Battery life expectancy questions

What's on your mind? Anything generic goes here.

Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby Red Raven on Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:56 am

Ken,
I assume your engine was at idle. Not sure what current the alternator puts out at idle but probably a lot less than max. Watch your house battery meter when the microwave is running from inverter and let us know what it does.

Curt
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Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby BaylorU on Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:44 pm

I did try it at idle and at cruising speed with the same result, unfortunately :(

I will definitely report back, but REALLY unfortunately it won’t be for another couple months most likely. Right now I live in Colorado and the boats are in San Diego, which is like daggers in my heart. We’re considering bringing the C26 here for the summer to live on Lake Dillon up in the mountains, but I’m not sure yet.

Either way, we’ll be back in San Diego in a couple months and I’ll look into it. Small chance it will be sooner as I want to maybe send her down to Ensenada for a paint job, but don’t know if I’ll have time in next couple months.

K
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Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby Chimo on Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:43 pm

So I was down at the boat messing around with odd jobs and I thought to have a test. I turned off the shore power and did a bunch of odd jobs for about an hour and a half. With the radio and the fridge drawing on the house batteries the voltage at that point (I look at the digital readout from the solar panel because it is a lot easier than the analogue next to the breaker panel) was 12.7. For interest, the engine battery was 12.8. I then switched over to inverter. The display on the the 2000W inverter was showing 12.7V and 000 for power out output.

I had always thought that my little one cup water heater was kinder to the system than the microwave (which I believe is 800W). Not so when I look at the plate! It's actually rated 1450W!!! So I start the engine. The voltage on the Volvo gauge and the inverter settle at 14.1 after about 30 seconds. Then I turn on the 1450W water heater. The engine takes a noticeable change in tone, rumbling from 690 to 720 rpm, as it takes on the load. The inverter shows it is delivering 1440W and the battery voltage drops to 13.8. After a couple of minutes the water is heated, the inverter shows 000W and reverts to 14.1V.

So what did I learn?

1. Use the microwave to heat the water for my tea in the morning on the hook.
2. Start the engine before putting a load on the inverter. It's much kinder to the batteries.
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Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby knotflying on Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:38 am

We have an electric pot for boiling water. It does a pretty good job.
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Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby Chimo on Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:07 am

knotflying wrote:We have an electric pot for boiling water. It does a pretty good job.



What’s the power consumption? If it works well could you share details?
Chimo: a word of greeting, farewell, and toast before drinking once widely spoken in the Inuktitut language in northern Canada.
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Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby Cutwater28GG on Mon Apr 08, 2019 3:18 pm

Most household electric kettles are in the 2kw range. Much more efficient energy wise to use the propane stove to heat water for coffee on a boat
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Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby Wildcats on Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:42 pm

Portland Tug25, we changed the batteries on our R31 (2014) a week ago. The original batteries were 5 ½ years old and losing their capacity. We selected Concorde Lifeline AGM 31XT batteries to replace the original batteries. These batteries have the same group 31 footprint of the original Universal batteries that came with the boat but have a 125 amp hour rating versus the 110 of the Universals. This increased our total battery bank to 500 amp hrs over the original 440 amp hrs. The Lifeline batteries do have the disadvantage of having posts instead of vertical tabs. That meant I had to reroute the cables to a horizontal arrangement instead of the vertical orientation of the OEM batteries. I wish Lifeline made the tab style on the group 31 like they do on their 4D and 8D batteries.
Here are some things I do to try and minimize the time and problems associated with changing the batteries on the R31.
Prep Work
Here is a photo of our original battery bank:
Image
Note that the positive leads (red) are on the “outside” part of the batteries while the negatives are on the “inside” of the batteries (yellow). We set up the new batteries on the deck so that their orientation looks just like the original installation.
Image

I also tape my wrenches since I don’t have insulated wrenches. I try to limit the possibility of touching a negative and positive post which can cause a fire or explosion. I also remove my ring as well. A LED headlight is useful so that you don't have to use a flashlight.

Removal
After turning off DC and AC circuits, turning off the inverter, and turning off the shore power at the power post, I start removing the positive leads first. On our boat, the Magnum inverter requires that if the positive lead is connected it must first have a negative lead attached.
As I remove the positive cables I take a cable tie and tie the cables together and label each set so I know which battery they came from. For example, we labeled right front, left front, left rear and right rear. We used red and yellow electrical tape (we bought these rolls at Home Depot), red for the positive and yellow for the negatives. We tape the end of the exposed cable so that other leads would not inadvertently touch other cables. See this photo of the taped cables.
Image

After removing all of the positive leads we removed all of the negative leads. We then removed all of the batteries. The battery trays supplied by Ranger Tugs work well. I removed the hold down straps. I found through prior trial and error that the batteries don’t have to be lifted out of the tray, in fact doing so in this small space is a difficult task. There is enough play in the tray that the battery can be tilted and then you can slide the battery out of the tray and remove it from the lazarette. Here is a photo of the battery being tilted out of the tray.
Image

Once all of the old batteries are out, I cleaned the trays and placed the new batteries in the trays. The straps are re-attached and the cables attached to the posts on the new batteries. Again, the negative cables are all attached first and then the positive cables. The positive terminals are then covered with the red insulators. The power is restored and the inverter restarted. Check your inverter manual as to how they stipulate you should shut down and restart your inverter after replacing the batteries. If you have any hesitancy about doing this yourself it may be worth it to have a professional shop do the installation for you. Hope this is helpful in your battery replacement task!
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Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby Hydraulicjump on Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:52 pm

Excellent description and illustrations. Thanks for going to all this trouble to share with the rest of us. I have another year or two left on my AGMs and am already planning the dreaded exchange.

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Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby Wildcats on Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:56 pm

Thanks for your comments, Jeff. I hope your eventual battery exchange will go smoothly. For me, the key is to label each set of cables coming off of a battery post and tie them together with the cable ties. The other critical element is to tape the terminals on each cable set. There is a lot of spaghetti down there and in the process of removing batteries I did not want any cable terminal to touch other terminals or battery posts.
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Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby BB marine on Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:01 am

BaylorU wrote:Following! My batteries are the originals (2012 C26, 4x 110ah AGM’s) and this past week they couldn’t run the microwave. Seems like they’re beginning to tire out.


This weekend I removed the 4 batteries from my boat in preparation of installing new Northstar AGM's. The batteries were manufactured in 2015 installed by Fluid Motion and are sealed maintenance free.(Centennial Batteries) Last fall I noticed the voltage drop was quicker when using the Inverter without the engine running. No noticeable change with the engine running. I was still able to use the same devises but for less time. I use and abuse the house batteries. I don't have a generator and still want the comforts of home. Using 12.8 has 100% state of charge and 11.8 has 0% state of charge, my house batteries have seen 0% a few times and been at 50% (12.2V ) a number of times when at anchor. While cruising we use outlets, microwave, crock pot, coffee maker without issue. This winter I have noticed the house batteries after sitting for a week or two at below 11V and the thruster and Engine battery still sitting at just below 13V. I turn the charger on and with in a short time the house is showing full charge. I now have all four batteries on the bench marked engine ,thruster, house 1 and 2. I charged each one using a 10 amp portable charger for 2 hours. I waited about an hour after removing the charger to check voltage, each battery voltage reading ranged from 13.14V to 13.01V all excepted a charge. Today I again checked battery voltage 18 hours after charging, using a fluke 85 multimeter, Engine 12.98V, Thruster 13.01V, House (B1) 6.93V (B2) 12.93V. House battery (B1) did take a charge meaning it mostlikly doesn't have a dead cell just a great deal of Sulfation build up on the plates causing it to discharge quickly. I assume the battery sulfating is from discharging the battery to 50% a number of times and 0% a few times. I believe (B2) is not far from the same condition and has been supporting the circuit. Because I use the batteries for inverter use often I decided to go with a AGM that "advertises " more charging cycles 900 at 50% discharge, and ability to recharge quicker. I will monitor the battery voltages closer trying not to allow the them to go below 50% and may have to run the engine a few times while at anchor relying on the AGM's ability to recharge quicker.

Baylor you may have the same situation on your boat .You stated that the batteries were fully charged but not capable of running your microwave. (B1 or B2) could be providing very little and ( B1 or B2) could be marginal. The alternator is being required to carry the full load. The alternators capacity could be at maximum without back up from your batteries. Given the fact that your batteries are original 2012 batteries I would say they have had a good run. I will be happy with 5 full years of maintenance free service from the AGM's I'm installing.
Brian Brown
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Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby knotflying on Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:32 am

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Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby Kaptajnen on Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:20 am

One way to prolong the life of a Lead-Acid battery is to use a De-Sulfator. I used a pair of these on my previous boat which had 4 AGM batteries house batteries installed when I bought the boat. The De-sulfators kept the batteries going for the 13 rpt. 13 years before I sold the boat. I do not recall the brand, but they were made in Japan. I don’t know if there are any of these devices that are not made in China <sigh> but perhaps someone can shed some light on this.

Here is a description on how these small devices work:

A battery desulfator is also known as a battery regenerator. The second version of the name is a little misleading as it gives one the impression that a battery desulfator can regenerate just about any battery. That isn’t necessarily true. If your battery is not working as a result of internal damage or is shorted, no desulfator in the world can repair it. However, if the battery has lost a great deal of its capacity due to sulfation, then you’re in luck. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, though, we were talking about battery desulfators.

A battery desulfator is a device that restores the capacity of a lead acid battery. That way, the lifespan of the battery is extended and so is its performance. These batteries are also known as pulse conditioning devices, battery reconditioners, and, of course, battery regenerators.

It all begins with the battery. If you store it in an uncharged state for too long, then lead sulfur will form little deposits on the lead plates and harden over time. How long to leave it uncharged pretty much depends on the battery, but generally involves leaving it only partially charged every time you charge it. When these lead sulfur deposits form on the lead plates, we say that the batter has been sulfated. That means it is now incapable of charging to its full capacity that you purchased it with. Keep leaving it uncharged for too long and the capacity grows smaller and smaller until it becomes practically impractical to use the battery any longer and you have to swap it out for a new one.

That is where battery desulfators come in. They send pulses of electricity throughout the batter. In some cases, those pulses of electricity will get the sulfate to come off the plates in flakes. The sulfate dissolves and your battery regains its capacity.

So you’re probably wondering why such a miracle of science and technology isn’t popular. Well, as it turns out, the battery industry, or at least the mainstream part of it, has an incentive to sell replacement batteries. In fact, most of the profit made by battery manufacturers comes from selling replacement batteries. They stand to benefit from the process of sulfation and so they don’t feel the urgent need to solve the issue in batteries. There has therefore been very little scientific research into the issue and understanding exactly what is happening under the hoods or any verification of the claims that are being made about sulfation. As a result, the market for desulfators is still very small and most battery owners don’t even know about it. That said, it is a growing market, no matter how small and we are hopeful that the setback to battery longevity caused by sulfation will soon be a matter of the past.
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Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby Chimo on Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:37 am




Thanks for that! I think I will be replacing my individual cup sized unit today.
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Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby William Thomas on Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:45 pm

All the above is very informative, good read.
Question though......My 2017 CW AGM batteries are hooked up to shore power 24/7, even when the boat is stored in my boat garage at home . I was told by CW Rep ," just keep them on charger all the time"...not a problem.

Batteries ,after two seasons of use seem to be fine. Curious how other folks handle this issue??

Bill T.
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Re: Battery life expectancy questions

Postby Red Raven on Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:43 pm

Bill,

No issue with keeping the batteries connected to the Battery charger 24/7, in fact it is the best approach to keep your batteries healthy with modern battery chargers.

The only disadvantage I know of is if your boat is in the water at a Marina where other boats may not be properly protected from galvanic corrosion. A galvanic isolator should protect your boat from this issue though I have heard some have still had issues even with one. In that case, some advise to only connect to shore occasionally to keep the batteries topped off but minimize the depletion of the zincs. In any case this avoids consumption of the zincs and potential corrosion issues but could be harder on your batteries if they did not receive regular full charge.

In your garage there should be no issue with keeping them on the charger 24/7. It has enough smarts to keep them as healthy as possible.

The sulfation issue discussed above is caused by not fully charging the batteries. Keeping the batteries fully charged minimizes this.

Curt
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