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Old 02-04-2015
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Anyone have experience with Deka/Duracell AGM batteries?

We need new batteries and are not sure if we can wait until we reach the US. I want to buy 4 - 4D AGM batteries so price does matter. We can buy Deka or Duracell AGMs - the Island Water World manager says they come from the same factory. Is this true? Anyone have real world experience with these batteries. They are much cheaper than Lifeline.
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Re: Anyone have experience with Deka/Duracell AGM batteries?

..as are the West Marine branded batteries and a few others as well..at the East Penn Manufacturing plant in Lyons, Pa. About an hours drive my from location as I will be replacing my batteries this spring..

http://www.eastpennmanufacturing.com.../motive-power/

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Old 02-04-2015
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Re: Anyone have experience with Deka/Duracell AGM batteries?

Quote:
Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
We need new batteries and are not sure if we can wait until we reach the US. I want to buy 4 - 4D AGM batteries so price does matter. We can buy Deka or Duracell AGMs - the Island Water World manager says they come from the same factory. Is this true? Anyone have real world experience with these batteries. They are much cheaper than Lifeline.

They are the identical battery but please spend your money on AGM batteries wisely. The Deka product is not a true deep cycle AGM like Lifeline or others it is a dual purpose battery with a factory lab life cycle rating of 300-350 cycles..

If you want a good Deka/East Penn product their GEL batteries are terrific, their AGM's not so much... There is a reason they are a cheaper AGM....

If you stay with AGM there are four premium AGM batteries Lifeline, Odyssey, Northstar and the new Firefly should be included but they only offer a group 31. Trojan has a new AGM coming out but I've not yet seen any hit the street and we have no real world experience with it..
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Old 02-04-2015
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Re: Anyone have experience with Deka/Duracell AGM batteries?

Because of the configuration of our batteries, we need to use sealed batteries. I have always thought that AGMs were superior to gels. Is this true?
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Re: Anyone have experience with Deka/Duracell AGM batteries?

Quote:
Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
Because of the configuration of our batteries, we need to use sealed batteries. I have always thought that AGMs were superior to gels. Is this true?
No not really...

GEL batteries are the kings of cycling and they can be some of the longest lasting deep cycle batteries made, in typical marine format. It is not just me who understands this Sandia National Labs has shown this true in government funded independent studies.

GEL's do however require a lower absorption charging voltage, 14.1V, and a higher than normal float voltage of 13.8V. All charging with GEL batteries should be temp compensated. This is not something the typical boater can do easily without system upgrades.

If you do these things GEL's will last a long time. Deka/East Penn rates their GEL batteries at 1000 cycles and their AGM's (depending upon your inside source) at just 300-350 cycles. This is using the same test criteria for both batteries done by the same manufacturer. For Deka GEL batteries this means up to 3.3 times the lab rated cycle life over their own AGM.... If your batteries could last 3.3X longer......

The reason GEL's went out of fashion, so to speak, is that Deka and others tried to tell folks they could be charged at regular flooded lead acid voltages. This quickly destroyed them and gave GEL a very undeserved bad rap. Deka then recanted and for 20+ years said 14.1V and 13.8V and this works beautifully and we have lots of GEL banks lasting well in excess of 10+ years. I have one bank in its 15 year and three or four beyond 10... I have no AGM banks beyond year 7-8 at this point in time and that is not because the owners have not tried.

Now that their market share on GEL has plummeted, and been eaten by AGM, which is giving them another bad rap on longevity, they have once again begun telling people it is okay to charge GEL at higher voltages.. "Stupid is as stupid does."....

My buddy Bruce sailed around the world TWICE on the same set of GEL batteries. I don't know of any other double circumnavigation with any other battery type out there. Perhaps there are, but that feat is damn impressive especially considering the abuse he put them through.

AGM batteries certainly have benefits, such as high charge acceptance, but long cycle life, beyond a typical deep cycle flooded battery, is not necessarily one of them. Premium AGM's can have decent cycle life but it requires dedicated patience & a good system to get there.

All sealed valve regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries require a proper system approach to use and charging..
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 02-04-2015 at 04:16 PM.
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Re: Anyone have experience with Deka/Duracell AGM batteries?

Even Deka, in their product sheets, says very bluntly that GEL IS BETTER THAN AGM by a huge factor. Call 'em up, ask about the # of cycles at 80% discharge or even 50% discharge, there's no contest.

However.

AGM's can drop into conventional electrical systems, while gels will be quickly and permanently damaged when charged at conventional voltages. So unless all your charging sources (regulators, etc.) can be set to "gel" and matched to the factory recommendations, you can't install gels without trashing them very quickly.

Often that can be simply throwing a switch, or something equally simple.

Lifeline AGMs are also very different from just about every brand on the market. Among other things they can and should be equalized--which would literally cook off and destroy Deka and other conventional AGMs.

Pros and cons to each one.
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Re: Anyone have experience with Deka/Duracell AGM batteries?

Glad to see this discussion. I've got two group 27 Gels for my 12 volt house bank and four 8A4D AGM's in series for my 48 volt propulsion bank. All were installed eight years ago and all seem to be holding up well. Of course they all were either charged by proper 120 volt chargers and solar controllers set for each types battery chemistry. I have no alternator for charging. Will be interesting to see which set needs replacing first. Not that I'm in any hurry to find out.
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Re: Anyone have experience with Deka/Duracell AGM batteries?

Which solar controllers are you using?
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Old 02-05-2015
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Re: Anyone have experience with Deka/Duracell AGM batteries?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
...Lifeline AGMs are also very different from just about every brand on the market. Among other things they can and should be equalized--which would literally cook off and destroy Deka and other conventional AGMs...
Minor correction. Here's the direct quote from the Lifeline Technical Manual, latest rev:
"Conditioning should only be done when the battery is showing symptoms of capacity loss due to an extended time in a partial or low state of charge condition." It's true that they can be equalized (conditioned in Lifeline-speak) but it shouldn't be done routinely, i.e. on an automated schedule as many battery chargers will do with flooded batteries.
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Re: Anyone have experience with Deka/Duracell AGM batteries?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IStream View Post
Minor correction. Here's the direct quote from the Lifeline Technical Manual, latest rev:
"Conditioning should only be done when the battery is showing symptoms of capacity loss due to an extended time in a partial or low state of charge condition." It's true that they can be equalized (conditioned in Lifeline-speak) but it shouldn't be done routinely, i.e. on an automated schedule as many battery chargers will do with flooded batteries.
No battery should ever be equalized on an automated routine schedule and it horrifies me that companies build chargers that do this. It is as dumb as a box of beetle dung. If you have a charger or controller that does auto equalization TURN IT OFF.....


And here is what Lifeline actually says when you break it down by type of use..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Godber - Lifeline Battery
(excerpted from Morgan's Cloud web site)

Put broadly, there are four ways that will yield different lifetimes based on daily 50% deep cycles:

1- Fully charge after each discharge. Estimated life: 6-9 Years.

2- Fully Recharge at least once a week and equalize once a month. Estimated life: 4-6 Years.

3- Only recharge to 85% and equalize once a month. Estimated life: 2-4 years.

4- Only charge to 85% and never equalize. Estimated life: 1 year.
Unless you tie up to a dock after each sail and charge, or have an adequate solar array, most cruising or mooring sailors fall into category 4 though some will actually take the time to EQ once per month so some in category 3 as well. Even so the best outcome, as suggested by Lifeline, is 6-9 years., if you recharge to 100% after each and every discharge....
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 02-05-2015 at 08:44 AM.
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