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Old 03-15-2016, 10:36 PM   #21
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We have 9 8D's and one 4D, all AGM. The access from above isn't too conducive to checking potential water levels and also I like not having to monitor them. We have Lifelines and love them. Going on 3 years, all is good. (we replaced them when we bought the boat). Albeit not cheap but I think it's made up in for the lack maintenance needed.
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Old 03-16-2016, 03:06 AM   #22
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I've moved my battery boxes to an area with limited ventilation so Lead Acid batteries aren't a good option.

I've had early failures with low priced AGM starting batteries, (<2 years) but the same brand of deep cycle house batteries seem much more forgiving. I plan to switch to an AGM deep cycle for my start battery as well.
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Old 03-16-2016, 07:58 AM   #23
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"So what the hell is standard crusing practice? and how is the "standard cruiser" using and charging batteries"

"Std cruising" for folks that prefer to anchor out and not run from power pole to power pole is to almost NEVER have the house bank back to 100% full. 85% SOC down to 50% seems the norm , with an over sized batt bank to allow for the sloe capacity loss from undercharging LA batts.

The time it takes , many hours for the last 5-15% is way beyond what most folks will operate a noisemaker for.

And a 8 hour main engine run might not be long enough for 100% either.

The only folks that have a chance of a proper recharge have well installed solar

or a wind generator for the anchorage to listen to 24/7

Rain Dog post 14 seems to have it right.

No full 100% recharge , tiny service life.
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:19 AM   #24
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FF...I know you have been out there and talk to a lot of people....but is that your definition or PS's definition of average cruisers....and is it really that accurate any more?

But since the advent of solar, better charging/monitoring set ups, better batteries, a larger percentage of power boats as long term cruisers, more sailing cruisers with gensets...etc.... I have a hard time saying there is an "average" anymore....I see cruisers all the way up and down the "guy with a multimeter in hand all day" to the clueless "hey...I just bought my first boat and am leaving for the islands tomorrow".
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Old 03-16-2016, 09:50 AM   #25
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Like many of you I have a large house bank comprised of golf cart LA batteries in a somewhat remote location and in boxes. I have found an ideal solution to keeping them watered easily and quickly and without bending over.

I offer...




https://flow-rite.com/pro-fill-bom/
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Old 03-16-2016, 10:24 AM   #26
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It's Practical SAILOR magazine. Their typical practice is to only charge their batteries to 80 percent because they hate running engines or generators. That last 20 percent takes a long time to get. If you run your engine or generators to bring the batteries up to 100 percent fairly often, I think your results might be different than PS magazine found.
Indeed - something like that seems to be the explanation for bad results with AGM's on the sailing-oriented Cruiser Forum. Also a lot of sailors seem to spend time hanging on a mooring or at anchor without a charging source.

I explained on Cruiser Forum how well AGM's have worked for me (11 years - summer cruises, mostly anchoring out - from a pair of g31 Deka AGM's), and the reaction was skeptical. When I provided details, backed up with Link 2000 data, there was some acceptance.

In my case, with a small house bank, and excellent and properly-sized Balmar charging system, running 6 hours or more most days, I think my AGM's get pretty well recharged pretty often.

In addition to being maintenance-free, and not leaking/corroding, they sit out in the cold all winter with little self-discharge, and no worry about freezing damage.

I like the tradeoffs.
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Old 03-16-2016, 10:26 AM   #27
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"I have a hard time saying there is an "average" anymore.."

Next time you visit a boat cruising and see 100% on its SOC meter (if its not at the power pole) , you have visited a non "average" boat.

By My Daffynition.

The above post with 6 hours of running Every Day would qualify.

The only time we see 6-10 hours a day is in transit , never when cruising locally.

Life will get lots better as the current crop of coal powered cars have their battery packs removed and rebuilt.

The various Lithium batts should do great at our needs , if they don't catch on fire and the very complex charging is done properly.

The various roll your own electric car sites explain the battery rebuild process.
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Old 03-16-2016, 11:34 AM   #28
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Since you brought up "lithium batteries".... Lithium Iron Phosphate is the way to go. And the charging is actually very simple: just pump as many amps as you possibly can into them and don't worry if it ever reaches 100% or not. There is no acceptance charge or any need to equalize. As long as it is a properly installed system with LV & HV cutoffs.
Too bad LiFePO's are not being produced quickly since they are really a great system.
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Old 03-16-2016, 11:55 AM   #29
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I have Lifeline AGMs for my inverter bank. The manual says that "conditioning" (aka equalizing) should only be done when the battery is showing symptoms of capacity loss due to extended time in a partial or low state of charge condition. I have not conditioned them yet and have not noticed any capacity loss. When the manual states that it "should only be done" when showing symptoms, it sounds like it is a harmful process.
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Old 03-16-2016, 12:39 PM   #30
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They sit for 8 months during the winter with no charger on them and have plenty of life in the spring to fire it up and go into "float" mode within an hour. I anticipate 8-10 years of service life, but we will see... I have an amp hour meter plugged into a hole but not wired, hopefully before launch this season.
I'm in the "same boat" w/ boat under cover for 8 mos and no way to keep charged. I have 3 8D's start / house + Gp 28 gen start batt'y and the yard was not cooperative when asked to remove my FLA 8D's to keep them on a charger over winter.
I loved mt previous boat & 6V Gold Cart FLA house batt'ys but have chosen to go the AGM route - for now vs rewire to accomodate different batt'ys.
East Penn / Deka 8D AGM's were still at 12.8V after winter storage their first year - will continue to monitor.

Lots of different reasons for our choices and I'll reconsider after I need replacements but for now they are doing exactly what I hoped they would and I couldn't be happier.
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Old 03-16-2016, 03:02 PM   #31
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Don,
12.8v while on charger .. Or just sitting there through the winter?
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:38 PM   #32
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We've had 2 Deka AGM 8D's as house bank since 2008. Primary reason was to jack up our available Amp Hours, and to make maintenance access possible/easier. Boat is a Californian 34LRC. Primary use is cruising, not marina hopping, so we spend anywhere from overnight to a week at anchor. We don't have an onboard generator as such. An inverter is used for toaster oven, etc; refrig is a Norcold 110/12v. When not cruising, boat is plugged in at home base. Longest cruise to date was 4.5 months to Keys & back. So far all is well. If, &/or when we have to replace them, I won't hesitate to go w/AGM's again.
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:49 PM   #33
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I almost hate to relate my experience in case I jinx something, but I purchased 6 AGMs from Xantrex in January 2003 when they closed out their UPS business. They sat in my garage for a few years, thinking 3 or so, on periodic low charge until I got around to installing them guessing 2006. They weren't quite as large as 8Ds - 152 pounds compared to 162 for the Lifelines, but all 6 of them cost me $716.10. Total, including tax. I drove up to Arlington and carried them back in my SUV.

Like many of you, my boat is mostly plugged in at my yacht club. I have them on a Link 2000, set up for AGMs, and I think the float is something like 13.95v. I've only run them down to 0 twice - once when I was calibrating the Link 2000, and a 2nd time when a nitwit at my club unplugged by power to test the outlet and forgot to plug it back (wasn't zero, but it was low). I usually leave the inverter off but had forgotten that time.

I did have one failure about 3 years ago. Smelled the rotten egg smell and, sure enough, one of them had bulged out so I removed it and dropped down the capacity in the Link 2000 accordingly.

And that's it. 10 years of service, about $100 per battery, zero maintenance, and 1 failure. And they <knock on wood> seem to be doing just fine. One thing that I assume has helped is that they are installed in what was the fish hold aft of the engine room and the temperature there hovers between water and ambient air (both cool in the PNW).
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Old 03-17-2016, 09:59 AM   #34
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Don,
12.8v while on charger .. Or just sitting there through the winter?
12.8V was spring after winter storage & before hooking up to charger
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Old 03-17-2016, 11:20 AM   #35
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That's impressive Don .... thanks.
The old shop/store Boat Electric said that I should keep the charger on always.
I suspect my AGM's are getting weak.
Upcoming usage will tell.
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Old 03-17-2016, 11:37 AM   #36
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AGM for House Batts?

I have relatively new (1 year) Lifeline AGMs in my boat's house bank. 4 group 31s. My boat was set up for AGM batteries when it was built in 2008, and being a relatively unenlightened big boat owner with few skills, I elected to leave the charging setup alone and go back with AGMs.

The boat has a Charles charger, Balmar alternator and regulator set to AGM settings. Next time I might go with golf cart batteries since by that time I might know enough to change things over. At my current slow/steep learning curve that's still doubtful. 😂

Question: my charger (Charles 5000 60amp) stays on all the time when at the dock, and I assume the charger is stepping down to a float charge level, but I have never put a volt meter on the batteries to check that. It is set to the AGM battery setting. The charger is the one that came with the boat when it was built in 2008. Am I being too trusting of this 8 year old charger?
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Old 03-17-2016, 03:00 PM   #37
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You sound like me in that if a piece of equipment says it will do something, I tend to believe it until proven otherwise. I would trust it if I were you, but then I am simple minded.

When I replaced my battery bank this last fall I went with golf carts because it was cheap and I could get more amp hrs to fit in my existing molded in battery compartment than the alternatives. The compartment is also easily accessible for watering. There also was a minimum of work required for making the change.

I am cheap, lazy, and ignorant so I went with the solution that fit my own personality. If I was in your situation, lazy and ignorant might win out over cheap and I would just replace with similar AGMs as were installed. Not calling you lazy or ignorant, that is just what I would likely do. If the battery compartment was readily accessible for maintenance and the charger was simple to set for LA batteries, cheap might take the edge since the golf carts can be had so much cheaper.
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Old 03-17-2016, 04:52 PM   #38
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That's impressive Don .... thanks.
The old shop/store Boat Electric said that I should keep the charger on always.
I suspect my AGM's are getting weak.
Upcoming usage will tell.
Eric...

RC at Compass Marine suggested I make sure they were fully charger prior to storage.
I set my ProNautic C 1250 shore charger on AGM2 setting which has a slightly higher V than the AGM1 I normally use (14.6 /13.7 Abs / Float vs 14.3 / 13.3).
RC recommended that as a way to get the charge up there as long as they weren't left on charge for extended time.
I just ran a couple of cycles until it switched to float before shutting down and disconnecting everything for the winter.
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Old 03-17-2016, 07:42 PM   #39
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There are many good reasons for using AGM's over Flooded Lead Acid as many of you have stated, but it is a complete fallacy that AGM's can handle deep discharging better than Flooded do.
According to Trojan's own charts, their AGM's
(chart on this page Reliant AGM | Trojan Battery Company ) have a cycle life of 500 if discharged 80% and 1000 if discharged to 50%.

Their GC-2 batteries (T125, T105 etc) have a cycle life of 750 when discharged 80% and 1200 when discharged to 50%.
(chart on this page Signature Line Flooded | Trojan Battery Company ) and they have other flooded batteries that do even better that that.

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Old 03-17-2016, 07:44 PM   #40
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The last battery change I did cost me 2 cases of beer for a crew off a fishing boat across the float in Ketchikan. It took longer to walk up to Safeway to get the beer than to change the batteries.

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