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Old 31-07-2016, 16:25   #16
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Re: Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

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Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
Hi, having been down a similar path not so long ago, I ended up buying a set of six 235 ah Supercharge golf cart batteries from an online seller, based here in Sydney, for $200.00 each. They work perfectly, run the fridge 24/7 and rarely drop below 13 volts being charged from 190 watts of solar.
Works really well for me, and I should get at least 7 years from them (touch wood)
So what would I do ? I would spend the money and get a reasonable set of flooded lead golf cart batteries, set them up correctly and enjoy all the benefits now, not wondering if they were going to do the job.
Totally agree. Lead acid flooded batteries are incredibly tough and easy to maintain. Plus a lot of new tech batteries have embedded micro processors that die easily, leaving you with a dead battery. The only two no nos are not to run electrolyte below the plate surface; and do not run them flat.Otherwise, they are robust, reliable, and most important, predictable.
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Old 31-07-2016, 16:39   #17
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Re: Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

Hi all. Some great ideas here, thank you all.

Just as an aside, the batteries died because they were cheap crap, end of story. The charging and electrical system are fine, but thank you to those correctly suggesting I check all is working as it should. I have checked, double checked, triple checked etc. Electrics are my forte and I am very confident in the charging system and the boat electrics overall.

Regarding warranty, not sure if they had a one year, two year or longer warranty but when I thought about it a bit I felt that any warranty was probably not worth the effort. At the end of the day the two (very cheap) batteries represent about three hours work at my rate of pay so the effort of chasing the warranty, arranging transport etc, even if I got no grief from the vendor in question would represent a pretty poor investment in time. Couple this with a risk of back and forth argument on whether the batteries or my charging system are at fault and there is just no appeal. And even if all went well I would still be lumped with two more bits of cheap crap that would most likely only last another year. As someone posted earlier in this thread, that was my real mistake right at the start. But I have learned.

I won't name the vendor here because there is a chance this was a one off dud batch and my unwillingness to test their warranty and after sales service should not reflect poorly on them. I will PM those that have asked specifically to know who it was because I can add the caveat that I have stated above.

Now I am going to look back at the good ideas posted so far and see which seems to best solve my dilemma. Great to have fresh ideas on this one, I really had thought myself into a corner.

Matt


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Old 31-07-2016, 18:04   #18
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Re: Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
AGMs have different charging requirements entirely from flooded lead-acid (FLA) "standard" batteries. They are the most expensive, pointless choice for a "dock queen".
This is an interesting remark, and underscores one of the problems I have faced living in the part of Australia I live in.

AGMs SHOULD be more expensive, but because they can be shipped much more cheaply than FLAs, they allowed me to tap into the East Coast Australian prices without a freight penalty. So the pair of AGMs were HALF the price of a pair of FLAs from the same East Coast distributor.

So, it helps to know the whole story.

Otherwise, I agree, no real point to them for a dock queen, though the fact that the battery bank remained fully charged all the time should have suited them. That and being connected to good quality German made MPPT solar controller.

Matt
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Old 31-07-2016, 18:13   #19
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Re: Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

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I don't follow the logic of fitting AGMs if its only a dock queen sailing at weekends. Instead I would chose flooded lead acid which you can add water to and top up occasionally. A pair of 100AH should do for weekend sailing for the next 3 years. Since you have solar this should keep things sweet whilst you are not on board.

Is the combination of wind and solar over charging? Try just the solar assuming it is well regulated with a PWM or MPPT regulator.
Convoluted AGM logic explained in previous post, and the wind gen was never left running unattended.

Actually, the wind gen is a PITA at the moment because it cannot reach the charging voltages the AGMs require, being an older design of regulator. I am currently making my own programmable regulator for the wind gen for this very reason. Could not find any commercial devices that did what I wanted, and I had a spare Picaxe chip and a MOSFET or two lying around.

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Old 31-07-2016, 18:21   #20
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Re: Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

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I am thinking about these ... OFF Grid Solar Deep Cycle AGM Battery 6V 320AH FOR 12V 24V 48V Battery Bank | eBay . Currently doing a refit, my All Rounders have expired after 6 years. Also contemplating LiFePO 150ah at about AUD$1700.
I had a look at that link. Sadly, it is somewhat reminiscent of the link I followed that bought me the totally crap AGMs. I also note that the advert reads "new condition". Not sure what that means, but I suspect it does not mean "new".

Also, the warranty reads like a text book dire warning...

"All warranties are with an Australian company. Simply contact us if there may be a fault with you battery. We can help with fault finding the issue. If indicators show a manufacturers fault with the battery they must be shipped to our store for testing. If found to be faulty batteries will be replaced with the warranted period."

That last sentence scares me, not to mention the cost of shipping to the store.

So maybe as a stop-gap measure I would have considered those batteries, a year ago, but with my recently hard-won learning, I would no longer do so. (And for a "proper" bank I am going with Trojan, mainly because of the overwhelmingly positive experiences people on CF are reporting with them.)

Matt
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Old 31-07-2016, 18:27   #21
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Re: Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

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Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
Hi, having been down a similar path not so long ago, I ended up buying a set of six 235 ah Supercharge golf cart batteries from an online seller, based here in Sydney, for $200.00 each. They work perfectly, run the fridge 24/7 and rarely drop below 13 volts being charged from 190 watts of solar.
Works really well for me, and I should get at least 7 years from them (touch wood)
So what would I do ? I would spend the money and get a reasonable set of flooded lead golf cart batteries, set them up correctly and enjoy all the benefits now, not wondering if they were going to do the job.
Thank you, you present a compelling argument for doing it right from the start. Regarding the batteries you chose, can you tell me the model number (I am having trouble finding them) and how old are they now?

Matt
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Old 31-07-2016, 18:32   #22
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Re: Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CapnBazza View Post
I am thinking about these ... OFF Grid Solar Deep Cycle AGM Battery 6V 320AH FOR 12V 24V 48V Battery Bank | eBay . Currently doing a refit, my All Rounders have expired after 6 years. Also contemplating LiFePO 150ah at about AUD$1700.
Just further to this, you probably know already, but there are issues with AGMs on boats, keeping their charge levels up etc. Certainly on our boat I felt that AGMs would die very quickly once we were using the boat for real.

Matt
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Old 31-07-2016, 18:36   #23
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Re: Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

Id go some half decent cheaper FLA batteries, and milk them as long as you can. You should get at least 3 and probably more like 6 years out of them with proper care. When they start to age you can go the expensive batts, but by then new tech might be available, and you may be on the east coast near a cheaper supplier. Either that or wait till you or a freind is driving from melborne and can save on delivery costs?
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Old 31-07-2016, 18:49   #24
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Re: Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Thank you, you present a compelling argument for doing it right from the start. Regarding the batteries you chose, can you tell me the model number (I am having trouble finding them) and how old are they now?

Matt
Matt, I'm at home today, too bloody cold to go down to the boat, so I called Supercharge and they suggest that the # may be GC2-6VT. Their Adelaide office number is 08 83469112, in Regency Park.
I think they are about twelve months old, perhaps a little more.
Will check when next on the boat and let you know.
Cheers.
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Old 31-07-2016, 18:50   #25
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Re: Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

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Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
Id go some half decent cheaper FLA batteries, and milk them as long as you can. You should get at least 3 and probably more like 6 years out of them with proper care. When they start to age you can go the expensive batts, but by then new tech might be available, and you may be on the east coast near a cheaper supplier. Either that or wait till you or a freind is driving from melborne and can save on delivery costs?
Any brands you've found to be OK? Once I move away from the big brands like Trojan, I feel I have no compass on what represents decent or acceptable quality.
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Old 31-07-2016, 18:57   #26
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Re: Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

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Matt, I'm at home today, too bloody cold to go down to the boat, so I called Supercharge and they suggest that the # may be GC2-6VT. Their Adelaide office number is 08 83469112, in Regency Park.
I think they are about twelve months old, perhaps a little more.
Will check when next on the boat and let you know.
Cheers.
Maaaaate! Brilliant! Thank you.
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Old 31-07-2016, 19:10   #27
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Re: Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

I have always found Exide to be OK.

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Old 31-07-2016, 19:58   #28
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Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

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I have always found Exide to be OK.

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On my short list now. Kind of favouring the interim battery measure. It may be irrational but I really like the slide of setting off in three years with a brand new fresh battery bank. But I am also pricing Uncle Bob's idea as a counterpoint. FWIW the supercharge code is giving me references to Amptech batteries. Not sure if anyone knows anything about that brand?


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Old 31-07-2016, 20:02   #29
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Re: Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

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would check for a short somewhere. Turn all off and check to see if there is any draw on your batteries. Secondly, selectively turn on the normal stuff one by one, like bilge pump, etc and see what the draw is. Batteries do not die on their own unless they are cracked. You got a slow draw somewhere in the system.
Batteries can also get an internal short.
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Old 31-07-2016, 20:05   #30
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Re: Battery blues. Or why I am never as clever as I thought I was.

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
On my short list now. Kind of favouring the interim battery measure. It may be irrational but I really like the slide of setting off in three years with a brand new fresh battery bank. But I am also pricing Uncle Bob's idea as a counterpoint. FWIW the supercharge code is giving me references to Amptech batteries. Not sure if anyone knows anything about that brand?


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Matt, found the phone # of the guy I bought mine from, Batteries Online
02 97852444, he's Matt as well.
Perhaps a call to him may be enlightening.
Hope this helps, cheers.
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