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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ya, I know that battery threads have been beaten to death, but many of the threads are dated. I am looking for good current (no pun intended) advice.

CURRENT SITUATION:
I have a mid-80's 35 footer, with a Universal M25, an upgraded 90 A alternator, and the dumb 8MR voltage regulator. A nice thing about the 8MR voltage regulator is that you can easily tune the voltage output by adjusting a potentiometer on the back of the alternator/regulator. Here is a pic of the back of the alternator taken when I removed it for cleaning;


I have also moved and upgraded the two GRP 27 FLA 12V batteries from the manufacturer's installation in the engine compartment to two banks consisting of: Bank 1: TWO Duracell GRP 29 12V batteries (105 AH each) and Bank 2: a single GRP 24 start battery (never used). All batteries are mounted under the rear quarter berth. The downside to this location is that I have a TOTAL of 11.00 inches of vertical clearance for this battery compartment. Each of the batteries are housed in battery boxes, and held down with ratcheting straps. It is MUCH easier to service the batteries in the new location than it was to service them in the manufacturer's location. Attached is a pic of the current installation while in winter storage mode (connected to a battery tender with the alligator clips). All has been well since the batteries were purchased in 2013, until now.



The boat spends the sailing season on a mooring, without solar or wind power. My electronics needs are modest: a 7" chart plotter, a Vesper Marine XB-8000 AIS Transceiver, a laptop, and (the greatest power hog) a 12VDC Dometic refrigerator - which is only used while I am aboard. The refrigerator draws about 6 A/H for 10 minutes every hour (or 1AH/H).

The plan for this year is to FINALLY make the trip from RI to FL, because both my wife and I are no longer employed. Therefore, no schedule, and no money. :eek:

PROBLEM:
The boat was launched last week, the mast stepped, and I have tuned the rig. When I took the boat out for the first sail this past week, the batteries that had been at 100% were drawn down to 60% (per the SmartGauge) after an hour and a half. I have come to the conclusion that after 7 years that the batteries are done.

While the simple solution would be to simply replace the batteries, Duracell no longer sells a GRP 29 - 105 AH - Battery!

SOLUTION:
I would like at least the same capacity that I used to have, that means at least 210 AH in the same footprint and that is shorter than 9 inches. I believe that the 11-inch height restriction rules out 6 volt golf cart batteries. I am leaning toward replacing all three batteries with AGMs.

Thoughts?
 

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I would find out exactly the height of the shortest 6V FLA GCs, starting with the Deka / Duracells sold at Sam's Lowes B+ etc

And IMO it would be worth doing whatever it takes to adapt your space to fit those.

If not check out see if Trojan, U.S. Battery, Crown or Superior go any shorter, again in FLA 6V for deep cycling, maybe even Rolls / Surrette?

Only go 12V if you **really** need to.

Only go AGM if you **really** need to.

Unless paying a lot more per Ah per year is not an issue for you.
 

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I would start by getting the inside dimensions of the battery compartment.
If you use sealed batts like AGMs they can be oriented on their side as well.

Then see what fits remembering that the start can be like a Optima Blue top (AGM and quite small.
 

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Ya, I know that battery threads have been beaten to death, but many of the threads are dated. I am looking for good current (no pun intended) advice.

CURRENT SITUATION:
I have a mid-80's 35 footer, with a Universal M25, an upgraded 90 A alternator, and the dumb 8MR voltage regulator. A nice thing about the 8MR voltage regulator is that you can easily tune the voltage output by adjusting a potentiometer on the back of the alternator/regulator. Here is a pic of the back of the alternator taken when I removed it for cleaning;


I have also moved and upgraded the two GRP 27 FLA 12V batteries from the manufacturer's installation in the engine compartment to two banks consisting of: Bank 1: TWO Duracell GRP 29 12V batteries (105 AH each) and Bank 2: a single GRP 24 start battery (never used). All batteries are mounted under the rear quarter berth. The downside to this location is that I have a TOTAL of 9.00 inches of vertical clearance for this battery compartment. Each of the batteries are housed in battery boxes, and held down with ratcheting straps. It is MUCH easier to service the batteries in the new location than it was to service them in the manufacturer's location. Attached is a pic of the current installation while in winter storage mode (connected to a battery tender with the alligator clips). All has been well since the batteries were purchased in 2013, until now.



The boat spends the sailing season on a mooring, without solar or wind power. My electronics needs are modest: a 7" chart plotter, a Vesper Marine XB-8000 AIS Transceiver, a laptop, and (the greatest power hog) a 12VDC Dometic refrigerator - which is only used while I am aboard. The refrigerator draws about 6 A/H for 10 minutes every hour (or 1AH/H).

The plan for this year is to FINALLY make the trip from RI to FL, because both my wife and I are no longer employed. Therefore, no schedule, and no money. :eek:

PROBLEM:
The boat was launched last week, the mast stepped, and I have tuned the rig. When I took the boat out for the first sail this past week, the batteries that had been at 100% were drawn down to 60% (per the SmartGauge) after an hour and a half. I have come to the conclusion that after 7 years that the batteries are done.

While the simple solution would be to simply replace the batteries, Duracell no longer sells a GRP 29 - 105 AH - Battery!

SOLUTION:
I would like at least the same capacity that I used to have, that means at least 210 AH in the same footprint and that is shorter than 10 inches. I believe that the 10-inch height restriction rules out 6 volt golf cart batteries. I am leaning toward replacing all three batteries with AGMs.

Thoughts?
Lifeline 4ct AGM 6 volt will fit easily. 220 ah, 5 year warrenty.....I get 10 out of mine. Pricey but look high and far, get them on sale I got mine for $250 three years ago.


6v
Length in. (mm)
10.28" (261.1mm)
Width in. (mm)
7.06" (179.3mm)
Height in. (mm)
9.92" (251.8mm)
Weight lbs (kg)
66 lbs (30 kg)
Rated Capacity @ 20 Hr Rate
220Ah



The 6 ct 6 volt is 300 amp and 92 lbs, still manageable. They would be laid on their side to meet your height restriction.

6v
Length in. (mm)
10.28" (261.1mm)
Width in. (mm)
7.06" (179.3mm)
Height in. (mm)
13.02" (330.8mm)
Weight lbs (kg)
90 lbs (40.8 kg)
Rated Capacity @ 20 Hr Rate
300Ah

They don’t need battery boxes just tie downs.
I faced the same height restrictions so I created a 2x4 frame on the perimeter of my quarter berth , cut two inches of plywood to lay on to of the frame and then the cushion. Gave me 2 extra inches so I didn’t have to lay the batteries on their side which I could of. Didn’t miss the two inches height takeaway in the quarter berth. BTW this allowed me to put 6 -6 volt in and increase my ah from 440 to 660. Which you don’t need.
 

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If you move from flooded to AGM, that you predominantly charge via the alternator, remember you’ll want at least a temperature controller on the alternator. A discharged AGM bank will keep your alternator at full tilt for much longer than flooded. Preferably a smart charge controller too, to insure you truly get full charge occasionally, to extend life of AGMs.

I’m pretty sure Duracell never made their own deep cycle batteries, rather labeled another. You may be able to find your group 29s FLAs elsewhere, by doing a little research, if you liked them. I’m venturing a guess they were made by East Penn Deka, which I believe is reputable, but white labels much of their product.
 

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NAPA sells a Group 31 deep cycle battery rated 105 AH made by East Penn. I suspect the dimensions are close to the Group 29s you have. I've used them in the past and got 5 years out of them while keeping the boat on a mooring.
 

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The plan for this year is to FINALLY make the trip from RI to FL, because both my wife and I are no longer employed. Therefore, no schedule, and no money. :eek:


I would like at least the same capacity that I used to have, that means at least 210 AH in the same footprint and that is shorter than 10 inches.

Thoughts?
I think it doesn't matter how long you "think" your old batteries lasted as I doubt they were ever getting fully charged and have been losing capacity from the start. You just never knew because your low usage hid that. Your past battery usage experience has very little bearing on your "go to FL" plan unless you plan to frequently be in a slip to charge.

So I see you problems as:
1 - whatever fits
2 - that really isn't enough house batteries if you are going to travel and live on the hook etc. for long periods (long being a few days really)
3 - that alternator/regulator combo is NEVER going to get you batteries 100% charged, but then unless you motor for 5 hours no alternator system would either
4 - you really need some passive charging i.e. solar

Now it the time to rebuild your battery "system" to support your trip.

On the other hand I bet a couple of no thrills batteries are cheap in the big picture and you could just replace every 2 years and say "screw it".
 

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Can you squeeze an extra 1/2" - maybe a spacer under the lid or route a little out around the terminal positions (or a little of each)? Duracell has a 105 ah group 31 deep cycle – $99 from Sam’s club. Dimensions are 13 x 6 3/4 x 9 1/2 - I think that's actually about 3/8" taller than the old group 29. Duracell are made by Deka/East Penn.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter #9
There are no Sam's Clubs in southeastern MA of anywhere in RI! I bought the Grp 29 Duracell's at Sam's Club in Seekonk, MA before it closed in 2014. Closest Sams are Hudson, NH or Newington, CT.

My current plan is to measure the compartment again, and if they will fit, to buy 2 Duracell Group 31s from Batteries Plus in Seekonk MA. $129 each.
 

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There are no Sam's Clubs in southeastern MA of anywhere in RI! I bought the Grp 29 Duracell's at Sam's Club in Seekonk, MA before it closed in 2014. Closest Sams are Hudson, NH or Newington, CT.

My current plan is to measure the compartment again, and if they will fit, to buy 2 Duracell Group 31s from Batteries Plus in Seekonk MA. $129 each.
The Trojan SCS225 (G-31) would be a better battery and easily out live the East Penn. Plenty of Trojan dealers in MA. Northeast Battery, the major distributor, is in MA too, so pricing should be competitive. This is a 130Ah battery so you'll have more capacity too.

East Penn makes a great GEL battery and their AGM's make good starting batteries, but their deep-cycle flooded G24, 27 & 31's I am not very impressed with. Certainly better than Exide, Interstate and the other cheapo imports but still no US Battery, Crown or Trojan.

If you want the same East Penn battery as Batteries Plus try Sam's in Hudson, no tax and $58.00 less for two batteries.. They are $99.90 at Sam's..
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
The Trojan SCS225 (G-31) would be a better battery and easily out live the East Penn. Plenty of Trojan dealers in MA. Northeast Battery, the major distributor, is in MA too, so pricing should be competitive. This is a 130Ah battery so you'll have more capacity too.

East Penn makes a great GEL battery and their AGM's make good starting batteries, but their deep-cycle flooded G24, 27 & 31's I am not very impressed with. Certainly better than Exide, Interstate and the other cheapo imports but still no US Battery, Crown or Trojan.

If you want the same East Penn battery as Batteries Plus try Sam's in Hudson, no tax and $58.00 less for two batteries.. They are $99.90 at Sam's..
Thanks for that! I have spent over an hour with the Sam's website support because when I called to make sure that the batteries were in stock, I was directed to use the website. This turned into a waste of an hour. I could only add the batteries to my "cart" but could not check on inventory. When I clicked on "checkout" my cart was emptied, and I had to start over again. Finally, I used their online support feature. The support person that I was IM-ing (in El Salvador) (after resetting my password and going through the entire buying process - twice with her) eventually told me that she thinks Sam's in Hudson, NH is probably out of stock. I am not making a 120 mile round trip unless I KNOW that the product that I want is in stock.

The problem with the Trojan SCS225 is the 9.996" (call it 10") overall height of the battery (specifically the terminals).

I went to the boat today and pulled all three of the batteries (2 Group 29 Duracells and 1 Interstate Group 24 - reserve) off. I was surprised to find that I actually have 11¼ inches from the top surface of the battery tray to the bottom of the compartment. However, each battery sits in a battery box which consumes 3/8" of height, then I have a MRBF on each bank, which uses another 2". The current batteries are 9-1/8" to the bottom of the thread on the stud.
So; 9-1/8" + 3/8" + 2" = 11½" I am actually ¼" over!

Perhaps, looking at the design of the SCS225, I can mount the MRBF UPSIDE DOWN on the outer terminal, and therefore meet my height restriction? I have filled out a RFQ on the Northeast Battery website.

By the way, it appears that all Batteries Plus Bulbs are closed because of Covid-19.
 

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Perhaps, looking at the design of the SCS225, I can mount the MRBF UPSIDE DOWN on the outer terminal, and therefore meet my height restriction?
I can't see any reason that won't work, unless there is a physical dimension issue with the post or something. On the other hand, if it comes down to it, you could just mount the fuses remotely. A bit more money, but gives you many more options.

Mark
 

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...East Penn makes a great GEL battery and their AGM's make good starting batteries, but their deep-cycle flooded G24, 27 & 31's I am not very impressed with.......
Do you know if the Duracells were made by East Penn?
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter #14
Do you know if the Duracells were made by East Penn?
Per the label in front of me, my original Grp 29 Duracell batteries were made by:
East Penn Manufacturing Co. Inc. Lyon Station, PA, 19536
Part No: 29HM
MCA @ 32ºF: 810
CCA @ 0ºF: 650
MINS @ 23 AMP: 225
 

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Per the label in front of me, my original Grp 29 Duracell batteries were made by:
East Penn Manufacturing Co. Inc. Lyon Station, PA, 19536
Part No: 29HM
MCA @ 32ºF: 810
CCA @ 0ºF: 650
MINS @ 23 AMP: 225
There you go. Seven years out of inexpensive FLAs isn't too bad. Not record setting, but not junk. Sort of down the middle, as MS said.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
This is why many (most?) boaters go to West Marine, Costco or Wallmart. Why is this so complicated? I simply want to replace two Group 29 Duracell batteries with the same - Duracell no longer makes the Group 29 Deep Cycle (HM) batteries, but seems to have renamed them to be Group 31 batteries for some reason. OK, so I guess that I want 2 Duracell Group 31 Deep Cycle batteries - Whoa, they're $99 at Sam's Club! I bought these at Sam's Club 7 years ago. Great!!

BUT the Sam's where I bought them is closed, and there are no Sams Clubs closer than the one in Hudson, NH, 55 miles from my home, and 98 miles from the boat. Before I make a 200 mile trip for new batteries, let me call to verify they are in stock. Call to Sam's and they will not check stock for customers. You must check inventory on line. OK. I check on line, and there is no inventory information. Instead I try to place an online order, perhaps they will tell me if they are not in stock. Numerous attempts result in "Something went wrong, please try again." I get frustrated with this, so I use their online help assistant. I am assigned a representative in El Salvador. She and I struggle with this together for OVER AN HOUR, and she finally hypothesizes that they must be out of stock. At this point I'm done with Sam's.

Next contender is Batteries Plus Bulbs. They currently have the batteries listed for $134.99 (it was 127.99 yesterday). The website says to call store to verify inventory. The most convenient store is in Seekonk, MA, so I call them. No answer - it appears that many of the Batteries Plus stores are closed - Covid-19? I don't know or care - Nearest one that is open is 35 miles from here, 80 miles from the boat. I call, they have one in stock... Possibly more tomorrow.

Maine Sail makes an excellent recommendation for a Trojan SCS225 available through Northeast Battery. This will cost more, but it should be a better battery - more AH and longer life! I call Northeast Battery, and they don't sell to you unless you have an account with them (I get it, I used to work in 2-tier distribution sales). They point me to State Battery in Providence. I tell the guy the model battery that I need (SCS225) and the guy at State Battery says that they are out of stock, but he does have Trojan 30XHS in stock and it is the same battery - it is not, it is taller than the SCS225. He says that he has the SCS225 on order, and will have to check with his distributor (Northeast Battery where I started) to see the status of the order. FWIW today's price on these is $259.99 each.

I wish that I could just go to Walmart and slap three batteries in. For now, I am SERIOUSLY considering putting the old ones back in the boat. There are several suppliers of Trojan and Duracell batteries in Fort Myers (not 2 hours away), and I plan to be there in the fall.

No need to reply... just like the old batteries - I am venting.
 

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I feel your pain. Any chance your marina could source the batteries you’re looking for? No doubt there would be a markup, but it may be worth the ease. No way I’d travel down the entire coast with suspect batteries.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks Minne!

Current battery situation is that the 2 Duracells are showing 12.70V and 12.69V. In addition, I have a 2016 vintage Interstate Group 24 Battery that I use as a reserve battery (much like a spare tire) that is showing 12.67V. These batteries were last exposed to charging voltages 80 hours ago. (insert "I'm not dead yet" clip from Monty Python and The Holy Grail here).

In addition, as a backup to the backup, my wife bought me this for my most recent birthday (I am now officially old);
 

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Look up what full resting voltage is for flooded batts. I’m not sure that’s far off.

I had to go back and see what caused you to think they were dead and saw reference to the Smartgauge. I have not found mine to make any sense, whatsoever. I haven’t even put the fuse back in this year yet. Although, my bank is Gel and maybe the SG just doesn’t read it properly. It is set for Gel, though.

@Maine Sail is pretty reliable and that’s where I bought mine, but it’s never worked right. It did help me troubleshoot some OEM wiring messes, but I don’t believe the SOC it tells me.
 

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Given you are now on a mooring and are planning heading south next fall, I would seriously consider some solar. I added a small panel (30 watt) seversl years ago and it does a great job of keeping my batteries topped up while the boat is on its mooring. Not large enough to bring them back from any real discharge, but works for what I want. Almost impossible to get your batteries back to a full charge on a mooring otherwise.
 
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