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Old 10-23-2017, 10:32 AM   #1
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Batteries

I replaced the flooded cell batteries on my boat when they failed in 2012. I chose AGMs because properly maintaining the flooded cell batteries was very difficult because of their location in my boat.

I used Sears Die Hard Marine AGMs and they have performed reasonably well. especially considering that they were run down flat a couple times, but they seem to be nearing the end of their life. Anchoring overnight with the refrigerator, Chart Plotter and (LED) anchor light on, the voltage in the morning is 12 volts or less.

A thread on another forum mentioned "Lifeline" (brand) AGM batteries as being the "best" AGMs and of course their website claims the same. Surprisingly, they don't seem to be more expensive than the Sears batteries or West Marine batteries.

So, before I spend $1,200 or so on a set of (4) new batteries, does anyone here have experience with these batteries? Good, bad or indifferent?
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Old 10-23-2017, 11:11 AM   #2
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Over many years of boating I have always "heard" good things about Lifeline batteries, but have no personal experience.

But where can you buy them for $300 each and what size? I presume you are talking about 12V AGMs.

David
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Old 10-23-2017, 11:27 AM   #3
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I bought 8 6v Lifeline AGM deep cycle batteries two years ago to power my inverter. They cost $1,150. I have not had any problems with them.
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Old 10-23-2017, 11:56 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
Over many years of boating I have always "heard" good things about Lifeline batteries, but have no personal experience.

But where can you buy them for $300 each and what size? I presume you are talking about 12V AGMs.

David
https://batteryguys.com/collections/...ose_deep-cycle
Several other vendors on the west coast, most with free shipping. Now sending one back under warranty might be an issue for some of us.

Actually, the one for $360 looks interesting. 125 AH
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Old 10-23-2017, 12:35 PM   #5
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One thing to note about Lifelines: Their charging voltages are significantly (0.2 V or more, IIRC) lower than other AGM batts. Your charging systems need to match their reqmts.
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Old 10-23-2017, 02:54 PM   #6
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One thing to note about Lifelines: Their charging voltages are significantly (0.2 V or more, IIRC) lower than other AGM batts. Your charging systems need to match their reqmts.
So what does this mean to folks who just buy them and install them? How would one change the voltage of the alternator? Or the charger?
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Old 10-23-2017, 03:14 PM   #7
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So what does this mean to folks who just buy them and install them? How would one change the voltage of the alternator? Or the charger?
Ideally the Lifeline user would have an intelligent external regulator for their engine's alternator, and their 110V-powered charger set to appropriate voltages as well.

See posts by CMS, like #14 on 9/20/2016 in the thread "Batteries and charging systems".

Additional thought: I'd say external regulation is worth the cost for just about any house bank, but maybe even more so for AGM's. My AGM's have been Deka's and Sears Platinum (Odyssey). 11 years from my first set of Deka's. Haven't had the Sears that long yet.
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Old 10-23-2017, 03:17 PM   #8
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Always best to have a marine professional look at systems in case they presently have mismatched components and you aren't sure.
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Old 10-23-2017, 03:39 PM   #9
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Does anyone have any experience with Lifeline batteries in constant use? How many years they last? I'm not talking weekends.
I've been using Dyno 8dd lead acid batteries most of my life. Lifeline equivalent battery has slightly better specs for 1/3 more money. I usually get 10 years out of a Dyno. The 8dc Dyno starting batteries in the boat when I bought it were 20 years old, still started everything, but were weak. The boat also had an old style charger that would boil out the water. The batteries were probably low on water many times.
The way you solve the issue of water tending batteries is to make a water tender like a bird water bottle. A tank with a top fill and bottom valve that connects to tubing. Individual tubes go thru holes drilled in each cap. The tube is snug in the cap and the distance the tube is below the cap sets the water height. Gravity distributes the water and as the water level in the cells goes down it is made up by allowing air into the tube that is replaced in the cell by water. I've been using this system since the 60s.
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Old 10-23-2017, 03:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WesK View Post

Anchoring overnight with the refrigerator, Chart Plotter and (LED) anchor light on, the voltage in the morning is 12 volts or less.

So, before I spend $1,200 or so on a set of (4) new batteries, does anyone here have experience with these batteries? Good, bad or indifferent?
Your batteries must be in poor condition. My 3 year old AGM's (3 x 120Ahr)
wouldn't draw down below 12.5 volts with that sort of overnight load, although I don't know how much power your refrigerator uses.

I haven't tried Lifeline, but there are plenty of good quality AGM batteries around and a few bad ones. Avoid any advertised as combination starting deep cycle. And generally the heavier the better.

A low voltage shut off switch is a good investment with AGM's as (like most batteries) the life decreases substantially if drawn down below 50% charge.
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Old 10-23-2017, 04:19 PM   #11
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Your batteries must be in poor condition. My 3 year old AGM's (3 x 120Ahr)
wouldn't draw down below 12.5 volts with that sort of overnight load, although I don't know how much power your refrigerator uses.

I haven't tried Lifeline, but there are plenty of good quality AGM batteries around and a few bad ones. Avoid any advertised as combination starting deep cycle. And generally the heavier the better.

A low voltage shut off switch is a good investment with AGM's as (like most batteries) the life decreases substantially if drawn down below 50% charge.
I had a failed battery combiner and didn't realize it. The charger charged both banks but once underway, the house battery bank wasn't being charged. I found this out when I pulled into a marina and the bow thruster didn't work. Another time, at my home marina, the pedestal breaker failed and the boat sat for an unknown time with no shorepower and the refrigerator running (until it stopped).

I can't remember seeing a low voltage shut off switch in any of the catalogs.
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Old 10-23-2017, 04:39 PM   #12
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If I understand correctly, you might be better to rewire somewhat when you replace the combiner.

Have the house bank charged directly, and let the ACR determine when to charge the start bank. Also, have the wire which senses battery voltage for the alternator's regulator go directly to the house bank.
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Old 10-23-2017, 04:39 PM   #13
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Lifeline is apparently one of the few companies that make 6V AGMs... and we just installed a bank of 4x deep cycle GC2s earlier this year. Not enough time yet to say how long they'll last, but it looks good so far, and looks good on paper.

Charging voltages are lower than the Odysseys we had earlier (12V PC-2150, G31s) which are what Sears sold as one of their Platinum Plus line. (The other was the PC-1500, G34). OTOH, for these 6V batteries in a 12V system, "lower" bulk/absorption means 14.3V plus/minus .1V, and "lower" float means 13.3V plus/minus .1V, both at 77įF. I don't notice much of an issue with our engine alternators, since our normal DC loads while underway has an effect on available charging voltage, too. And I was able to choose a reasonably close charging profile with our inverter/charger for that bank, and Lifeline even helped me pick from among a few likely choices.

FWIW, that particular Odyssey bank lasted 11+ years before replacement, although that's partly because we can recharge easily at the dock most times, seldom anchor out for more than a couple weeks at a time... since apparently AGMs want immediate recharging to 100% as quickly and as often as possible after a discharge cycle.

I was happy with the Odysseys, but it happens our installation is two dual-purpose start/house banks (half the house on each bank) and rather than leap through hoops to change that and create a separate house bank... I found it easier to add capacity to the extent possible given available space. Hence 300Ah with 3x G31s has now increased to 440Ah with 4x GC2s. Enough of an improvement to support a modest inverter for some specific loads.

FWIW, I chose AGMs in the first place because servicing wet batteries would be a pain in the neck, even with a watering system.

Ref pricing: I asked the local "battery warehouse" retailer if they'd match internet prices... and they did. Think I paid about $280 each.

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Old 10-23-2017, 04:53 PM   #14
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If you are buying 4 see what this guy can quote you, and as an added bonus you get introduced to his amazing website and product line up. Pretty cool outfit, alway worth a visit if you happen by Titusville. ZRD - AGM Batteries, Deep Cycle, Marine, and Solar Photovoltaic I would also note they are extremely knowledgeable about charging requirements and alternators in particular.

I also had good experience buying quantity from DC Battery in North Miami, as well as Battery Sales in the same area, worth calls for quotes.
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Old 10-23-2017, 05:37 PM   #15
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If I understand correctly, you might be better to rewire somewhat when you replace the combiner.

Have the house bank charged directly, and let the ACR determine when to charge the start bank. Also, have the wire which senses battery voltage for the alternator's regulator go directly to the house bank.
It has been replaced but I can rewire it. I'll look into your suggestion.
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Old 10-23-2017, 05:57 PM   #16
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I had 8D Full River AGMs last about 8 years before I sold the boat. They were getting a bit tired but still adequate. At the time I purchased them they literally weighed about 200lbs each. I figured who would not want more lead plates!! Seems like they might have lightened up the product - weight spec is now somewhat less.
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:33 PM   #17
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I've had Lifeline, they are excellent but might not be that much better than other brands to justify the price. Deka and Full River are good batteries at a lower price.
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Old 10-23-2017, 11:05 PM   #18
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Iíve use them for years, first in the diesel Motorhome and then in 2 boats. Very good batteries, top quality in my opinion. I havenít worn any of them out yet since Iíve sold the bus/boat first. My current set of 2 start batteries and 3 house batteries (all Lifeline AGMs) that I put in my current boat are 5 1/2 years old and going strong.
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Old 10-24-2017, 09:22 AM   #19
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I had a bank of L16-2Volt Lifelines in service for about 6 yrs. As another post pointed out, they require a LOWER charging voltage, and you must have a charging system that will maintain the correct voltages, and that includes an externally regulated alternator, and all the charging equipment should be temperature regulated as the AGM's do not do well with overcharging or with high ambients. Both together are very detrimental. Nor do they like chronic undercharging, as mine were, with extended time at anchor. The solution is solar, it will extend the life of any bank, especially AGM.

I replaced the Lifelines with Full Rivers, and am happy with them, I was a real Lifeline proponent, but now I'm not convinced they're worth the extra money, particularly if there's a chance they might be abused.

The dockside chatter about battery life measured in years is pure claptrap. So what if the guy two boats down "got 12 years outa my Penn's" ? It's purely anecdotal, and has NOTHING to do with the quality of the battery, and EVERYTHING to do with the SYSTEM and how the battery has been maintained. BATTERY LIFE is measured in cycles, and the DOD of each cyle has a direct impact on how many cycles the battery will yield before failure. Years in service is immaterial. Batteries deeply discharged with any regularity WILL fail prematurely. The SYSTEM is predicated on use: a boat that lives on a pier requires a completely different set of parameters than one that spends most of its time away from the cord.

My Lifelines would likely still be in service had I installed solar when the batteries were new. They would have been regularly floated, and not have been chronically undercharged. Had I installed the high amperage alternator that will fully charge them underway, they would have lasted longer. If a bullfrog had wings......

Point being, the batteries are but a part of the SYSTEM. If your system isn't suited to provide the battery the charging profile it needs, the battery life will be disappointing. So, before dumping any additional funds into a high end battery, do a critical assessment of your SYSYEM to see where it comes up short, and improve THAT.

Querying a list like this one or any other about battery brand longevity is simply a way to pass time. Spend it looking at the details of YOUR system, since that has an exponentially higher impact on battery life than the sticker on the battery case, or what brand of battery Joe Schmoe uses.
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Old 10-24-2017, 10:03 AM   #20
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Ranger..."Lifeline is apparently one of the few companies that make 6V AGMs"

Take a look at Sams Club...they carry Duracell (East Penn) GC2 AGMs and yhey run about $180.

I have also heard good things about Lifeline but am with HopCar... not sure they are the best buy.
I have had good service from 3 8D EastPenn AGMs and the price was very competitive didectly from one of their distribution centers.
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