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Old 21-05-2022, 10:47   #1
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Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

(Direct me if this is well covered elsewhere - I looked and did not find.)

I notice that in 2019 until 2022, the Caribbean chandleries, both English and French, have great pallets of maintenance-free deep cycle batteries, from 75 to 110 amp-hour capacity, all with the little fish-eye for checking their health. How is this working out? Have you any experience?

I have been trying to get flooded lead-acid batteries to last more than 3 years in the Caribbean heat for almost 2 decades, and am giving up. I donít want to shift to other battery styles because my little cat does fine with alternators with interior regulators, and the alternatives need different alt voltages.

Are these working out? Do they last 3 years?
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Old 21-05-2022, 10:56   #2
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Re: Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

The only lead acid batteries I'd trust are 6v golf cart batteries. There is no regulation regarding batteries. Anyone can slap on a sticker that says deep cycle.

https://marinehowto.com/what-is-a-deep-cycle-battery/
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Old 21-05-2022, 12:16   #3
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Re: Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

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Originally Posted by LLCoolDave View Post
The only lead acid batteries I'd trust are 6v golf cart batteries. There is no regulation regarding batteries. Anyone can slap on a sticker that says deep cycle.

https://marinehowto.com/what-is-a-deep-cycle-battery/
I agree with you on this
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Old 21-05-2022, 12:23   #4
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Re: Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

Through a bit of miscommunication and foolishness on my part, my last batch of batteries (three Group 31, and one G27), turned out to be "maintenance-free" deep cycle batteries. This is not what I had wanted, nor desired, but that's what I ended up with.

I was not happy, but proceeded. And I have to say, despite my reticence, they worked out just fine. They performed to my expectation.

So while I still prefer standard flooded batteries, I'm no longer completely adverse to installing new sealed (maintenance-free) ones.
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Old 21-05-2022, 12:53   #5
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Re: Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

As designed my boat only has space for Group24 batteries, so deep cycle choices are a bit limited ... but I've had my current "deep cycle" sealed lead acid batteries for 5 years now, and they don't need replacing yet.


However, I don't have to deal with Caribbean heat .. nor do I have a fridge so my electrical use is quite moderate.
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Old 22-05-2022, 10:28   #6
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Re: Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

In NA the good flooded batt makers are

Rolls/Surette, Trojan, Deka/East Penn, U.S. Battery, Crown, Superior

Sealed must be AGM or GEL, both are pricier than FLA per Ah, fussier to care for besides topping up, and do not last as long as FLA.

The best battery value by far is Duracell (actually Deka/East Penn) FLA deep cycle golf cart batteries, 2x6V, maybe $210 per 200+AH @12V pair from BatteriesPlus or Sam's Club.

NAPA relabels it here: https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/NBP8144

Deka self-labeled also sold at Lowes.
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Old 22-05-2022, 13:09   #7
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Re: Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

Mike OReilly: Where were you with these batteries? The ambient and storage temperatures matter in this uhh… matter.
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Old 22-05-2022, 16:19   #8
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Re: Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonosailor View Post
I have been trying to get flooded lead-acid batteries to last more than 3 years in the Caribbean heat for almost 2 decades, and am giving up. I don’t want to shift to other battery styles because my little cat does fine with alternators with interior regulators, and the alternatives need different alt voltages.
You will never succeed with "internally" regulated alternators. They are designed to replace the engine start power and supply power to a running car. They are not designed to put power back into a deeply discharged battery. You are consistently undercharging the batteries. Deep cycle batteries need to be fully charged. That requires a proper charging regime.

Do you have a battery monitor? Do you check and top up the water level?

Do you have solar? That would help top up the charge.
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Old 22-05-2022, 16:24   #9
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Re: Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

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Originally Posted by PaulCrawhorn View Post
In NA the good flooded batt makers are

Rolls/Surette, Trojan, Deka/East Penn, U.S. Battery, Crown, Superior

Sealed must be AGM or GEL, both are pricier than FLA per Ah, fussier to care for besides topping up, and do not last as long as FLA.

The best battery value by far is Duracell (actually Deka/East Penn) FLA deep cycle golf cart batteries, 2x6V, maybe $210 per 200+AH @12V pair from BatteriesPlus or Sam's Club.

NAPA relabels it here: https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/NBP8144

Deka self-labeled also sold at Lowes.
Thanks for the Napa reference,as I hadnít considered them as a source for golf cart batteries. Our choices are limited in Hawaii and they seem to have these in stock here. My West Marine claimed deep cycle are still doing ok approaching 4 years but I would like to replace the house bank with 2 6v golf cart batteries along with the 50 extra AH.
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Old 22-05-2022, 16:51   #10
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Re: Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

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Thanks for the Napa reference,as I hadnít considered them as a source for golf cart batteries. Our choices are limited in Hawaii and they seem to have these in stock here. My West Marine claimed deep cycle are still doing ok approaching 4 years but I would like to replace the house bank with 2 6v golf cart batteries along with the 50 extra AH.
If you can find a golf cart dealer they will have what you need. West Marine is the last place I would go for deep cycle batteries. My last set of Trojan T105s lasted ten years.
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Old 22-05-2022, 18:42   #11
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Re: Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

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If you can find a golf cart dealer they will have what you need. West Marine is the last place I would go for deep cycle batteries. My last set of Trojan T105s lasted ten years.
HaÖthe PO delivered our boat from Kona while I was on the mainland and the batteries were DOA. He grabbed new batteries at WM because they had them in stock and were close by. He was staying on the boat for 3 days and it didnít have shore power then.
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Old 23-05-2022, 04:51   #12
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Re: Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

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Originally Posted by Sonosailor View Post
Mike OReilly: Where were you with these batteries? The ambient and storage temperatures matter in this uhhÖ matter.

True. Bought them while cruising Lake Ontario. Spent a couple of seasons there, then sailed the St. Lawrence and Newfoundland for the last few.

I offer my experience in light of being pleasantly surprised at how well they performed. I expected the worst, but they did not cause me any grief.
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Old 23-05-2022, 04:58   #13
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Re: Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

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Originally Posted by PaulCrawhorn View Post
Sealed must be AGM or GEL, both are pricier than FLA per Ah, fussier to care for besides topping up, and do not last as long as FLA.

There are "sealed" (aka maintenance free) batteries that are simply flooded lead acid, not AGM or gel. We have a 24V bank of "sealed" 8Ds like that, from Deka. I think our 12V Diehard FLA genset battery is also sealed.

FWIW, we got at least 11-12 seasons from our banks of Odyssey AGMs on the previous boat... and we only replaced the first of those two banks because I eventually found a way to increase capacity within the same battery space. IOW, that Odyssey bank was still pretty decent when we replaced it anyway...

Longevity likely being about the way we used them, compared to cruisers who are full-time away from shore power...

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Old 23-05-2022, 13:09   #14
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Re: Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/BAT8301?ref=MQ==
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulCrawhorn View Post
In NA the good flooded batt makers are

Rolls/Surette, Trojan, Deka/East Penn, U.S. Battery, Crown, Superior

Sealed must be AGM or GEL, both are pricier than FLA per Ah, fussier to care for besides topping up, and do not last as long as FLA.

The best battery value by far is Duracell (actually Deka/East Penn) FLA deep cycle golf cart batteries, 2x6V, maybe $210 per 200+AH @12V pair from BatteriesPlus or Sam's Club.

NAPA relabels it here: https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/NBP8144

Deka self-labeled also sold at Lowes.

I am going to replace my house bank with 2 of the 6v linked above-
https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/BAT8144?ref=MA==



My start battery only powers the 3YM20 starter which starts instantly, and the 50A windlass which is actually powered by the 120A alternator. Would you choose the hybrid with 575 Cold Cranking Amps and 90AH-
https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/BAT8301?ref=MQ==

or the start battery with 840 Cold Cranking Amps -
https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/BAT8307?ref=Mg==



The boat is in Hawaii in a slip with shore power day sailing and some short overnights.


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Old 24-05-2022, 04:11   #15
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Re: Maintenance free deep cycle batteries

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Originally Posted by ranger58sb View Post
There are "sealed" (aka maintenance free) batteries that are simply flooded lead acid, not AGM or gel. We have a 24V bank of "sealed" 8Ds like that, from Deka. I think our 12V Diehard FLA genset battery is also sealed.
Yes of course SLA exist that are neither GEL nor AGM (both types of VRLA) , they just aren't proper deep cycling units, won't get good cycle lifespan, but as you say not everyone needs that, like if you're not actually cruising.

FLA means the electrolyte is accessible to be tested by hydrometer and topped up, both major advantages that help extend lifespan.
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