, that bank is still being used and functions fine.

Your 7-8 years statement shows your lack of experience actually living aboard, off grid. I know of no full time cruiser anywhere that has gotten 7-8 years of life out of a lead acid battery bank. AGM, yes, FLA, no way. Especially down here in the Caribbean. You might remember Mainsail's article where he quotes a survey on Sailboatowners.com that states almost 80% of users get under 6 years of life. Generally, the acceptable life of an FLA bank down here is between 4 - 5 years, regardless of brand. Tojan, Duracel, GC2, Sams doesn't matter.

So with all of that said.. I personally think it doesn't matter which brand the OP chooses. Coscto or Sams, take your pick, whichever is easiest. However, I will throw out a suggestion he may not of thought of. If you have the space (height), then you may want to consider L16 sweeper batteries. Yes they cost more, but you can get a lot more AH for almost the same footprint (just taller).
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Old 26-09-2018, 06:21   #9
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Re: My battery decisions.. please advise

FLA last longer than AGM care being equal, in fact much fussier care requirement so more likely to get murdered.

And yes most banks are murdered, avg do not get to even 20% potential lifespan, and most buy lousy quality to start with.

Many Rolls / Surrette users get 12+ years life spans.
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Old 26-09-2018, 06:21   #10
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Re: My battery decisions.. please advise

I replaced 14 year old Rolls batteries with Rolls again. They were not well cared for but lasted a long time. Getting pricing on many different batteries, Rolls were till the best decision, in my opinion. You can get good pricing on Trojan in the South East because they are shipped from Georgia. In the North east, Rolls are shipped from Canada. That has a lot to do with pricing. I buy from RAE Battery, in Berlin Ct. When we talked about the pricing I was getting he was close to the same price, delivered to my boat in Ct. Just needed a flexible schedule. I haven't had nearly the same results with Interstate. Never used them in a boat, other than a start battery, but have in vehicles, dump trailer and a tractor, just seem to be ok.
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Old 26-09-2018, 06:23   #11
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Re: My battery decisions.. please advise

I agree that proper care has as much or greater impact than maker build quality.
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Old 26-09-2018, 06:25   #12
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Re: My battery decisions.. please advise

Quote:
Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
"No Doubt" to you. I can find no data to back that up, nor has my experience shown that. Just opinions espoused on the Internet and then reposted.

You also misread my post. I stated that "I" used the bank for 3 years. I did not state it was dead at 3 years. Now after 3 years of my abuse, that bank is still being used and functions fine.

Your 7-8 years statement shows your lack of experience actually living aboard, off grid. I know of no full time cruiser anywhere that has gotten 7-8 years of life out of a lead acid battery bank. AGM, yes, FLA, no way. Especially down here in the Caribbean. You might remember Mainsail's article where he quotes a survey on Sailboatowners.com that states almost 80% of users get under 6 years of life. Generally, the acceptable life of an FLA bank down here is between 4 - 5 years, regardless of brand. Tojan, Duracel, GC2, Sams doesn't matter.

So with all of that said.. I personally think it doesn't matter which brand the OP chooses. Coscto or Sams, take your pick, whichever is easiest. However, I will throw out a suggestion he may not of thought of. If you have the space (height), then you may want to consider L16 sweeper batteries. Yes they cost more, but you can get a lot more AH for almost the same footprint (just taller).

I love the form factor of L-16 batteries. You get a lot more AH without resorting to parallel connections, too. I just wish they were comparably priced per amp/hour with GC-2. More limited market, I guess. But they are a good size to consider if you don't mind paying a little more.
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Old 26-09-2018, 06:31   #13
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Re: My battery decisions.. please advise

And have a strong back.

Strings of 2V cells can get you the big AH but much easier to handle.
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Old 26-09-2018, 10:43   #14
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Re: My battery decisions.. please advise

Quote:
Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Meh.. There is nothing wrong with Costco batteries. We have lived 3 years as a family of five on a Coscto 6V golf cart battery bank (6x6V). In those 3 years we were plugged into a dock a total of 12 days. I abused, cooked, undercharged, overcharged and generally abused that bank. After 3 years its still wasn't dead.

If John has some actual data on Costco battery banks being crap (other than a rehash of stuff he has read somewhere online), I would love to hear it. I know of MANY boats that lived full time on Coscto batts with no problems.

Anyway, our 600ah (ish) Coscto bank was charged mostly by solar (900W). However we had a 60A house charger for cloudy days (one year it rained in Bequia for 10 days. Our 1000w solar array averaged 5W during the height of the day on those 10 days). Yes we did have 200Ah more than your proposed bank, but 60A was actually small for that bank. I don't think you will have any problem with a 60A charger on a 400Ah bank.
Maybe it isn't the quality of batteries but how long they have been on the shelf. LIFO or FILO. The first in last out could be dead as a door knob.
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Old 26-09-2018, 10:43   #15
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Re: My battery decisions.. please advise

Why you look at the mfg date and cherry pick all within 2 months and matching.
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