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I'm going to be running an inverter system on my boat and I just want some advice on battery type to use. I'm thinking about AGM but my dad who has owned boats his whole life swears that GEL batteries are better. What's your opinion?
 

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There are many threads here that have debated this. You'll also be suggested to consider ganged sets of 6v flooded golf cart batts.

For some simple considerations. AGMs pack a lot of amp hours into the space and they will charge quickly, if you have sufficient capacity to charge them. They must return to fully charged, frequently, or their useful life is greatly reduced. This makes them less desirable, if you're off the dock, without massive amounts of solar/wind gen capability.

I've come to feel that Gel actually is the best compromise house battery. They share the "leak proof" and zero maintenance characteristics of the AGM. They charge more slowly, but don't overtax your charge systems, such as your alternator or battery chargers. They are much better at surviving an accidental deep discharge. They have a very slow self-discharge rate (ie just sitting around), which is similar to AGM. One downside, however, there aren't as many manufacturer choices out there anymore.

My boat was designed by Jeanneau to have Gels in the house bank and I was probably following herd mentality, when they needed to be replaced. I thought I would "upgrade" to AGM. After researching all the changes I would have had to make to the charge regulators, battery and alternator temperature sensors, I'm very happy that I decided to just replace the gels.

Just a theory. AGMs make a great start battery, because they are never discharged very far and easily/quickly topped back up. Perhaps the factories retooled for start batts, which go in everything. Others may have a better handle on the reason for AGMs being prolific and Gels declining.

Whatever you decide, be sure your charging systems, from shoreside to your alternator to any wind/solar are specifically designed for your battery type. They are not all the same and the wrong set up can ruin any choice you make.
 

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Best bang for your buck are flooded lead acid golf cart batteries.

Trojan T 105 is what I have. Others swear by Costco generics.
 

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After a lot of research, I found the Trojan T-145 (6volt/deep cycle/lead acid) to be the best battery for my house bank use. Only slightly more expensive than the T-105 they are considerably more powerful. The biggest problem with them is if you are cruising, they are not carried locally, but even special ordered they are the best deal.
Again, you didn't mention the size of the boat or the inverter, so your choice is really going to depend on how you are charging the batteries and your draw. It won't do you much good to have a thousand amp battery bank if you can't ever charge the batteries all the way up. On the other hand a 400 amp hour bank won't last very long if you are using a microwave or taster oven to cook a meal. A small portable generator (or built in if you've the space) may be a better solution depending on your needs.
 

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After a lot of research, I found the Trojan T-145 (6volt/deep cycle/lead acid) to be the best battery for my house bank use. .....
Another satisfied (for now) T105 x 4 user...

Capta: Are the mentioned T145s physically larger/deeper? Like the sound of that but I'm maxed out for height clearance with my 105s.

Minne's got me thinking gels for 'next time'...
 

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I think you will find you will get better answers to your questions if you make sure you include lots of info including what your use will be, boat it is going on and any related systems. I think from your previous post you have a Columbia 34 that you plan on cruising and living aboard in the Caribbean. You obviously don't have a ton of space so perhaps the T105's might make sense. There is no answer to a question like which is better, as it most often depends. I prefer red wine, but might choose a white if I am eating something it goes with better. I am choosing flooded 6 volt golf cart batteries as I don't plan on doing much long term cruising for a while and these will allow me to get buy for the next several years and will work with my charger. Now if I was going to live on the hook it might not be the best solution. I think you need to consider what your charging system will be and the realistic amount of charging you will be able to get out of it, then how much hands on are you willing to do? LiPo's seem to be coming up too, and if you are starting a system from scratch you might want to consider that, but they are expensive to buy, but seem to last longer so ROI is supposed to be better if you are in a position to do the initial investment. If budget is of much concern then golf cart batteries are likely to be the best short term solution. I would make sure any new charging equipment is going to work on multiple systems as things do seem to be shifting a lot lately and what is least expensive now may well not be when it is time to change batteries next time, and you don't want to start over again.

As to what is better gel or agm, it really depends on your use and equipment, but both seem relatively sensitive to proper use. If used properly both (if high quality) will give good service life, so it really depends on how you will be charging.
 

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Faster, I looked up the specs on both batteries, just in case I want to increase when my T-105s eventually drop dead. Not more than a tiny difference in height, width and length, about 10 pounds heavier, and a bit higher AH rating, but not a lot higher. However, there seemed to be a big difference in price - not sure that it would be worth an additional $50 per battery to upgrade. I found a local golf cart shop that sold me 4 T-105s for $105 each, which is much less than I've found them for online. Most online stores wanted about $145 per battery for the 105s and just over $200 for the T-145s.

All the best,

Gary :cool:
 

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gels are better, according to the companies that make both types. BUT. Gels are also much easier to damage, and unless the charging system has been matched to them, they can and will be killed pretty quickly. Which is part of the reason that AGMs caught on, they can run "as" wet lead batteries, even if they also live longer when properly matched.
 

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Another satisfied (for now) T105 x 4 user...

Capta: Are the mentioned T145s physically larger/deeper? Like the sound of that but I'm maxed out for height clearance with my 105s.

Minne's got me thinking gels for 'next time'...
To the best of my recollection, they have the same footprint, but they are a couples of inches higher. Sorry.
 

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Jbrd, looks like you've heard from a few fans on T-105 golf cart batteries. Count me among them.

I suggest you avail yourself of anything MaineSail (a contributor to this forum) has written on the subject of batteries. Try his site, marinehowto.com or search Sailnet.

If you go to his site, you'll find multiple articles on batteries, and an article on inverters.

Batteries are a complex subject, and there is a lot of mis-information out there.

What you'll discover is that for TRUE deep cycle capability, golf cart batteries are the practical solution for the majority of us. As you move away from conventional flooded batteries, whether or not you'll reap any benefits from gel or AGM types depends greatly on your ability to charge them correctly.

For a simple, relatively foolproof, cost efficient, and forgiving system, golf cart batteries rule.
 

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gels are better, according to the companies that make both types. BUT. Gels are also much easier to damage, and unless the charging system has been matched to them, they can and will be killed pretty quickly.
I believe the only charging sensitivity is that you doing over charge and boil the acid in the gel. If you create bubbles in the gel, they will never return to normal. However, I've not heard of anyone doing this, if they used a proper charging regulator, designed for gels.

It just occurred to me that my motorcycle battery is also a gel. Sits on a special charger, designed for gels, all winter.

Which is part of the reason that AGMs caught on, they can run "as" wet lead batteries, even if they also live longer when properly matched.
I'm having trouble understanding what you're trying to say here. The use, if that's what you mean by run, of gels vs agm doesn't really vary as much as their charging profiles.
 

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I have both Gel's and AGM batteries on board. I have AGM for my Electric Propulsion battery bank and Gel's for my house bank. Both banks are charged by three stage regulated 120 volt chargers and also Solar panels set to the proper charging profiles for each battery chemistry. I do NOT use an alternator for charging. The only reason I went with Gel's for the house bank was because my Pro Mariner charger had a setting for Gel or lead acid but. not AGM. That said both banks are still doing well after eight years of use.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I want to thank everyone for your input. I guess I need to do more research in order to find the right system for my vessel.
I'm glad I posted this because I wasn't even considering 6 volt batteries. I'm going to do more research into them. I think they will be more practical and cost effeciant for my needs. The only draw back I see to them is their weight. As I remember they are much heavier than 12 volt lead acid batteries. But I guess there is no perfect system out there.
So if I go with the 6 volt system with 4 batteries, what inverter should I be looking at. I want a good,simple inverter that my wife will be able to figure out if she has to. I'm willing to spend the money to have a good system. I Guess what I'm asking is what are people with 6 volt systems using?my wife isn't technically inclined to say the least. She barely figure out the microwave haha.
 

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Just to be clear... we are not talking a '6 volt system'; we're using 4 (or more) 6 volt batteries wired together in series pairs to provide 12 volts output.

As to the inverter, it would be helpful to know what appliances your wife intends to run on "AC". Things like hair dryers and big microwaves use a lot of power and a small bank won't support that for long. Obviously the inverter needs to be of adequate capacity for the intended use, and your battery/charging setup needs to be able to keep up as well.

All these pieces go together to make the right 'one' for your needs.
 

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As to weight, compare two 6V golf cart batteries to a single 12V 4D. I think you find it's close. And you will find moving the golf cart batteries one at a time a LOT easier than the 4D.

As to an inverter, the first thing is to determine what size you need in watts. What is it for? Charging cell phones or running a microwave? Then the choice will be between a modified sine waver or a pure sine wave unit. The first is much cheaper, but some electronics may have trouble with wave form.
 

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I want to thank everyone for your input. I guess I need to do more research in order to find the right system for my vessel.

So if I go with the 6 volt system with 4 batteries, what inverter should I be looking at. I want a good,simple inverter that my wife will be able to figure out if she has to. I'm willing to spend the money to have a good system. I Guess what I'm asking is what are people with 6 volt systems using?my wife isn't technically inclined to say the least. She barely figure out the microwave haha.
I'm using a 1500 watt Ames pure signwave inverter but, my unit is connected up to the 48 volt Electric Propulsion battery bank. They do make 12 volt units too:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: NOTES OF AN ELECTRIC SAILOR: The AIMS 48 Volt 1500 Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter
I have it mounted in the main cabin where it is easily seen and accessible for using it's outlets, indicator lights and power switch. If the Misses can turn on a power switch she could operate this inverter. It's been working for a few years without any problems. I use most of the time to power the bread maker and charge the electric outboard battery.
 
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