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Old 14-12-2018, 00:42   #1
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Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

I’ve read several other posts through the search on this site but still have questions and would like reassurance that I’m not making a mistake. I’m a full time captain but ignorant and new to larger sailboats. Just bought my first 40 custom ted brewer design cruiser and need some serious help. I bought the boat on Oahu and made my first crossing to Maui a few weeks ago where she will stay on mooring. The boat has four panels going into a solar controller. I had 18 something volts going into the controller and 12.7 coming out of the controller. The previous owner has the starting batt for the main hooked up with the four mismatched bank batteries. He was on shore power with a ten amp charger. He had a switch in the off position coming from the panels before the solar controller.
The starting battery is not connected to the bank now and solar power is flowing.
My plan is to buy four agm lifeline six volt batteries off amazon. Free shipping to Maui is key. What is y’alls opinion on the right marriage battery charger? Assume I’ll be running normal day 12 volt stuff. Reefer 12 volt norcold freezer. Five hundred watt inverter for tv cell phone charging. Electrascan head unit I may or may not use depending on what happens when I get the correct voltage needed to operate it. It’s sunny everyday on the west side of Maui. I don’t plan on leaving Maui for a few years or more. I have room for six batteries if that’s an option or needed, I don’t think I need. I have a Honda 2000 that is my shirepower if battery charging will ever be needed. I have a decent battery charger bought from Napa that has two, ten, and twenty amp settings along with the option to charge agm on it.
My research shows agm is the way to go. The previous owner has two lead and two whatever’s that are in the last pic I think.
Thanks for talks help. I’ve been the newbie and the teacher before so I know the learning curve and appreciate people’s input who put the time in themselves to help others. Mahalos.
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Old 14-12-2018, 00:47   #2
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Re: Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

Aaaaaaa
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Old 14-12-2018, 06:07   #3
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Re: Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

AGMs have specific advantages, and Lifeline makes good batteries (we have a bank of those)... but AGMs also come with disadvantages, too... so I guess I'd think a bit about why you want AGMs instead of FLAs. Then if still the case...

No Lifeline dealers on Maui? I got serious a discount from the local battery warehouse... just for asking.

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Old 14-12-2018, 06:41   #4
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Re: Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

A Brewer brother.


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Old 14-12-2018, 06:48   #5
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Re: Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

Along with Lifeline, Northstar and Odyssey are great AGM. IMO Full River OK if cheaper per AH.

But, you are better off buying locally. Call manufacturers and ask for sources nearby, good deep cycle batts are rarely sold through consumer retail channels.

And yes, please only use AGM if actually needed, cost more and shorter lifespan, trickier to care for, less robust and less forgiving of suboptimal care.

Good FLA include Rolls Surrette at the top, Crown, Superior, US Battery, Deka and Trojan.

The best battery value by far is Duracell (actually Deka/East Penn) FLA deep cycle golf cart batteries, 2x6V, on the mainland around $200 per 200+AH pair from BatteriesPlus or Sam's Club. Deka labeled same batts also sold at Lowes.

If Trojan T-105s are available within 15% $ per AH of those, also excellent value.
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Old 14-12-2018, 07:08   #6
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Re: Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

Yeah I have 8 T-105s. They need replacing now but I got 7.5 years out of them.
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Old 14-12-2018, 07:30   #7
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Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

I have Lifelines because my battery box is too short to accept a flooded golf cart battery.
Most people are initially drawn to AGM batteries due the the maintenance free aspect of them.

However, there is no free lunch, yes AGM are maintenance free, however they require special care, they need to be completely 100% fully charged, often, which is very difficult on Solar alone, or they will die an early death.

Good quality golf cart batteries are much cheaper, and donít require nearly as much attention to charging as do AGM and will likely last far longer on Solar alone as they are more tolerant to partial charge cycles.
Plus they are a whole lot cheaper to replace when the time comes, cause batteries are an expendable item.
You hear tales of them lasting 10 years etc., but I believe that is very rare and often I suspect those batteries lived on shore power floating and not on a boat that was being live on and on Solar alone.
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Old 14-12-2018, 09:07   #8
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Re: Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

Some FLA owners do get over a decade, even 12-13 years. Three factors at play:

Degree the bank is truly coddled, mfg care specs followed, yes easier to do with frequent overnights on mains and/or full-time paid crew.

Design and build quality of the bank, a bank of huge 2V Rolls Surrette is hardly comparable to T-105s.

Adherence to a standard EoL definition. Most owners, especially those sticking close to home (or at least not long-term cruising to primitive locations),

will just replace the bank when there are signs of (imminent) failure obvious to the layman. With undemanding use patterns and a bit of luck, that may be years after the bank's (should have been) EoL point. With high risk of an "unexpected high energy failure" event 8-)

To get an apples-to-apples comparison on longevity, that EoL point needs to be standardized, whether 65% or 80% SoH will make a huge difference.

And of course knowing when that time has come requires periodic load testing compared to an after-commissioning benchmark.
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Old 14-12-2018, 10:05   #9
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Re: Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

I am a newbie, what does FLA stand for?
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Old 14-12-2018, 10:20   #10
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Re: Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

Full load amperage.
Looks like Loweís has Deka for 144 but six to 8 weeks delivery time. I have to wait till a couple other places to open to see what they have in stock this morning. Thereís so many options itís crazy. Iím also open to lithium batteries. Whole mother can of worms.
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Old 14-12-2018, 10:52   #11
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Re: Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajaddeo View Post
I am a newbie, what does FLA stand for?

Flooded Lead Acid.
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Old 14-12-2018, 12:46   #12
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Re: Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

We switched out our 3 old Interstate AGMs for 3 Odyssey AGMs when we bought our boat in '14. We didn't know much about AGMs at the time. It has been quite a learning experience.

For example, we learned our solar controller was not able to produce the required voltages for full charging. We also leaned our solar panel was too small to give enough watts each day to top up.

So, for the last four years we have most likely not been getting the full charge often enough for long battery life. We now own a portable charger designed for Odyssey AGMs and we do a dockside reconditioning cycle a few times each summer to (hopefully) reduce sulfation

We do plan a larger solar panel (320 watts)in '19, and we've already switched to an adequate new controller that can be custom programmed for the voltages/times we need. We're justing waiting for the existing batteries to give up the ghost then we'll replace them, maybe with Lifeline, but we've heard that the Firefly brand does better with frequent partial state on charge conditions (comments welcome on this).

Do we like AGMs? Yes. Our battery racks are under the cockpit sole in our smallish Cape Dory 31. Both of us have physical restrictions that make frequent battery inspections and filling an issue. We do check cable tightness and battery cleanliness often using long tools and a mirror.

As for shortened life on our present Odysseys, can't say at this point. They're
over 4 years old and still take a full charge. We'll see in the spring.

Best of luck to you and a very Happy Holiday!

Jenn and Terry
Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
Kearsarge, New Hampshire
Cape Dory 31 "Glissade"
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Old 14-12-2018, 13:21   #13
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Re: Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim francis View Post
Full load amperage.
Looks like Loweís has Deka for 144 but six to 8 weeks delivery time. I have to wait till a couple other places to open to see what they have in stock this morning. Thereís so many options itís crazy. Iím also open to lithium batteries. Whole mother can of worms.
I was wondering about the solar controller issue also. I had 12.7 coming from the controller. Iím kinda leaning towards Trojans. I found a good cart store on Maui that sells them for 184 a piece. The more Iím learning about the bank batteries the more Iím in a way confused on what I need. I donít want to get in a hurry and waste money but Iím ready for new batteries since Iím staying on the boat everyday when not at work.
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Old 14-12-2018, 13:31   #14
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Re: Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

Youíve got a lot of reading to do.

Golf cart batteries are the least easily murdered batteries, for your present state this is good.

Forget AGM or lithium until you get a handle of what you think you want or know.

Youíre going to need a lot of solar to support your refrigeration loads alone. Something on the order of 600 watts would be a good start.

The 10 amp charger is crap, as is the other one you mention. Minimum 40 amps, better 100 to best utilize the generator run time.
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Old 14-12-2018, 13:42   #15
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Re: Bought a new boat that needs new agms?

Discussion of AGMs here, along with lots of other stuff, PLUS suggestions for gasp!!! books!


Electrical Systems 101
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