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Discussion Starter #1
Trying to figure out why d400 s weren't delivering as much power as expected discovered one of four batteries in house bank had failed. Replacement could be lifeline 8Ds. Given quote of $700 per plus $135 shipping. Told should also replace starting battery as well with AGM 24. Batteries under saloon settee and starter under nav station seat. Current batteries Chinese wet cells. Told having wet cells in living area of cruising/ voyaging boat unwise. Told once I leave states shipping and battery costs would be much higher. Told the 2 y I got out of Chinese well cells with frequent use not unusual even though they never went below 65%. Told given batteries placed by builder no way to know true age and treatment of batteries prior to delivery of boat to me.
Look forward to comments and advice.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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I have AGMs but that is because two of the four 4D batteries are just not accessible for maintenance. If my battery banks were accessible I would not have a problem with quality flooded batteries. Our AGMs gave up the ghost when we were in South Africa and that led to interesting problems. I thought battery shapes were standard but apparently only in North America. The AGMs of a comparable capacity to 4Ds were a totally different shape than the size of my boxes. Short of importing 4Ds from North America (shudder at the cost of that) the only batteries that were more or less the right shape were big, sealed truck batteries. Hope they last until we get back to US.

One thought, is to check West Marine prices. They ship free to the store so the total cost might be less.
 

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Trying to figure out why d400 s weren't delivering as much power as expected discovered one of four batteries in house bank had failed. Replacement could be lifeline 8Ds. Given quote of $700 per plus $135 shipping. Told should also replace starting battery as well with AGM 24. Batteries under saloon settee and starter under nav station seat. Current batteries Chinese wet cells. Told having wet cells in living area of cruising/ voyaging boat unwise. Told once I leave states shipping and battery costs would be much higher. Told the 2 y I got out of Chinese well cells with frequent use not unusual even though they never went below 65%. Told given batteries placed by builder no way to know true age and treatment of batteries prior to delivery of boat to me.
Look forward to comments and advice.
I have four 8A4D AGMs as part of my 48 volt propulsion bank and they are still going strong seven years after they were installed. But, since I no longer have an alternator on board they are only charged by solar, wind or three stage battery chargers. I also have two group 27 Gels used for the 12 volt house bank which are also seven years old charged with solar or three stage battery charger. Might want to think about how the batteries are being charge before laying out the bucks for a new set of batteries. Love the sealed batteries no more acid burn holes in my clothes.:)
 

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Warm Weather Sailor
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If cruising I would stay away from AGMs unless you can fully charge them often. Lots of info on this on various forums. Mine only lasted two seasons as I was unable to fully charge them (using between 50-85% as the last 15% took too much time to charge). I'm back to flooded and couldn't be happier.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Agms went in today. May have to go back to work( grin). Thinking was I can run the generator if God forbid needs be to get to 100%. Hope wind/solar will suffice. Risk/benefit of needing to replace batteries away from U.S. was major influence as well as picking up 200 ah in the same space.
Thanks all for your input.
 

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Hope solar does the job. Alternator charging (or shorepower charger powered by generator) will take all day to charge fully - like 8 hours.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Figure to get absorption or even to float with the genset if necessary. Then hopefully the alt energy will do the rest. My usage at anchor is overwhelming frig/ freezer. Use underway with sail up is actually higher and a concern but then then wind is blowing. Think in caribe that should be enough as it's not like the light air of the N.E. Read an interesting article in sail. Pointed out in the winter in caribe solar may not do as well as summer up here but wind will do better.
 

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Outbound,

I generally only recommend AGM when the system has specifically been designed for them. In general terms, if you got crappy life out of regular old flooded deep cycle batteries then you will simply repeat this problem with AGM. With AGM you will most often get slightly less life AND a deeper hole in your wallet. Best to address any charging issues NOW!!



*Set your charger at EXACTLY what the manufacturer wants to see - eg: 14.4V / 13.4V (optimum @ 77F) etc. etc.. etc.

*Make sure ALL charge sources including solar are accurately temperature compensated. This is NOT optional with VRLA batteries!

*Make sure your alternator can handle the acceptance rate of the AGM batteries

*Try to feed them at least .2C in charge current from the alt or shore charger

*Get back to 100% SOC as often as possible - 1 timer per week bare minimum. If you have Lifeline they will need equalization periodically.

*Be sure your charger is charging to full - Less than 1% CAR at 14.4V = 100% SOC

*Use a smart (truly smart not just in label) battery charger

*Use a good quality smart regulator such as the Balmar MC-614 or ARS-5

*Use a solar controller with remote temp sensing and custom parameter setting

*Keep them out of engine spaces or areas where it routinely gets above 80F

*Do not routinely discharge below 50% SOC

*Try to get back above 80% SOC ASAP after each discharge then 100% soon after

* Break your batteries in - Discharge then recharge to 50% every time, 15-20+ cycles.

*Install a battery SOC meter such as the Balmar Smart Gauge

*Shallower discharges lead to longer cycle life, don't go to 50% unless you absolutely need to

*Be sure you regularly charge them at above .2C in charge current (20% of bank capacity). (If Odyssey this is .4C)

Do the above and you will maximize what you can get out of AGM batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Maine have already done your list when boat was built. But was unaware of need for " break in". Nothing about this is in the literature Lifeline packs with batteries. ? Do I simply discharge to 50% for 10 cycles? Typically don't let any battery go to 50% and will put genset on well before that. ? Why break in agms? Do they have the risk of developing a " memory" like other batteries?
 

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Maine have already done your list when boat was built. But was unaware of need for " break in". Nothing about this is in the literature Lifeline packs with batteries. ? Do I simply discharge to 50% for 10 cycles? Typically don't let any battery go to 50% and will put genset on well before that. ? Why break in agms? Do they have the risk of developing a " memory" like other batteries?
With AGM batteries this is less critical but I still suggest it as the plates are still technically forming. Most AGM batteries will deliver rated capacity in about 15 cycles where many flooded batteries take 50+. I also do a wake up charge on Lifeline by bringing them to 15.5V for about 15 minutes before installation as I have no real idea how long they sat at the distributor. I then instruct the owner to deep discharge for the first 15 cycles then continue on with regular use.... Try to make those first 15 cycles 50%-100% on each cycle if possible...

With AGM's it is a lot of little things that combine to lead to the longest life.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Batteries were shipped from lifeline to Marina. Date of manufacture last month. Put on multimeter ( didn't want to depend on phillipi) and seemed fully charged before install. Will leave on float for now from shore power. Get divergent info from Internet. Risk of hydration etc.
Do I lose anything by just avoiding going past 50% and using the things in the 65%-100% range I usually do? I have a big enough bank that I won't get to 50% unless I intentional set out to do so. Would need to cover panels and set wind on break or plug in an AC load to run off invertor.
 

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Batteries were shipped from lifeline to Marina. Date of manufacture last month. Put on multimeter ( didn't want to depend on phillipi) and seemed fully charged before install. Will leave on float for now from shore power. Get divergent info from Internet. Risk of hydration etc.
Do I lose anything by just avoiding going past 50% and using the things in the 65%-100% range I usually do? I have a big enough bank that I won't get to 50% unless I intentional set out to do so. Would need to cover panels and set wind on break or plug in an AC load to run off invertor.
You will get longer life out of the batteries if you shallow discharge. 65% SOC is far better than going to 50% SOC.

The information I put forth is straight from Lifeline's technical manual, years of experience with AGM's (as a marine electrician) or conversations and communications with their head engineer Dave V.... I have had numerous conversations with him over the years about how to get the best life out of Lifeline batteries, in the real world of marine specific installations.. I have also had many conversations with Justin G. too..

Some on the net have challenged the fact that Lifelines do actually prefer to be be charged at .2C or better for the longest life. What most don't know, or have access to, is that Dave V. presented these findings back in the 90's to his peers (a study done while he was still with Enersys) so it is well known that Lifeline AGM's actually prefer higher current charging and it does lead to longer life. This is the same with the TPPL AGM technology only they want/need even higher current. Of course this is but one piece of a larger puzzle that all come together to = good or poor cycle life.

I am also directly & currently involved in marine specific testing (PSOC testing) with an AGM battery manufacturer. I have been testing them for almost 7 months. Nigel is the other tester. While these are new batteries the technology seems very promising and could be a real game changer for AGM's... As a result we get lots of direct access to some of the best battery engineers in the world to bounce these questions off and learn a lot in the process..


Many owners buy AGM's and destroy them quickly. They can be made to last but it needs to be done as a system based approach.

John Harries has written extensively on this and it is worth the read:

Morgan's Cloud AGM Batteries
 
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