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What's the recommendation for good quality marine batteries?  I don't have high load stuff onboard, no microwave or any such stuff, just an old cruiser with typical lights, raymarine instruments, pressure water pump, bilge pump.  I don't think I need expensive exotic lithiums or such. 

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If you're just going with old fashioned flooded batteries, I've had good experiences with Deka and Trojan.

Don't run them past 50% DoD and keep them on a maintainer and they'll last for eons.

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If you are around Seattle Dyno are good, gave us a decent discount at the factory...

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thanks for the inputs- not in Seattle :(

Do you guys use deep cycles for house batteries, and a starting battery for cranking the engine or just use the same types for house and engine?  Are there any compatibility worries using different types if you set the battery dial to "both"?  My setup is the typical old style sailboat with 2 batteries together and 1 alone, but you can activate all 3 with the "both" setting on the battery dial.  I'm mostly looking at good standard wet cell batteries, not AGM or Gel.

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43 minutes ago, bgytr said:

thanks for the inputs- not in Seattle :(

Do you guys use deep cycles for house batteries, and a starting battery for cranking the engine or just use the same types for house and engine?  Are there any compatibility worries using different types if you set the battery dial to "both"?  My setup is the typical old style sailboat with 2 batteries together and 1 alone, but you can activate all 3 with the "both" setting on the battery dial.  I'm mostly looking at good standard wet cell batteries, not AGM or Gel.

I have the same configuration as you do- 1 start, 2 house batteries in parallel.

It's always best to match battery sizes, types and ages. Unfortunately, my start battery box can only hold a Group 27 whereas my house batteries are Group 31. As a result, I only ever select "Both" when I'm charging with the engine alternator.

I rarely use my start battery. It's really for emergencies in case I run down the house bank too far. I just top it up occasionally with the alternator or marine battery charger.

The banks will try to equalize if you select "Both" and one bank is lower than the other. You really don't want to select "Both" if the house bank is drawn down because it can kill your start battery.  Start the engine with the start battery alone, then switch to "Both" to add the house bank and charge it up.

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8 minutes ago, Ajax said:

I have the same configuration as you do- 1 start, 2 house batteries in parallel.

It's always best to match battery sizes, types and ages. Unfortunately, my start battery box can only hold a Group 27 whereas my house batteries are Group 31. As a result, I only ever select "Both" when I'm charging with the engine alternator.

I rarely use my start battery. It's really for emergencies in case I run down the house bank too far. I just top it up occasionally with the alternator or marine battery charger.

The banks will try to equalize if you select "Both" and one bank is lower than the other. You really don't want to select "Both" if the house bank is drawn down because it can kill your start battery.  Start the engine with the start battery alone, then switch to "Both" to add the house bank and charge it up.

Don't some old battery switches (1, 2, both) zap the alternator if you switch with the engine running?

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Most, even older ones are "make before break" but it's always good to check or maybe upgrade if you're concerned about it.

The big "no-no" is to never move the switch through the "off" position while the engine is running.

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I have 3 house, 1 start and an older 2, All, 1 Off switch.  So far I've been using the Deka, 31's for house, 27 for start.  I have an older Link2000 3-stage charger. 

I also rarely use the start battery - I just keep it charged as backup and use the house to start the engine and run the typical loads. Is this bad practice? 

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3 hours ago, bgytr said:

Don't some old battery switches (1, 2, both) zap the alternator if you switch with the engine running?

Old and new.  Yes.

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On 5/28/2020 at 11:00 AM, Grrr... said:
On 5/28/2020 at 7:14 AM, bgytr said:

Don't some old battery switches (1, 2, both) zap the alternator if you switch with the engine running?

Old and new.  Yes.

That's why I switched to the Perko 8503 switch, which has alternator field disconnect built into it. It's make-before-break also, so no worries about doing something stupid unless I really try hard.

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Floodeds are crap. I have 3 Northstar NSB_AGM 24Ms. 2 house, 1 starter. They are the best you can get 

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16 minutes ago, Ishmael said:

That's why I switched to the Perko 8503 switch, which has alternator field disconnect built into it. It's make-before-break also, so no worries about doing something stupid unless I really try hard.

Ya I ordered a new guest switch, just a bit ago, make before break with alternator field disconnect as well.  \

Chasing down electrical gremlins: my batteries were not charging on the boat, brought em home to put on the charger in my basement and will check em with the battery hydrometer.  They're 3 year old batteries, which seems kinda young to fail.  I got the boat last summer, last season the batteries seemed fine.  Kept em in my basement all winter, alternating the trickle charger on all 3.  Had some instrument work done shortly after putting the batteries back on the boat in March.  Boat is hauled out, the boat's electrical has been plugged in with the battery charger on, batteries not getting charged back up.  I'm thinking either the batteries are toast, the boat battery charger is toast, or the instrument dudes fucked something up.  1st step is checking the batteries at home.

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5 minutes ago, Parma said:

Floodeds are crap. I have 3 Northstar NSB_AGM 24Ms. 2 house, 1 starter. They are the best you can get 

ya at 3+ times the cost.  will they last 3 times as long?  jury's still out on that one, plus the 3 times sunk cost over a decade seems like a likely loser financially, and as long as you check the old flooded style and replace when needed, at the very least you are gonna come out even.

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24 minutes ago, bgytr said:

ya at 3+ times the cost.  will they last 3 times as long?  jury's still out on that one, plus the 3 times sunk cost over a decade seems like a likely loser financially, and as long as you check the old flooded style and replace when needed, at the very least you are gonna come out even.

I'm on year 7 with my 3 Gp31 flooded LA's, I'm sure they have lost some capacity but still work fine for what I need. Because much of the BC coast in summer is light air, there is no shortage of time to recharge them under motor, especially with a 90A alternator and smart regulator.

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Big proponent of a large house bank and a separate start battery. Very easy to wire up with a on-off-combine switch and a quality charge combiner that only combines under charging and above a cutoff voltage.  Wire the starter to the start battery and  put in a disconnect switch to isolate the engine for maintenance.  Basically one on off switch for both batteries. No remembering to switch things on and off or what you charged last.  

What battery chemistry you want depends on your needs, if you leave the boat connected to shore power or not and your willingness to do some simple maintenance.  I have 4 6V Trojan deep cycle flooded batteries for the house bank and an 1000 MCA start battery for my 4 cyl Yanmar. I get 10-12 years before the flooded house batteries deteriorate to less than 70% of new capacity as long as I keep the water checked and topped of 3-4 times/year. Works well for me.  Best $/AH unless you want to go to LiFePo which provide the best cycle life/$  and great charge acceptance at a big initial investment. 

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On 5/28/2020 at 9:44 PM, Ajax said:

If you're just going with old fashioned flooded batteries, I've had good experiences with Deka and Trojan.

Don't run them past 50% DoD and keep them on a maintainer and they'll last for eons.

Ditto for Trojan. I've had Sonnenschein Gell that were also very good.

 

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4 hours ago, Parma said:

Floodeds are crap. I have 3 Northstar NSB_AGM 24Ms. 2 house, 1 starter. They are the best you can get 

At $380, they aren't *that* much cheaper than a Firefly......

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My favorite batteries ever are Trojan T105's. They take tremendous abuse and keep coming back. 

AGM's are required for most offshore races, so I have them, but I hate them. Expensive, fussy, intolerant of deep discharges, easy for delivery crew to ruin. 

After this set I'll try the lithiums. 

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I trust Trojans myself and they have never let me down despite the abuse I have given them. 

Trojan-Enz. Lubricated condoms at Total Access Group

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43 minutes ago, Cruisin Loser said:

My favorite batteries ever are Trojan T105's. They take tremendous abuse and keep coming back. 

AGM's are required for most offshore races, so I have them, but I hate them. Expensive, fussy, intolerant of deep discharges, easy for delivery crew to ruin. 

After this set I'll try the lithiums. 

I think the main benefit of AGMs is that you can shake them and invert them; but you can't bake them and while they are supposedly able to accept a higher charge rate (I know, they really do.... -IF- everything is working right), they are also intolerant of many kinds of mistreatment.

I have a pair Penn golf cart batteries, the equivalent of T-105s. Two of them fit in a 4D battery case which is what our boat has, and they make a great house bank.

Our start battery was an 8D that was boiled dry.... literally filled with dust although it would crank the engine just barely with much hesitation. It was a stone bitch to get out of there and that why the replacement with multiple little batteries, 3 Gr27s that spin the engine over like it was nothing (a Cat 3126).

If you're worried about extreme heel, or rolling over, I'd consider sealed lead-acid before AGMs just because of the replacement/service issue.

BTW CL a friend put in a fancy lithium battery bank and the charger fried a bunch of 'em before he gave up on it. I know there are boats using them but it's another hi dollar solution. If you're an expert in that technology, worth it, maybe.... if you gotta hire somebody, keep away.

FB- Doug

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40 minutes ago, Cruisin Loser said:

My favorite batteries ever are Trojan T105's. They take tremendous abuse and keep coming back. 

AGM's are required for most offshore races, so I have them, but I hate them. Expensive, fussy, intolerant of deep discharges, easy for delivery crew to ruin. 

After this set I'll try the lithiums. 

Roughly every golf cart on the planet runs on 'em. Maybe -- just maybe -- the $84 billion dollar golfing industry has done the math and figured out the optimal capital outlay/service life/abuse tolerance/replacement cost crossover? ;) Also, companies like Trojan have made roughly one zillion of them and have got pretty good at it. They are such a known quantity.

I have no doubt exotic chemistries will get there, and soon. But for now as for the past hundred and thirty years, flooded lead acid is still the best dollar per lifetime amp hour value, compatible with most existing charge and load systems. AGM offers minor advantages over flooded at 3x the cost; lithium beats AGM & gel in every performance category and the upcharge is narrowing fast. Still the barrier of infrastructure outlay, especially if you want access to all lithium's perks. 

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2 hours ago, slap said:

At $380, they aren't *that* much cheaper than a Firefly......

I paid $299. $380 must be boutique chandlery pricing.

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6 hours ago, bgytr said:

ya at 3+ times the cost.  will they last 3 times as long?  jury's still out on that one, plus the 3 times sunk cost over a decade seems like a likely loser financially, and as long as you check the old flooded style and replace when needed, at the very least you are gonna come out even.

Yes. The jury came back and said "Fuck this. Get some decent batteries you stupid fucking cheapskate" So I did.

No more splashing. No more filling half empty batteries with distilled water through a funnel after removing settee panels & cushions.

You asked what were good quality marine batteries. I shopped for 3 months and finally decided on Northstar NSB-AGM 24Ms. Compare the specs

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I found this a useful reference for house battery evaluation. Although its author points out a lot of this stuff is subjective. So.....

Screen Shot 2020-05-30 at 3.34.08 PM.png

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2 hours ago, Diarmuid said:

Roughly every golf cart on the planet runs on 'em. Maybe -- just maybe -- the $84 billion dollar golfing industry has done the math and figured out the optimal capital outlay/service life/abuse tolerance/replacement cost crossover? ;) Also, companies like Trojan have made roughly one zillion of them and have got pretty good at it. They are such a known quantity.

I have no doubt exotic chemistries will get there, and soon. But for now as for the past hundred and thirty years, flooded lead acid is still the best dollar per lifetime amp hour value, compatible with most existing charge and load systems. AGM offers minor advantages over flooded at 3x the cost; lithium beats AGM & gel in every performance category and the upcharge is narrowing fast. Still the barrier of infrastructure outlay, especially if you want access to all lithium's perks. 

Most likely because they get a nice full charge frequently, which is much less frequent for abused marine batteries. But yeah, not a fan of AGMs. 

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14 minutes ago, Elegua said:

Most likely because they get a nice full charge frequently, which is much less frequent for abused marine batteries. But yeah, not a fan of AGMs. 

Actually, golf cart batteries often suffer thru appalling treatment. Run to full stop (80% DoD); quickie & partial  'opportunity' charges;  relatively high-amperage charging for speed's sake; left overnight in a deep discharge state, and so on. They are rarely kept on the charger long enuf to top off that last 20%, because there are ten other carts waiting in line. And forget equalization. Golf carts are treated worse than forklifts, and forklifts are a case study in how to hammer your batteries. ;) Those things are rode hard and put away wet. And invariably flooded lead acid.

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44 minutes ago, Diarmuid said:

Actually, golf cart batteries often suffer thru appalling treatment. Run to full stop (80% DoD); quickie & partial  'opportunity' charges;  relatively high-amperage charging for speed's sake; left overnight in a deep discharge state, and so on. They are rarely kept on the charger long enuf to top off that last 20%, because there are ten other carts waiting in line. And forget equalization. Golf carts are treated worse than forklifts, and forklifts are a case study in how to hammer your batteries. ;) Those things are rode hard and put away wet. And invariably flooded lead acid.

I stand corrected. I got 6 years out of a set of AGMs, which seems preciously short given the length of a Maine cruising season. 

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We have a bank of 4 6V T105's.  On our first cruising boat, we went through 2 sets in 14 years of seasonal cruising and hard use.  On our current boat, we put a new set in when we purchased it as the bank that came was shot.  That was 8 years ago.  Same seasonal use, however we now have solar panels, so the bank is getting topped up regularly.  I check the water levels once a month.  The yard takes them off for the winter and charges them up once a month.   Pretty decent performance/value in my mind.

That being said, when we went to put a house battery in our VW campervan, I did go for a AGM as it seemed an easier solution.  No water levels to maintain as it is not conveniently located.  That's only 2 years old, so no long-term experience yet.

 

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10 hours ago, Parma said:

Yes. The jury came back and said "Fuck this. Get some decent batteries you stupid fucking cheapskate" So I did.

No more splashing. No more filling half empty batteries with distilled water through a funnel after removing settee panels & cushions.

You asked what were good quality marine batteries. I shopped for 3 months and finally decided on Northstar NSB-AGM 24Ms. Compare the specs

Hey if the extra expense is worth it to you, have at it.  For me I'm willing to exchange a few minutes periodically to check the batteries and spend $1000 on other stuff. To each his own.

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11 hours ago, Elegua said:

I stand corrected. I got 6 years out of a set of AGMs, which seems preciously short given the length of a Maine cruising season. 

That's not exceptional, tho; lead acid batteries live on a time clock as well as a discharge-cycles clock. Difference between AGM and, say a group 27 flooded is with the latter, you'd say: "Ah well. 6 years was fair. Time for another $120 battery."

We're running our house and biz on a large, pre-owned forklift batt. It kind of sucks, in the way old industrial equipment always kind of sucks: but it was far and away the most capacity for the dollar available everywhere right NOW. Which are all important metrics for choosing sailboat batteries, too.:) The guys at the industrial battery distributor who sold us this (3000#) unit said it's pretty sturdy, maybe 75-80% original capacity, but that there is a 100% chance it had been flogged mercilessly during its working years. Warehouse people don't generally pamper their equipment like engineers or the folks at CERN might. And many old industrial chargers are really crude items, with only bulk charging abilities (no absorb, float, or equalization stages).

Management just views flooded battery replacement as a periodic expense. Run the hell out these til they can't make it thru an 8-hr shift, then buy replacements for $4k. You got your money's worth out of them. 

FWIW, our previous battery bank was also flooded industrial, but lead-calcium chemistry telecom backups. Those were sweet. :) They were 13 years old when purchased, & we got another 13 years out of them. Power density is worth a lot more on a boat than in a basement; lithium offers that for a price. AGM and gel don't, really: about the same effective Ah/lb or Ah/cuft as flooded, but at 2-3x the cost per Ah. The 'impervious to knocks/no spill/limited gassing/no maintenance' feature set is nice; the 'easy to kill with minor overcharge' feature is not.

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