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Old 04-05-2011, 10:49   #1
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Gel or AGM for the House Bank on a Round-the-World Cruiser ?

Gel or AGM for the house bank on a round the world cruiser?
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:50   #2
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Re: Gel or AGM for the house bank on a round the world cruiser?

i use golf cart batteries. all wet cell. and a d8 wet cell for engine.
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:04   #3
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Re: Gel or AGM for the house bank on a round the world cruiser?

They're a waste of money according to my research, unless the boat will be sitting unattended for long periods without any charging or draw on the batteries.
I'll either buy Trojan T105's or something from Rolls Surette. The rolls last twice as long but they cost twice as much.
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:13   #4
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Re: Gel or AGM for the house bank on a round the world cruiser?

U.S Battery AGM 2x 12v 190A
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:17   #5
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Re: Gel or AGM for the house bank on a round the world cruiser?

I will second the golf cart battery recommendation.

AGMs or Gels are ok if you never want to look at them. But if you are a round the world cruiser you are on the boat 24/7 and you have to be able to do your own maintenance. Checking the water level 3-4 times a year and adding maybe a half cup or a cup of water each time is no big deal.

They are 1/3 the cost of AGMs or Gels and last as long or longer. Trojan T-105s are the gold standard of golf cart batteries, but any brand is probably ok. No one makes a golf cart battery that fails. They are really used and any crappy manufacturer will quickly develop a reputation.

You can buy from Trojan distributers, Sams, Costco for the cheaper ones or golf cart shops. Expect to pay about $100 each.

David
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:22   #6
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Re: Gel or AGM for the house bank on a round the world cruiser?

It depends on quite a number of factors. Where is the battery bank located. Mine is in the saloon under the seats. If you have a dry well ventilated location with easy access for maintenance this is a plus for wet cells.

How are you going to charge the batteries? Wind, Solar, Engine, Genset or a combination. AGM's can take extremely high charge as long as you do not exceed voltage requirements. Will you be staying in marinas? How large is your charger?

AGM's are more versatile, but cannot be cycled below 60% without shortening its lifespan. Gel cells are an older technology which has been supplanted by AGM's.

Even though I have AGM's there are a lot of advantages to wet cells if you have the proper location for them. They are cheaper, will take more abuse, need less sophisticated charging equiptmnt. Probably most important T-105's or similar are available anywhere in the world if you need to replace them.
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Old 04-05-2011, 13:00   #7
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Re: Gel or AGM for the house bank on a round the world cruiser?

Another vote for the Trojan T-105. Keep an eye on the water level, don't discharge them to deep and they will have a long life.
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Old 04-05-2011, 13:21   #8
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Re: Gel or AGM for the house bank on a round the world cruiser?

good deep cycle wet cells with accesible cells for topping up and testing

Dave
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Old 04-05-2011, 13:51   #9
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Re: Gel or AGM for the house bank on a round the world cruiser?

I have experienced great life from the Sonnenschein gel batteries. On my first boat they lasted 18 years !
On my current boat with a very hard life, 2 died at 12 years and the other 3 are still going (but only 65 % rated capacity left ) at 14 years.
They are expensive, but if this sort of life is typical they are very economic and probably the cheapest batteries especially for a long distance cruising boat where freight charges for battery replacement (and the inconvenience) can be dear.
Gel batteries have advantages. One problem rarely mentioned with wet cells is the poisonous fumes they give off if they become immersed in seawater.
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Old 04-05-2011, 14:18   #10
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Re: Gel or AGM for the house bank on a round the world cruiser?

Quote:
Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
I have experienced great life from the Sonnenschein gel batteries. On my first boat they lasted 18 years !
On my current boat with a very hard life, 2 died at 12 years and the other 3 are still going (but only 65 % rated capacity left ) at 14 years.
They are expensive, but if this sort of life is typical they are very economic and probably the cheapest batteries especially for a long distance cruising boat where freight charges for battery replacement (and the inconvenience) can be dear.
Gel batteries have advantages. One problem rarely mentioned with wet cells is the poisonous fumes they give off if they become immersed in seawater.
I had Sonnenschein 6v gel batteries until last week. They were on the boat since may 2000.. Had to change them but could not find them anymore in the US , had to be imported on special order at a prohibitive price.
Moreover the size of the compartment was just for the Prevailer Sonnenschein and did not accept any 6v of same capacity..
So replace the 4 6v with 2 x 12 AGM U.S Battery that we put on their sides. Fit perfectly and cost much less than the Sonnenschein.
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Old 04-05-2011, 16:04   #11
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Re: Gel or AGM for the house bank on a round the world cruiser?

AGM if they are in a living space.

Golf cart if they are not, and are WELL ventilated for hydrogen gas.
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:34   #12
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Re: Gel or AGM for the House Bank on a Round-the-World Cruiser ?

G'day, mates. Coming up on 13 years on my Lifeline AGM's. Still going strong. Would buy them again in a heart beat if I ever have to. They do need to be equalized. Cheers.
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:53   #13
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Re: Gel or AGM for the house bank on a round the world cruiser?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alecadi View Post
I had Sonnenschein 6v gel batteries until last week. They were on the boat since may 2000.. Had to change them but could not find them anymore in the US , had to be imported on special order at a prohibitive price.
Moreover the size of the compartment was just for the Prevailer Sonnenschein and did not accept any 6v of same capacity..
So replace the 4 6v with 2 x 12 AGM U.S Battery that we put on their sides. Fit perfectly and cost much less than the Sonnenschein.
An 11 year life is also very good. Would you describe them as well cared for (never discharged below 50% charging voltages all correct etc), average or abused.
When changing batteries remember the charging points from regulators (solar wind alternator and battery charger) need to changed. Its worth checking the manufactures specs as the gel, agm wet settings are not always what is required. (The sonnenschein gel for example need settings far more aggressive than many gel batteries)

A problem for cruising boats is battery replacement. Most boat parts can be ordered on the internet and delivered anywhere cheaply.
Batteries are very heavy making delivery expensive. Wet cells are regarded as hazardous goods and often no delivery options are possible. Local batteries can be very expensive and poor quality.
In addition batteries can fail with little warning and have an unpredictable life. (I nearly changed the batteries in my first boat after 5 years they lasted another 13 years)
This means that for a cruising boat a long battery life is often worth paying more for than a cost per year analysis would suggest.
If wiring the boat 2 separate house banks are also worthwhile. It greatly increases the options of mixing different batteries.
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