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Old 14-02-2015, 11:35   #166
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

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Originally Posted by rognvald View Post
I truly don't understand what this discussion is about. We all know that the best battery is the one with the cheapest price. There's no difference in quality, performance or longevity. It's just like the difference between Mercedes Benz and Mitsubishi. They both start with "M" so the one with the cheapest price is the better car/deal. It seems to me it just takes some people a longer time to figure things out. Viva Costco, Viva Walmart, Viva Sam's Club . . . long live the price savvy, intelligent consumer. Captain R . . . pouring his first Russian Standard . . . shaken, not stirred.
He said with tongue firmly planted in cheek!
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Old 14-02-2015, 11:49   #167
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

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Originally Posted by socaldmax View Post
What I was referring to was the Interstate GC battery charging pdf that I linked to above. It gave 15.3v or 15.5v as the correct charging voltage for all of the GC batteries listed on their charts. It wasn't a matter of incorrect interpretation, it flat out states 7.65v for 6v GC batteries and 15.5 for 12v GC batteries.

I did a Google search for "interstate GC battery charging voltage" and it brings up 2 different documents listing 7.65v as the absorption voltage.

If those are for lab conditions only and 7.35v is the correct V for consumer grade equipment, then they should publish 14.7v ONLY, because I don't know anyone who has a lab grade charger or a huge commercial UPS system.

I used to write/edit tech manuals for ESM systems (as a subject matter expert) and I could attain receiver S/N ratio specs on a test bench in a SCIF that far exceeded what we could attain in the field with RF everywhere, especially the radio room with HF transceivers that can transmit hundreds of watts. So our published specs were given as what was attainable in the field, and (lab or depot specs.) This way there was no confusion as to what the highly trained tech. would actually see in the field vs in the lab.
We need to remember that Interstate is a "Sticker" they are not a battery manufacturer but rather nothing more than a brand label... The manufacturer of their original batteries was US Battery and they supplied that charging information when they were making that battery.... Good luck getting ANY info out of JCI.....

My rule for buying batteries is to buy them from a manufacturer who can get you the information you need such as Peukert, Coloumbic efficiency and proper charging protocols. Sadly JCI falls FLAT ON THEIR FACE in this regard.....

You can call Deka/East Penn and talk with people who know their stuff
You can call Trojan and do the same...
You can call US Battery and do the same...
You can call Crown and do the same...
You can call Superior Battery and do the same...
You can call Lifeline and do the same...
You can call Odyssey/Enersys and do the same...
You can call Northstar Battery and do the same...
You can call Rolls Battery and do the same...

You can not get any good information from JCI or most sticker shop batteries..........

BTW this is a response I got from Energizer regarding their JCI GC batteries that were sold at Sam's Club. These are the same JCI batteries Interstate is now using:

"Charging voltages should be 14.4 - 14.8 volts, float 12.9-13.1"
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Old 14-02-2015, 11:54   #168
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

"I think you're missing the 3rd type of buyer: the value buyer." Socaldmax


No, that's where I mentioned the difference between Grey Goose and Russian Standard. I am a "value buyer" but the value is always tempered by the overriding issue of quality. I think you and I are on the same page in regards to this conversation and I would agree with your well reasoned subsequent explanation. Good luck, good sailing . . . By the way . . . Have you seen Lady Macbeth lately? Capt. Rognvald--AKA: Rognvald MacDuff
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Old 14-02-2015, 12:17   #169
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
We need to remember that Interstate is a "Sticker" they are not a battery manufacturer but rather nothing more than a brand label... The manufacturer of their original batteries was US Battery and they supplied that charging information when they were making that battery.... Good luck getting ANY info out of JCI.....

My rule for buying batteries is to buy them from a manufacturer who can get you the information you need such as Peukert, Coloumbic efficiency and proper charging protocols. Sadly JCI falls FLAT ON THEIR FACE in this regard.....

You can call Deka/East Penn and talk with people who know their stuff
You can call Trojan and do the same...
You can call US Battery and do the same...
You can call Crown and do the same...
You can call Superior Battery and do the same...
You can call Lifeline and do the same...
You can call Odyssey/Enersys and do the same...
You can call Northstar Battery and do the same...
You can call Rolls Battery and do the same...

You can not get any good information from JCI or most sticker shop batteries..........

BTW this is a response I got from Energizer regarding their JCI GC batteries that were sold at Sam's Club. These are the same JCI batteries Interstate is now using:

"Charging voltages should be 14.4 - 14.8 volts, float 12.9-13.1"
Well, all I can say to that is: Thank you for all of the research and posting that you do. I try my best to be informed, and that includes listening to your sage advice.

Some people have the resources to just throw money at everything, many of us are looking for the best value possible and this is where all of your research, posts and website come to the rescue.

Thanks again! (I honestly feel people don't give enough thanks to those who have helped them as much as you have.)
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Old 14-02-2015, 12:21   #170
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

This. has been a lively discussion lately. In the quest for good 6v at a reasonable price. I read Maine Sail's article on 6v batteries and culled the hidden gem of Rebranded East Penn battereis as Duracell EGC2 and available at Sam's Club.
They are not sold at any Sam's Clubs near the SF Bay area, however I found what looks like the same battery at Batteries Plus Bulbs here in Santa Rosa. Given all the mystery surrounding the Costco batteries made by JCI, i would much prefer buying batteries from a more reputable and helpful manufacturer like East Penn. The batts at Bateries plus are labeled Duracell Ultra SLIGC115. They are 130AH for $109.00!
Thank-you Maine Sail.
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Old 14-02-2015, 12:26   #171
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

I've only installed several hundred batteries of all flavors so I don't have as much experience as most of you on this thread but I'll put in a couple of cheap comments anyway.

Off topic from OP but fits right in with this thread now:

The advantage of installation orientation is not the biggest one for AGMs versus wet cells. The biggest is that you don't have to water them and you don't have battery acid fluids around your batteries. You also don't have the level of corrosive vapors floating around. Orientation is a plus but I have never installed any for that reason. Two of the four wet cells (Surrettes) that came with my previous boat were stuffed into a corner and I had to use a mirror to check the water levels. Not good and I overfilled them at times. My AGMs were perfect for that situation.

Another advantage, which may be controversial since it was stated as to the opposite by one poster, is that they will survive without constant/frequent charging far longer than a wet cell, given that both were properly charged when laid up. But you should disconnect them to prevent some very small discharge of some sort, but that's true for both.

Another advantage for AGMs is that they will accept a faster/harder charge when low - IF - you have charge source that can provide it. They will accept a charge that would boil most wet cells. So if you have a big alternator, you can run the motor fewer hours.

Major disadvantage - price - big price difference. Another disadvantage if offshore cruising - getting replacements if you need them. If I were looking at new batts I would have to really be sure the extra price would be worth it. I think it would for me though.

ALL batteries need to be well maintained - charged well and charged before they get too discharged.

My recommendation for most boats who can't afford AGMs would be golf carts. They are far easier to move around. It takes more wire/terminals to hook them up though but that is a one time deal. You can also fit them in odd configurations easier than you can for 4D or 8D batts.

Most of the batteries I have installed were Interstate, but that is because the boatyard bought them. They were a better price than Trojans. I am not convinced by my experience in the field that Trojans are much more durably/reliable than other major brands and wouldn't get them unless I got a good price.

There can be a HUGE difference in quality between brands for the same battery type, and between batteries from the same brand for different uses. The internal construction is a big deal, especially for a boat which will be exposed to big seas and the pounding you get from those. That is not the same as a forklift or golf cart battery will ever see for its intended use, but they seem to be HD built since they are commercial. Battery construction is a big factor and you do pay for what you get, knowing that some brands are overhyped and you don't really get what they say you are getting.

Rolls/Surrettes wet cells for years and years were the gold standard for marine batteries. And they cost a pile of gold. They were/are about the same price as for good AGMs though. I would get AGMs over them.

I like AGMs and had a bank of 4 golf cart batteries from Lifeline that I, and the subsequent owner, got in total 10 good years out of - about half time on shore power and half on the hook or underway. I was anal about keeping them charged. My wife and I looked at the voltage several times a day. We also looked at amps and charging times and voltages. I put the batt monitor right where we went by it several times everyday. My wife would tell me if the batts got below 12.3v every time. I was more concerned about maintaining the batteries and having full reserves than I was about running the engine or genset (Honda 2kW). I think I equalized them one time in that time period.

I had an Optima for a start battery and house temporary backup and really liked it. It was a combined start/deep cycle. It was trickle charged from the main house bank. I would not buy another though because they are just too damn expensive.

IMHO - how well you maintain the batteries is just as important if not more important than the specific brand of battery, if you are comparing roughly equivalent good brands.

I just put a Costco battery in my SUV and expect it will last as long and perhaps longer than every other brand available. Time will tell but I did I much research on that as I could - which is actually pretty hard to do.

Price does matter. Where you are going and what conditions you will use your batteries in matters. How you charge and monitor your batteries matters. If you have wets, you absolutely need to follow good practice in maintaining them - water levels, use distilled water, keep them charged, don't let them get too discharged, don't overheat them, equalize as needed, etc.

I think temperature compensated charging is the way to go IF you can find a system that works. I had great trouble finding a system (sensors and regulator) that worked well. There may be excellent ones out now and I will be looking at that when I get around to redoing my battery system this coming year.

My two cents: go AGM if it fits your budget. Go golf carts as a close second. Get a good brand but it doesn't have to be Trojan to be good. I would definitely look at Costco if I were looking.

This is just me: While certainly legal, I don't think it is very ethical to use a good product for a year and then return it just because it fits your budget cycle when the product did everything it was supposed to do. Even if it will be taken back by the vendor with no questions asked. Not fair to the vendor and makes the price go up for everyone else. Pretty shameless behavior in my book. To each his own I guess. We would ban any customers who tried that with us - some did - and we did. They were politely told to take their business elsewhere.
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Old 14-02-2015, 12:26   #172
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Onemoreproject View Post
This. has been a lively discussion lately. In the quest for good 6v at a reasonable price. I read Maine Sail's article on 6v batteries and culled the hidden gem of Rebranded East Penn battereis as Duracell EGC2 and available at Sam's Club.
They are not sold at any Sam's Clubs near the SF Bay area, however I found what looks like the same battery at Batteries Plus Bulbs here in Santa Rosa. Given all the mystery surrounding the Costco batteries made by JCI, i would much prefer buying batteries from a more reputable and helpful manufacturer like East Penn. The batts at Bateries plus are labeled Duracell Ultra SLIGC115. They are 130AH for $109.00!
Thank-you Maine Sail.

That should be 230Ah...

I would guess they are the Deka GC15 and the should have a gray case..
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Old 14-02-2015, 13:01   #173
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by socaldmax View Post
Well, all I can say to that is: Thank you for all of the research and posting that you do. I try my best to be informed, and that includes listening to your sage advice.

Some people have the resources to just throw money at everything, many of us are looking for the best value possible and this is where all of your research, posts and website come to the rescue.

Thanks again! (I honestly feel people don't give enough thanks to those who have helped them as much as you have.)
MaineSail, in my book, is the most knowledgeable and helpful poster on this forum regarding electrical items and quite a few other topics. I have learned from and been challenged by many of his posts. Along with lots of other posters here. A great resource.
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Old 14-02-2015, 13:32   #174
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by exMaggieDrum View Post
I've only installed several hundred batteries of all flavors so I don't have as much experience as most of you on this thread but I'll put in a couple of cheap comments anyway.

Off topic from OP but fits right in with this thread now:

The advantage of installation orientation is not the biggest one for AGMs versus wet cells. The biggest is that you don't have to water them and you don't have battery acid fluids around your batteries. You also don't have the level of corrosive vapors floating around. Orientation is a plus but I have never installed any for that reason. Two of the four wet cells (Surrettes) that came with my previous boat were stuffed into a corner and I had to use a mirror to check the water levels. Not good and I overfilled them at times. My AGMs were perfect for that situation.

Another advantage, which may be controversial since it was stated as to the opposite by one poster, is that they will survive without constant/frequent charging far longer than a wet cell, given that both were properly charged when laid up. But you should disconnect them to prevent some very small discharge of some sort, but that's true for both.

Another advantage for AGMs is that they will accept a faster/harder charge when low - IF - you have charge source that can provide it. They will accept a charge that would boil most wet cells. So if you have a big alternator, you can run the motor fewer hours.

Major disadvantage - price - big price difference. Another disadvantage if offshore cruising - getting replacements if you need them. If I were looking at new batts I would have to really be sure the extra price would be worth it. I think it would for me though.

ALL batteries need to be well maintained - charged well and charged before they get too discharged.

My recommendation for most boats who can't afford AGMs would be golf carts. They are far easier to move around. It takes more wire/terminals to hook them up though but that is a one time deal. You can also fit them in odd configurations easier than you can for 4D or 8D batts.

Most of the batteries I have installed were Interstate, but that is because the boatyard bought them. They were a better price than Trojans. I am not convinced by my experience in the field that Trojans are much more durably/reliable than other major brands and wouldn't get them unless I got a good price.

There can be a HUGE difference in quality between brands for the same battery type, and between batteries from the same brand for different uses. The internal construction is a big deal, especially for a boat which will be exposed to big seas and the pounding you get from those. That is not the same as a forklift or golf cart battery will ever see for its intended use, but they seem to be HD built since they are commercial. Battery construction is a big factor and you do pay for what you get, knowing that some brands are overhyped and you don't really get what they say you are getting.

Rolls/Surrettes wet cells for years and years were the gold standard for marine batteries. And they cost a pile of gold. They were/are about the same price as for good AGMs though. I would get AGMs over them.

I like AGMs and had a bank of 4 golf cart batteries from Lifeline that I, and the subsequent owner, got in total 10 good years out of - about half time on shore power and half on the hook or underway. I was anal about keeping them charged. My wife and I looked at the voltage several times a day. We also looked at amps and charging times and voltages. I put the batt monitor right where we went by it several times everyday. My wife would tell me if the batts got below 12.3v every time. I was more concerned about maintaining the batteries and having full reserves than I was about running the engine or genset (Honda 2kW). I think I equalized them one time in that time period.

I had an Optima for a start battery and house temporary backup and really liked it. It was a combined start/deep cycle. It was trickle charged from the main house bank. I would not buy another though because they are just too damn expensive.

IMHO - how well you maintain the batteries is just as important if not more important than the specific brand of battery, if you are comparing roughly equivalent good brands.

I just put a Costco battery in my SUV and expect it will last as long and perhaps longer than every other brand available. Time will tell but I did I much research on that as I could - which is actually pretty hard to do.

Price does matter. Where you are going and what conditions you will use your batteries in matters. How you charge and monitor your batteries matters. If you have wets, you absolutely need to follow good practice in maintaining them - water levels, use distilled water, keep them charged, don't let them get too discharged, don't overheat them, equalize as needed, etc.

I think temperature compensated charging is the way to go IF you can find a system that works. I had great trouble finding a system (sensors and regulator) that worked well. There may be excellent ones out now and I will be looking at that when I get around to redoing my battery system this coming year.

My two cents: go AGM if it fits your budget. Go golf carts as a close second. Get a good brand but it doesn't have to be Trojan to be good. I would definitely look at Costco if I were looking.

This is just me: While certainly legal, I don't think it is very ethical to use a good product for a year and then return it just because it fits your budget cycle when the product did everything it was supposed to do. Even if it will be taken back by the vendor with no questions asked. Not fair to the vendor and makes the price go up for everyone else. Pretty shameless behavior in my book. To each his own I guess. We would ban any customers who tried that with us - some did - and we did. They were politely told to take their business elsewhere.
I certainly agree with everything you posted. Especially about pros/cons of AGMs, prices of GC batteries making them so attractive, etc.

I get a lot of trailer owners who bought it new and the dealer gave them one starting battery, which is useless. I end up advising them on GC batteries and getting a larger battery tray built, a better charger, possibly an inverter and/or solar power, etc. None of them want to spend the money on AGMs, and the batteries aren't getting subjected to angles, they're easy to get to so fairly easy to keep them topped off with water.

I've had varying degrees of success with batteries, just recently replaced a battery in my 97 Camry that amazed me, it was installed in 2002, for a total of 12 yrs of service! The original battery lasted from 1996 to 2002 (6 yrs), the Kirkland battery lasted from 2002 to 2014 (12 yrs) and now is on it's 3rd battery.

My diesel truck on the other hand, has 2 12v batteries in parallel. About 3-1/2 yrs ago, I bought them and within less than a yr they were flat. I checked for any slow current drains, found nothing. Recharged them, and they went flat any time the truck wasn't run for more than a month, which is pretty often. I separated them and discovered that one had an internal short. I finally took them out and returned them to Costco just before the 3 yr mark and got 2 new ones which have worked great for the last 6 or 8 months. I absolutely agree, people shouldn't take advantage of a liberal return policy. Heck, I barely have time to finally get a defective battery replaced, much less mess around with returning a perfectly good set of batteries every yr. I was pretty aggravated every time I went to start the truck and had to throw the charger on it before I could get somewhere, I'd be cursing myself for not replacing them after the last episode.
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Old 14-02-2015, 14:04   #175
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

Does anyone know if BJs sells batteries?
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Old 14-02-2015, 14:50   #176
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

Regarding USbattery's charging Specs, I've found my (12v) group 31 USBattery XC2 to need a bit more voltage than the specs dictate, when charged by my 198 watts of solar. 14.7v absorption for 2.5 hours and 13.1 float had my Specific gravity in the 1.215 range, after 14 cycles down to 65 to 75% SOC.

With much hydrometer testing I found that 14.9v for 2 hours, and a 15.3v finish for the rest of the afternoon, kept the battery fairly happy and a short duration EQ cycle was only needed after more than 15 cycles to get back up to 1.285 SG. I do realize this battery is Car Jar stuffed with deep cycle internals and is thus a compromise compared to a GC battery that was originally designed around deep cycling.

I am right around the 350 cycle mark on this battery, most of those below 75% SOC with about half at 50%. Solar accounts for 75% of the charging, alternator and Meanwell power supply account for the other 25%.

If other higher amp charging sources are employed like the alternator or adjustable voltage MeanWell power supply ( rsp-500-15), then these rather extreme voltages are not needed to max out the SG, on this battery. The MW can do 41 amps until near my chosen Absorption voltage setpoint, 14.7v, and the Group 31 battery gobbles it up, and seems to love it, though I know this high rate is abusive. Perhaps it is a masochist.

I wish manufacturers would post recommendations for when the primary recharge source is Solar, which ramps up slowly peaks then declines. How different would the requirements be if there was no CC bulk stage as is assumed on all those charts?

My opinion is that the voltages are too low, and the oft touted 1 solar watt per 1 AH of battery capacity is way too low. Getting recommendations along these lines past the lawyers would prove difficult though.

I deliberately lowered battery capacity by 100 AH to better meet USBattery's 10% rate of 13 amps for a group 31 at 130AH. I can only really achieve 13 amps around summer solstice, and a compressor fridge will take an average of 2.5 amps of that less than 20 minutes per hour.

Anyway in terms of $ per cycle life, I am already ahead with one group 31 battery compared to 2 group 27's, which were my previous larger house banks. They were in a difficult to access location and SG was not monitored as closely, and electrolyte levels also played a part in their early demise, when they aged and started using water more rapidly.

Anyway, I think the manufacturer charging Specs are a good starting point, but additional tweaking of Absorption voltage and durations and dipping a hydrometer is still required to get the maximum service life from a Flooded Lead acid battery, no matter who makes it.

I just don't trust any automatic undercharging source to do the job which its marketers proclaim it can do, and am glad my solar controller has adjustable setpoints, and why I chose to employ an adjustable voltage power supply as a manual charger, as if I could not change ABSV or its duration, my battery would have been returned on Cycle 15 because of dismal performance, through no fault of its own.

An EQ cycle and a bump up in absorption and turning float into a 15.3v finish/topping charge was all it took to get some good cycling from this particular battery. A hydrometer and noticing trends and tendencies of voltage under load, with the help of an Amp hour counter, allowed me to dial in a charging profile on this battery and get respectable performance from it.
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Old 14-02-2015, 15:20   #177
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

"Can you please post a link that that info? In the past, I found a chart that said 7.75v per battery for absorption, today I found a pdf that said 7.65v for absorption. It's pretty confusing. Those numbers are reinforced by their chart stating 15.5v for their 12v GC battery."


One thing we need to remember about information we gain off the internet is that the date information is often not clearly noted. Sometimes I have looked something up and after much research finely figured out that the information I was reading was 6 years out of date.....
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Old 14-02-2015, 16:57   #178
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

While I would love a rolls battery or two for the house bank, or even a T105 or four, my budget and quality standard ranges from can't afford it to hey, costco has batteries I can afford to buy. Alas most things boating or marine labeled items, I can't afford, so I get by.

Lucky for me I've never have to worry above Gucci or Prada, Benz or other top shelf items. My budget is firmly at the bottom shelf level, in the sub basement at k-mart or goodwill.

But then again I'll be out with the hook down tomorrow and even working from the boat, while at anchor. To me that is soooo sweet.

Oh, even I am impressed by the range of Maine sails electrical knowledge. His website has got gobs of good information on it. The Man knows his stuff.
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Old 14-02-2015, 17:18   #179
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

When I see postings such as "I bought XYZ batteries and they only lasted ABC" I wonder how many cycles they have used and I wonder if this negatively impacts peoples view of the value they got from those batteries.

If they are using more than 50% of the rated amp hours per day then I don't think most flooded batteries would last much more than a year, I think trojan flooded batteries max out at about 300 total lifetime cycles if they are only discharged down 20%, a lot less if they are discharged below 50%.

For us, we go through an measured cycle on our trojans about once every 11 days, a cycle for us being 100% of the total amp rating of the battery bank being consumed over a number of days (as Mastervolt measures it). We expect to get about 5 or 6 years from our $1000 bank of batteries.

Does Duracell and other value-oriented battery companies publish charts that measure cycles vs. discharges?
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Old 15-02-2015, 10:03   #180
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Re: Costco vs Trojan Batteries

Yes, when I looked at the Duracell Ultra batteries at Batteries Plus Bulbs, they had some specs printed up on a sheet of paper. However, whats nice about batteries made by East Penn, is that you can call and find out everything you want to know about them rather then speculate on an internet forum. I did that when I found a battery at Napa Auto Parts that looked just like the same group 31 sold at West Marine. The only difference was the extra 100.00 charged on the West Marine price tag.

I am going to call East Penn again tomorrow to confirm that they are the same battery Maine Sail recommends that is being sold at Sam's Club. It may also be the same GC2 battery being sold at West Marine for 80.00 more. West Marine sells rebranded Dekas, which are also an East Penn Battery.
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6V Trojan VS 8D Batteries alanperry Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 10 27-03-2007 12:33



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