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Old 06-04-2020, 04:22 PM   #1
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Best AGM start battery?

I didnít have time to check my batteries before I left Florida, so Larry on Hobo introduced me to the marine electrician he trusts and uses. He checked out the Lifeline house bank and they all tested fine. However, he said the start battery failed the test. Iíve never really thought much about the start batteryó it usually works fine. But lately I have had to ďjumpĒ it a couple of times using the house bank switch on my ignition panel, so I guess it makes sense itís gone bad.

I know I want another AGM battery. The current start battery is something I bought at West Marine when on a trip a few years ago, and I donít know the specs on it other than it being an AGM. What kind of start battery size do I need as far as CCA and whatnot? I want to keep it an AGM because the batteries are not easily accessible. My current house bank are Lifeline GPL-31XT, so I guess I need to keep the same basic size as those so it fits in the battery box.

I have a 110 HP Yanmar 4JH4-HTE main and a 3 cylinder yanmar-based generator.
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Old 06-04-2020, 06:07 PM   #2
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A GP31 should start that smaller diesel easily.
I planning to switch to 2 Gp31s for a start / thruster bank.
I've been very happy with Sam's Club Duracell AGMs made in USA by East Penn. I've had 3 AGM 8Ds on the boat that have served me well but know I'm not installing any more 8Ds.
I just installed 8 Sams Club Duracell 6V AGM GC2s in our motorhome for a house bank (all electric MH with residential fridge)

I dont think you will find a more reasonable $/ AH or CCA option.
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Old 06-04-2020, 06:30 PM   #3
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Best AGM start battery?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacchus View Post
A GP31 should start that smaller diesel easily.
I planning to switch to 2 Gp31s for a start / thruster bank.
I've been very happy with Sam's Club Duracell AGMs made in USA by East Penn. I've had 3 AGM 8Ds on the boat that have served me well but know I'm not installing any more 8Ds.
I just installed 8 Sams Club Duracell 6V AGM GC2s in our motorhome for a house bank (all electric MH with residential fridge)

I dont think you will find a more reasonable $/ AH or CCA option.

Awesome. Thanks.

Is this the one?
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Old 06-04-2020, 06:43 PM   #4
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Not going to be the cheapest, but I'm a big fan of Optima red topped batteries. Their spiral wound design works extremely well in high vibration environments. Replaced my engine battery this winter on my John Deere 135 HP. It was 7 years old. Bought mine from Summit with free shipping.

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/ult-9004-003

I have them on the engine, generator, and 2 in series for my bow thruster (over 4 years old now).

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Old 06-04-2020, 06:48 PM   #5
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Best AGM start battery?

I would definitely pay a little more for a battery that would last 7 years. Thanks.

Those Optima batteries are also smaller and not as heavy which is nice. That Duracell battery I posted is 69 lbs vs like 40 for the Optima.
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Old 06-04-2020, 07:13 PM   #6
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That's the one.
I'm sure you can buy "better" or higher AH, CCA battys but like I said compare $/AH or $/CCA and I doubt you can do better.
My Duracell 8Ds are going on 8 yrs and still going strong. I check V after sitting uncharged in storage for 6 mos and consistently get 12.6 V before hooking up to top them off in the spring.
If you need to save wt check out Li but be ready to pay 5X what an AGM runs
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Old 06-04-2020, 07:43 PM   #7
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You might also consider the Optima blue top model 34M. Different from the D34M blue top, which is a little more deep-cycle oriented.

It is starting-oriented, has more CCA than the red top, and has marine terminals as well as automotive-type posts. Weighs 38 lb. I had those for 7 years in my diesel Bounty, and they lasted ten years in my diesel truck.
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Old 06-04-2020, 07:47 PM   #8
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The Duracell (East Penn) AGMs are good quality. West Marine house brand are the same thing.
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Old 06-04-2020, 08:55 PM   #9
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What difference between an automotive start battery and a boat start battery? Both are intended to... start an engine.
I have a 7 years old agm from a big canadian retailer (not to name it but got tire in its name) and it has been flawless (and my old venerable oil burner is really not what I would call a small one and has been made before humans even discovered the wheel).
Size it properly for what you wanna start and that's it.

https://media.tenor.com/images/876b6...c879/tenor.gif

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Old 06-04-2020, 09:55 PM   #10
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Hey, just had a thought. If I have a good house bank I can parallel to when I need it, why do I need much of a start battery?
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Old 06-04-2020, 09:59 PM   #11
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I used to be a fan of Optima....but since they went offshore for manufacture I elieve their quality has suffered....not an opinion....experience. Somenone mentioned weight. There is no free lunch wehn it comes to batteries. Generally speaking, the heavier the battery, the better. If you really want a good start battery and money is not objective, Odyssey or Lifeline is about as good as it gets. 75lb GRP 31 at 1150 CCA....there are no better. So bicker and whine all you want or pony up the cash...
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Old 06-04-2020, 10:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Hey, just had a thought. If I have a good house bank I can parallel to when I need it, why do I need much of a start battery?
Because when you wake up, after a wild night aboard, with all the lights on , as bright as a shining star and as loud as a train, with your head as heavy as the moon, the last thing you want is to be stuck in the middle of nowhere because your house bank is flat dead and you cannot startup your engine

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Old 06-04-2020, 10:54 PM   #13
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Old 06-04-2020, 10:57 PM   #14
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I use an Optima and had a bad experience too. Mine blew up. Kinda like a steam engine boiler bursting. Got a new Optima. They probably replaced it as I otherwise most likely would’a changed brands. Been quite a few years now and alls been well.

Of course having a start batt means your house and start batts are different. One thing should remain the same and that’s the recommended charging rate.
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:40 PM   #15
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You already have one of the best AGMs, just add a set of twins to the family.
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Old 06-05-2020, 12:39 AM   #16
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Odyssey has always seemed like the best in terms of performance, and the highest in price. Iíve never been a fan of Optima but havenít personally had the bad experiences others have. East Penn seems to be a good compromise of quality and price, West Marine brand is made by them.
I will never buy another Lifeline battery. iíve personally had them fail, had customers that have had them fail, and the company is horrible to work with if you have an issue.
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Old 06-05-2020, 02:29 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou_tribal View Post
What difference between an automotive start battery and a boat start battery? Both are intended to... start an engine....L
The battery won`t know it`s in a boat unless you tell it. Difference may be solidity of construction. I figure a truck battery, like an 8D, should do the job. Check polarity, it may differ, bending and pulling cables to connect is not good.
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Old 06-05-2020, 02:58 AM   #18
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You don't. The only starting batteries I have are for my generators. My Lehman 120s start from the house bank, eight golf car batteries. Engine start instantly. I do not lose sleep about inadvertently running down my house bank and not being able to start my engines. How often does that happen at anchor anyway? If it does, I can fire up the generator to recharge the house bank or just use my jumper cables. I could wire in a switch to use the generator starting batteries but that is way too much trouble to do for an extremely unlikely event that is easily overcome by other means.

The point is that, with many things boating, there are often several good ways to get the the finishing line.
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Hey, just had a thought. If I have a good house bank I can parallel to when I need it, why do I need much of a start battery?
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Old 06-05-2020, 06:29 AM   #19
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I just realized my generator remote start panel doesnít allow me to connect to the the house bank like the main engine start panel does, so I suppose I do need a fresh start battery.

I sure like the idea of the light weight of the Optima battery. The start battery is all the way in the back of the battery box, and I have to lug it hunched over in my cave like generator garage.
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Old 06-05-2020, 06:51 AM   #20
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The engine manufacturer determines required cranking amps needed. It’s in the specs or owners manual somewhere. Could be CCA but just as likely MCA.

I’ve had good luck with Lifeline, seven plus years as a liveaboard and good luck with their customer service. They have start batteries in Groups 31, 27 and 24.
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