Battery choices for offshore use - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 37 Old 07-31-2015 Thread Starter
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Battery choices for offshore use

Hi, folks- I have a little confession to make here; I killed 4 perfectly good Deka GC-10 batteries after not quite 2 years of use (and neglect). We moved and put the boat in storage and it took me a while with all the issues moving to Florida, starting a new job, etc... to get the batteries off of the boat and in my garage where I could keep a closer eye on them. In the meantime, I'm pretty sure they dipped below the point of no return with respect to charge and have never bounced back. I had them tested today and at least one bank of 2 is trashed. The other two aren't much farther behind.

I've read a little from MaineSails posts (which are almost on every boating forum out there), and wonder if going the AGM route might be better for me as long as I treat them well. I know myself well, so I need something that might be a bit more forgiving if the state of charge dips a few times before I can get to it and resume charging. The specifics- this is a boat that I like doing offshore trips and races in. I'm planning on doing a race to Cuba (delivering from Tampa to Key West this coming January) and back, but there is also Bermuda 1-2 in 2017. I have a Renogy 100 watt semi-flexible solar panel with a Genasun GV-10 controller. The other reason I am beginning to favor the AGM's is that they are sealed and trying to figure out a way to seal my current battery box is a big challenge (no sealed box fits easily in my battery compartments), and that is a requirement for any category 1 race.. So- would you have any suggestions for a brand (there is a US Battery distributor a little over an hour away in Kissimmee) or should I just stick with ye olde wet cells and figure out how to seal them in a box and never let them out of my sight again? I think we're here to stay for a while, so keeping them (whether wet-cell or AGM) plugged into my solar panel shouldn't be a problem.

Ray
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post #2 of 37 Old 07-31-2015
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From what I can tell from MaineSail- firefly carbon agm.
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Re: Battery choices for offshore use

Firefly only has a 110 Ah battery group 31 batteries and they are $ 450 each. to replace the Gc-10's you would need a lot more space. high tech charger and high tech alternator system $1800 for 440 ah or the Deka GC 10 for a bout $400 for 430 ah. just a slight difference in price;
I chose the Lifeline 6volt 300 Ah AGM batteries at $ 720 for two because i do not want the gasses from charging in the cabin. they do not need a box. small foot print.

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post #4 of 37 Old 07-31-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Battery choices for offshore use

I was kind of hoping to avoid going the 6v route again and see if I could get away with two larger (like group 31's), which could give me a total of a bit over 200 ah's, right? I'll go look at prices for Firefly's.

Man- I don't think for the space (and price) I can beat the Deka GC batteries. I didn't realize it, but the Ah's on the group 31 agm's are (I think) roughly what each of my Deka's are, but there's no way I can fit 4 of the 31's in my boat. As it is, the 4 Deka's fit fairly tightly.

Oh- and I have no inboard with an alternator. The only charging source is the solar panel and the occasional charger I plug into when the boat is out of the water (most of the time, it sits on a trailer).

Last edited by Irunbird; 07-31-2015 at 06:38 PM. Reason: clarification
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post #5 of 37 Old 07-31-2015
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Sorry- I thought you wanted best, not budget. Absolutely cheaper, but with your solar set up, MS did look at the predicted payoff of the fireflies and seemed that they would cost less over the lifetime of the battery, but not in initial investment, for sure.
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Re: Battery choices for offshore use

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Originally Posted by seaner97 View Post
Sorry- I thought you wanted best, not budget. Absolutely cheaper, but with your solar set up, MS did look at the predicted payoff of the fireflies and seemed that they would cost less over the lifetime of the battery, but not in initial investment, for sure.
Yeah- not necessarily the best, but it would be great to get 5 years out of the next set assuming, of course, that I take care of them. Does anyone know if Costco/Sam's Club offers a rebranded AGM of decent quality?
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Re: Battery choices for offshore use

Costco used to. Not sure if they still do. Haven't seen any good ones at SAMs.

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Re: Battery choices for offshore use

I thought AGM's would be good for me , MainSail talked me down yes I was high on AGM's . One thing you have to consider when using AGM's is your charger capability , it's different with AGM's 2nd. is draw as in are you running a reefer ? Big time inverter ? We have none of that so Main suggested I stick with flooded deep cycles . Saved us big bucks .
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post #9 of 37 Old 08-01-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Battery choices for offshore use

Nope- no refrigeration, no a/c, none of that. This is a really simple boat- all nav lights are led's, plotter is Raymarine e7D, all instruments are new Raymarine but I do have a power hungry-ish autopilot (my biggest current draw), and I've settled on around 350-400 ah's with a 100w solar panel for cruising/racing as long as a week away from the dock (I know that huge sentence is a run-on and my Mom/Grandmother would not be proud..).

The main reason I like the idea of sealed batteries is for the obvious; they're sealed and I won't have to go through the major headache of redesigning my battery boxes to accommodate a sealed box, that and I *think* (correct me if I'm wrong) they can be drained down 80% from full without killing them occasionally.

Last edited by Irunbird; 08-01-2015 at 05:56 AM. Reason: forgot something
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post #10 of 37 Old 08-01-2015
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Re: Battery choices for offshore use

I think the Oasis batteries are quite good. Their technology allows you to draw them down further than a conventional battery without damaging them. The problem is that they have become victims of their own success. They are producing them on a very small line that was set up to make prototypes. Their current (sorry) demand is now very high and they are very hard to get at this point. No immediate plans to ramp up production which might reduce the price as well.

After the refit we have decided to sell Ainia. We want something smaller that would be could for the light summer winds of Lake Ontario, although we plan to spend at least a couple of winters in the Caribbean before heading north.
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