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Old 12-09-2010, 05:15   #46
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... 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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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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As Thomas suggests, not all Ford products are Lincolns.
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:19   #47
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Costco works for me

My last set of AGM house batteries (4x GRP-24) was POWER-TECH AGM (from Defender). They lasted about 4 years with the best care I could muster. (careful setting of solar charge controller and monitoring, and use of LVD to never discharge below 50%).

Went to replace and cost would have been about $800. if I wanted to go for Lifeline "premium" AGM the cost would be $329 each ($1300+). Costco Kirkland wet cell deep-cycle marine GRP-24 batteries are currently $69 each ($280). BIG difference. I do believe AGM batteries are a better technology for all the reasons touted, but find it hard to believe the AGM batts will last 2.5+ times longer than generic flooded from Costco.

If the Costco batteries last less than a year any Costco will replace it (no-questions asked) at no charge. Beyond that they have a 30 month pro-rated warranty, and again -- no questions asked. So long as you are in the US and can get to a Costco you can't go wrong with these batteries, IMHO, and batteries are batteries.

If you run them dry or fry them with a short circuit and you're stuck in a place (where you can't get to where you bought them) and need another brand, then it doesn't matter whether its Costco or Trojan -- you buy what you can get locally. (It doesn't pay to ship dead batteries anywhere).

So IMHO the bottom line is if you want to pay the premium for AGM then you get a better battery for a higher price, but if you want to judge value the flooded cell battery from Costco probably compares well with premium-branded flooded cell batteries from Trojan or anyone else.
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:04   #48
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As Thomas suggests, not all Ford products are Lincolns.
We're differentiating different kinds of junk
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:38   #49
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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.

Ray

The Sam's Club/Energizer/JC GC2 weighs 64 pounds, the T105 = 62 and the T-125 = 66. Not a huge difference between weights though the Sam's GC2 seems to be taller based on specs but having seen these batteries side by side I suspect it is more in the posts not the cases as the cases seem nearly identical height wise. Don't have the specs on the Costco/JC battery but it could be very similar or the same as the Sam's GC2 made by JC..

JC / Sam's GC2 = 10 3/8 Long X 7 3/16 Wide X 11 7/16 Tall = 64 pounds

T105 = 10 3/8 Long X 7 1/8 Wide X 10 7/8 Tall = 62 pounds

T125 = 10 3/8 Long X 7 1/8 Wide X 10 7/8 Tall = 66
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Old 12-09-2010, 17:27   #50
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Actually the dimensions of the Costco 6 volt batteries were identical to the trojans - and they would have needed to be in my case to be eligible. I believe (going from memory) that the weight was 56 pounds for the Costco batteries and the Trojan 105's were 63 by the same scale (I dragged it along from my bathroom to make the comparison) - the difference was significant. No label whatsoever on the Costco batteries and the salespeople said that they had no idea where they came from, though they thought Johnson Control was as likely a source as any.

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Old 12-09-2010, 18:26   #51
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Dunno, but Costco says their golf cart batteries weight 63#. I would expect they would weight that, or Costco would be in deep doodoo for false advertising.

Regards,

Thomas
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Old 12-09-2010, 22:02   #52
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Hi Thomas:

Well there are a lot of Costcos I suppose, and perhaps mass purchases made at different times from different suppliers directed to different stores pursue different trajectories. All I know is that I was in the same situation as you in trying to make a decision I would be living with for some time (actually it goes beyond that, where I work we use a lot of marine deep cycle batteries so my experience of given products feeds into larger economies) so I decided to take an actual scale and weigh the competing products. I'm not saying my bathroom scale is accurate, all I am saying is that the Costco batteries I actually weighed turned out to be significantly lighter than their Trojan counterparts of exactly the same size, each of which I also weighed on the same scale. Please understand I wanted to buy the less expensive product and would have if the comparison had turned in Costco's favor. It didn't, by a significant degree. But that's with one Costco only, I have no idea what product may be residing in some other Costco somewhere else. In consequence, we (my institution) will probably purchace several dozzen deep cycle batteries this year for the vessels we operate, and they wont be Costco, at least for this year. Next time I need some batteries, the scale comes out again, perhaps with a different result.
Best,
Ray

Best,
Ray
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Old 12-09-2010, 23:24   #53
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In Australia, despite what warranties say, getting a retailer to do anything for you after the ink is dry can be very difficult.
Any travellers heading to Australia, Treat these words above as gospel
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Old 13-09-2010, 00:10   #54
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Thanks, Ray. As I said earlier, I'm going to split the difference and buy 4 of the Costco's to get me home, the (thanks to Costco's no hassle return policy) take them back and get Trojan's or keep them and buy four more. This action buys me a little more time to make up my mind. In the 20+ years I've been a Costco customer they have never let me down or given me a hard time when I've returned items. They aren't perfect, but all in all, I've found the quality of the goods they sell to be far above average.

Regards,

Thomas
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Old 13-09-2010, 02:38   #55
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Thomas, I think thats a good solution. You might want to have a read of this article by charles Sterling. Some people like his products and his way of thinking, other don't. He runs a small UK company and exports some of his products to the US as well.

I happen to like his philosophy and have a sterling digital battery charger plus power management panel. He also has some interesting articles on boats and elctrics on his web site. Anyway the battery article:

Sterling Power Products: What is the best battery to use for an auxiliary charging system?

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Old 13-09-2010, 06:08   #56
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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.
Mark
Mark,

One perk of the AGM batteries you need to mention especially in relation to multihull owners, is their ability to operate, inverted, and the chances of leaks do not exist when upside down.

Cheers,
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Old 13-09-2010, 06:18   #57
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Mark,

True, but what use would batteries be if you turned a multihull completely upside down?

Oops tread drift, but I think he has already bought the Costco batteries. If they last a few years he will have had his money from them. Or after the delivery trip swop them out with Trojans and flog off the Costcos, bound to be some cruisng folk around who would take 4 newish batteries for a big saving on new.

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Old 13-09-2010, 08:32   #58
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Mark,

One perk of the AGM batteries you need to mention especially in relation to multihull owners, is their ability to operate, inverted, and the chances of leaks do not exist when upside down.

Cheers,
But what if your guns fall on them and short them out? And AGM's really only work well with Rocna anchors. If you have a CQR you are better off with flooded.

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Old 13-09-2010, 11:20   #59
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Ohhh Gawd Colemj, the Rocna guy will be all over us now with charts and graphs proving the Rocna anchor is the best anchor to be had, particularly when combined with AGM batteries! Then again there's the Manson Supreme......but I digress. LOL ;-)
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Old 13-09-2010, 16:18   #60
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You might want to have a read of this article by charles Sterling. Some people like his products and his way of thinking, other don't. He runs a small UK company and exports some of his products to the US as well.

I happen to like his philosophy and have a sterling digital battery charger plus power management panel. He also has some interesting articles on boats and elctrics on his web site. Anyway the battery article:

Sterling Power Products: What is the best battery to use for an auxiliary charging system?
I read this. It's a very good read. It's also good basic common sense about batteries.

I got a particular chuckle out the section on this thread where some of you were actually weighing batteries. I apologize if I offend anyone but this is a futile exercise. Trying to determine how long a battery will last by weighing it is akin to the Group Size myth. Many people will tell you that if you want more battery capacity just get a bigger group size; say go from a Group 24 to a Group 27. The truth is Group Size has very little to do with battery capacity. It is only a measure of the physical dimensions of the battery and where the lugs on the battery are placed. Weighing a battery to determine it's life span belongs in this category.

The only real measures of a batteries capacity are

Battery capacity is determined by the type of battery construction: lead acid wet cell, Sealed Valve Regulated, AGM, Gel or Lithium. The number of plates and surface area of the plates, and the thickness of the plates in lead acid batteries determines whether it is a starting battery, or deep cycle and how long it can last under a known load.

Capacity; that is, how many amp hours the battery can release energy is measured by Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) which is a measure of how long the battery can continue to put out power. Below is the definition of CCA from the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) - Welcome which is the same as the BCI definition.

ABYC E-10.4 "Cold Cranking Amperage (CCA) - The discharged load, in amperes, that a new, fully charged battery at 0 degrees F(-17.8 deg C) can deliver for 30 seconds, and maintain a voltage of 1.2volts per cell or higher."

A better rating for boats is Marine Cranking Capacity (MCA).
ABYC E-10.4 "Marine Cranking Amperage - The discharged load, in amperes, that a new, fully charged battery at 32 degrees F(0 deg C) can deliver for 30 seconds, and maintain a voltage of 1.2volts per cell or higher.

If you are mainly concerned with how long your battery will last then you should look at the Battery Reserve Capacity.

ABYC E-10.4 "Battery Reserve Capacity – The number of minutes a new, fully charged battery at 80 deg F (26.7 C) can be continuously discharged at 25 amperes, and maintain a voltage of 1.75 volts per cell or higher (10.5 volts for a 12 volt battery or 5.25 volts for a 6 volt battery).

This is also true of how long a battery will live. This is mainly determined by two things, it's internal construction, and how well you maintain it. If you have a good 3 or 4 stage charger that is designed for use with the type of batteries you have, you watch carefully the fluid level (lead acid wet cell only) and don't overcharge it, don't let it get too hot while charging, you will get the maximum number of cycles out of the battery. But with all batteries, once you reach a certain point, they are good only for paper weights, or recycling.

So the secret is, take care of your batteries. Don't just let them sit in the bilge hoping that cheap charger you got at the swap meet will keep them going. Get a really good smart 3 or 4 stage charger that keeps them topped off and doesn't cook the electolyte out of them. My two Interstate deep cycle batteries, are over two years old, have not had a drop of water added in those two years and are used 24/7/365. I have a really good Converter/Charger that keeps them up and doesn't overcharge them and never lets them go below about 80%. I also check them at regular intervals to see how healthy they are and what the water levels are. My last set lasted about five years but probably would have lasted longer if I had the charger I have now. The charger I had then was a piece of sh....
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