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My batteries are in a tight space, and I have never liked the way the PO had them mounted. I can mount them more securely and add a spill tray, but they will have to sit at angle. On a Starboard tack, they will probably be over 45 degrees at times. Obviously, all sail boat batteries "heel", but I'm wondering what the limits are.
 

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Hard to tell but it appears these are sealed batteries. As long as the plates stay wet and the batteries stay put, electrons don't care about gravity.
 

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My batteries are in a tight space, and I have never liked the way the PO had them mounted. I can mount them more securely and add a spill tray, but they will have to sit at angle. On a Starboard tack, they will probably be over 45 degrees at times. Obviously, all sail boat batteries "heel", but I'm wondering what the limits are.
My understanding is that wet cell batteries experience significantly diminished performance when installed or operated at high angles.

This is one of the often overlooked benefits of AGM batteries over traditional wet cells. They can be installed on their sides and operated at any angle (except fully inverted) without significant loss of performance. Yet another reason they are recommended for sailboats which can spend long stretches heeled over.

Since you mention "spill trays" it sounds like you have wet cells. Maybe AGMs are in your future?
 

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Sealed or not, if they are wet cells ideally you want the plates to remain fully submerged in electrolyte all the time. How far you can heel and still do that, depends on how much electrolyte they were designed to be filled with. (Which is one reason to keep them topped up.)

With AGM or gel batteries, there's no slosh so heeling isn't a factor. With wet cells, you just have to do the best you can. Try to do your installation as level as you can, plates which are not submerged will take uneven wear and age unevenly.

Instead of adding in a solid spill tray, maybe you can add a liner to the compartment, made up from shower pan or roofing membrane generously gathered under/around them, with some baking soda in the bottom as an acid absorbent?
 

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Wet cells just need to keep the plates fully submerged to keep from damaging them. That said it also helps if the electrolyte can not escape from the battery to keep the electrolyte at a known level. The level would have to low enough not to spill at the angle of heel but to also not expose the plates. Maintenance would be most important to keep them at the proper level.
I had a wet cell in my 525 but experienced a few knock downs of almost putting the spreaders in the water. I did loose electrolyte and it was not fully contained in the battery box. A little acid neutralization project was taken to be sure of no residual acid anywhere.
I changed over to a AGM. I did not see any other option.
 
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