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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #21  
Old 12-19-2006
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btrayfors will become famous soon enough btrayfors will become famous soon enough
They are. Had a long conversation with J.D. Surette at the Annapolis Boat Show in October re: battery construction, AGM failures, pulsator technologies, etc.

Surette/Rolls batteries still rule in the flooded battery category. They're very pricey, but still very good.

Bill
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  #22  
Old 12-20-2006
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sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice
Just read an article in Lats & Atts. A couple just got done sailing around the world with a few auto batts and no worries. Just throw 'em away and buy new I guess. Perhaps this is another case of perfection getting in the way of acceptable?
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  #23  
Old 12-20-2006
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
Sailaway...I wouldn't say that standard batts are a "bad" way to go...just require a lot of care AND will fail sooner even with that care. For a one or two year trip...no problem with anything you buy as long as you keep the water topped up and don't fry em or completely deplete em. As for the bum-fuzzlers.. a lot of things "worked" for them that I wouldn't care to test over time. Some people are just damn lucky!! Great adventure and log though and they'll probably give seminars on how to go around the world now!!
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  #24  
Old 12-22-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie
Sailaway...I wouldn't say that standard batts are a "bad" way to go...just require a lot of care AND will fail sooner even with that care. For a one or two year trip...no problem with anything you buy as long as you keep the water topped up and don't fry em or completely deplete em. As for the bum-fuzzlers.. a lot of things "worked" for them that I wouldn't care to test over time. Some people are just damn lucky!! Great adventure and log though and they'll probably give seminars on how to go around the world now!!
From Your avatar pic You seems to be sailing in a differen 'class' than most of the cruisers I met on my way, and most probably have different needs and recoursces than a lot of cruisers. Calling those who goes for simplier and less costlier solutions for 'bum-fuzlers' and Your ending remark would have earned You a '-' in credability, had it been possible.
Not exactly what one would expect from a 'moderator' of a board!
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  #25  
Old 12-22-2006
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
Haffiman...You are out of Malaysia so perhaps that explains the mis-understanding...the name of the boat in question is "bumfuzzled" and I have NO problem with those who choose to sail in a well prepared but smaller and much simpler boat. I was referring to the logs of their trip...their total lack of preparation and some of the really questionable decisions they made along the way that did not manage to kill them.
Read their logs at http://www.bumfuzzle.com/ and see if you don't feel the same way. Very entertaining and I give them full credit for what they have accomplished which is way more than I have. But...I'll stick with the Pardey's or Beth Leonard for ADVISE on cruising round the world. BTW...the bumfuzzlers are NOT cruisers on a budget...they had lots of bucks to throw at stuff as it broke and had all the "toys" on their boat from a watermaker to a George Forman grill so please don't accuse me of elitism in this case. The only reason they had auto batteries was because the didn't KNOW any better. As to LUCK...let me just include this one direct quote from their website:
"Now let me tell you about our problems with our charts. First let me explain that we only use electronic charts,"

In this specific case I was responding to Sailaways thought that a couple of automotive batteries had worked for bumfuzzle. My thought about the topic was that any battery should work for a couple of years if you don't mis-treat it but that over time auto-batteries would not be a good choice. There are any number of citations for this supporting my own experience mainly because of plate thickness. My comments about the bumfuzzler couple do not change the accuracy of that thought.
BTW...my role as moderator is simply to weed out spam and make sure the cat fights don't get out of hand. It does not confer upon me any special knowledge or insight or make me the "oracle". Feel free to disagree and I'll feel free to post as I see fit with my own opinions. In this case...I stand by them.
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Old 12-23-2006
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I browsed Your link of the 'bumfuzlle' travel and they might be a bit off the normal in some aspects, but I think everyone that does a trip like that are, including me.
However this thread started as 'starter battery' and to my knowledge that is excact what the old lead-acid batteries are. Either You run the thick plated 'solar' type or thin plated for max start/discharge amps.
What most yachters know or should know as basic rules are that You do not mix types and sizes in the same charge circuit, and is the main reason I stayed with them. What a lot of around the world sailors does not quite realize is that what You may get at the local market back home is not available all over the world. Everything may 'break' and at sea Murphy's laws rules: it breaks at the least convenient spot and time!
I would not claim that the simpliest is always the best in any situation, but it may pay off to give it a second thought.
One small question I put in my original posting was the amp/hour consumption cost of the different solutions that are given. The 'old' lead acid costs around 1/3-1/4 of the gels, lasts perhaps 1/2 to 1/3 of the time of gels, needs no super chargers, may be bought almost everywhere.
Cruising You have plenty of spare time to check the level and clean off the tops. One thing however that is to be warned about is vapors when charging which means that the battery compartments must be well ventilated!
Yachters are individuals and very often with different opinions about the most. Theese kind of forums are great as it gives the possibilities of getting different opinions. To disagree with other posters taking part in the discussion is natural and keeps perhaps the board alive, but to bash down on someone not involved I find a bit out of the ethics.
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Old 12-23-2006
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
The point was that someone was saying the Bumfuzzlers sailed around the world with auto batteries...so why shouldn't we use the same cheap batteries? My point was that just because the BF's made it around the world, doesn't make them authorities and that they did a lot of things that not very many people would think were good choices and managed to luck out without a disaster though they came close a couple of times. The BF's are a major topic on several other sailing sites and respond in kind so I won't feel too bad about "bashing" them so severely. While I certainly disagree with them about some of their choices...
you can't help but admire their adventurous spirit and honesty about everything on their trip logs.
Getting back to the topic at hand...I think your reasoning is incomplete on the "economy" of lead acid over AGM's. Constantine VonWentzel has made a rather interesting study of the true cost of batteries over their service life (and has a WONDERFUL website on the subject of batteries on boats) and he comes to the following conclusion:
Chuck Husick made a number of assertions in his responses about battery costs, so I looked into those as well. A cost model later, I had a number of startling results. Namely, that AGMs worked out to be less-expensive for my marine application, despite having a high initial cost, due to their superior features. Over the life of the AGMs we would save a lot more on lower maintenance costs, fuel consumption, etc. than the premium we spent initially (when such a premium exists).

Link to the data and graphs which support this conclusion is:
http://www.vonwentzel.net/Battery/04.Costs/index.html
I would note that this applies ONLY to cruisers using engines and fuel to charge their batteries and not to passive systems or those living at the dock or doing occasional sailing. It further applies only to those who have the alternator capacity to take advantage of the AGM's unlimited AMP acceptance in bulk charging. Take a look if you fit those parameters!
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  #28  
Old 12-23-2006
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Nice study, but are we becoming battery-retentive here?
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  #29  
Old 12-23-2006
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Goodnews...Absolutely. Look, its not such a big deal for casual sailors and I never paid much attention to them when I was bay sailing and taking 2 week trips during the summer and plugging into marinas.
When you are living on the hook with refrigerator/freezer and other goodies you start paying more attention if you don't like to eat canned tunafish every day and want to be able to go sightseeing for a day or two without losing all your food! (Or fork over a couple of boat bucks a year for new batts)
Now I figured that I wanted a battery bank of 1000amps for our lifestyle so the difference in price between 8D wet cells and 8D AGMS is times 4 or about $1200 bucks. For a $1200 buck differential ya gotta do more than save me the the water fillup routine! (The boat may be big but I'm CHEAP!!)
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Old 12-23-2006
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haffiman-
"The 'old' lead acid costs around 1/3-1/4 of the gels, lasts perhaps 1/2 to 1/3 of the time of gels, needs no super chargers, may be bought almost everywhere."
Sounds like you got some bad numbers there. With the exception of the Optima brand, AGM's are nowhere near that expensive. Optima carries about a 25-33% premium over other AGM batteries and a lot of people think they are the only AGM battery source. That's a myth.
The premium you will pay for flat plate AGM's, compared to flat-plate wet cells from a brand name, is about 20-25%. Or was when I checked last year. That's all.
Now, can you buy wet lead cells cheaper? SURE. But in some areas, Costco and WalMart don't sell deep cycle batteries at all, so that's really pushing the comparison to troll for bottom prices in markets everyone can't get to. To be fair, you need to compare common markets and brands.
And even then, the folks who build those batteries will be the first to tell you they are custom OEM products which may not be the same as their brand-name products coming out of the same plant. If one plant makes 20 brands--they aren't all made the same.

This is also ignoring the "real serious" batteries, the industrial grade deep cycle batteries (made as AGM or wet) and not seen in the consumer market either. The Trojan "golf cart" batteries cross into this territory, you won't find them in retail stores. The folks who do sell them, probably also sell industrial cells.

What you get for the 25% premium is a battery that doesn't leak, and can't be topped up. That also means if they are submerged in salt water, they will not release toxic chlorine gas, and they will still be functional when they come back up. AGMs accept charging 25% faster, so you can burn less fuel and make less noise. And it supplies more power to high loads. Long term performance? Ah, that's being debated and the real answer is probably "it depends on construction" so there's no way to be sure yet, aside from warranty and reputation. And, it may need some adjustments to the charging system to be charged properly.

Prices? Yah, that's going to vary, regionally too. But *overall* only about 25%. What gets harder is finding a local course of AGMs, unless you go to the Optima brand and pay for their advertising budget. And, you'll get 5-10% less power in each cell, because of the spiral technology. It's supposed to be a robust, rugged, cost-efficient alternative to flat plates, and it probably is. But it puts round pegs in square holes, so it wastes capacity, and the patent holder apparently is extracting a stiff premium for it.
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