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  #1  
Old 01-18-2012
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6V AGMs...any real alternatives to Lifelines?

Hey folks, I have a very specific question that stems from the fact that we have a very small amount of space in which to fit batteries on our boat. I've found that we may be able to fit what we need, IF we use AGMs (because they don't need to be vertical, etc.)

One possibility is using 6V batteries for our house bank. We like the Lifeline 6V GPL-4CT, and they have an amp-hour rating close to Trojan T-105s (220 vs 225), but they are spendy. Additionally, I've noticed than many other AGM 6V batteries have lower amp hour ratings than Lifelines or Trojans. For instance, Deka 6Vs are rated at 190. That's enough difference that I'd pay the extra for the Lifelines if I had to.

So my question is, are there any other AGM manufacturers out there, besides Lifeline, who make a 6V (in something similar to the standard T-105 size) that rates closer to 220 or more amp hours?

I can't find one with the "Google machine". Any help is appreciated.
Thanks,
J
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Old 01-18-2012
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J

We bought 6 of the 6 volt agm from lifeline 2 years ago and have never looked back. They have a 5 year warrenty, First year compete replacement and have been a great addition to our boat. The advabtage with us is that they can be laid in many differing positions, thats what allowed us to have 6 (660ah) as opposed to 4. You dont need that many/ We also put our starting battery on an achocharger ( Xantrex) They are pricy, but no maintainence and we never worry about power anymore. UPgrading this system on our boat was costly, but we never worry about power anymore and only are looking for solar cells now to complete this project. Call me if you want to talk more about the lifelines

I must warn you that with AGM they can accept a greater charge and you will/ should upgrade your alternator or it may run at the high speed for longer burning it out.

We took Mainsails advice and got an elctrolmax 100amp alternator with a smart max regulator

https://store.electromaax.com/index....ory&path=46_85

The cheapest price i have seen for the Lifelines are about 275 shipping included.

Lifeline GPL-4CT 6Volt Deep Cycle AGM Battery

Dave
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Old 01-19-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josrulz View Post
Hey folks, I have a very specific question that stems from the fact that we have a very small amount of space in which to fit batteries on our boat. I've found that we may be able to fit what we need, IF we use AGMs (because they don't need to be vertical, etc.)

One possibility is using 6V batteries for our house bank. We like the Lifeline 6V GPL-4CT, and they have an amp-hour rating close to Trojan T-105s (220 vs 225), but they are spendy. Additionally, I've noticed than many other AGM 6V batteries have lower amp hour ratings than Lifelines or Trojans. For instance, Deka 6Vs are rated at 190. That's enough difference that I'd pay the extra for the Lifelines if I had to.

So my question is, are there any other AGM manufacturers out there, besides Lifeline, who make a 6V (in something similar to the standard T-105 size) that rates closer to 220 or more amp hours?

I can't find one with the "Google machine". Any help is appreciated.
Thanks,
J

There is no other AGM I know of that matches the size spec of the Lifeline 4CT. It is over 1" shorter than most GC2 sized 6V batteries.

If the height is not an issue the Deka battery is a great value though at about 30Ah's less per battery. Considering the life expectancy, or lack there of, I see with AGM's you might consider giving up a few Ah's to save some SERIOUS dough and buy the Deka's at Sam's Club for $159.00 each vs. $275.00+ for the Lifeline....

Lifeline 6V $275.00 X 4 = $1100.00
Deka 6V $159.00 X 4 = $636.00

With the Lifelines over the Duracell/Deka's you're paying $464.00 for an additional 120 Ah's... One Deka 6V cost $159.00 and delivers about 190Ah or 83˘ per Ah. The Lifeline is about $275.00 for 220Ah or $1.25 per Ah...

That is $3.87, per extra Ah, over the Deka AGM....

That being said I don't think you have the height on a S-34I for anything taller than a standard 12V which is about the height of the Lifeline.. You may be forced to pay more based on height constraints. Still don't know where you'll fit four on a S34I...?? Let me know when you figure it out!

Conservation usually costs less, especially when you add the cost of an alt, regulator etc. etc.....
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Old 01-19-2012
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Chef2Sail, Maine Sail, thanks to you both for the help! I suppose I might as well add some more detail (sorry for the length)...

As Maine Sail said, there's no room on a Sabre 34-I for 4 6Vs. We're only talking about 2 6Vs. I'll explain. We currenty have two wet G-31s, one in each bank. We're trying to double our house and add a reserve battery, likely a Group 24, which will not fit in the original compartment with the 31s. Here was the plan:
  • House = two G31s in original compartment. Add reserve Group 24 below the nav station. Problem: requires some major mods, including cutting a large teak "door" in the teak bulkhead below the nav for access, building a custom tray, etc. Also, long battery cable runs and significant work hours, plus the loss of storage.
I wasn't completely satisfied with this option, but the only way to discover a better option would be to have the batteries in hand to see how things really fit. Steven's Battery Warehouse (helpful folks) loaned me some empty Lifeline cases. I found two options:
  • House = two Lifeline 6Vs, reserve = Lifeline Group 24, all in the original battery compartment with out any significant mods. Whoa, this was news. Wets 6Vs couldn't do this--it's that close a fit.
  • House = two G31s, reserve = Lifeline 1400T, a very small starting battery with about 33 amp hours. These would all three fit in original compartment. Problem: It would probably start the engine, but it's not a lot of reserve (compared to a G24).
I know having just one pair of 6Vs has its drawbacks. But two G31s come at the expense of either a very small reserve in same compartment, or a G24 reserve but with major mods to the boat.

As for charging, we have a Balmar 75 amp 9-series alternator with a Balmar ARS-5 voltage regulator already in place. We haven't bought our charger, but would probably opt for a 30-40amp Sterling or similar. A Victron battery monitor, Yandina battery combiner, new battery cables, and fuses are also planned--all of which we'd be doing either way.

So anyway, that's why we're talking about Lifeline 6Vs.

Maine Sail, Chef2sail, I'm certainly open to hearing your thoughts on our plan. We're not thrilled about spending so much on batteries, but it might be worth it if the overall installation is simplified. Thoughts?
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Old 01-19-2012
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The mod to place the battery under the nav desk is not difficult.. A pre-made teak door can be ordered, not that expensive. A couple of hinges, teak door, a multi tool to cut the opening and some plywood for a base are all that is necessary.

This is on a customers boat. I did not do the upgrade, it could be executed better, but it works and has for them for many years.





You might consider that and a US Battery 31DCXC these are EXCELLENT quality batteries on-par with Trojan for less money. 2 would give you 260Ah's... I know my cost on a US 31DCXC is about $108.00 and it is every bit the battery the Trojan SCS-225 is but the SCS-225 costs me darn near $200.00 these days...
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 01-19-2012 at 11:01 AM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
The mod to place the battery under the nav desk is not difficult.. A pre-made teak door can be ordered, not that expensive. A couple of hinges, teak door, a multi tool to cut the opening and some plywood for a base are all that is necessary.

This is on a customers boat. I did not do the upgrade, it could be executed better, but it works and has for them for many years.

You might consider that and a US Battery 31DCXC these are EXCELLENT quality batteries on-par with Trojan for less money. 2 would give you 260Ah's...
Thanks Maine Sail, that's basically what I was considering originally. I suppose I just like the elegance of not loosing the space and not having to deal with the door. But the wet batteries sure are cheaper!

So far, I haven't been able to locate a pre-made teak door in an appropriate size that looks like it should be on the boat (doesn't have to be perfect, but I don't want it to look bad). Do you have any recommendations for sourcing teak doors, by any chance?
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Maine Sail, one more question if you don't mind. I was looking at the pics from your customer's boat. Is that added door held shut by a barrel bolt from the inside?

I went back to the boat this afternoon and checked clearances again--no way to get a Group 24 into that space without cutting the new door. I'm not against it--it's much cheaper if I can find a decent looking door. I just like the elegance of leaving the interior in tact (of course that comes with a major price tag).
-J
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Originally Posted by josrulz View Post
Maine Sail, one more question if you don't mind. I was looking at the pics from your customer's boat. Is that added door held shut by a barrel bolt from the inside?

I went back to the boat this afternoon and checked clearances again--no way to get a Group 24 into that space without cutting the new door. I'm not against it--it's much cheaper if I can find a decent looking door. I just like the elegance of leaving the interior in tact (of course that comes with a major price tag).
-J
It's one of those spring loaded ball bearing clasps. The part on the door is dimpled to receive the bearing which is spring loaded in the part mounted behind the bulkhead.

BTW that door was made with glued up pieces of 3/4" teak then routed with a round over bit and rabbeted on the back side to hide the opening. Pretty easy doors to build..
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Old 01-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
...Considering the life expectancy, or lack there of, I see with AGM's you might consider giving up a few Ah's to save some SERIOUS dough and buy the Deka's at Sam's Club...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
...You might consider that and a US Battery 31DCXC these are EXCELLENT quality batteries on-par with Trojan for less money. 2 would give you 260Ah's... I know my cost on a US 31DCXC is about $108.00 and it is every bit the battery the Trojan SCS-225 is but the SCS-225 costs me darn near $200.00 these days...
Maine Sail, I've narrowed things down a bit:
- Not going with Lifelines (too much dough)
- Reserve battery will go under the nav (Group 24)
- 2 x Group 31 for house in original location

That said, I've discovered that there's a Sam's club nearby, so the Deka/Duracells are an option. So it's just wets versus AGMs, for not all that much difference in $, but essentially the exact same configuration.
- With Deka/Duracell AGMs, I get 210 amp hour house, and I do NOT have to cut a new "door" for the reserve because it should go through the existing opening on its side.
- With wets, I could get 210 - 260 amp hours house (if I get those US Battery 31s you mentioned), and have to cut the new door.

The door's not the issue--a fellow Sailnetter has even volunteered to help me make it look good. He'll remain anonymous unless he wants to volunteer the info, so I'll just say "thank you!".

So really the question is, in this case, AGMs or wets? Will my 75 amp Balmar w/ARS5 smart regulator stay happy with AGMs? Will my Yandina VSR be up to the job? If the price isn't so different, and the configuration is basically the same either way, which is better?
-J
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