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Old 31-08-2009, 08:50   #1
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Best Batteries for Solar Charge

I just returned to port after several weeks of anchoring out, and my house bank--two 4Ds--won't hold a full charge. I'm looking to replace them with either gel or AGM batteries, since the price difference is negligible, and I'm wondering which type of batteries works better with a combination solar/wind charging array. We have 260 watts of solar and 200 watts of wind.

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Old 31-08-2009, 10:11   #2
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Both are OK, but I would go for quality AGM.

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Old 31-08-2009, 12:03   #3
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Depends on your use. AGM will be damaged if not kept near fully charged, gel is more tolerant of sitting around partially discharged, but will be damaged if overcharged. If you use weekends or short periods AGM may be better, but if you liveaboard for long periods, go with gels. Also look at the number of discharge/charge cycles each battery is rated for--both gels and AGM's vary with manufacturer and model.
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Old 31-08-2009, 12:55   #4
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Some folks still love gel, but most of the world seems to think they are obsolete for good reason and that AGM is a better way to go.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:14   #5
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We have installed 4x110A 12V Sonnenschein Prevailer batteries for household in 1991 and since then we used battery chargers of different brands(110V and 220V) and back in Europe we installed a Victron Phoenix 12/60 charger in 1998. We lived onboard for a couple of years and the last few years we are using the sailboat for 3 month at least continuously. While sailing/on the hook solarpanels (2x55Amp) and a Air-X windgen. charging enough for our purpose. Large coolboxes (usa build boat), not that big cooling unit (draws ca. 3Amp - no freezing, just cooling) and as long as the white wine and the italian proseco are cool, the lady smiles.
I wonder if this life cycle of more then 18 years is exceptional for batteries.
So yes, I recommend by experience the gel type.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:53   #6
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thanks, guys!

Thanks for the input. We installed a couple Lifeline AGMs. It seemed that their more efficient charge acceptance rate made them ideal for a system using solar. The final selling point, however, was that these batteries store 210AHs apiece, more than the flooded or gell 4Ds. Hard to pass that up!
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