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Old 17-03-2015, 01:01   #1
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Microlyte Red Top Batteries

While visiting the Maldives, three of our eight Trojan T-145 batteries failed. This is not a great spot for this problem to occur. However, by some miracle, we found a dealer that has an inventory of Microlyte 12-volt 'Red Top' batteries. While not cheap, they aren't stratospheric and do offer us a solution for the rest of our passage across the Indian Ocean. Fortunately, we could fit six of the 12-volt batteries where eight of the 6-volt batteries used to live and we would only lose 140 amp hours of capacity.

Does anyone have any experience with these batteries? Any thoughts on converting from 6-volt golf cart batteries to 12-volt maintenance-free batteries? All comments appreciated.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 19-03-2015, 04:19   #2
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Re: Microlyte Red Top Batteries

Nobody has replied so I'll offer some thoughts. I hope you haven't bought these yet!

It would seem these are another brand of AGMs that nobody has heard of and I hope this doesn't end in a later post where you say "Don't buy AGMs they are rubbish"!

If you download their data sheets on these batteries you'll see they are clearly an "of the Absorbed Glass Mat type"but they are specifically designed as a "Standby Telecom" battery with a design life of 10 years in Float standby mode. It also says charge at 14.1 volts, normally a Gel battery, so you would have to adjust all your charging to that.

I would suggest that if you use them in a house bank with a daily discharge to 50% capacity they won't even last you one season. You could however use them as a starter battery which only has a discharge of 1-2% each use and is then re-charged immediately.
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Old 19-03-2015, 11:46   #3
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Re: Microlyte Red Top Batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailinglegend View Post
Nobody has replied so I'll offer some thoughts. I hope you haven't bought these yet!

It would seem these are another brand of AGMs that nobody has heard of and I hope this doesn't end in a later post where you say "Don't buy AGMs they are rubbish"!

If you download their data sheets on these batteries you'll see they are clearly an "of the Absorbed Glass Mat type"but they are specifically designed as a "Standby Telecom" battery with a design life of 10 years in Float standby mode. It also says charge at 14.1 volts, normally a Gel battery, so you would have to adjust all your charging to that.

I would suggest that if you use them in a house bank with a daily discharge to 50% capacity they won't even last you one season. You could however use them as a starter battery which only has a discharge of 1-2% each use and is then re-charged immediately.
Thanks for taking the time to reply. I did study the data sheet for the batteries quite closely before I bought them but perhaps there were things I didn't understand. For example, I saw where it did say it was for 'float service' but it also said it was for 'cyclic applications'. I thought 'cyclic' meant 'cycling' as in 'deep cycling'. Do you think I got that wrong?

Also, under the list of 'Applications', there was, of course, telecommunications, as you pointed out but it also mentions 'Boats/Marine' and 'Golf Caddy' (do you think 'Golf Caddy' means 'golf cart'?). It also mentions that it has 'Excellent recovery from deep discharge and over discharge', which might just be marketing hype but somewhat counter to 'float service' - don't you think?

Maybe these questions are moot now that the batteries are installed. Quite likely I wouldn't have bought them if I had a choice but in Malé, there wasn't any choice. I hope they're good for more than a year but we had to get something before we finished our Indian Ocean crossing.

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Old 21-03-2015, 16:40   #4
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Re: Microlyte Red Top Batteries

If those are in fact gelled batteries -- not AGM -- as the recommended 14.1VDC charging voltage suggests, you might get very long life from them if they are well constructed.

Gels usually have much longer life than AGMs, and longer than flooded types as well. However, they are sensitive to charging currents above about 14.1-14.3 or so.

By contrast, AGMs generally like to be charged at higher voltages, similar to flooded batteries.

If you can, it would be good to check with the manufacturer to confirm EXACTLY what type of construction was used in these batteries, and verify that 14.1VDC is the recommended charging voltage.

Bill
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Old 21-03-2015, 16:59   #5
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Re: Microlyte Red Top Batteries

Further to my post above, I had the chance to browse the manufacturer's website. They have excellent detailed PDF information on their red-top batteries.

They are, in fact, AGMs, but they've been "optimized" for both standby service (as in telephones, UPS, etc.) and for deep-cycle service (as in wheelchairs, golf carts, boats, etc.). They've done this, apparently, by changing the grid material and other internal elements.

They mention that no AGM battery can match gelled batteries for deep-cycle service, but say that their red-top AGMs come close:

Click image for larger version

Name:	RedTop.jpg
Views:	88
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ID:	99133

So, just be careful to charge at the recommended 2.35VDC per cell (14.1VDC for a 12V battery), and have fun. They should last quite a long time :-)

Bill
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Old 22-03-2015, 02:14   #6
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Re: Microlyte Red Top Batteries

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Further to my post above, I had the chance to browse the manufacturer's website....
Thanks for the Graph Bill - I hadn't got that far!

So yes they should last more than a season but the point to take on board is that these are "Dual Purpose" batteries, like most batteries labelled "Leisure". With only 600 rated Cycles at 50% discharge that's not great compared to say my Lifeline Batteries at 1000 cycles. That's if you believe any of these lab tested figures anyway. It will be interested to see how the OP gets on, but I am curious about the low charging voltage which means they won't have one of the main benefits of AGMs which is faster charging.

This is another classic example of how really difficult it is for the average cruiser to get decent information from a manufacturer - but more importantly how difficult it is to be able to understand it properly.
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