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Old 10-10-2019, 08:41 AM   #1
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AGM batteries if discharged?

Iím heading over to Green Turtle 10/17 to work on my Dorian damaged boat, and one of my big concerns is my battery bank. I have 4 expensive Lifeline AGMs as the House bank with a total of 500ah. My solar blew off in the storm so itís been sitting for about 30 days with no charge. I donít *think* there has been a draw because I shut off all the breakers when I left, but in the process of hauling the boat and during the storm who knows. I was not there for the emergency haulout.

So my question is, if the bank is discharged Iím wondering if I can bring them back. I have power at the yard now so can run the battery charger, and I also have 200 watts of auxiliary solar and two new Victron controllers already wired up so I will have some solar for the cruise back to FL. I will not really be lingering at anchor hopefully unless cold fronts pin me down so the solar might not be critical.

I donít have the ability to bring new batteries with me on this flight due to weight, but if these house batteries are shot I might have to do that I suppose. I really rely on my chart plotter for navigation so I need some type of battery that will hold a charge on the cruise back.

Hopefully my start battery was isolated during all this, and if itís good maybe I can run the plotter off that on the way home if the house bank is trashed?

Just trying to brainstorm this before I get there so Iím not surprised.
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:50 AM   #2
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If they were discharged significantly and sat that way, their condition and ability to take a charge will be somewhat of an unknown. But I'd be surprised if you can't get at least some of the batteries (if not the whole bank) to take enough charge to manage for the trip home. In particular, being that you'll be motoring the whole time, limping along with fairly limited capacity shouldn't be too hard.

But if all of the loads were actually shut off, chances are they're not all that discharged (self discharge on AGMs is fairly low). If that's the case, they should charge right up and be pretty much fine.

I'd definitely plan to have the boat plugged in for as long as possible while you get everything sorted and ready to go. That'll get the batteries topped off and then you can see what shape they're in.
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:57 AM   #3
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We have basic flooded golf cart batteries and don't plug the boat in during the summer. Typically, we run the boat enough to keep the batteries charged up but didn't this year because of family stuff.

I don't recall how long the longest interval was between going out on the boat but six weeks sounds about right and the batteries were fine. Never got below 80% I think, and we have a little computer type fan running all the time through the desiccating head.
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Old 10-10-2019, 09:02 AM   #4
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I ruined a set of AGM's by leaving them fully discharged for about a month. When my buddy needed batteries, I advised against it, but he figured he would never be so stupid as to let his batteries go on charged. His boat was out of the country and someone shut off his dock power. So he needed a new set too.
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Old 10-10-2019, 09:05 AM   #5
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Egad. I've been treating our batteries with the same disregard for 7 months a year since 2014. Difference might be that they're fully charged by the time we tie up.
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Old 10-10-2019, 09:06 AM   #6
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"Dead " batts can almost always be brought back to service.

Usually the bank will be smaller, in terms of capacity , as if they were years older.


Starts may not come back, even once.
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Old 10-10-2019, 09:10 AM   #7
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I have run a AGM 8D flat once by mistake and had no problem bringing it back. It was down for about a week. Even w all breakers off you may have parasitic drains... CO detector, etc that can run battys down. Most boats have some connections that bypass a shut off switch... bilge pumps, CO, smoke detectors...
My understanding is it's not a desired practice but a few and shorter ones won't kill an otherwise good AGM batty.
Do you gave a tablet?
I was very pleasantly surprised at the usefulness of Navionixs on a tablet, especially as a back up. $15 for US w a year of updates. Also free 30 day trial available.
I have had some issues w MFD run on start batty... if it's on before start they sometimes don't like the V drop at start. I have lost all my custom settings (not waypoints or rts) and had to go through set up again... always happens at the worst time of course.
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Old 10-10-2019, 09:27 AM   #8
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Oh yes, forgot to add I have an iPad with Garmin Blue Charts on it I can use if not enough juice to run plotter. I usually use the iPad and plotter at the same time.

Autopilot also uses some juice obviously, along with the radio thatís always on.

I bought another antenna and some cable to try rig up since my vhf antenna was on top of the mast. Would like to have my AIS running.

What else should I take over to make my trip easier? I wonder how Iím going to lash the mast down but guess Iíll figure that out when I get there. I have (or had) lots of dock lines.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:38 AM   #9
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Do you have an installed generator?

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Old 10-10-2019, 10:46 AM   #10
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Yes. Have a generator.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardude01 View Post
Yes. Have a generator.
In that case, even if you end up with very limited usable battery capacity, you should be ok, being that you can run the generator any time you're not motoring if needed (provided fuel capacity is sufficient).
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:53 AM   #12
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Greetings,
Mr. c01. I wish you the best in your endeavors but why not get a tow back from Boat US(?) as suggested?
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:05 AM   #13
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Greetings,
Mr. c01. I wish you the best in your endeavors but why not get a tow back from Boat US(?) as suggested?

Iím reserving the tow idea for an emergency. I donít *think* I will be in a must have tow situation from what Iíve gathered so far, but maybe that changes once I get there and see with my own eyes.

My plan is to take two days to get from GTC to West End and stop at that marina (or just anchor in the basin maybe) and wait on a good window to cross. Iíve done the trip from GTC to West End a few times now and that leg doesnít really worry me too bad as long as I donít get caught in a front.

I am a little bit worried about crossing the GS with the boat somewhat disabled, and after I get to West End I might rethink the tow idea. I figure I can wait for a really good weather window to cross for as long as I have food and water so hopefully I wonít get antsy. However, Iíve never tried to cross during the fall (only in summer months) so I really donít have any experience waiting like this. How long could I wait? I will have to pack lots of canned foodó as much as they will let me take on the flight over. I need some lighter non-perishable food ideas however. Can stuff is heavy.
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:11 AM   #14
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Don't think the assistance tow would be covered, thus very expensive unless hull insurance kicks in.

Although West End, Freeport, Bimini are in the FLL franchise oparea.....

It would be OK if he broke down enroute but the tow really only has to be to a suitable repair facility, not necessarily where you want to go.
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:12 AM   #15
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I'd guess they will be OK after a charge. Lifelines can be equalized to restore lost capacity when left discharged. The Lifeline literature explains this procedure.
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:19 AM   #16
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AGM batteries if discharged?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DDW View Post
I'd guess they will be OK after a charge. Lifelines can be equalized to restore lost capacity when left discharged. The Lifeline literature explains this procedure.

Ahh excellent. Will check that out. Thanks.

Found it. The recovery from deep discharge seems a bit risky and needs to be done in 86 degrees or less if Iím reading it right. Hopefully Iím not deep discharged!


http://lifelinebatteries.com/wp-cont...cal-Manual.pdf
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:27 AM   #17
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I normally store my boat from October to May with no charger (or charging) on the house bank or start battery and my batteries are still in good shape in the spring. I do get them completely topped off before going into storage, usually by running for a couple of hours before puling out for the winter.

Unless there is a draw, they should still be in very good condition after only a month. Check the voltage before turning the system back on to see if they have been run flat. I have 400 AH in my bank, and they top off in under an hour running with a 100A Balmar alternator unless I have been on the hook for several days. The smart charging system tells me where I am in the recharge cycle.

My batteries are also Lifeline...
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:46 AM   #18
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Greetings,
Mr. ps. Not trying to be argumentative but from the Boat US site:


Is my BoatUS Towing Service valid wherever I boat? Yes. BoatUS Towing Service follows you and your boat. No matter where your homeport is or where you keep your boat. If you're within a TowBoatUS service area, BoatUS will provide for towing service up to your selected service level. Your local TowBoatUS Unlimited Service Area can be found here.




and...


TowBoatUS Boynton Beach

2301 Broadway
Riviera Beach, FL, 33404
(561) 842-1525
Services:



Unlimited Service Area:

130 Miles Offshore



Might be worth a call to find out what's what.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:48 PM   #19
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Not sure if it might help, but contrary to what I understood at that time, it is practical to equalize AGM batteries. We were advised of this after our batteries had been through many cycles over a 5 year period. It helped bring them back substantially. Prior to then I had always thought only lead acid batteries should be given an equalizing charge.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:59 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Yes. Have a generator.
Good to go, probably. If necessary, turn it on when you start out, turn it off when you get the mainland dock. Charger on, all should be good.

If you didn't have any parasitic loads at play, you could find your batteries are still amost topped up. We've been on the hard for about 5 months before (Odyssey AGMs) with no appreciable self-discharge. I'd expect the Lifelines to be the same.


Quote:
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I'd guess they will be OK after a charge. Lifelines can be equalized to restore lost capacity when left discharged. The Lifeline literature explains this procedure.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisjs View Post
Not sure if it might help, but contrary to what I understood at that time, it is practical to equalize AGM batteries. We were advised of this after our batteries had been through many cycles over a 5 year period. It helped bring them back substantially. Prior to then I had always thought only lead acid batteries should be given an equalizing charge.
FWIW, Lifeline is the only AGM maker -- that I know of -- that recommends equalizing.

-Chris
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