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Old 12-30-2014, 10:34 PM   #21
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Unless you're using an inverter or otherwise drawing your batteries down hard, four years would be a very short life span for a set of batteries indeed. Mine routinely go 10 years.

My first suspicious would be that your charger is either defective or not a modern charger. Did you clean the battery connections recently? Are you using a lot of water? Water should never drop to where the plates are exposed and use distilled water to top them off. With a modern charger and little use you should be using very little water.

But as the previous poster suggested, start with checking the batteries at their source and that should tell you a lot.
I agree that four years is short, but I consider 5 average and cannot imagine getting 10 years. But, it is important to define battery life. For me, a battery's life is typically over when its capacity is so diminished as to be unacceptable. Once I have lost 50% of capacity, I want new ones (if not sooner, depending on how much excess capacity I have). Rarely do I have a battery completely fail to hold a charge -- that usually occurs as a result of an internal short or batteries running completely dry, both of which should be avoidable.

Now if, as suggested above, you only use a small percentage of your capacity, your batteries can be "dead" (at least as I define the term), but you won't ever run down the batteries enough to know it.
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Old 12-31-2014, 07:45 AM   #22
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I agree that four years is short, but I consider 5 average and cannot imagine getting 10 years..
That has also been my experience. Of course that is with the batteries sitting idle every winter while on the hard.
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Old 12-31-2014, 07:57 AM   #23
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I agree with the 5 years. I ran Trojan T105s and at 4 years they started to not last near as long without a charge and at 5 years they were unacceptable for our cruising style on the hook. On our present boat we have 4Ds and I am curious to see how they last. Two years and they are doing good.
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Old 12-31-2014, 08:24 AM   #24
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>I replaced house/crank batteries<

I think this might be the key.

Start batts do well at starting , but stink and die very early if any attempt to deep cycle is ever made.

Deep cycles do fine at starting , IF < there is enouhj of them to create a similar plare surface area.

>Marine< supposed to do both jobs, only really work for the outboard fish killers that use a DC trolling motor and then need to start the outboard. These get recharged nightly with shore power.

Does this boat have house (deep cycle) batts as well as a start bat or two?
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:20 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Edelweiss
Unless you're using an inverter or otherwise drawing your batteries down hard, four years would be a very short life span for a set of batteries indeed. Mine routinely go 10 years.
----------------------------------

The key words were, "Unless you're using an Inverter or otherwise drawing you batteries down hard,"

Inverter use without the engines or generator running will reduce a set of batteries to an average four or five year life span. Turn off your inverters gentlemen and a properly maintained battery bank will easily last 8 - 10 years.
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:53 AM   #26
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Or size your Inverter to Battery Bank appropriately.
Most Inverters are much too high wattage for the available house bank.
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Old 12-31-2014, 01:46 PM   #27
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Some fair comments have been made but you'll get much more useful info if you provide more detail ..... number of banks, isolation method, battery charger make/model, switching set up, battery type, size and mfg. is there an inverter and does it serve dedicated outlets or the entire AC system.
Photos always help.
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Old 12-31-2014, 02:42 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edelweiss View Post
Originally Posted by Edelweiss
Unless you're using an inverter or otherwise drawing your batteries down hard, four years would be a very short life span for a set of batteries indeed. Mine routinely go 10 years.
----------------------------------

The key words were, "Unless you're using an Inverter or otherwise drawing you batteries down hard,"

Inverter use without the engines or generator running will reduce a set of batteries to an average four or five year life span. Turn off your inverters gentlemen and a properly maintained battery bank will easily last 8 - 10 years.
Well sorry but if I had to run my generator rwhile I was running my inverter. What's the point of an inverter?
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Old 12-31-2014, 04:01 PM   #29
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So this brings up the question... What is the difference of running your batteries down to 50% with DC lights and other DC loads or running it down to 50% with DC loads and an inverter? I would not think any at all but I am certainly open to learn. This is in both cases you are using a smart charger to bring them back up to 100%.
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Old 12-31-2014, 06:21 PM   #30
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So this brings up the question... What is the difference of running your batteries down to 50% with DC lights and other DC loads or running it down to 50% with DC loads and an inverter? I would not think any at all but I am certainly open to learn. This is in both cases you are using a smart charger to bring them back up to 100%.
I think the inference is that a large capacity inverter wired to supply all or most of the boat's AC needs can place a larger demand on the battery bank than a boat with primarily 12V/propane and small purpose-sized inverter(s). It's more about the DC load the inverter places on the battery.

I learned this when I installed an inverter...kind of a 'build it and they will come" thing from the movie Field of Dreams. Once the inverter was installed and AC juice was available at anchor, I started installing more equipment that consumed that AC juice like a second fridge. Now we don't want to be without that 2nd fridge at anchor! Good thing I installed the 6-battery golf cart battery bank first. Fortunately, our inverter only powers a single countertop area of the galley and heavy draw items like Keurig, hair drier, ceramic heaters and extended microwave use require the use of the Honda generator to operate.
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Old 12-31-2014, 08:54 PM   #31
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[QUOTE=Rogerh;295155]So this brings up the question... What is the difference of running your batteries down to 50% with DC lights and other DC loads or running it down to 50% with DC loads and an inverter? /QUOTE]

Probably nothing. . . But if you're "drawing your batteries down to 50%." between recharge cycles and you do it multiple times, then you will be lucky if they last 4 years. That is the kiss of death for your batteries, even deep cycle, AGM's, Flooded, gel, etc. They don't like to be drained like that.

If you don't have a generator and you need A/C, then an inverter is probably your best bet, but they should be used sparingly. Inverters are very inefficient and will pull your batteries down much faster than most DC power loads. Interior lights, especially if they're LED's, have very little impact on your batteries.

I have a 2000 watt inverter but it only runs while we're underway to power my PC network and laptop. It has no impact on the batteries as the alternators can easily keep up with what it draws. For other A/C loads, we run the generator and at night we shut everything down.
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Old 12-31-2014, 09:40 PM   #32
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.......at night we shut everything down.
I have considered this but never tried it. If I could go overnight without running the fridges, I could cut my Honda run time. I'm afraid my small fridges won't hold the cold overnight, especially the freezer compartments. Maybe the placement of a couple of freezer packs would help them hold overnight.

Guess I should try it sometime with something low risk like beer. God knows I've got enough of it and I can always buy ice in a pinch!!
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:20 PM   #33
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I'm sure it depends on the fridge and how you're using your boat. For mine, I've found that it is easier if the freezer is near full. The less air space the better and yes I've packed blue ice in the freezer before to fill the space and it helps. During the daylight hours we're usually fishing, crabbing or shrimping, so the engines are running daily, which keeps things cold.

I also have an 8CF freezer on the flybridge which when full and rock hard only needs to be powered up 3 times per day to stay that way. It's A/C only and I've often thought about putting it on an inverter while we're running. But our galley is all electric, so we run the generator off and on throughout the day for one thing or another anyway when not at a dock.
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Old 01-01-2015, 01:22 AM   #34
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Point of order Mr Speaker...talking batteries, and how to charge them. Right this minute we are anchored out in Tiger Mullet Channel, Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia.
http://www.geodata.us/australia_name...llet%20Channel

I chose that place today because where we were the last few nights, there was insufficient wind to drive the wind genny. On the pick we are all 12v, and normally the two solar panels and the wind genny are enough to keep the batts ok forever. However, the last few days has seen a lot of overcast so the house batts were getting down. We moved here to be more open to the ocean for more wind...well we have that, but guess what, the wind genny has decided to go on the blink. I have checked everything, and in the end, it must be the internal regulator. The damn thing keeps shutting down even tho the house batts are low.

The thought of the Kurfuffle taking it down and into a repair shop...probably have to be sent away, etc, etc, makes me now feel, that in the light of experience, especially as we all usually seek sheltered anchorages where the wind will be light as a rule anyway, I would have to say, although I went the Airbreeze way because I did not want to have to run a motor generator, if I had my time again it would have been just so much simpler to do what Flywright Al does, and many others, I suspect, and just go for a simple Honda 4 stroke petrol genny, as it would still be quite quiet, and use the same fuel as the Honda 2.3hp outboard we use for the dink, and all I would have had to do is swap the shore power lead from the dock to the genny.

No, we don't have room for a diesel installation. On that though. Often folk raise concerns about the fumes and CO output from portable types, and although putting it out on the duckboard, (swim step to US people), solves that, I wonder is it possible to cut the noise to other boats by having it in the cockpit, but ducting the exhaust somehow out a scupper..? I've noticed when folk run theirs out on the board, or up on a raised open deck they are still a bit noisy. If you can solve that issue, then they are attractive, not only in their simplicity, but you have to have petrol (gas) on board for the dink, and they are so easy to transport they give you a back-up genny for home, and also camping use.
Al...anyone.

PS. Sorry about the semi-thread hijack, but it's not really, because batteries and how to charge them are like a horse and cart really, you can't have one without the other.
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:52 AM   #35
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>What is the difference of running your batteries down to 50% with DC lights and other DC loads or running it down to 50% with DC loads and an inverter?<

TIME, An inverter will run the bank down quickly , so hopefully it will be discharged for a short time before the recharge.

A slow load will have the batt set well discharged for a far longer time befor the recharge is started.

This leaves more time for sulphation

Either way batts have a limit to the number of times they can be deeply discharge , not measured in years , just discharge depth and cycles. See Trojan web site.

Recharging is REQUIRED to 100% to get the mfg number of charge cycles , which with out a solar or power pole is doubtful on any boat.

The last 10-15% takes a LONG time to get pushed back in (SOC 85% o 90% to 100% )..

Most cruisers accept the loss of capacity and will size the bat set so they can live comfortably between 50% and 85% , and also accept the shortened life from not fully charging.

A desulfation device helps If you have the extra power and live 50-85 SOC life style
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Old 01-01-2015, 09:02 AM   #36
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Thanks for the replies. On a large boat like ours it is really hard to get it to run straight DC. Really wish I could but it would cost a fortune to get there. The Jefferson MY were made to run the gen all the time. We don't like doing that so we installed a house bank of three 4Ds and a Magnum 2500. The magnum is connected to the microwave, the fridges and the salon outlets for lights. In this configuration we would run the bats down to 50% over night if I was really careful. I hated the playing with things to keep it at that. Ice blocks in fridge and shutting down etc. We now have replaced the large galley AC house type side by side fridge with a Vitrofrigo DC/AC unit. This was our main power stealer. Now we are running down the bats to about 70% to 80%. What a difference. The salon fridge is much more efficient than the one in the galley but it would be the next one to replace if the boat bucks were there. But I would rather use the bucks for cruising and our usage now is much better and works without doing any tricks. Gen for 2 to 3 hours in the evening and same in the morning. Charge back up to 100% on the SOC so hopefully we will have bats that last along time. If not five years works for us given what we are running. Engine batteries are totally separate of the house bank. Gen also has it's own battery.
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Old 01-01-2015, 09:17 AM   #37
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batteries

IMO, the absolute BEST info on battery banks is Nigel Calder's book. There are several chapters on proper maintenance and care of your battery bank. How to test, how to get the most efficiency and all that. It made a difference for me. I get 7 years vs. 5 years from my batteries. Proper maintenance is extremely important. Go on line, it's a $50.00 book and well worth it.
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Old 01-01-2015, 01:58 PM   #38
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Nigel Calder's book, I will second that recommendation. Get one and read it.

Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Handbook.
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Old 01-01-2015, 02:58 PM   #39
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Often folk raise concerns about the fumes and CO output from portable types, and although putting it out on the duckboard, (swim step to US people), solves that, I wonder is it possible to cut the noise to other boats by having it in the cockpit, but ducting the exhaust somehow out a scupper..? I've noticed when folk run theirs out on the board, or up on a raised open deck they are still a bit noisy. If you can solve that issue, then they are attractive, not only in their simplicity, but you have to have petrol (gas) on board for the dink, and they are so easy to transport they give you a back-up genny for home, and also camping use.
Al...anyone.

PS. Sorry about the semi-thread hijack, but it's not really, because batteries and how to charge them are like a horse and cart really, you can't have one without the other.
I've tried several locations onboard for my Honda and most have advantages and disadvantages. The last place I'd try is the cockpit due to the excessive noise and CO concerns. There are folks who have modified the exhaust with extensions to discharge the exhaust up high or just below the surface of the water. I have not tried this, but imagine the exhaust bubbling would be bothersome.

I run mine from a FB bench seat. The FB is not enclosed and only has loose canvas sides with plenty of ventilation. It is less noisy there and the exhaust disperses easily. I have a dedicated 30A power cord which plugs into the generator. It's secured with a locking cable and bungee cord and can be refueled in place. A fitted cover protects it when not in use.

I've run it on the swimstep, but it gets in the way when using the swimstep and I still am concerned about CO there. There's also the issue of sea water splashing onto it. I used a large Rubbermaid tub for a period to protect it from the water, but it was butt-ugly. When seated in the cockpit, it's noisier on the swimstep than on the FB.

Sometimes I've run it on the bow when fishing from the cockpit for long periods at anchor. It's less noisy than the FB when I'm in the cockpit fishing, but it's noisier in the interior of the boat. Also, I close all ports to avoid any CO intrusion.

I have a 55A charger that the Honda runs easily with enough reserve power to run other appliances. If I had a 100A charger, the Honda would probably rev to max speed/noise level and have no reserve for other uses during heavy charging. In regular use, my charger seldom stays at 50+ amps for very long before tapering to lower current levels. For my boat, a larger charger would not benefit me much.

Another option for noise is using an enclosure. This has been discussed here on TF recently and has proven effective for some. I am considering this as the next step in refining the Honda operation.
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Old 01-01-2015, 06:14 PM   #40
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Calder also wrote a book on refrigeration.
Be it Peter`s panels and wind generator(yes, I know the power may go via the batteries, but you can feed direct off the regulator), be it propane/LPG, or 240v genset driven or engine driven eutectics which will hold 10-12 hours, the best answer to battery well being is getting refrigeration off the batteries.
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