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  #21  
Old 03-10-2012
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
The bolded part makes little sense...? That is a VERY SMALL bank if planning to be on the hook for extended periods and running refrigeration. 400Ah and up are pretty standard bank sizes these days especially if running DC refrigeration. A 400 Ah bank of wets will take about what your alt can produce so no acceptance gain with AGM.

The problem with alternators is that all batteries, wet, gel AGM but not LiIon begin drastically limiting "accepted current" at about 80% state of charge. So the area you're concentrating on is between 50% SOC and 80-85% SOC. Beyond that it makes little sense to run the engine for charging. Your 120 amp alt will likely supply about 85-90A when hot....

"Usable" battery capacity gets really small really fast...

..
You need CURRENT to be able to take advantage of the high acceptance rates of AGM and you really don't have it... With a small bank you could see slightly faster charging between 50% SOC and 80% SOC, but then a small bank is not very suitable for your cruising needs with two refrigerators. You really need a battery monitor and to know what you use in Ah's per day.
Thanks a lot!

But regarding this, that is central to me:

You need CURRENT to be able to take advantage of the high acceptance rates of AGM and you really don't have it... With a small bank you could see slightly faster charging between 50% SOC and 80% SOC...A 400 Ah bank of wets will take about what your alt can produce so no acceptance gain with AGM.

My calculations show that I will have a big difference is recharging times. Maybe I mess it up. Do you mind to check these calculations? I have used for the calculations data posted by you here:

Battery Acceptance Observations - SailboatOwners.com

According from what I have understood from your article, wet cell batteries can accept 20% charging when they are almost empty but regarding the charging that matters most, between 50% and 85% they can only accept between 13% and 7.5%.

SOC______Accepted Current______% of 20 Hour Rating
53% ____________15.3 amps___________________12.8% Acceptance
83% ____________9.1 amps____________________7.5% Acceptance
86% ____________7.1 amps____________________5.9% Acceptance
88% ____________5.2 amps____________________4.9% Acceptance
90% ____________4.6 amps____________________3.8% Acceptance
93%_____________3.8 amps____________________3.1% Acceptance


Considering an average 11,5% charging acceptance and considering a 360Ah bank the the batteries are accepting 41 Amp.

What I have read about AMG batteries talk about an acceptance two or three times superior. If we consider 3 times, the acceptance will be 124 Amp for that bank, that would be superior of what the 120Amp alternator can provide when hot (about 90) but all those 90amp will be sucked by the batteries and that would give a charging time a bit less than half the time than with wet cell batteries.

If we consider that the AMG can accept only 2 times the charge of wet cells, than they are accepting 81 Amp and the 120Amp alternator is good for that and it is still half the charging time of wet cell batteries.

Mainsail, You are the one that now about this, I am learning and I don't want to make a point out of this, just trying to understand, so please if there is something wrong with these calculations please tell me.

Regarding this:

That is a VERY SMALL bank if planning to be on the hook for extended periods and running refrigeration. 400Ah and up are pretty standard bank sizes these days especially if running DC refrigeration...You really need a battery monitor and to know what you use in Ah's per day.

For what I have seeing on this thread I guess you guys are less frugal than the average European in what regards life style aboard and electric consumption on small boats.

On my last boat (a 36ft) I had a 240Ah home battery bank (the boat come standard with 120Ah and 240Ah was with an extra battery) and two small engine alternators to charge it. I used a Link 20 to control the batteries.

With that I could stay on anchor for a week and when I went to the marina was more for water than for charging. Normally I moved around so in most cases I was doing an hour with the engine so if that was the case I did not need to run more the engine for charging. If I staid on the same spot I would need to run the engine for an hour.

Of course this implied a very restricted use of energy: The refrigerator was turned off at night and after 21.00 and it was out of limits to open it. We open it only when it has indispensable, we made a very careful use of lighting, used independent solar charged lighting for most of uses including dinning outside and reading at night. The position light was also solar powered.

That scheme had worked for 7 years and I never changed the batteries, so it was sustainable. I cruised and lived on the boat for 45 days out of the marina in the summer and out of that I used the boat only for weekend sailing, returning to the marina.

On this boat, yes, I have two fridges but If I can only use one on batteries it will be alright for me. The insulation on this fridge is much better than on the other boat, this boat had led lights and a 360Ah bank (more 120Ah) than on the other boat. If I can charge the batteries two times faster, I am quite sure the 360Ah bank will suit my needs. I will be cruising for more time on the summer, out of marinas, maybe 3 to 4 months.

Sure I would prefer to have a 450Ah bank, and it is possible that I could manage the space for that but the max alternator that engine has is a 120Amp and the 450Ah bank would need a bigger alternator.

The alternator that the engine has actually is a 80 amp one. I am going to change to a 120 amp, so I am going to buy an alternator anyway. Do you know if any American or European brand, for that matter, has bigger alternators that fit on the Lombardini LDW 1404M (40hp)?

Regards

Paulo

...

Last edited by PCP; 03-10-2012 at 08:35 AM.
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

I have 3 Group 31 West Marine branded AGM's that I bought in '06. 70 amp alternator w/ext regulator, wind generator, and a Honda 2000 that I use to run the battery charger on the hook. I'll be replacing my AGMs this spring. Cost depends on where and how you buy them.
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
..According from what I have understood from your article, wet cell batteries can accept 20% charging when they are almost empty but regarding the charging that matters most, between 50% and 85% they can only accept between 13% and 7.5%.

...
You also need to consider the time to charge the 85 to 100%. If you fail to do this periodically on AGMs then the batteries will have a short life. Since you are a light user of your power, you may find that you are effectively using the 70% to 100% range on the batteries. In this case the AGMs will recharge slightly faster than standard wet cells, but not significantly. If you use the range 55 to 85%, and don't go to 100%, then AGMs will recharge faster if you have the charging amps available, but they will not be happy batteries. How often is 'periodically' to 100%. That's a tough call -- maybe twice a week???
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HMoll View Post
That is super useful feedback from Maine Sail. I will go back to it and read slowly, comments & links. My study of the situation is not as technical.

Here's the backround: J/35, weekend cruiser, once a month if lucky, boat in dock, two kids & wife, Puerto Rico. It rains very often during evenings in the Caribbean (short & heavy), so I got sick of getting up to close hatches and then back up to open. Then came genset, 2.5K Mase, to run A/C. It "killed" the sailboat "feel" for sleeping, no matter the soundproofing & vibration damping (which was more important but I was limited in height). Genset out, and starter studying batteries further.

Decision: high accceptance rate, "virtually no gas emissions" (Deka-WM), putting high loads on them, and deep cycles (70% discharge). I upgraded alternator to a Balmar 70A, with programmable regulator.

Ok, about the A/C, I use it at night only, so it maintains a nice ambient temperature, not a refrigerator, like some of my boating friends. It's a Cruisair 10,000BTU/h, with a soft starter, which reduces load peaks. 3000W Gopower Inverter, and that's the system. I've run my A/C for 12h, very much over my calculations, but that depends a lot on the temperature difference you set (ext/int). Same story with your refrigeration, Paulo, tem and use (open/close). If you have two ref systems, have one to store unopened stuff and open it the least.

Custom made a SS crate for the new bank, on top of keel. My boat is a bit weight/balance sensitive, so that's a big plus. Need more experience on this, but I'm very excited. No dollar savings, just being a systems geek and sinking money, but this hobby/lifestyle doesn't make economical sense since the day you consider to buy a boat. I'll admit wasting some more than usual, but I also learn in the process.

Warnings, this is just as costly as a generator, but I think it's the future, especially in under 40' boats. Why hasn't the inverter-type technology of A/C gone marine yet? That will change the world of onboard power requirements. Next thread topic, Paulo?

Here's a picture of the bank. Made a custom cabinet/table over it, not pictured. Seventh batery is aft port, opposite to starting battery. Have a Link 2000 monitor but have yet to learn how to program it correctly.
That's a big bank What is the capacity?

How can you charge it with a 70amp alternator?

It would not make sense if you used a small powerful DC generator to have them charged? That way you would have no noise, except one our a day will you charge them.

Regards

Paulo
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_L View Post
You also need to consider the time to charge the 85 to 100%. If you fail to do this periodically on AGMs then the batteries will have a short life. Since you are a light user of your power, you may find that you are effectively using the 70% to 100% range on the batteries. In this case the AGMs will recharge slightly faster than standard wet cells, but not significantly. If you use the range 55 to 85%, and don't go to 100%, then AGMs will recharge faster if you have the charging amps available, but they will not be happy batteries. How often is 'periodically' to 100%. That's a tough call -- maybe twice a week???
Yes, that seems important, I mean to know: How often is 'periodically' to 100%. That's a tough call -- maybe twice a week???

I would like to know more about that. I was hoping that once in 15 days would be enough. Does anybody knows more about this, I mean the max time they should be charged to 100% to not shorten their live significantly?

Regards

Paulo
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
I have 6 -6 volt Lifeline AGM. 720 ah. ...

My advantages.-
6 volts easier to pick up than 8D.
...
Price the Lifelines many places as the prices really vary greatly. Some have free shipping. You can by many 6 volt cheaper,,,for sure,,,but the time for maintainence and such may not be worth it for you.
...
I would look at getting at least 4- 6 volt lifelines. Thats 440 or 480 depending on the ones you buy. The footprint space of the 4 6 volt will take up the room of less than 3 group 31. 3 group 31 is about 330 ah. Also you do not need battery boxes for the AGM just have to secure them although i did have the space for battery boxes. If you can get 6 in the space. I made dummies out of cardboard of the batteries and fit them into the compartment uinder my rear quarter berth to see the proper way to get them to fit.
..
Dave, I did not reply because I don't know enough to understand the implications of running on 6 Volt batteries all boat systems that run at 12V.

You have 720 Ah at 6 Volts, that corresponds to 360Ah at 12V? Where it is made the conversion (6 to 12V)? There re losses on that conversion?

The main advantage is space?

I have a nice battery box right over the keel at the boat center:



The boat weights are carefully balanced and I don't want to change their place.

Eventually they can be higher (bigger) and have more capacity but I don't think I have an alternator with power for more than 360Ah on the home bank. I guess that what I really want to know is if the AGM with that alternator (120Amp) will charge in about half time (considering charging time of wet batteries 50% to 85%) and how many times in a month I will have to charge them to 100% for not shorten much their life span.

Regards

Paulo
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

Paulo,

2 -6 volt batteries placed in series= 1 12 volt battery...then placed in parrallel. Each seried pair of batteries is 240 ah. 3 groups of seried batteries =720 ah of 12 volt power.

If you have 360 ah of batteries- charging at 120 amp alternator ( thats what I have and Maine sail recommends electromax alternators vs Balmar) , and the 360 ah batteries dont discharge below 1/2 or 180 ah and you want to get to 85% by engine charge you have approx 150 you need to get in which is about 1.25 hours of engine time to get 180 ah.


If you had 720 ah of batteries you could go twice as long without charging as you need to charge 360 ah in. Alsdoo a passive charger like you are planning on will help this too.


This way you do not have to be a frugal with your energy like turning of refrigeration etc. We can generally go 5-6 days without using the engine.

Dave
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Thanks a lot!

But regarding this, that is central to me:

You need CURRENT to be able to take advantage of the high acceptance rates of AGM and you really don't have it... With a small bank you could see slightly faster charging between 50% SOC and 80% SOC...A 400 Ah bank of wets will take about what your alt can produce so no acceptance gain with AGM.

My calculations show that I will have a big difference is recharging times. Maybe I mess it up. Do you mind to check these calculations? I have used for the calculations data posted by you here:

Battery Acceptance Observations - SailboatOwners.com

According from what I have understood from your article, wet cell batteries can accept 20% charging when they are almost empty but regarding the charging that matters most, between 50% and 85% they can only accept between 13% and 7.5%.

SOC______Accepted Current______% of 20 Hour Rating
53% ____________15.3 amps___________________12.8% Acceptance
83% ____________9.1 amps____________________7.5% Acceptance
86% ____________7.1 amps____________________5.9% Acceptance
88% ____________5.2 amps____________________4.9% Acceptance
90% ____________4.6 amps____________________3.8% Acceptance
93%_____________3.8 amps____________________3.1% Acceptance

What I should clarify in that article is that the charger was a 15A charger. Reading it now it does appear as the batteries only accepted 12.8% but they were taking all the charger could give until about 80% SOC. The batteries took the full current of the charger until they hit about 80% SOC then began taking less than the 15.3A the charger was capable of. I was concentrating on the acceptance above 80% SOC and made it appear that the battery was only capable of taking 15.3A but it was the charger that was only capable of delivering 15.3A.

Those were also "used" batteries typical of what one might find on a boat with a poor charging system. They were slightly sulfated and had never been equalized which can mean they accept less current than they normally would. 20-25% acceptance for wets, in bulk, it what you can expect provided everything is in good working order.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Considering an average 11,5% charging acceptance and considering a 360Ah bank the the batteries are accepting 41 Amp.
Again, my bad, and I apologize for not writing that more carefully. Wets should take approx 25% of "C" when in good condition. I've seen some "dual purpose" thin plate wets take as much as 27-30%. AGM's take about 40% + but usually tend to settle out at around 35-40% until you hit about 80% SOC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
What I have read about AMG batteries talk about an acceptance two or three times superior.
I have seen a brand new 100Ah AGM take 85A for a decent amount of time but this is not the "norm" and that battery was brand new. A new wet would take about 25%.



Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
If we consider 3 times, the acceptance will be 124 Amp for that bank, that would be superior of what the 120Amp alternator can provide when hot (about 90) but all those 90amp will be sucked by the batteries and that would give a charging time a bit less than half the time than with wet cell batteries.
If you consider a wet bank taking 25% and an AGM bank taking roughly 40%, which is about the average I see in real use on boats, then the numbers change. The acceptance rates on both types of batteries will drop as the bank becomes sulfated. Some AGM batteries can not be "condition charged" or equalized, wets can. 25% of 360Ah is 90A, 40% of 360Ah is more than your alt can likely deliver unless cold..



Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
On this boat, yes, I have two fridges but If I can only use one on batteries it will be alright for me. The insulation on this fridge is much better than on the other boat, this boat had led lights and a 360Ah bank (more 120Ah) than on the other boat. If I can charge the batteries two times faster, I am quite sure the 360Ah bank will suit my needs. I will be cruising for more time on the summer, out of marinas, maybe 3 to 4 months.
I had to base my statements on what you wrote and that included "two refrigerators".. If you're running just one and turning it off at night and you've converted to LED a 360Ah bank will be fine.

We run a 375 Ah bank, all LED but have engine driven refrigeration and a 50A dumb regulated alternator. My friends, the previous owners, did a 5 year 100% live aboard on-the-hook wold cruise and used the same alternator and a single 80W solar panel. They used Wal*Mart wet cells and they were still working when I bought the boat at year six.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Sure I would prefer to have a 450Ah bank, and it is possible that I could manage the space for that but the max alternator that engine has is a 120Amp and the 450Ah bank would need a bigger alternator.
A larger bank will have shallower discharges which can lead to longer life. Most cruisers run their banks between 50% SOC and 80-85% SOC. On a 450Ah bank that means you need to replace about 135Ah to get from 50% to 80%. To do this in an hour you'd need a 160 - 175A alt (140+ A hot rated) and the belts to back it up. With wets they could take about 100A or 100Ah per hour of run time. With AGM you could put it all back in 1 hour but only IF you have the ability to do so. The max you can run on a single 1/2" belt is about 100A. You'd need a seprentine kit or custom dual pulleys to do more.

With a 360Ah bank it would take 108 Ah's to re-charge from 50% to 80% in an hour. A 360Ah bank of wets should take around 90A in bulk so you;re 18Ah shy. With AGM you could do it in an hour but is all the expense, belts, alternator & bank worth the difference? It may be..

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
The alternator that the engine has actually is a 80 amp one. I am going to change to a 120 amp, so I am going to buy an alternator anyway. Do you know if any American or European brand, for that matter, has bigger alternators that fit on the Lombardini LDW 1404M (40hp)?

Regards

Paulo

...
Problem is your belt. If spending the premium on AGM for a 360Ah bank, that can take about 145A of current in bulk, a 175 - 200A alt is the only way to really maximize your investment if your motor can handle it.. A 120A alt is well sized to a 360Ah bank of wets but undersized to maximize the "acceptance" of AGM.....
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Dave, I did not reply because I don't know enough to understand the implications of running on 6 Volt batteries all boat systems that run at 12V.

You have 720 Ah at 6 Volts, that corresponds to 360Ah at 12V? Where it is made the conversion (6 to 12V)? There re losses on that conversion?

The main advantage is space?

I have a nice battery box right over the keel at the boat center:



The boat weights are carefully balanced and I don't want to change their place.

Eventually they can be higher (bigger) and have more capacity but I don't think I have an alternator with power for more than 360Ah on the home bank. I guess that what I really want to know is if the AGM with that alternator (120Amp) will charge in about half time (considering charging time of wet batteries 50% to 85%) and how many times in a month I will have to charge them to 100% for not shorten much their life span.

Regards

Paulo
Paulo,

If you can try to give a little room between the AGM batteries. They run hotter when charging than wets and heat kills batteries. You'll also want to move your POS or NEG cable to the opposite end of the bank to keep the banks "balanced" this forces all the loads and currents to be more equally run "through" the bank not off the end battery in the string which the way it is wired sees the most use...

If I put my analyzer on your bank I can nearly gurantee the battery closest to the starting battery is in the worst shape and the one at the opposite end is in the best shape...
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Yes, that seems important, I mean to know: How often is 'periodically' to 100%. That's a tough call -- maybe twice a week???

I would like to know more about that. I was hoping that once in 15 days would be enough. Does anybody knows more about this, I mean the max time they should be charged to 100% to not shorten their live significantly?

Regards

Paulo
This is a stetement from Justin G. at Lifeline Battery regarding expected life cycles for Lifeline AGM.


"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."


The thing I really LIKE about Lifeline is that they are HONEST.....
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