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Old 09-08-2012, 21:50   #16
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We installed 5 Deka AGM group 31 batteries 12 years ago and the are still going strong. Replaced two Lifelines that came new with the boat and lasted for about a year and half to be fair I also changed to Xantrex 40 amp charger from Charles charger. Last year the Dekkas were selling for about $180 each.
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Old 09-08-2012, 22:03   #17
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Re: House battery replacement

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Originally Posted by Jd1 View Post
I am in need of replacing my house batteries. I have requested a quote on Trojans or Lifeline from a local dealer. He indicates that his regular batteries."Discover Energy Advanced AGM EV4DA-A" are better than Lifeline and he will not bring in Lifeline. Trojans are apparently more money and don't last as well but he is willing to bring those in.
I have done an internet search of EV4DA-A batteries but have not found much info. I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on these ?

BTW, the spec sheet shows 235 Ahr @ 20 hr rate and 1000 cycles @ 50% dod.

My current charger is a Charles that has an AGM mode but isn't 3 stage charging - should I replace that as well ?
I have been most intrigued with a fellow cruiser who is sailing with his wife, three kids and often other family members on board with a boat of the same manufacture as ours. He has less solar energy than we do, runs computers, plotters, fridges, TV (kids watch a lot of it) and does not have a generator on board. He NEVER runs his engines to charge batteries and says he totally relies on Solar power and his Lead Crystal Batteries ... Ana and I had supper with them on their boat a few evenings ... they are currently anchored alongside us ... lights all on, TV running ... we ran our genset for an hour ...

He says this the fantastic thing about his Lead Crystal batteries is that one can run them to a low charge unlike us who never run our batteries below 65% ... apparently the manufacturer claims he can go to 0% without doing damage.

Of course, what goes out must be replenished ... solar power!
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Old 09-08-2012, 22:12   #18
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Re: House battery replacement

4 six volt L16s, from West Marine (East Penn) in series/parallel with Hydrocaps and PulseTech desulfators in custom built epoxy ply box, with vent blower control by Yandina Ltd. 740 Ah, charged with Magnum inverter charger.
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Old 09-08-2012, 23:49   #19
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Re: House battery replacement

There are differences in design and quality of batteries, so I would only go with something that has at least some track record. I started out with Rolls liquid-filled batteries, and they performed well for many years, if very expensive. Since then I have been using Sonenshein gel batteries, or their Exide descendents. I have been very pleased with them too, although they don't have quite as long a battery life. I do not have experience with AGMs but will be looking at them more closely in the future.

The points I would bring up:

Gel (and apparently some AGM) batteries accept charge faster. This means large alternators can top off the banks quickly. Liquid batteries accept charge at a much slower rate, so can't get as much advantage from a large alternator. This would be similar for generator/charger combos as well.

Gel (&AGM?) batteries maintain a higher voltage under load. This is a big win for all of the electronics on a modern boat. I did have problems with some electronics with the Rolls batteries, and that went away with the gels. Of course if you are installing a monster bank of batteries this may not be as much of an issue.

Personally I did not find checking and filling water with the liquid electrolyte batteries to be a big issue with a well-regulated charging system. Still the recombinant caps will make the situation even better. The advantage to sealed batteries of not adding water is over-hyped IMHO.

For the faster charging and stiffer voltage of gels and AGMs, I would stay away from liquid cells. That said, they are cheaper and do work just fine.

Greg
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Old 09-08-2012, 23:59   #20
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Re: House battery replacement

Hard to screw up with Trojan T105's.

Regarding adding water, I'm in the battery compartment constantly for one wiring project or another, or just to inspect things. Taking a few minutes every several months to put some water in really isn't a big job.
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Old 10-08-2012, 00:40   #21
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Re: House battery replacement***Important

In my experience provided by friends and cruising buddies, the two most common mistakes/problems regarding batteries are:

  1. The battery charger and/or alternator will not match the charging parameters of the new house batteries properly. This will shorten the life of your batteries. Be sure to check with the alternator mfg. and the charger mfg. before you buy new house batteries. I have seen name-brand and expensive AGM's last only 3 years because of this issue.
  2. When you spec and replace the house batteries, add a temperature sensor. There are all types. Some attach to your smart charger and stop charging if an overheat happens. I have seen some inexpensive temp sensor/alarms on ebay.

Hope this helps,

Bill
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:35   #22
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Re: House battery replacement

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Hard to screw up with Trojan T105's.

Regarding adding water, I'm in the battery compartment constantly for one wiring project or another, or just to inspect things. Taking a few minutes every several months to put some water in really isn't a big job.

Rebel--- With a good charger there should be no need to be frequently adding water. I have gone 2 years without adding any in my 5 batteries. Now with golf carts, the battery count has increased to 7.

It does not hurt though to frequently check them for water.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:14   #23
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Re: House battery replacement

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....... I have gone 2 years without adding any in my 5 batteries. Now with golf carts, the battery count has increased to 7
Then you are undercharging your batteries!!!!!!

Make sure they really get to 100% every 3 weeks - not just when the regulator goes down to float.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:14   #24
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Re: House battery replacement

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I have been most intrigued with a fellow cruiser who...NEVER runs his engines to charge batteries and says he totally relies on Solar power and his Lead Crystal Batteries ...
I found several web sites giving tech specs for these batteries (impressive!) but nobody who seems to be actually selling them. Unless you count the people who just have a form saying "contact us with your project details".

Does anyone have any idea where to actually BUY lead crystal batteries?
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:40   #25
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Re: House battery replacement

Something like these lead crystals could sound better than it becomes.

EVDL Archive / Forum Interface - Electric Vehicle Discussion List

Betta Batteries
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:27   #26
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Re: House battery replacement

I am always amazed at how many folks appear to get caught up in the advertising of ridiculously expensive "anchors that won't drag", complicated stuffing boxes that "won't leak", and exotic batteries that promise to last forever, require no attention, and accept instant, full charges, if we will just pay 2 to 5 times what their less hyped and more glamorous alternatives cost. I am no Pardey person, but I have been using solid (I consider Trojans overpriced) golf cart batteries for 20 years with a basic "smart" regulator with temp sensing and a larger alternator. Cruised the tropics for a couple years with refrigeration robust autopilot running constantly. I replace my golf cart batteries (4 @ $85) every 6 or 7 years as a preventative measure, but never had a time when I observed a failure or even a meaningful diminuation in performance. Yes, I have to check them once a month or so for fluid levels.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:13   #27
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Re: House battery replacement

[QUOTE=sailinglegend;1009363]Then you are undercharging your batteries!!!!!!

Make sure they really get to 100% every 3 weeks - not just when the regulator goes down to float.[/QUOTE

That may well be. Up until this week my only method for charging was my 50 ampere Xantex XC5012 battery charger. That charger was on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from May through October! One does not change the float voltage in a Zantrex other than through equalization which I try to do at least once a month.

Yesterday I completed my installation of 2 each 145 watt polycrystalline solar panels along with a 30 ampere MorningStar ProStar converter. Way too early for me to tell how this setup will work out though I do expect surprising performance with at least 4-5 hours charge capability of 16+amperes with diminishing output currents both early mornings and late afternoons. Sun shining of course. The float voltage with the panels seems to be in the 14.1-14.2 range but I only have a few hours of use on it with heavy clouds and rain.

Few if any owners of 3-4 stage commercial chargers have chargers that do allow changing the float voltage.

Foggy
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:16   #28
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Re: House battery replacement

Try if you can get Varta where you are. They are inexpensive, last well and work as advertised. Their AGM-deep cycle gold is very good.

b.
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Old 12-08-2012, 22:24   #29
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Re: House battery replacement

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Originally Posted by videobear View Post
I found several web sites giving tech specs for these batteries (impressive!) but nobody who seems to be actually selling them. Unless you count the people who just have a form saying "contact us with your project details".

Does anyone have any idea where to actually BUY lead crystal batteries?
I was on Andrews boat this evening for supper again and inquired about where he purchased these ... says he got them from DELTEC in South Africa ... Cape Town! Undoubtedly Lead Crystal will be what I next replace these with ... I am seriously impressed with how this guy runs all the stuff he does relying solely on solar power. I checked it out on the net and here is a link http://www.deltecpower.co.za/sites/d...20Brochure.pdf
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Old 12-08-2012, 22:31   #30
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Re: House battery replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete the Cat View Post
I am always amazed at how many folks appear to get caught up in the advertising of ridiculously expensive "anchors that won't drag", complicated stuffing boxes that "won't leak", and exotic batteries that promise to last forever, require no attention, and accept instant, full charges, if we will just pay 2 to 5 times what their less hyped and more glamorous alternatives cost. I am no Pardey person, but I have been using solid (I consider Trojans overpriced) golf cart batteries for 20 years with a basic "smart" regulator with temp sensing and a larger alternator. Cruised the tropics for a couple years with refrigeration robust autopilot running constantly. I replace my golf cart batteries (4 @ $85) every 6 or 7 years as a preventative measure, but never had a time when I observed a failure or even a meaningful diminuation in performance. Yes, I have to check them once a month or so for fluid levels.
Some of us like to 'move with the times' ... always open to learn from others .... some stuff works out and some doesn't. As for me ... I'm all for new technology on my boat and whilst it costs me it also saves me. I smile sometimes at the comments many cruisers from first world countries make when they check out the systems on our boat and are surprised to see how well it works ... ask what products we use ... 'all from your technologically advanced country'. Sometimes one has to live in the 'outback' to see the 'wood from the trees'.
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