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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanlee View Post
    There's a massive commercial battle on out there to improve battery technology. Energy is money. If you stand in the camp that flooded lead acid is better because it's familiar, I dare call you a luddite.
    We all have differing points of view but, personally, I see no sense in spending vast amounts of money on high tech batteries which have restrictive charging regimes which may be fine for marina dwellers using 4 stage chargers but for liveaboard use aren't cost effective.

    Ours are charged by a mixture of engine,solar,generator + chargers and Aerogen, all of which have differing charge characteristics. If I had the space, I would be using golf cart or fork lift batteries. I've tried Enersol AGMs at over 300 euro each and found they lasted no longer than standard leisure at 100 euro. No prizes for guessing what I've replaced the Enersols with.

    Even more puzzling than the domestic bank argument is - why do people spend crazy money on engine start batteries? Our unbranded car battery (on the boat) has now lasted for 7 years at a fraction of the cost.

    Seems to me some people have the attitude that if it doesn't cost a bundle, it can't be any good and spend even more money on high tech charging methods for their overpriced batteries then spend more time watching the battery monitors than sailing.

  2. #22
    Sandyman's Avatar
    Sandyman is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamM376 View Post
    We all have differing points of view but, personally, I see no sense in spending vast amounts of money on high tech batteries which have restrictive charging regimes which may be fine for marina dwellers using 4 stage chargers but for liveaboard use aren't cost effective.

    Ours are charged by a mixture of engine,solar,generator + chargers and Aerogen, all of which have differing charge characteristics. If I had the space, I would be using golf cart or fork lift batteries. I've tried Enersol AGMs at over 300 euro each and found they lasted no longer than standard leisure at 100 euro. No prizes for guessing what I've replaced the Enersols with.

    Even more puzzling than the domestic bank argument is - why do people spend crazy money on engine start batteries? Our unbranded car battery (on the boat) has now lasted for 7 years at a fraction of the cost.

    Seems to me some people have the attitude that if it doesn't cost a bundle, it can't be any good and spend even more money on high tech charging methods for their overpriced batteries then spend more time watching the battery monitors than sailing.
    Couldn't agree more, old chap Have exact same set up.

    Had to change my batt bank three years ago when the old ones had served their time.
    (over ten years)
    Got 2 times 110Ah batts from Cornwall Batteries of Truro, for 90 quid. No name. No brand.
    Cheap as chips. They have been in constant use ever since & expect to get at least another 5 years out of them. How difficult can it be to once a month or so check the electrolyte levels & do a dip with a hydrometer ?

    PS. Sincere thanks to the boatowner here in Gosport who replaces his batteries at the start of every season, whether they need replacing or not. You didn't even leave the pontoon last year so they must need replacing this years

    PPS. Could you please just leave them outside the disposal bin this year with the red/blue plastic terminal covers on, as usual. No need to charge them up this year and BTW thanks for the gallon of distilled water. Glad you realise it goes off

  3. #23
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    ......... I've tried Enersol AGMs at over 300 euro each and found they lasted no longer than standard leisure at 100 euro. No prizes for guessing what I've replaced the Enersols with.............
    Enersol AGMs are designed for home Solar power systems - not deep cycle marine use!!!!!

    Because all batteries are manufactured differently too many generalisations are often made. Check out exactly what your battery is designed to do and not just take the salesman's word that it is right for you. The problem is that this information is often not easy to find.

    After 7 years as a permanent liveabord with the same Lifeline AGMs, and after meeting lots of owners all looking for the "best battery", I would offer the following conclusions.

    Flooded deep cycle batteries need regular topping up and must be installed in ventilated area because they “gas”. Expensive ones will give a good service life.

    AGMs on the other hand don’t gas and can be installed anywhere, because of their very low internal resistance, and they can be charged 15-30% faster than all other batteries, but you must follow a good charging regime according to the manufacturer’s specs, and monitor the voltage and capacity with a battery monitor. If you charge your batteries when the lights go dim, then don't waste your money on AGMs or even expensive flooded cells.

    Gels are a totally different and older technology that don't "fast charge" are nowhere near as good as AGMs. Few are now sold for marine use, and they are much more expensive than AGMs.

    Most cheap sealed “marine” or “leisure” batteries in hot climates don’t do well because of gassing, and because they can’t be topped up they don’t last very long. The hotter the climate the lower the gassing voltage and the shorter they will last. They are sensitive to overcharging - especially Sterling chargers.

    So if you are a serious cruiser then maybe you have a simple choice between flooded cells that can be topped up or AGMs that will need a good charging regime to make the very best of their fast charge capability.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sailinglegend420 View Post
    Most cheap sealed “marine” or “leisure” batteries in hot climates don’t do well because of gassing, and because they can’t be topped up they don’t last very long. The hotter the climate the lower the gassing voltage and the shorter they will last. They are sensitive to overcharging - especially Sterling chargers.

    So if you are a serious cruiser then maybe you have a simple choice between flooded cells that can be topped up or AGMs that will need a good charging regime to make the very best of their fast charge capability.
    I'm in a hot, tropical climate and I am about to install a Sterling so you're saying SLAs would be a very bad idea. Fine, I've been looking at AGMs anyway, but what is the charging regime I need to follow? Any basic guidelines? FTR, the AGMs are the same price as SLAs here in India.

  5. #25
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    Mr Sterling recommends for general leisure to only use low-cost Lead Acid which can be topped up with water. To claim "fast charging" his charge voltage goes up to 14.8v, which will cause batteries to gas. For sealed - including Gels and AGMs - there is a lower setting of 14.4v.

    Batteries are affected by temperature, so in 25C they gas at 14.34v - at 40C they gas at 13.98v. If you are going for AGMs you need chargers - shorepower and alternator, that can adjust this voltage for the battery temperature, or have a lower starting voltage of 14.2v. For the best control get a charger or regulator with a temperature sensor for the battery.

    Not all AGMs are the same, so you need to make sure they are designed for deep cycle marine use, not standby telecom use!! Get all the info you can from the manufacturer. The best AGMs are designed so that most of the hydrogen and oxygen gas will recombine to water and so not escape, but gassing can and will still effect their life.

    One last thought. Because AGMs are not classed as "hazardous" you could get top quality batteries like Lifeline shipped from the UK for only about 20% extra over the basic price.
    Last edited by sailinglegend420; 13-01-12 at 10:28.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by sailinglegend420 View Post
    Mr Sterling recommends for general leisure to only use low-cost Lead Acid which can be topped up with water. To claim "fast charging" his charge voltage goes up to 14.8v, which will cause batteries to gas. For sealed - including Gels and AGMs - there is a lower setting of 14.4v..
    Mr Sterling does not now recommend cheap Lead Acid, as he now realises his charger destroys cheap batteries for breakfast. I spoke to him this year after 4 Numax batteries were killed of in as many months. Good quality Rolls etc and charged at 14.8 are fine. Some now are sealed with re- combining of oxygenand hydrogen. Gasing is not a problem provided you top up.

    Not all AGMs are the same, so you need to make sure they are designed for deep cycle marine use, not standby telecom use!! Get all the info you can from the manufacturer. The best AGMs are designed so that most of the hydrogen and oxygen gas will recombine to water and so not escape, but gassing can and will still effect their life.

    One last thought. Because AGMs are not classed as "hazardous" you could get top quality batteries like Lifeline shipped from the UK for only about 20% extra over the basic price.
    Sealed Lead Acid also come with recombining systems. Do not buy the ones that are not recombining. The ones I bought last year, Korean E-NEX, recommend charging to 14.8V. I have however chickened out and reduced charging to 14.4V. Note that there is a significant difference in the charge rate between 14.4V (55amps) and 14.8V (85 amps). These figure are on start up say 30% discharged with 100AH alternator.

    A word of warning on installing Sterling Alternator controller.
    1. The controller is very sensitive to voltage drops along the main charging cables. This must be adequate in size and good contacts. If not the bloody thing will keep tripping.
    2. The alternator will get very hot, so I would install a switch in the white cable so that you can switch it off.
    3. Carry a spare fan belt.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by gavin_lacey View Post
    parallel with positive and negative from opposite ends of the parallel lines is essential.
    Eh ? Do what ?

    Boo2

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boo2 View Post
    Eh ? Do what ?

    Boo2
    Think he means Method 2 on this page...
    http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/batt_con.html
    Living the dream!
    www.yacht-tinkerbell.co.uk

  9. #29
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    A word of warning on installing Sterling Alternator controller.
    1. The controller is very sensitive to voltage drops along the main charging cables. This must be adequate in size and good contacts. If not the bloody thing will keep tripping.
    2. The alternator will get very hot, so I would install a switch in the white cable so that you can switch it off.
    3. Carry a spare fan belt.
    Are we talking about the same unit? I'm installing a Pro Alt C Alternator to Battery Charger. What white cable are you talking about?

  10. #30
    Chris_Robb's Avatar
    Chris_Robb is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by demonboy View Post
    Are we talking about the same unit? I'm installing a Pro Alt C Alternator to Battery Charger. What white cable are you talking about?
    I thought you were referring to the Alternator controller - don't recognise your details so presume it is his later unit. Still worth checking you get no voltage loss across the wires.

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