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Old 25-06-2014, 10:41   #1
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Battery Craziness

Batteries aren't made of gold, even though we seem to talk about them like they are. So much obsessing over what in the bigger picture are inexpensive regular replacement required items.

I got my current set of 460AH house batteries for about $440 (6V golf cart batteries). To “protect” them I got a battery monitor for $170. Then to recharge them out on the mooring I spent $1600 on a solar setup. Granted the solar was also part of a cold beer project and I could have gotten a 100W panel to recharge the batteries from weekend use for probably $800 total project.

So let’s say that between the Battery Monitor and the cheaper solar it would be $970 to “protect” the batteries. All to get say 5 years instead of 3 years life out of the batteries. At 5 years life the cost of the batteries is $88/yr and at 3 it is $147 (rounded) for a yearly savings of $59. So to save $59/yr you spend $970, which is a 16 year pay back (if your batteries were/are lasting longer the payback gets even longer)

Does this make boaters cheap or just crazy?

Let’s stop obsessing about these stupid batteries so much!
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Old 25-06-2014, 10:47   #2
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Re: battery craziness

Good point, but you missed one component.
The solar and monitor will also ensure you always have cold beer....
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Old 25-06-2014, 10:50   #3
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Re: battery craziness

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Originally Posted by SVTatia View Post
Good point, but you missed one component.
The solar and monitor will also ensure you always have cold beer....
Yes that added $800 to my solar project, but that part of the project was priceless. Cold beer is worth spending on, but all this battery worry is crazy!
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Old 25-06-2014, 10:53   #4
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Re: battery craziness

I'm guessing you are not a candidate for 1000 amp hours worth of LiFePO batteries?
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Old 25-06-2014, 11:31   #5
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Re: battery craziness

So for those of us cruising and living on our boats full time, how do we charge these batteries without a large solar and/or windgen and/or generator?

I don't think these things "protect" the batteries. Batteries would have a one day lifespan without them.

Do you think food is "protecting" you?

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Old 25-06-2014, 11:57   #6
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Re: battery craziness

My point is that for those of us living on our boats full time and not connected to shore power, the money spent in charging and monitoring systems isn't optional, and has nothing at all to do with being cheap or crazy.

It is simply the price of admission.

And when cruising far and wide where batteries are often not even available, obsessing over them a bit is a good thing.

Mark
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Old 25-06-2014, 12:01   #7
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Re: battery craziness

And have you priced batteries lately?
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Old 25-06-2014, 12:07   #8
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Re: battery craziness

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
So for those of us cruising and living on our boats full time, how do we charge these batteries without a large solar and/or windgen and/or generator?

I don't think these things "protect" the batteries. Batteries would have a one day lifespan without them.

Do you think food is "protecting" you?
Mark
The OP should have used "preserve" instead of "protect".

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
...It is simply the price of admission.

And when cruising far and wide where batteries are often not even available, obsessing over them a bit is a good thing.

Mark
++1 on that - well said.
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Old 25-06-2014, 12:40   #9
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Re: battery craziness

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And have you priced batteries lately?
yeah. About two hours ago when I bought four of them. Have YOU priced them in the Turks and Caicos Islands lately?
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Old 25-06-2014, 12:57   #10
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Re: battery craziness

And for 1 boat buck, you can get a little Honda genny and with 50c of gasoline, charge those batteries daily as opposed to other charging methods, often costing way more.

I just priced my low cost option for golf cart batteries, my local Sam's club has them for $112 ea, before tax, comes to what, $1.12 per amp hour?
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Old 25-06-2014, 12:58   #11
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Re: battery craziness

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yeah. About two hours ago when I bought four of them. Have YOU priced them in the Turks and Caicos Islands lately?
Batteries have gone up an amazing amount in the last year or two. I have recently bought batteries both in Florida and back here in Toronto. Add freight to T & C (and any duty) and I can just imagine what they cost there so contrary to what sailorboy says they might just as well be made of gold.
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Old 25-06-2014, 13:02   #12
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Re: battery craziness

Sailorboy,
While I agree that there is way too much obsessing about batteries...it isn't that most of us are stupid...nor do most think that solar panels, etc. "save batteries"....(not sure where you got that from?)
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
Does this make boaters cheap or just crazy?
Let’s stop obsessing about these stupid batteries so much!
In my opinion, the solar arrays / charge controllers / etc. are NOT there to "save the batteries"....but rather it is a way to enjoy our lives (using electricity to: access weather info/forecasts, communicate with others, run refrigeration/freezers, make fresh water from salt water, listen to music / watch movies, etc.) WITHOUT having to burn diesel (or gasoline), WITHOUT the noise (and maintenance) of an engine/genset, WITHOUT being tied to a schedule of where/when/how to refuel and/or take-on fresh water, etc...
And, it is the batteries that allow the solar arrays to do this for us, 24 hours a day...

I myself have been using solar arrays since the early 1980's on-land in far remote locales (yes, as an example, more than 30 years ago, I installed a Shell solar panel to run a remote TV translator.....the batteries are changed out every 3 - 6 years, and the translator is now Digital/ATSC, but the same Shell panel is still working to this very day....and I've got many others as well), and on-board boats for 15+ years....and have never used them to "save batteries", nor have I ever met anyone who has attempted to use them to "save money on batteries", etc...(my current solar array on my present boat is, 520 watts of Kyocera panels with MPPT charge controllers...)

And, I cannot remember ever reading anything serious here, about using solar to save batteries nor save money on batteries, etc...

In fact it is the other way around....and has been for decades...
Batteries allow solar-power to "work"....i.e. "the sun don't shine at night!"...
Batteries allow us (whether on-board or on-land) to use electricity 24 hours a day, even when the sun isn't shinning....
It is the batteries that allow solar to be a viable source of electricity...
And, nobody should ever make decisions to buy/install solar panels, thinking it's going to save them money on batteries....
(while it might extend the life of someone's house battery bank, who'd not be able to get the batteries recharged to 100% very often, without a solar array's unique ability to "just work" non-stop without issue.....this should never be a significant factor in deciding on solar as an energy source on-board....'cause as you find, the math usually doesn't make sense....)



Sailorboy, I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm being contrary or nit-picky....that is NOT my intention at all...
Rather, I agree with you that buying/installing solar panels is not about "saving the batteries".....
I'm just taking it a few steps further and stating that:
a) I've never thought of it that way at all...
b) Few, if any, marine electrical professionals would ever think of it that way...
c) I cannot recall anyone here abouts on Cruiser's Forum saying that solar panels will save you lots of money on batteries...

d) And finally...it is actually the batteries that make solar work....not the other way around....and I hope everyone reading this thread comes away with this understanding....




Fair winds...and sunny skies!!

John
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Old 25-06-2014, 13:07   #13
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Re: battery craziness

gee

seagulls

I looked up the current battery price from where I got mine 3 years ago. They are the same price now as then. Batteries don't normally just die, there are clues ahead of time. If wherever you are the batteries are made of gold, plan around it some and replace them a year sooner somewhere where are they are just lead and lose the $88 worth of life left.

It also occurs to me that my fairly small house's electric bill would pay for new batteries every few months yet the ones on the boat last years. Batteries are pretty cheap!
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Old 25-06-2014, 13:43   #14
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Re: battery craziness

Replaced the battery bank on my Hunter 450 four years ago for $1300 purchased through Port Supply. Replaced our current set on the Oyster two years ago for $1800 in the UK.

I don't think I'd consider those prices cheap. Going to do my best to make them last. No solar, just genset and diesel.
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Old 25-06-2014, 13:47   #15
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Re: battery craziness

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yeah. About two hours ago when I bought four of them. Have YOU priced them in the Turks and Caicos Islands lately?
The price you pay for living in paradise. Don't think you're going to get a whole lot of sympathy on this forum.
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