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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #31  
Old 04-05-2002
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Internal Regulation

Gentlemen,

<b>As always there is room for reasonable discussion</b>. While Peter Pan is by his own admittance no battery charging expert, he does have a certain amount of practical experience. On the other hand, Tom has a BSEE, researched a number of articles on the web, and also some relevant experience. I think both of you have raised valid points, given the right context. But, using inflammatory language is <b>NOT</b> constructive.

For example: On point number one raised by Tom (24/7 charging of batteries) there is some "wiggle room". Peter Pan may never have used trickle chargers in his ASE life. Not many people do unless they store motor vehicles all winter. I used a trickle charger for my motorcycle, boat, and car and my batteries have lasted significantly longer than the two year average life quoted by Peter Pan. Proper charging keeps batteries from sulphating and sulphation is usually what "kills" a otherwise functional battery.

Granted, you could try and revive the battery via equalization, but that process attacks the grids and extra care must be taken as the batteries will potentially boil. Nevermind having to disconnect appliances that cannot withstand the 17VDC the equalization process goes to on flooded cells. Only when the grids collapse and short out is a battery cell truly dead. Some high end batteries even allow you to replace individual 2VDC cells within a stack that makes up the battery.

On point number four, I can tell you from an unrelated industry (that I cannot name due to NDA considerations) that almost identical products can be sold with different warranties and at highly divergent price points. The manufacturer basically makes a bet - adding a few dollars worth of extra stuff here and there will pay for themselves and then some. After all, most consumers move before the multiple-year warranty is up, the failure rate has more to do with local conditions than the manufacturer can control for, etc.

However, it''s pretty easy with batteries to see if there are measurable differences in design and construction. Not only do the interior plates have varying thicknesses, but the cells are constructed differently, the container material may vary, etc. For a good example of this see the 300, 400, and 500 series manufactured by Rolls/Surrette. Manufacturers like Penn produce private label stuff at different price points but the basic construction is allegedly the same. You can learn a lot about batteries just by researchign them a little. If no info is available, buyer beware!

Anyway, the two year average battery life experienced by Peter Pan may simply be a reflection of the batteries he prefers to buy - this is so-called selection bias. With tender-loving-care, even bottom of the barrel batteries might last for years (i.e. never discharge them 100%, trickle-charge, store in a cool dry place, etc.) before the grids collpase.

Furthermore, cars are notoriously hot, absent-minded customers may leave the lights on, and the batteries are never recharged with sophisticated chargers but relatively crude, but cheap units. Hence, car repair experience may not be as relevant to boating situations due to environmental considerations as RV experience for example. Furthermore, car systems merely start a combustion engine while RV systems actually power a mobile home that has electrical characteristics very similar to those of boats.

Anyway, I hope that the two of you can somehow make peace. There is enough trouble in the world as it is. Personal attacks do nothing but discredit the rest of your message: Readers notice the attack instead of the argument you are trying to present.

Thus, while I disagreed with a number of technical points by Peter Pan, I have tried to stay cordial, provide background information, etc. to convince him and other readers that my position was rational, that relevant industry experience existed, etc.

While I agree on a number of technical points with Tom (and had previously linked my site to a number of resources he listed), I totally disagree with his aggressive writing style.

Perhaps both of you can unilaterally edit your posts. It would be to the benefit of everyone. Good night.
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  #32  
Old 04-05-2002
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Internal Regulation

Constantin,

You are correct and I am sorry for my heavy handed response. You started out by saying that Peter_Pan "by his own admittance no battery charging expert,"....But that is exactly what he said on Mar. 16 2002 11:53 AM!!

So I was concerned for the sailors reading on here that don''t know marine electrical and battery systems. They will tend to get misled when they hear someone say that "I''m a charging system expert" and then make statements that are not totally correct or misleading.

It could lead someone who doesn''t understand the issues down a road that might cost them money (or stuck somewhere with out a good battery to get home). Heck I know of no one in my marina that has to replace their batteries every 2 years (and, no, they are not using Rolls or any of the premium batteries). But if someone reads certain things and then by my intervention maybe I am saving someone a few dollars or hassles....

I apologize to the list and to Peter_Pan (Jim?) for my style, but not for my content or information.
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