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yellotaxi 09-09-2016 05:27

Right batteries for cruising
 
Batteries: 6 volt in series or 12 volt in parallel ?

Looking for the better way to go for cruising. A well respected friend mentioned that when he was sailing/cruising 15 years ago, 6 volt golf cart batteries were the way to go. However, he raise the question if with the new technology thsi may no longer be true.

StuM 09-09-2016 06:06

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Hang on, while I get the popcorn...
.
.
:popcorn:

OK,
What battery technology are you considering, Lithium of some type of LA?
If the latter, FLA, AGM, Gel?

How large a bank (how many Ah)?

StuM 09-09-2016 06:16

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
This should keep you going for a while until the debate starts yet again:

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...es-151104.html

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...-6v-17733.html

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...2v-131223.html

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...nk-108017.html

(Hint, I located these in a few seconds by clicking on Search at the top of the page and entering "batteries 6v or 12v" into the Google Custom Search box)

DDabs 09-09-2016 06:25

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
I use golf cart batteries, they have been going strong for almost 3 years now with extremely low maintenance. I have solar panels that keep them topped off at all times but I'm very happy. They were very affordable and if I need to replace, I can pretty much get one anywhere.

pcmm 09-09-2016 07:52

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
alot of it comes down to preference. GC2's ( 6v golf cart) are popular due to their energy density and weight. you might have to carry double the number of batteries but a GC2 generally weighs around 70lbs an can be carried by one pwerson. 4D or 8d needs the help of others to move as they weigh alot more. GC2's are also high volue batteries which tends to lead to lower costs per battery. EG I bought my GC2's at sams club (Identical to west marine as they're the same manufacturer) for $85 each. Westmarine in comparison ( for the same identical battery except for the label) chargers $240.... the math is pretty good in favour of the Sam's club GC2's

barnakiel 09-09-2016 07:55

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
I never use 6V in a 12 or 24V system.

Asked others the answer seems in a big boat only 6V units are easy to manage without a crane. I agree.

As long as the boat bank is not 'huge', I would always use 12V units in a 12V wired boat.

b.

Adelie 09-09-2016 08:04

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
The analyses I've seen indicate that the best bang for the buck by a large margin is golf cart FLAs, with 6v batteries having some cycle life advantage over 12v.

LIon: Unless you want to home brew your own battery system with cells over the internet you would pay $3200 for a 180ah battery of which 140ah is usable, plus upgrades to your charging system so it doesn't get fragged by the battery. Alternators need special regulators to limit output, otherwise the alternators overheat and die.

Gel: You can get significantly more cycles out of Gels than FLAs if they are treated perfectly. The extra cycles probably probably comes close to making the money equation even for upfront purchase, but to get the life you also need to upgrade the alternator system with a smart charger. Unfortunately any damage from incorrect charging is pretty much permanent with at least a little decrease in capacity.

AGM: AGMs can't even match the number of cycles of FLAs and cost more. To get the advantage of faster charging that is regularly touted for AGMs you need to install a high output alternator and regulator for something in the vicinity of $1k plus maybe a new serpentine belt for several hundred dollars more. At the very least you need to install a special regulator on your alternator to limit output since, like LIons, it will accept very high initial charging currents which will kill the alternator.

Battery manufacturers are advertising higher cycle life for AGMs than golfcart FLAs and recent developements in AGM may actually mean that is true, but I am doubtful and am waiting to see what outside sources say in several more years.

For golfcart FLAs, the 6v batteries have a longer life expectency than 12v so in general they are the better deal.

That said, I am going with 12v for my own boat. My boat is a special case, it is very small and fitting in 2 batteries is a push. I am choosing the 12v because with 2-12v batteries if one dies I still have capacity I can use until I make it somewhere to replace the batteries. With 2-6v batteris if one cell in a battery dies I get 10.8v which may or may not do what is needed.


AGM Batteries - Making The Choice | SailboatOwners.com Forums

Evans Starzinger has a very good discussion of batteries on his & his wife's website which is currently not responding for me: www.bethandevans.com

zeehag 09-09-2016 08:10

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
i use happily 2 banks each of 4 golf cart 6v batteries wired as 12 v for maxistorage of tricities., had considered converting to 12v, but didnt find the pricing to be worth while for me. as i amnot able to lift a 3 man and a boy hernia causing 160 pound 8d, i remain happy with the lighter but still heavier than ..... t 105 type batteries. they last a long time and they are easily maintained.

DDabs 09-09-2016 08:22

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
I honestly don't understand how cruisers, especially retired cruisers, have huge AGM batteries. How the hell do you lift them out of the boat? depend on others i guess

meridian28 09-09-2016 08:34

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
AGM 6v #70


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reed1v 09-09-2016 08:39

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by yellotaxi (Post 2209276)
Batteries: 6 volt in series or 12 volt in parallel ?

Looking for the better way to go for cruising. A well respected friend mentioned that when he was sailing/cruising 15 years ago, 6 volt golf cart batteries were the way to go. However, he raise the question if with the new technology thsi may no longer be true.

We preferred big 2 volt battery banks, lead acid. Easy to maintain and easily available throughout the planet. Part of the KISS philosophy.

Captain Puget 09-09-2016 08:54

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
For total cost of ownership, I chose the Firefly carbon foam batteries.

See: Firefly International Energy

molo0928 09-09-2016 09:11

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
+1 for the Firefly Carbon Foam. Going today to pick 3 up. First time building a house bank so we'll see how they do. A few reputable people in the industry have recommended them.

Sent from my SM-G935V using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app

roverhi 09-09-2016 10:13

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Firefly sounds interesting but what do they cost??? With all the new battery technology it comes back to bang for the buck which Golf Cart Batteries seem to continue to win.

S/V Alchemy 09-09-2016 10:18

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
There is no one answer, as there is no one boat or variety (or paucity) of charging sources.

AGMs are expensive and (to my mind) a little oversold in terms of lifetime. On the other hand, if you are trickle-charging them (at the voltage they prefer) on a boat on a mooring, or if the flatness of your bilges means they can lie on their sides happily, they are a great choice.

The newer carbon foam batteries need to go through a cycle of ownership before we can judge.
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tcjSfNpGl...0/DSCN2457.JPG
The Li-Ons are great (particularly for a race boat) but are they rugged enough to go to sea? Are they worth the higher cost per Ah over time? Dunno. I do know I had a Li-On battery in a laptop burn on me once. A full-sized marine battery would be a nightmare shading into "abandon ship". Both carbon foam and Li-On are going to be hard to replace in distant lands. I mean, there's cruising the ICW and the Caribbean, and cruising New Guinea or Micronesia. Very different scenarios.

I have six L-16s, a fairly heavy (120 pounds, but I can manage it) 6 VDC FLA battery. They are series-parallel wired to make one considerable 1,575 Ah house bank. I've got a full keel steel cutter, so keeping 800 pounds of batteries right beneath the mast actually stiffens the boat a bit. I have multiple charging sources but I wanted to extend their life by sticking to the 75%-100% range, which in theory gives me 3,000 discharge cycles if I'm clean and do my care and feeding. So my energy budget is actually only 25% of 1,575 Ah...I'll have to run a tight ship if it's cloudy, I'm not motoring, it's calm and the two Honda 2000s are busted. You can see where I'm going with this. Asking about battery types for cruising is so utterly contigent on so many factors (style of cruising, type of boat, access, where you are going, how do you charge them, how many loads you run, etc.) that there's no one answer. Just best answers for you.

travellerw 09-09-2016 10:21

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Installed a brand new battery bank before I went cruising. Researched and contemplated all the other options (Li-on, AGM, Firefly, LA). In the end I went with 6V Costco golf cart batts. We have been cruising 8 months now and am very happy with my decision. Cheap, simple and well know technology.

I looked very closely at the Firefly products and was very close to picking them. In the end I decided against them due to price. They are not popular enough yet to benefit from "Economy of Scale". If you plan to keep your bank for 5+ years, then they make sense. If you don't know, then maybe not!

donradcliffe 09-09-2016 10:53

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by barnakiel (Post 2209385)
I never use 6V in a 12 or 24V system.

Asked others the answer seems in a big boat only 6V units are easy to manage without a crane. I agree.

As long as the boat bank is not 'huge', I would always use 12V units in a 12V wired boat.

b.

I'm not sure why--lead acid battery cells are 2V each, so 6V batteries are 3 cells wired in series internally, and 12v batteries are 6 cells wired in series internally. Do you really think there is a difference, other than the one extra external wire you need with 6V batteries in series??

chala 09-09-2016 11:46

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by yellotaxi (Post 2209276)
Batteries: 6 volt in series or 12 volt in parallel ?

Quote:

Originally Posted by chala (Post 971696)
If a single bank consists of two or more battery in parallel then this configuration will be one of the less efficient.

Simple.

ranger42c 09-09-2016 13:01

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DDabs (Post 2209410)
I honestly don't understand how cruisers, especially retired cruisers, have huge AGM batteries. How the hell do you lift them out of the boat? depend on others i guess


Easy enough. Avoid 8Ds and 4Ds.

AGM Group 31s = 77.8-lbs (Odyssey C-2150s).

-Chris

barnakiel 09-09-2016 13:09

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by donradcliffe (Post 2209567)
I'm not sure why--lead acid battery cells are 2V each, so 6V batteries are 3 cells wired in series internally, and 12v batteries are 6 cells wired in series internally. Do you really think there is a difference, other than the one extra external wire you need with 6V batteries in series??

I like things to be simple. Small boats wired 12V can use 12V batteries. Not simply simpler ;-) but also way better choice in the store.

I understand big boats big banks wired 24V - no 24V batteries so we use ... exactly. I would use 12V batteries, seen 6V batteries wired too many times.

I understand then big boats, big banks, big batteries, one opts for 6 or 2V batteries, for handling.

What I do not buy is doing the same when the bank is small and the boat wired 12V.

b.

CHM 09-09-2016 14:30

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
6 v AGMs here. 420 amp hour house bank

12v AGM starter.


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sailorboy1 09-09-2016 14:40

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by yellotaxi (Post 2209276)
Batteries: 6 volt in series or 12 volt in parallel ?

yes, both!

Wckoek 09-09-2016 14:52

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Series would be more even in charging. And 6v is in true deep cycle.

But that's the first time I heard of firefly, do they charge better and have better life's?

molo0928 09-09-2016 18:02

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by roverhi (Post 2209533)
Firefly sounds interesting but what do they cost??? With all the new battery technology it comes back to bang for the buck which Golf Cart Batteries seem to continue to win.

They list for $486 here in FL. After some discounting, I got them for $411/each. It may be the answer, it may not. Time will tell. (Also bought a panel and controller so that may have helped the discount)

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roverhi 09-09-2016 20:00

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
$411 for how much amperage/voltage??? Can get 440 amps at 12 volts using GC batteries so hope there is a lot of amps in those batteries.

JimsCAL 09-09-2016 20:28

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by roverhi (Post 2209873)
$411 for how much amperage/voltage??? Can get 440 amps at 12 volts using GC batteries so hope there is a lot of amps in those batteries.

No. The advantage is in much lower loss of capacity over time (partial discharges) and more cycles over the battery life. Most batteries on boats die a premature death due to improper charging. it's more of a life-cycle cost thing. Great battery, but pricey. I'm sticking with standard flooded deep cycles.

smac999 09-09-2016 20:34

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DDabs (Post 2209410)
I honestly don't understand how cruisers, especially retired cruisers, have huge AGM batteries. How the hell do you lift them out of the boat? depend on others i guess


agm batteries are the exact same size as flooded batteries....

battery size = battery size.

smac999 09-09-2016 20:37

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by donradcliffe (Post 2209567)
I'm not sure why--lead acid battery cells are 2V each, so 6V batteries are 3 cells wired in series internally, and 12v batteries are 6 cells wired in series internally. Do you really think there is a difference, other than the one extra external wire you need with 6V batteries in series??


the differnce is having only 3 cells in a battery means they can have thicker plates vs craming 6 cells in a simular sized battery. which is why golf carts are much better at deep cycling then any 12v sized car battery. (24-31)

StuM 10-09-2016 03:07

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by roverhi (Post 2209873)
$411 for how much amperage/voltage??? Can get 440 amps at 12 volts using GC batteries so hope there is a lot of amps in those batteries.

I presume that you meant Amp hours, not cranking Amps.

But who knows? Please use the correct units when discussing electrical systems here.

ranger42c 10-09-2016 04:43

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by yellotaxi (Post 2209276)
Batteries: 6 volt in series or 12 volt in parallel ?

Looking for the better way to go for cruising. A well respected friend mentioned that when he was sailing/cruising 15 years ago, 6 volt golf cart batteries were the way to go. However, he raise the question if with the new technology thsi may no longer be true.


A thought about how to answer battery questions:

Seems like useful to start with a series of questions:
- Are you willing to perform (monthly?) maintenance?
- Will your batteries be reasonably accessible for maintenance?
- If inadvertent off-gassing acceptable?
- Can you recharge to 100% immediately after discharging batteries?
- Is immediate cost a driving function? Or is life-cycle cost more important?
- Are you willing to install a battery management system? (or do you already have one?)
- And so forth.

The "right" answer would perhaps arise from that kind of analysis.

And then life-cycle info -- informed by info from above -- about various options would be useful, too.


I suspect any 10 different members here would come up with about 14 different "best" approaches... depending on how they walk in their shoes.

-Chris

hzcruiser 10-09-2016 05:02

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by StuM (Post 2209982)
I presume that you meant Amp hours, not cranking Amps.

But who knows? Please use the correct units when discussing electrical systems here.


You never give up trying to educate the readers about the difference between Ah and CCA ? :peace:

How is your popcorn box doing? :popcorn:

hzcruiser 10-09-2016 05:05

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ranger42c (Post 2210014)
A thought about how to answer battery questions:

Seems like useful to start with a series of questions:
[...]
- And so forth.

The "right" answer would perhaps arise from that kind of analysis.

-Chris


Very good points! :thumb:

hzcruiser 10-09-2016 05:09

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy (Post 2209542)

The Li-Ons are great (particularly for a race boat) but are they rugged enough to go to sea? Are they worth the higher cost per Ah over time? Dunno. I do know I had a Li-On battery in a laptop burn on me once.


Hang on a sec here! Li-Ion as used in laptops or phones are quite different beasts from LFP's or LiFePo4 batteries, which are generally used on boats. Well, not "generally" just yet, but they will be in a few years time.

So please don't mix up those two batt technologies. LFPs are quite safe.

roverhi 10-09-2016 12:21

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by StuM (Post 2209982)
I presume that you meant Amp hours, not cranking Amps.

But who knows? Please use the correct units when discussing electrical systems here.

Who ever said anything about CCA. Only Sears with their Die Hards uses CCA for capacity. In the marine world of house batteries, it's Amps as in Amp Hours.

smac999 10-09-2016 14:04

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by roverhi (Post 2210282)
Who ever said anything about CCA. Only Sears with their Die Hards uses CCA for capacity. In the marine world of house batteries, it's Amps as in Amp Hours.


amps and amp hours are totally different.

StuM 10-09-2016 18:19

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by roverhi (Post 2210282)
Who ever said anything about CCA. Only Sears with their Die Hards uses CCA for capacity. In the marine world of house batteries, it's Amps as in Amp Hours.

Not, it's Amp hours, not Amps.

Rather than going through it all yet again. You may like to look at these two links.

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ml#post2210467

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ml#post2210483

chala 11-09-2016 00:45

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by StuM (Post 2209982)
Please use the correct units when discussing electrical systems here.

Quote:

Originally Posted by chala (Post 2210640)
Curious the teacher got it wrong. v Amps/Hr

Got to be the mango season in Port Moresby.

StuM 11-09-2016 02:13

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chala (Post 2210653)
Got to be the mango season in Port Moresby.


Still cross posting quotes from one thread into another and still getting it wrong.

Must be peanut season in the monkey house.

CheoyLee39 11-09-2016 15:42

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Gosh, LOL :popcorn: Always such a popular topic.
My 2 bobs worth, I simply run x2 parallel 150AH AGM Deep Cycle Marine batteries in a live aboard 40 ft yacht, solar top up. 40amp 8 stage charger (a must) from my Yamaha generator, as no amount of batteries will stay charged with regular daily use, especially if you experience no sun for a few days lol.

Yes, AGM are heavier than other alternatives, however, once they are in, that's it. For my mind they are the best battery for marine power, with zero maintenance. :smitten:

skipgundlach 12-09-2016 14:58

Re: Right batteries for cruising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy (Post 2209542)

clip...

I have six L-16s, a fairly heavy (120 pounds, but I can manage it) 6 VDC FLA battery. They are series-parallel wired to make one considerable 1,575 Ah house bank.

clip...

That's astounding. I want to know where to buy 525AH L16 batteries and how much they cost.

My first set were high-capacity, at 440AH; the standard I went with due to their being nearly half the cost are 370AH.

My current set should have at least another 3-5 years in them, but my 4-unit bank is only 740AH and I'd dearly love to have over 1000AH in the one box.

Thanks for alerting me to the possibilities.

What is the designation of those (L-16HC was my 440AH set, just L-16 is my 370AH set), where did you buy them (locally sourced or shipped) and how much were they?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Thanks so much!

L8R

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