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Old 02-19-2016, 06:23 PM   #1
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Batteries

Time to replace our batteries. Currently have 850 amp batteries and thinking of going to agm type. Very pricey. Worth it? 46 gb Europa and planning on Alaska this season.
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Old 02-19-2016, 06:52 PM   #2
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There are lots of fans here of AGM batteries. I'd be a fan, too, if I had lots of cash. IIRC, they require a different charging profile than lead acid (LA) batteries. I like that fact that they can accept a much higher charging current than other types.

Being the cheap SOB that I am, I stick with the LA batteries. I use the golf cart 6V batts and wire them in series/parallel for 660AH at 12V. I can get them at Costco for under $100 per battery...$600 for my bank of 6. If they last 6 years, that's just $100/yr...good value. But mine are located where servicing them is not a problem. Not all have it so good.
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:08 PM   #3
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I just replaced my battery bank in my sailboat this last fall. Like Al, I am a cheap SOB (oh, I guess I already mentioned I had a sailboat) and decided against the significant cost of AGM. I replaced my 2 x 4D batteries with a bank of 4 Costco Golf cart batteries.

For certain applications AGM have some real advantages of course, but the Golf Cart batteries were cheap, used the same charging system as my existing batteries, and are pretty bullet-proof.

As Al pointed out, one consideration is ease of servicing. My bank sits right under the cabin sole in the galley and super easy to access to check. I run a dehumidifier in the boat so always have condensate to use to top off cells if needed.

Depending on the age of your boat, I would also suggest you take this opportunity to review how your DC system is configured. I added the appropriate fusing to the batteries and changed the way my alternator output was routed to the house bank for example. Standards have changed since my boat was built 11 years ago.
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:23 PM   #4
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Before leaving on our trip to the Broughtons last summer we switched to new Oasis carbon foam batteries from Bruce Schwab at Ocean Planet Energy. Nigel Calder calls these AGM-style batteries a "game changer". They are definitely not cheap, but check out all the specs and the $/kWh comparison.

Firefly Oasis Battery - Carbon Foam AGM

The simplified bottom line perspective for us is this: while on the hook we went from running the generator two or more hours a day to a couple of hours every two days. We went from a lead acid bank of four 6V golf cart batts (480 Ah) to four carbon foam batts (440 Ah). Since the old bank could not go below 50% rated capacity, we essentially only had a little over 200 Ah available. The Oasis batts can be discharged 80% or more of their capacity without harming them, so we effectively doubled our available amp hours in the same footprint. Needless to say nine months later we love 'em!
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:25 PM   #5
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Forgot to mention that while the Oasis carbon foam batteries do require specific AGM charging profiles, our nearly 4-yr old Magnum inverter/charger was easily programmed to charge them properly.
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:33 PM   #6
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My boat came with AGM batteries five years ago. (No complaints.) Hope they'll last another five as my cars' batteries have.
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:36 PM   #7
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Just picked up our 'cheap SOB' batteries today on our way here. Eight GC15 batteries from a busy golf cart dealer in Goldsboro, NC and three Group 24 dual Purpose as start bank. Date stamp was L5 (Dec. 2015), so they are pretty new. Still have boxes and cables to make since we are tossing the three 8D cells installed from the factory.

I don't know much about higher end batteries, but we aren't going to anchor out but a handful of times per year. I see nice batteries as the realm of the sailor (or any cruiser) that plans to be out for many days or weeks. Perhaps a bit of a generalization, but I just don't think I will get the return on the investment with a few thousands bucks in batteries.
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:40 PM   #8
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I don't know much about higher end batteries, but we aren't going to anchor out but a handful of times per year. I see nice batteries as the realm of the sailor (or any cruiser) that plans to be out for many days or weeks. Perhaps a bit of a generalization, but I just don't think I will get the return on the investment with a few thousands bucks in batteries.
Excellent point. The OP mentioned going to Alaska, so having a quality house bank for extended periods on the hook will probably be pretty important. For marina hoppers, not so much!
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Old 02-19-2016, 09:04 PM   #9
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In 2010 I bought a ride-on mower and a used RIB. Both used motorcycle sized batteries. The mower came with a new lead acid battery, the RIB with a used (age unknown) AGM, but the RIB was 7 yrs old at the time I bought it. In 2015 I replaced the battery in the mower. I haven't had to worry about the battery in the RIB yet. The mower gets used a lot in May and June, less in July and August, hardly at all in Sept and Oct, not at all from Nov to March. The RIB, slightly different, but comparable. From year 2 on, I couldn't use the mower without a recharge, even mid season. The RIB, still starts the 40 Honda on the first turn each spring and performs flawlessly all summer.
So the mower got treated to a new AGM, even though it never gets inverted. I am hoping for better performance from now on.
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Old 02-19-2016, 10:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Moonfish View Post
Before leaving on our trip to the Broughtons last summer we switched to new Oasis carbon foam batteries from Bruce Schwab at Ocean Planet Energy. Nigel Calder calls these AGM-style batteries a "game changer". They are definitely not cheap, but check out all the specs and the $/kWh comparison.
I've been watching those for quite a while now, hoping the price comes down with more efficient manufacturing or maybe a licensing deal with a well established battery maker by the time our golf cart batteries need replacing.

Thanks for sharing...you're the first person "I know" who's gone carbon foam
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Old 02-19-2016, 10:55 PM   #11
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I think if you have easy access to the battery tops so you can check the fluid level every month or so, and you have the discipline to actually perform the checks... then I'd definitely go with flooded batteries. They are still the lowest cost per amp-hr over their life, but they do require regular maintenance. I've got big flooded batteries powering a house and add about 10 gal of distilled water every 3 months or so. It's a pain, and unless you can easily access the batteries, you are unlikely to do it.

Otherwise, I'd cough up the $$ and get AGMs.
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Old 02-20-2016, 07:14 AM   #12
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Here in Ft Myers the 6v Trojan golf cart , true deep cycle is about $80ea cash with core.

Better than most off brands.
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Old 02-20-2016, 09:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
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I've got big flooded batteries powering a house and add about 10 gal of distilled water every 3 months or so. It's a pain, and unless you can easily access the batteries, you are unlikely to do it.

Otherwise, I'd cough up the $$ and get AGMs.
I agree!
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Old 02-20-2016, 10:13 AM   #14
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I liveaboard and only add water maybe 2x a year....not sure why others need more other than when I switched to more modern charging tech...I went from 3 to 4 times a year to 1 or 2 times filling flooded batteries with water.

I am sure different setups could be the cause and not just chargers or usage...but it is not a given.
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Old 02-20-2016, 11:05 AM   #15
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I use standard auto type flooded 12 vdc batteries, and I get good used ones from Advance Auto for half the price. I used to buy expensive marine flooded batteries, BUT my experience was they wore out just like used batteries. So why bother paying so much more.
I have a gen with its own battery, a starting battery for both engines, and 2 house batteries. Maybe a sailboat makes more sense to get deep cycle battery. But big powerboat is just like my cars.
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Old 02-20-2016, 11:07 AM   #16
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All my flooded batteries live in the lazarette. If I had batteries inside, like under the bunk on a previous boat (for the bow thruster), I used AGM.
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Old 02-20-2016, 12:59 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Here in Ft Myers the 6v Trojan golf cart , true deep cycle is about $80ea cash with core.

Better than most off brands.
That is an amazing price. When I was shopping this last fall I could not find anything near that good.
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Old 02-20-2016, 03:46 PM   #18
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All good points and I agree. I bought my boat 3 years ago with wet batteries. I then replaced them with AGMs and no trouble so far.

My charger was OEM 2001 so no AGM profile. It is a Charles 80 amp. I called Odyssey(batter maker) and asked them if the Lead Acid setting would be sufficient. They said that it would be fine. The biggest issue was that AGMs desulfate by a rapid charge rate and the LA setting is a little bit slow. Anyway, they said it was a nominal(theoretical) issue and shouldn't worry about it.

There is a good thread on here that I started when I was shopping batteries. I will see if I can dig it up.
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Old 02-20-2016, 03:59 PM   #19
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Here you go....same questions and some good stuff!!!

Batteries
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Old 02-20-2016, 05:39 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gbonas View Post
Time to replace our batteries. Currently have 850 amp batteries and thinking of going to agm type. Very pricey. Worth it? 46 gb Europa and planning on Alaska this season.
Last April I replaced all the batteries of my GB 42' MY (twin caterpillar 300 HP 3116 TA) with AGM and I'm happy about that.
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