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Old 11-09-2010, 12:53   #31
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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Your battery rep is either misinformed or just plain lying to you.

I hear & see statements like this bantered around as fact often, and while close, it is not quite true. While there are only a hand full of US makers left there are other choices than just Trojan & Exide or Trojan & Johnson Controls..

U.S. Battery - Stand alone brand builds there own batteries in three US plants. Excellent quality used by many golf courses and in industrial vehicles.

Trojan - Builds their batteries in the US

Johnson Controls - US maker of batteries for many name brands like Sears' DieHard, Auto Zone's Duralast, Wal*Mart's EverStart & MAXX Marine, Motorcraft, Optima, etc..

GNB/Exide - Makes Exide and many other "brands" here in the US

Superior - Small US battery maker who builds under their own brand and also does much private labeling. Builds a very good quality 6V GC2 battery.

Rolls/Surette - Nova Scotia maker of very high quality deep cycle batteries. Used to be in NH.

Deka/East Penn - Another large independent US battery maker located in PA. They make the batteries for American Battery, West Marine and many others.

Concorde/Lifeline - Independent family owned maker of batteries in California.

Crown - Independent manufacturer in Ohio.


The above list is of actual makers, who have factories, & build batteries for themselves and other brands in the US or Canada (Rolls/Surette). There are probably a few more I missed but a large number of the batteries are made by that list..

If you want to go to over seas you'll find Vision in China as the worlds larges sealed lead acid battery maker, GS Yuasa and many, many more that are also imported here with a list far too long to compile.

By the way as far as I can tell good old American made AC Delco batteries are now imported by Powermax and made in Ningbo, China!
So you are saying Interstate does not build their own? It would be great if we could determine who supplies Interstate, Costco, etc. I understand these suppliers can change, but it would still be nice to know who the suppliers are.
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Old 11-09-2010, 14:12   #32
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So you are saying Interstate does not build their own? It would be great if we could determine who supplies Interstate, Costco, etc. I understand these suppliers can change, but it would still be nice to know who the suppliers are.

They are made by Johnson Controls just like Wal*Mart, Sam's Club and many other brands are. I don't know who is making Costco's batteries as we don't have a Costco locally.. Could be anyone on that list or a foreign supplier.
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Old 11-09-2010, 15:06   #33
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Interstate Batteries, is a privately-owned company, that markets batteries manufactured by Johnson Controls through nearly 300 independent distributors.
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Old 11-09-2010, 15:11   #34
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I would think that even within Manufacturers lines the quality may vary. Some folks may specify a higher quality battery than others. I think this is probably similar to oil filter manufacturers who are the same way. So, because Johnson makes a cheap battery for WalMart does not mean all their batteries are poorly made. That would be my hypothesis anyways.

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Old 11-09-2010, 15:29   #35
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My recolection was $110 but the price advertised is $115...

FWIW, I paid $86 (plus core) for T105s earlier this year in SW Florida
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Old 11-09-2010, 16:20   #36
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They require more maintenance than AGM batteries and cost more to recharge and make more heat due to the lower absorption rate. The cost of the battery is not the whole cost. The penalty for improper maintenance is also pretty high. Anecdotal stories can't really sort out the abuse from the battery quality.
My T105's are just over 3 years old and I have needed to add a small quantity of water to them twice during this time. Hardly much maintenance, but more than AGM's.

The penalty for letting the water get so low that the plates are exposed on a flooded battery shortens the capacity somewhat (depends on the exposure level). The penalty for not regularly charging AGM's to full capacity (pretty much every day) is dead batteries within a year. That's a pretty high penalty, and one I see being paid regularly out here.

For a flooded battery, letting the water go so low as to expose the plates would take gross negligence and laziness. For AGM's, not getting a regular full charge is almost unavoidable when out cruising. In our two years out now, I have seen many boats with AGM's failing early (many within a year) and no boats with flooded batteries failing early.

AGM's can theoretically accept charge faster than flooded. In practice, however, if you are full time cruising in the tropics you probably have a large capacity bank in a high temperature environment. Unless you have a whopper of a charger (200A or more) and the means to run it, you will not be able to charge either type of battery bank at its full acceptance rate. Even if you had the charging ability, the hot environment will throttle back the current anyway.

For full-time cruising in the tropics, there is no time advantage over flooded in charging AGM's. This is empirical evidence gathered by talking with a lot of cruisers in the tropics with both types of batteries and the usual charging systems.

For full-time tropical cruising, the theoretical advantages of AGM cannot be utilized, save the ability to mount them sideways or in spots that are not easily accessible for checking water levels.

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Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
I would use AGM batteries as I really liked them in my last boat. You need a tight charging system for AGM batteries as they don't take being improperly charged very well. You still need an equalization but the maintenance on them is minimal and the higher absorption rate gives you a steeper profile and saves fuel. If you mostly use shore power to charge and have a decent charger then the fuel savings start to go away.
You elude to the quick death of AGM's without regular full and proper charging. This is correct, and considering that flooded batteries take improper charging very well (poor phrase on my part, but they are far more forgiving of abuse), you seem to contradict yourself on the suitability and ease of use of AGM's over flooded - particularly the penalty of improper care.

Maintaining a "tight charging system" while full time cruising is not easy, and often not possible. I disagree that you will save fuel (see my arguments above about charging times).

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Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
T105's for $110 I really don't think so. It's been a very long time since they sold that cheap. I like them myself and replaced mine about 4 years ago and they are doing fine. Well cared for you can get 7 years maybe 10 under perfect condions or light use.

I know where I bought mine and you can't buy them wholesale for $110 even 3 years ago.
Down here in Grenada Budget Marine sells T105's for $125 USD charged and delivered to your boat. And Budget is the most expensive chandlery around.

I bought our T105's 3 years ago for $95 USD each in the Northeast US.

My intention was not to start a debate on AGM vs flooded, but I see a lot of people out here replacing early fail AGM's and wanted to correct some misconceptions and add some experience regarding using both types in full time cruising.

Mark
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Old 11-09-2010, 16:55   #37
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Thomas, your T105s are $281 each this side of the pond .

We use Varta leisure instead, which appear half way between the budget brands and the likes of Trojans. Sadly Rolls AGMs are even more expensive. I am not recommending Varta to you, just wonder if there is another option? We do however like them this side of the pond and past experience of using them in diving ribs shows they do take shocking abuse. On the yacht I have replaced one when the battery master switch didn't disconnect but the other at 4 years old is fine and will be swopped out next spring. 5 years for a flooded lead acid battery is fine in my books rather than try to drive them to the very end due to the hassle if it fails during a trip.

Varta Hobby Wet Lead Acid Deep Cycle Batteries

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Old 11-09-2010, 17:22   #38
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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
They are made by Johnson Controls just like Wal*Mart, Sam's Club and many other brands are. I don't know who is making Costco's batteries as we don't have a Costco locally.. Could be anyone on that list or a foreign supplier.
Thanks. I have a local Costco, so if you'll tell me what you'd do if you had a local Costco, I'll give it a shot. Are there markings on the batteries or do you "ask the staff"?
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Old 11-09-2010, 18:04   #39
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Thanks. I have a local Costco, so if you'll tell me what you'd do if you had a local Costco, I'll give it a shot. Are there markings on the batteries or do you "ask the staff"?
Just did a quick google search and Consumer Reports states that Kirkland/Costco batteries are also made by Johnson Controls..
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Old 11-09-2010, 20:08   #40
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The biggest culprit for flood battery failure is poor charging systems that don't compensate for temperature, failure to maintain fluid levels and failure to be equalized properly. They require more maintenance than AGM batteries and cost more to recharge and make more heat due to the lower absorption rate. The cost of the battery is not the whole cost. The penalty for improper maintenance is also pretty high. Anecdotal stories can't really sort out the abuse from the battery quality.

The level of use plays a critical part. Using batteries 30 days a year isn't the same as every day. The room for error decreases as the number of days increases.
As I stated, sulfation is the major cause for battery failure. You say that poor charging systems that do not compensate for temperature is the biggest culpert for failure. An AGM battery does not require temperature protection during charge mode?

Most modern 3 state charger today offer temperature probes to mount directly at the battery. Further you mention that improper monitoring of battery fluid plays a critical part. Yes of course it does. But again a modern 3 stage charger properly used will not boil the electolyte allowing the battery to sulfate. YOu go on to mention failure to properly equalize the battery which by the way knocks sulfur off the plates which delays sulfation. Again...most good modern 3 stage provide equalization features.

Sure you can destroy any battery even an AGM by discharging beyond their safe limits or by charging them without monitoring their temperature.

Improper usage causes sulfation, sulfation results in failure be it a wetted cell, gell cell and the AGM.

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Old 11-09-2010, 21:27   #41
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If you want to know who makes what batteries there is a page that lists almost all of the manufacturers and the brand names they are sold as. Battery Manufacturers and Brand Names List The truth is (as has been stated) most batteries sold in the US and Canada are made by a handful of companies and then third party branded and sold by Sears, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Costco, and many others. Johnson COntrols is probably the largest manufacturer in the US and Vision in China is by far the world's largest.

There are a lot of myths about batteries, which is best, and so on. Also the average consumer misunderstands a lot about batteries mainly because of all the advertising hype. I have written a couple of articles on this subject.

Batteries and chargers. http://newboatbuilders.com/docs/Batt...ndChargers.pdf
Battery Sizes (Does Size really matter?) http://newboatbuilders.com/docs/Battery_Size.pdf

I also have a section on my web site devoted to Electricity and Electrical systems on boats. Here is a link to the page on batteries. http://newboatbuilders.com/pages/electricity3.html

By far the best site on this is Bill Dardens' Car and Deep Cycle Battery FAQ Car and Deep Cycle Battery FAQ, Battery Manufacturers and Brand Names List, and

There are significant differences between starting batteries and deep cycle batteries. Most batteries sold in the US as "Marine Batteries" are neither fish nor fowl. They are combo batteries designed to do both with some thin plates and some thick plates. Golf cart batteries and those huge 8Ds are true deep cycle batteries.

As was said by someone here there are also signifcant differences between traditional wet cell batteries and AGM and Gel cell batteries. the most significant difference from the users perspective is how you charge them. The battery manufacturers require them to be charged with a voltage regulated, temperature regulated charger because they are very sensitive to over or under voltage charging, and to the temperature of the battery during charging. Most marine and automotive chargers don't do either. If you don't charge them correctly it considerably shortens their life.

Anyway. All of this argument about cheapest, best, thickness of plates is moot if you are buying from a retailer like those listed above because those are all third party labeled batteries. So the Die hard you pay $100.00 for may be exactly the same battery you can buy at Wal-mart for $49.95. The are simply packaged differently.
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Old 11-09-2010, 22:48   #42
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Great info Ike. Thanks very much.
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:08   #43
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If you are looking for more anecdotal information, I recently undertook the same query when one of the cells in my bank of 6 Trojan T-125's went bad after useful service of 7 years. The Costco 6 volt batteries were $85 each but weighed quite a bit less (can't recall exactly) than Trojan T-105's at $109 through Battery Systens delivered to the dock. Per pound, the Trojans were the better deal.

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Old 12-09-2010, 01:40   #44
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Interesting. Here they are $75 and they weigh the same as the Trojans!

Thomas
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:20   #45
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Got eight years out of six trojans still had pretty good capacity left in them. Just before leaving for long cruise without a second thought I purchased six new ones. Within two years all but one failed! Convenience dictated I replace with much cheaper six volt and now on average I have two years on new bank. So far so good but time will tell. BTW first and second bank of Trojans purchased from same vendor in St. Thomas. I talked to the third boater the other day in Puerto Rico that had similar experience as me, what is going on with Trojan are they producing them in China now.
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