, we use eight Trojan T-145 6-volt golf cart batteries for a total of 1,040 amp hours. We're on our third set of them, the current
batch being installed in December of 2010 as we prepared for this cruise
. The batteries have always been a good compromise between initial cost, ease of maintenance
and long life. They've been very rugged, too, taking abuse without complaining. Our previous sets have lasted five years each in routine cruising.
I'm kind of embarrassed to admit it but we're power hogs on Rutea
. We can easily plow through 400 amps in a 24-hour period. This is unlikely to change anytime soon and we've gotten used to about four hours of genset run time per day. Our genset is an Aqua Marine
MyT-Gen which is a 150-amp alternator
hung on a Kubota single-cylinder diesel
(I could almost write a book about that alone) and it works pretty well. Our Beta Marine
90 propulsion engine
has two Iskra alternators, a 100-amp that charges the starting battery
and a 175-amp that charges the house bank. Both work as expected.
Our Xantrex Link Pro battery monitor
is now telling us that our fully charged house bank (floating voltage of about 14.15) is losing almost 50% of it's charge after just an hour of a 30-amp draw. This is a recent development. Suspecting a sulfation problem, we performed an equalization
process for about four hours of a 15.35 volt charge at about 70 amps. It didn't help. It was the only time I've tried to equalize the batteries - I never did equalize my other sets of house batteries. On the Trojan website, they don't recommend it unless there's a problem.
I've tested each cell with a hydrometer and they're all fairly consistent but low, even after a full charge. We haven't changed any of our electrical
systems or our usage patterns. I've confirmed the battery voltage with two different volt/ohm meters so I doubt that it's a gauge issue.
Right now, we're in American Samoa
and this is about as easy a place to change the battery bank as we're to experience for quite a while. But the batteries are only nine months old and have been well cared for - we keep them topped up with distilled water
when they need it. They shouldn't need to be replaced for four more years!
When I ordered the T-145s, I was told that they now come as T-145 Plus. Does anyone know what the 'Plus' means? I'm concerned that Trojan found some way to make the batteries cheaper and had to acknowledge the difference in manufacture so their marketing
department said, "Put a positive spin on it!"
This is our fourth year of cruising so we have a pretty good idea of what to do and expect but this one has me puzzled. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Fair winds and calm seas.