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Old 07-31-2007
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I have to say I disagree with the advice to use wet cells if you are a weekender/vacationer and AGMs for cruising. I would recommend AGMs for both types of sailing but, if anything, the many advantages of AGMs benefit weekenders and vacationers even more so than cruisers.

One of the biggest advantages, besides no maintenance, is that AGMs have a much slower self discharge rate and a faster charge rate. Perfect for people who leave their boats for weeks or months at a time, and only have limited opportunity to charge. If you're on a mooring, with no shore power charging, they are fantastic.

AGMs, despite the extra cost, are one of the best investments we made on our boats. I'm not talking about discharges-per-dollar, bang-for-the-buck, etc. I'm talking about removing one more hassle and worry from your maintenance list, and getting better performance to boot. Unless you enjoy monitoring electrolytes, adding distilled water, worrying about off-gassing, removing heavy batteries for winter storage, etc....

Forget gel cells. They are finicky beasts that cost the same as AGMs but require a very particular charging profile, necessitating at a minimum that the alternator's voltage regulator be modified. A previous owner installed gel cells on our boat without modifying the voltage regulator and they were defunct withing two years. AGMs can be swapped out as replacements for wet cells without any modification to the boat's electrical system (although a smart regulator would get you even better performance).
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