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Old 25-02-2020, 16:24   #76
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Re: Gel or Flooded?

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Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
Many of us have spent summers in the tropics with lead acid batteries with no obvious problems. It might result in shorter battery lives but that would be hard to know. In any event the tropical heat doesn't present a deal-breaker or result in catastrophic failure.
Yep, if it weren’t for accessibility issues with our battery box we would be on T-105s instead of Fireflys. Our last bank was at ~85% capacity when we sold it cheap at 5 years and is still in use at 8 years.

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Old 25-02-2020, 16:44   #77
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Re: Gel or Flooded?

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Originally Posted by kenbo View Post
Those Group 31 batteries at Sam's Club are the sealed, antimony doped lead type. You can't add water and they won't last as long as a true flooded GC 6V.
My last boat I boat 3 group 31 duracell agms from sames club. Had them for 7 years and still going strong when sold the boat (every weekend on hook discharging to 50% then slip plug in). The flooded you buy there are also duracell branded and are great quality... East Penn/Deka. Their agms arent great (though they worked great for me) but their flooded and gel are above average at least and well worth the money.

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Old 26-02-2020, 21:37   #78
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Re: Gel or Flooded?

I now feel like a Democrat woman being called a liar on national TV! I don't know about your experiences in boating but I was raised on a commercial fishing boat in Alaska and have been a boater for 74 years. Ordinary heavy equipment batteries are very high quality and can easily last twenty years. The trick to making wet cell batteries last is not secret. Don't discharge them too much, keep them charged at the right rate so as not to boil them, and never leave them for long without being charged. I have seen batteries on commercial boats go twenty and more years without failure. Yachts are not the whole world of boating and people who do not depend on their boats to make a living are not the best sources of what is reliable. People have a difficult time telling the truth when their salary depends on telling a lie. We called yachts and sailboats "foo foo" boats because their wet exhausts made a sound like that and because their wet exhaust plumbing so regularly sunk them. Commercial boats use strong equipment, dry exhausts, reliable batteries and their owners are not likely to be readers of Yachting Magazine. They are not fancy people but they know what a good battery is. (Sorry Forrest Gump.)
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Old 26-02-2020, 21:55   #79
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Re: Gel or Flooded?

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Originally Posted by lituya1617 View Post
I now feel like a Democrat woman being called a liar on national TV! I don't know about your experiences in boating but I was raised on a commercial fishing boat in Alaska and have been a boater for 74 years. Ordinary heavy equipment batteries are very high quality and can easily last twenty years. The trick to making wet cell batteries last is not secret. Don't discharge them too much, keep them charged at the right rate so as not to boil them, and never leave them for long without being charged. I have seen batteries on commercial boats go twenty and more years without failure. Yachts are not the whole world of boating and people who do not depend on their boats to make a living are not the best sources of what is reliable. People have a difficult time telling the truth when their salary depends on telling a lie. We called yachts and sailboats "foo foo" boats because their wet exhausts made a sound like that and because their wet exhaust plumbing so regularly sunk them. Commercial boats use strong equipment, dry exhausts, reliable batteries and their owners are not likely to be readers of Yachting Magazine. They are not fancy people but they know what a good battery is. (Sorry Forrest Gump.)
While the above is likely true and I have seen similar results - maybe not 20 years but a long run - from commercial boats the situation is often different. I do not know of many commercial boats that anchor regularly without engine or generator running if they anchor at all even. Recreational sailboats often anchor without charge sources except solar and some rarely get their batteries to a full charge. I don't think its a fair comparison.
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Old 27-02-2020, 04:43   #80
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Re: Gel or Flooded?

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Originally Posted by NYSail View Post
My last boat I boat 3 group 31 duracell agms from sames club. Had them for 7 years and still going strong when sold the boat (every weekend on hook discharging to 50% then slip plug in). The flooded you buy there are also duracell branded and are great quality... East Penn/Deka. Their agms arent great (though they worked great for me) but their flooded and gel are above average at least and well worth the money.

Greg
The point I was trying to make was that the Group 31's sold at Sam's Club are not FLA they're SLA that are not AGM or Gel. They are the dual purpose type. Big difference in my opinion. And your battery use history is quite benign. One cycle per week for seven months per year. So maybe 35-40 cycles per year. So after 7 years you're at 280 cycles.
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Old 27-02-2020, 06:10   #81
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Re: Gel or Flooded?

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Originally Posted by lituya1617 View Post
I now feel like a Democrat woman being called a liar on national TV! I don't know about your experiences in boating but I was raised on a commercial fishing boat in Alaska and have been a boater for 74 years. Ordinary heavy equipment batteries are very high quality and can easily last twenty years. The trick to making wet cell batteries last is not secret. Don't discharge them too much, keep them charged at the right rate so as not to boil them, and never leave them for long without being charged. I have seen batteries on commercial boats go twenty and more years without failure. Yachts are not the whole world of boating and people who do not depend on their boats to make a living are not the best sources of what is reliable. People have a difficult time telling the truth when their salary depends on telling a lie. We called yachts and sailboats "foo foo" boats because their wet exhausts made a sound like that and because their wet exhaust plumbing so regularly sunk them. Commercial boats use strong equipment, dry exhausts, reliable batteries and their owners are not likely to be readers of Yachting Magazine. They are not fancy people but they know what a good battery is. (Sorry Forrest Gump.)
You are responding to my comment. I wrote that your statement that the batteries, after 10 years of commercial service, were “like new”. I commented that this was “simply impossible” because of the battery aging process even if they don’t cycle.
There’s no need to make a drama of that with lying Democrats etc. I never called you that, I never said the batteries couldn’t last that long and I come from a family of commercial boats everywhere... my father was born aboard a ship owned by his parents, while underway!

But batteries simply age. Even when made by high end manufacturers like Rolls, they will not be like new after 10 years of service. This is scientific fact. Here’s a citation to support my comments: https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/20.....33R/abstract
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Old 27-02-2020, 06:42   #82
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Re: Gel or Flooded?

In the society of hyperbole "like new" may mean almost dead. I am sorry that I used such a vague term to describe 10-year old batteries. What I intended to convey was that they batteries had no detectable loss of power and they responded to discharge and charging as they always had. Of course, these batteries were attached to a great Constavolt system while at dock and were otherwise never abused. When the most electrical drain was occurring, the diesel was always running so the alternator supplied the power and the batteries were in reserve. The diesel never turned over more than once to start so that high load condition lasted only a second or two - again, no strain on the batteries. The problem sailboats face is that they deep discharge their batteries and rapidly charge them, not good for batteries. I have seen a lot of sailboats with 20 horsepower diesels with 130-amp alternators that charge two small so-called "marine" batteries. This set-up is all wrong. You will cook a discharged battery if you push 130 amps into it unless you have a very sophisticated control on the alternator and a battery condition sensor - expensive and uncommon stuff. It is commonly accepted that wet cell batteries only last a few seasons on such boats but that is not the fault of the batteries. Rather, it is the fault of using the batteries in a manner they were not designed to survive. I have NEVER had to replace a battery in my sailboats. I attribute this to they way I charge and use them, not to having special batteries. It is my opinionated opinion that many people sail but think they should also have gobs of complicated electronics, bright lights, refrigerators, etc. just like they were on a power boat with the engine running the alternator all the time. This attitude simply never works well for more things that just batteries.
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Old 27-02-2020, 06:49   #83
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Re: Gel or Flooded?

I installed 5 group 31 firefly batteries. Mainly for my purposes I needed the extra usable capacity and psoc tolerance. Easy real drop in replacement for the batteries. I did upgrade and program my charging systems accordingly. So far they seem to perform as advertised. I was impressed with the practical sailor results when discharged to 20% and left out all winter with full recovery. My old lead acid bank would generate low voltage alarms overnight when running fridge and freezer. When I have traveled I stay away from marinas for a few months and the lead acids never really charged fully so I ended up with usable from about 80% down to 50% of advertised capacity. The fireflies charge quickly and I don’t mind running them deeply discharged. So I can’t speak to lifespan yet but for usability I am impressed.
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Old 27-02-2020, 07:47   #84
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Re: Gel or Flooded?

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The point I was trying to make was that the Group 31's sold at Sam's Club are not FLA they're SLA that are not AGM or Gel. They are the dual purpose type. Big difference in my opinion.
Sorry, not correct. I have bought several Duracell g31 AGM's (East Penn Deka batteries relabeled) at Sam's, $180 each. Sam's has FLA Duracell Deka's as well.
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Old 27-02-2020, 09:23   #85
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Re: Gel or Flooded?

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Sorry, not correct. I have bought several Duracell g31 AGM's (East Penn Deka batteries relabeled) at Sam's, $180 each. Sam's has FLA Duracell Deka's as well.
Sometimes a picture helps. Remember the OP was talking about going from Group 31 AGM's to Group 31 FLA due to economies and ease of changeover. I was just pointing out that Sam's Club Group 31 Deep Cycle, non-AGM and non- gel batteries are in my opinion not true deep cycle batteries because they are sealed. Your opinion my differ.

https://www.samsclub.com/p/duracell-...p_product_1_16

Can you see any way to add water to that flooded battery? That's a sealed flooded battery that is neither an AGM or gel which is what the OP referenced. It's East Penn's low antimony doped flooded battery that's designed to take a high voltage charging regimen. Not one I would choose for a cruising boat since it's vented but you cannot add water.
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Old 28-02-2020, 12:05   #86
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Re: Gel or Flooded?

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Here is the issue, Gel is almost certainly “better” no maintenance and almost certainly lasts longer.
Due to sizing constraints, I’m pretty much stuck with a group 31 battery, and in that size you can get a good quality flooded battery for $1 an AH.
Gel costs roughly three times as much.
So for a 600AH bank it’s $600 for flooded and $1800 or more for Gel.
I say more as I’ve not really researched shipping costs etc, the flooded I can pick up myself at Sam’s club so I know it’s $1 an AH, less tax.

So is Gel worth three times or more cost? Will a group 31 Duracell (Deka) flooded battery last five years in actual use?

I want Gel, but am having a hard time convincing myself it’s worth the additional cost
I have had Duracell/West Marine (East Penn) AGM Golf Car Batteries for 7 years, just replace them last year. 8 x 6 volts, set up in 4 banks 12 volts each.
Just talked to the tech at East Penn (1.888 - 844 - 7704) and he confirmed that the West Marine and Duracells are identical.

These batteries have worked out great. We have put 20k NM on the boat in the Pacific, Central America and the Caribbean with no issues.
Each year I clean the terminals and check the cables, test the voltage of each battery to check for failures. All this helps the chargers.

The main charging system at the dock (almost never there - we are full time) is a Magmum Energy 3KW Charger/inverter. The engine is tied back to dual 100 amp Balmars and the solar is a Victron 50/100, with 540 watts of solar panels. These chargers know about AGMs.

My question to the East Penn tech was to confirm the engineering details of the battery and see if I could use the auto equalizer that is built into the Victron Solar charger. The answer was no. The battery is not designed for equalization.

That said, we got 7 years out the last set. About $1,200 for the set (this time around), 760 amp hours at 12 volts. So....$1.57 per amp hour.

The great thing about these is no watering. That is a big deal in the tropics.

Hope that helps!
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Old 28-02-2020, 12:22   #87
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Re: Gel or Flooded?

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Originally Posted by kenbo View Post
Sam's Club Group 31 Deep Cycle, non-AGM and non- gel batteries are in my opinion not true deep cycle batteries because they are sealed.
https://www.samsclub.com/p/duracell-...p_product_1_16

Can you see any way to add water to that flooded battery?

It's under the peel-off warning sticker (see image below). That battery is a re-stickered Deka DC-31DT and is also identical to the West Marine Deep-Cycle 105.

West Marine Sticker = $279.95
Duracell / Sam's Club Sticker = $79.90 ($20 off through March 21)


While certainly not a true deep-cycle battery, it's only rated at about 350 lab cycles, it is East Penn's version of a G-31 marine "Deep-Cycle" battery. Sadly the term "deep-cycle" is grossly abused by the battery makers. The East Penn / Deka golf car batteries are rated at 700-1000 cycles, depending upon model.




They do make good start/reserve batteries though. The DT feature "dual terminal" can also come in handy..
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Old 28-02-2020, 12:31   #88
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Re: Gel or Flooded?

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It's under the peel-off warning sticker (see below). That battery is a re-stickered Deka DC-31DT.

While certainly not a true deep-cycle battery, it's only rated at about 350 lab cycles, compared to a Deka golf car battery at 700-1000 cycles depending upon model, it is East Penn's version of a G-31 marine "Deep-Cycle" battery. Sadly the term "deep-cycle" is grossly abused by the battery makers...




They do make good start/reserve batteries though...
Thanks for that! I was judging by the picture since I don't use Group 31's. But anytime I read low antimony doped lead, low maintenance battery I know it's not a true deep cycle. That was the point of my post to A64pilot, to not use Sam's Club flooded G-31's as his house bank. And you confirmed that.
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