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Old 15-03-2019, 08:29   #16
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

I'm on forum searching ideas.. Plans. 10-15 years liveaboard. Same vessel retirement.

What I think of batteries.
All battery types are advancing!!!

Gel cell.
Like an grandfather.
Holds lots of knowledge and is wise with use. Nothing fancy. No large drain currents.

AGM.
Like a daddy. Similar to lead acid in many ways too but no spillage if broken. (Gel cell too).
Similar to gel cell but instead of higher slow discharge abilities (eg lights and radio) . Daddy can handle short bursts of real work. (Winchs and bow thrusters).

Lithium ion.
Like a junior.
Highly aggressive and disciplined. Can handle anything you throw at it. TV's, ovens, stoves, machines,
Will charge extremely quickly. Wolves it down in 1 gulp.
Expensive, especially if something breaks.
You know where you are. If anything happens, you are where you are.

Gel cells appear to last well. A set here was left on charge as an uniterupted power supply to power an oil refinery. They failed test. High current test. Bought at $4; $2 each salvage. They were left on a soaking charge and recovered. They then spent about 3-5 years 3-4 times each year, 3-4 weeks each event as the boat batteries. Boat charger minimal. Afterwards they were used to power relays and water lawn at midnight. During loss of house main power they helped power house. Maybe +10 life.
Always kept on a small solar array other than when boating. Gel cells are really good batteries. AGM if you need short bursts. Lifepo4 are unknown to me.. I'd rather safety but again.. Unknown is my ignorance.
After
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Old 15-03-2019, 09:40   #17
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

To reinforce the solar comment. Fit a small solar panel to maintain full charge when away and you no longer need to worry about batteries going flat. Just be careful about some of the really small 12v ones, you need to generate at least 15v to charge effectively and fit a charge controller.
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Old 15-03-2019, 09:56   #18
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

The AGM nano carbon or carbon foam batteries are the way to go. They can sit around in a partial state of charge and not get damaged. The best pricing is on the Outback Power EnergyCell 106NC Nano-Carbon. They come in an easy to install size, Group 31 and made in the USA
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Old 15-03-2019, 10:21   #19
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by duncan_ellison View Post
Hi all, I know similar questions have been posed muchly over the years and I've read most of the posts, but I find myself completely bamboozled by the various merits of different battery types.

So I just want to pose a very specific question:

My profile is 3-6 months of the year on the boat using the batteries quite hard every day then up to 15 months away from the boat when its on the hard and has no possibility of any charging so they may go into hard self-discharge.

Batteries are 2 x 4D and little option to swap for anything else.

Charging is primarily 150A mains charger either driven from the shore or generator. VERY rarely will I charge from the 80A alternator on the engine.


Currently I have 2 x Gel cells that have been severely abused, at one stage having been discharged down to 0V for nearly 36 months, but they came back fighting. The batteries are now 13 years old and still take a charge.

But ... I have an upcoming trip to the Bahamas and really think I should change them soon just to be prudent.

WM has Gel and AGM at more or less the same price now, so the question is Gel (which have shown themselves to be pretty bombproof) or AGM which I can charge much faster and have around 15Ah more (nominal) capacity?
I'm in somewhat the same boat...so to speak. I have 2x8D West Marine GEL batteries that are 15 years old this year and have never had a problem with them. Besides the 110A alternator I also have 4 x 140W solar panels to keep them topped off year round. On my roundtrip to Hawaii in 2016 the batteries got down to 78% once or twice. But due to their age I'm thinking about replacement and wondering if AGM would be better.

I'll follow your post replies to see what others say. But if I change to AGM then I feel compelled to also change my starter battery as well to the same chemistry, an additional expense as well as changing all the battery charge settings: charger, monitor, regulator, solar.

FWIW I have been tracking West Marine battery pricing and they have had discounts over the past year of 20%, 25%, and 35% after Christmas. Also, I've noted the warranty on their GEL batteries is better than the one on AGMs...that must be for a good reason.

Practical Sailor Magazine said the following: If your vesselís house battery bank is frequently and deeply discharged, then gelled electrolyte batteries would generally yield the longest product cycle life. If your boatís house bank is not that frequently nor deeply discharged, then an AGM battery would provide longer service.

~ ~ _/) ~ ~ MJH
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Old 15-03-2019, 10:21   #20
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptBob84 View Post
The AGM nano carbon or carbon foam batteries are the way to go. They can sit around in a partial state of charge and not get damaged. The best pricing is on the Outback Power EnergyCell 106NC Nano-Carbon. They come in an easy to install size, Group 31 and made in the USA
Iím not an expert but I understand only the FireFly Oasis handle the PSoC. Just adding carbon doesnít change that.
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Old 15-03-2019, 10:23   #21
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

We stopped cruising when the regulations changed and electronic equipment became a requirement aboard a vessel in semi-protected waterways.
If your gel cells were at same demand as per your following seasons then whichever is your case.
Gel cells in the past are really good low current load providers of energy. Abuse is high current.
AGM can take some abuse.

Both benefit from charging and both prefer to be kept high on charge.
Charging is like a pipe into a pond. Not trying to overflow the pond.
Rapid charging at low voltage will fill the pond bulk. When nearer full. A trickle such as that from a solar system will keep energy high and not waste away its potential. Hence maintaining the battery to remain at its optimum performance level. (Or if months between usage, take home and leave them on a trickle charger).

Note. If to store long-term at home. On blocks of wood works well, on metal grates ok too, on direct concrete floors doesn't work well with battery health. Can't remember reason why.
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Old 15-03-2019, 13:42   #22
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by duncan_ellison View Post
Hi all, I know similar questions have been posed muchly over the years and I've read most of the posts, but I find myself completely bamboozled by the various merits of different battery types.

So I just want to pose a very specific question:

My profile is 3-6 months of the year on the boat using the batteries quite hard every day then up to 15 months away from the boat when its on the hard and has no possibility of any charging so they may go into hard self-discharge.

Batteries are 2 x 4D and little option to swap for anything else.

Charging is primarily 150A mains charger either driven from the shore or generator. VERY rarely will I charge from the 80A alternator on the engine.


Currently I have 2 x Gel cells that have been severely abused, at one stage having been discharged down to 0V for nearly 36 months, but they came back fighting. The batteries are now 13 years old and still take a charge.

But ... I have an upcoming trip to the Bahamas and really think I should change them soon just to be prudent.

WM has Gel and AGM at more or less the same price now, so the question is Gel (which have shown themselves to be pretty bombproof) or AGM which I can charge much faster and have around 15Ah more (nominal) capacity?
LiFePO4
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Old 15-03-2019, 13:59   #23
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by duncan_ellison View Post
So .... It appears that NAPA is running a 20% discount for AAA members this month that includes batteries, so https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/NBP8273 now goes down to $532



I've a feeling that may be the way to go unless there are better suggestions.


Would the AAA deal require attending meetings?
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Old 15-03-2019, 14:01   #24
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

I have not seen any testing to show that batteries with carbon doping are the same functionally/performance in PSOC conditions as the carbon foam batteries. Speculation, yes, but not testing. Is there anything out there pitting them against one another?

Chris

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptBob84 View Post
The AGM nano carbon or carbon foam batteries are the way to go. They can sit around in a partial state of charge and not get damaged. The best pricing is on the Outback Power EnergyCell 106NC Nano-Carbon. They come in an easy to install size, Group 31 and made in the USA
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Old 15-03-2019, 16:38   #25
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

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Originally Posted by River Cruiser View Post
Would the AAA deal require attending meetings?
No, only the double "A" discount does.
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Old 15-03-2019, 18:36   #26
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

I don't know about new batteries.
But gel cells generally don't like abuse; high current.
Anyway, I bought a second hand motorbike years ago. It is a high compression machine and being of older design the compression increases when warm due to most probably forge pistons. The battery that came with her is a gel cell. Was near brand new with purchase.
Starts her up when she's cold. That's the physical current limit of that combination.
Once warm I have to wait about 30 minutes if stalled.
It's simply the wrong battery despite what the sales reps might have said. An AGM would work much better in this case.

Every battery is advancing.. Gel cell and AGM have large recycling gains.. Just saying.. Sometimes gel cells can be used as high current batteries but they wouldn't last long.
13 years usage.. Either are the same man. They're not abused, tired though, charge her up.

Nathan
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Old 15-03-2019, 19:02   #27
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

Just to be smart arse. Lithium likes to be cold and should be well guarded. We have to protect our planet because that is all we have.
I like sail boats, no rush to view beauty, no need of high luxuries to enable a view. Some people want luxuries such as speed and entertainment where lithiums provide towards their lifestyle; highly abusive batteries.
Gel cell, AGM on my preferred hand can generally take worse man handling, provide ample towards a sailboat cabin chore, handle heat better and are expensive but less so than replacement of lithium. Can be seen as more so with sailing because not accustomed to large stink bills.
Without the planet we're dead. Please recycle your used batteries.
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Old 15-03-2019, 21:18   #28
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

Further more..
Just to be a pain in the arse..
My limited experience with lithium in similar usage and storage as that of a luxury boat is that they are superior batteries with terms of high current allowances but they don't recover well and they're as toxic as lithium. Eg. If driven below their tolerance they dislike such much more than plate batteries such as gel cell, AGM and if left flat they can be very difficult to recover..
Gel cell, AGM offer the advantage of recovery which might be useful at sea, especially if batteries are forgotten about due to absence from in events such as storm.
I know nothing about modern batteries.. Will be reading up about the carbon gel cells above. Gel cells are easy recovery batteries hence the ability to recover from a dead state as per your experience but they much prefer low current usage.
Wanting the reliance of " ship, forgot the batteries again, " hence soon looking at AGM or gel cell too. They are mostly recyclable.
Lithium are very toxic.

Off topic.. North Korea suggesting more nuclear testing. If America is keen to bring something tangible, maybe cleaning areas such as Horse Shoe bay, NY would suggest seriousness to royalty. I understand knot much. I admire the American noble men.
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Old 15-03-2019, 21:43   #29
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

So do these lithium batteries risk any of the spontaneous combustion issues that we've seen with phone batteries and scooters and such?
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Old 15-03-2019, 23:59   #30
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Re: Should I go AGM or Gel?

With freezers if you use a small portion of the none used store to freeze water (eg 1-2 litres in our typical house freezers);* load is reduced because water is a uniform mass and the bulk of such will tend the temperature to be that of the ice hence the freezer gets a free assistant regulator therefore current draw is reduced.* Eg reduced power consumption.
Gel cells:AGM,* have uniform cells.* They behave like soldiers.** If one fails the other 5 pick him up.* If he remains dead the other 5 continue to work and you can normally get something such as lights..* My old skipper from commercial fishing had a quality test..* Get the heavy one.
Lithium are superior but they are like production line workers:* Cells are not uniform , externally managed.* If 1 cell fails the other 5 can't do their jobs!* Recovery is worth something at sea.
*Gel cells are perfect dude.* AGM similar if heavier on loads.
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