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Old 29-05-2008, 21:29   #1
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Battery selection and charging

Need your help here. My batteries need replacing and I've got questions on how to continue. I have two 12 volt starting batteries and six 6 volt house batteries. All wet cells. I'm running a 26 year old Alder Barbour frig, radar, vhf, depth, knot, wind, auto pilot, gps, ais and a few other gadgets so I have a bit of a demand for juice.

I charge the starting batteries with a C Charger 3000 and the house with a Heart Interface Freedom model 20. Have two alternators on the engine--again one for each bank.

I need to have suggestions on the type of batteries you have on your boats and why. Wet, agm, or gel. Each has its plusses and minuses. Wet is cheaper than gels and AGMs. Gels last longer than wet and hold their charge longer. Each has it's trade offs.

My supplier has brought in Deka Seamates--8A27M and 8AGC2. I've never heard of them. I've been told by several people that Trojans were the way to go. Opinions?

Is my charging system the proper type to charge wet as well as gel? The owner's manual says yes. I've heard that AGMs require a different charging system. Yes or no?

I'm reading "The 12 Volt Bible" now to get a better education on the subject but really need everyones suggestions as to which way to go. At this stage I'm battery illiterate.
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Old 30-05-2008, 18:08   #2
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Suggest you review this rather extensive thread on the subject:
AGM Batteries vs Wet Cell

Deka Seamates are manufactured by East Penn...one of the larger manufacturers and generally provide good performance and value...but are not the "BEST" (or most expensive) AGM's out there.
I think that most people telling you that "Trojans are the way to go" are probably referring to their 6V flooded batteries which are quite good and expensive for flooded technology but have a big following among sailors.. They also make both 6 & 12V AGM.
The thread linked above should help you decide which is best for your particular needs.

AGM's require different charging parameters than flooded but CLOSE. They do need some care in charging to realize their full potential life. GELS require a MUCH different charging parameter than flooded. In any case, you should be using 3 stage chargers and regulators for ANY batteries on board and almost all of them have settings for the different type batteries. Your Heart is a 3 stage for sure. Your C Charger 3000 is a ferro resonant single stage if I am not mistaken and is fine for starting batteries....but keep it away from your deep cycle house bank! Your alternators should also have 3 stage external regulators...at least the one for the house bank.
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Old 30-05-2008, 19:02   #3
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I don't think there is a need for 2 starting batteries. On my 35' boat I use a car battery for starting. Specifically a 49-DL from Auto Zone. It has 850 cold cranking amps, and a 7 tear warrantee, with a free replacement for 2 years. It has been fine for cranking my Perkins 4-107 Diesel. Before I had that battery, I used a much smaller one and never had problems. I only charged it when it sounded a little weak cranking. Wire it to a battery switch to allow the house batteries to start the motor if the starting battery fails, and for charging. I have a switch, so I can charge just the starting battery.

Up until now I have used 2-6 volt golf cart batteries as my primary house bank and a group 27 deep cycle 12 volt battery as a second house bank, for back up. I mainly used the golf cart bank.

When I install the new batteries I am thinking of using 4 golf cart batteries in 1 bank, for 12 volts, and about 400 amps. With a fair amount of solar panels, I don't expect the charge to drop below 60 %. The less you discharge the batteries, the longer they will last.
I run an Adder Barbour and the usual other stuff.

Not sure how much you are away from the shorepower, but for extended time away from it, if you don't have a wind gen, or solar panels, even with 2 alternators, you should use some "smart regulator" or other charge controller. Standard regulators cut the charge rate back and cannot charge the batteries fast enough, unless you do a lot of motoring.

I use a 108 amp Delco alt. with a manual charge controller. When ancohoring or raising anchor, using a charge controller, you can put a lot of amps back in the batteries. A 108 amp alt. can be run putting out about 70 amps continous with no problem.

I like the golf cart batteries, because you can push a lot of amps in them, and not worry much about the voltage getting too high. I charge mine up to about 14.6 volts. As Ed Beyn told me, "if you don't have to add water to your batteries now and then, you are not charging then enough"

I've used a wind gen for 3 years and have switched to solar.
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Old 30-05-2008, 22:25   #4
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Hmmm... I like gels and AGM batteries, but I don't recall anyone saying they last longer than wet cells. I believe conventional wisdom says something of the reverse. A very good wet (Surette, Rolls) carry warranties of up to 10 years. I thought the AGM's and Gels push it at 5 years. The gels and AGMs are better technology, they accept charge faster but the downside is they are more sensitive to charging abuse than the wet cell.
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Old 30-05-2008, 23:52   #5
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Take a look in the study hall Rick has some good explanation on the subject. I too used to think Gel and AGM, but Rick has been doing some testing with som new ons and it seems that is not the case anymore.
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Old 31-05-2008, 03:02   #6
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Hi All,
Just came back from local boat store with similar quandry. Currently have 2 N70 batteries wired in parallel (1, 2 both & all) switch with very basic lighting and bilge pump requirements (timber ketch so bilge pump is used a bit) and looking to upgrade batteries and solar panels in 2 stages. We are on shore power atm but will be going to swing mooring very soon. My question is, 1) Can I have a house bank in parallel (say of golf cart batteries @ 12v) connected to the selector switch even though the charge rate for these will be different to that of the marine battery currently used to crank engine?
2) Do I need to further isolate the house bank for motoring?
And 3) Does this make sense or am i just waffling on?
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Old 31-05-2008, 05:54   #7
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Take a look in the study hall
....
I have always just followed a link in a post to see this stuff.

I went to the home page and found only the "library" where I would study.

What am I missing when I am looking for the "study hall?"

Thanks.
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Old 31-05-2008, 06:29   #8
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I had good luck once with generic "golf cart" batteries from the local battery warehouse. These are basically Trojan style batteries. Now I have switched to AGM's 1 y ear ago.
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Old 31-05-2008, 07:36   #9
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Rolls (Surrette) flooded cell, 6 volt, 2 sets of 4D batteries, 2 banks (port and starboard), with platinum screen vent caps (top off batteries every six months, at most). Note the Pulse-Tech battery conditioner to eliminate sulfation. Last set of batteries lasted fourteen years. And where did the information come that ANY other lead acid battery type lasted longer than flooded cell? Compared side by side, with respect to duration of charge, amp hours per pound, lifetime cycles, $$ per amp hour over the battery life, and amp hours per pound of deadweight, nothing exceeds a flooded cell battery. The only place the AGM, Optima and other non-flooded cell battery excels is when they must be located in awkward locations where service is spotty. Why do you suppose Rolls and Surrette have endured on the market? They are WAY more expensive in the short run, and way more cost efficient in the long term, both in cash outlay over time and expenditure of stored electrons. But there I go, proselytizing again. Sorry, I just have been installing batteries for too many years in other people's boats, wondering why they don't get it. It's almost as futile as getting them to consider the Blake (Lavac) toilet instead of those other competing assemblies of springs, rubber gaskets and leather seals. OOps! It just slipped out.
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Old 31-05-2008, 20:12   #10
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Damo...given your configuration...suggest you look at a Xantrex echo charger to take care of the starting battery and use the main charging on the house bank.

RoyM...while there is no denying that the Surettes are high quality...expense per amp hour is dependent not only on cycle delivered over the life of a battery but also on charging efficiency and cycles and depth of cycles used per year. For some, Surrettes may be the MOST economical battery one can buy. BUT they do NOT beat the economics of a good AGM in all circumstsances. VonWentzel actually illustrates the Rolls vs. the Lifeline AGM in a 3D grid here:
Cost comparison of AGM, Gel, and flooded batteries

He also provides (and explains) an input grid on the next pageso you can enter your (our your customers) intended use and charging parameters and compare any batteries you choose to if you know their specs. I would note that he credits the rolls with over 3x the cycles of the lifelines in his calculations so this may of interest to you to see HOW he arrives at lifelines being the best value per dollar spent in CERTAIN situations.
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Old 01-06-2008, 01:21   #11
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What am I missing when I am looking for the "study hall?"
We have "study halls" at the top of each Topic Forum. Well some of them anyway. They are sticky's.
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Old 01-06-2008, 10:06   #12
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We have "study halls" at the top of each Topic Forum. Well some of them anyway. They are sticky's.
Thank you!
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Old 02-06-2008, 18:30   #13
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I think Von Wetzel factors in the cost of your time in maintaining the battery, That's where the "maintenance free" batteries recoup a significant portion of the cost differential. I don't recall whether he factors in installation cost? If I have to replace a battery half as often, I'd love it!!!! Remember not only to factor in the direct charges, but also the research time, shopping, waiting, following up, frustration, cleaning up the mess before the installers, cleaning up the mess after the installers...

He gets the lifecycle life from the manufacturers! It is buried in all their literture, somewhere

Excellent analysis an spreadsheet by the way!!! He also has one for power management that I have recomended for years now!!
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Old 02-06-2008, 18:47   #14
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I just replaced the batteries in our Monterey 298ss sport boat. It originally had 2 regular sized car type batteries rated at 100 amp hours each.

I bought 2 8D batteries from Sam's club manufactured 5/08 for $129 each. I believe that they are 400 amp hours each.

We just had our battery charger fail on our Sea Ray 460, so I am thinking of replacing its two 8D batteries with Sams Club as well.

I suspect these aren't as good as the $500 8D batteries I see in marine stores, but I bet they are better than 25% as good! And they have excellent warranties.

When I lived in Florida and had my Irwin 38 sailboat, I bought "Stowaway" marine batteries at Sam's club for cheap. They always seemed to work out great.
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Old 03-06-2008, 22:01   #15
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jzk...that is a good price for flooded 8d's. Do they say DEEP CYCLE 8D on them, because many truck applications are not and you could find yourself with a much shorter than 25% life in a deep cycle application. Pls. advise as this would be an excellent choice for many folks who need capacity but not necessarily AGM's if it does say deep cycle.
If they ARE deep cycle batteries then their 20hr. amp hour rating will be in the 225-250AH range EACH typically. Could be a bit less but won't be more.
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