Let's talk batteries.

Hard Chargin'

Fischjäger
Aug 11, 2019
681
495
32
PNW
Name
Andre
Boat
Stabicraft 459 Fish'r
So pops is getting 10k worth of Garmin installed on the boat this month and just got it out of the shop with a repower and both of his batteries had crapped out over the last winter. No big deal- they are under warranty, he exchanged them at Walmart and called me on his way home.

During our conversation I got to thinking, do you really want to be betting your life on those Walmart batteries? Sure it's fine in a car, a dead battery doesn't normally put you in danger but at sea we are talking a different game.

So I told him I would ask the group and see what you guys are using. Specifically to the offshore crowd- what batteries are you buying?

Thanks
 
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plj46

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Jan 7, 2008
8,614
11,349
Socal
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john
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24 ft grady white
Anything but Interstate.I've heard good things about those Walmart batteries.
 
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tbev

Member
Dec 21, 2017
344
121
36
SoCal
Name
tom
Boat
Skipjack 24
It really comes down to your wallet and the amount of room you have. I have a bit of room so I'm running two 8D batteries. The first time I went out I didn't have them hooked up to the alternator, they were getting zero charge, and I was fine offshore for 3 days. I run a Victron Argofet to isolate my agm starting battery from the two 8D'S, the fet does not minimize your charging input to the batteries like an ACR does, from end I can tell its a better option. This way you're starting battery is always being charged first, then your house bank so you should never have a dead starting battery. You also want to make sure you have every battery in a plastic battery tray/box. I'm running a Genius 3 bank charger /tender as well. You may be able to use golf cart batteries instead if you have the room, I think its a cheaper option that is probably just as good if not better.
 
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Tomictime

Crusty Old Salt
May 9, 2014
871
958
Poverty Bay & Carlsbad
Name
Jim
Boat
Boatless.....
maybe I am jinxed but I have had some supposedly excellent high tech batts die very premature deaths over the years...So back to Lead Acid Trojans including 2 x 6v house. All my prior experiences w Trojan have been fantastic, hopefully the trend continues...
 
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liltrouble

Member
Jun 9, 2012
860
960
ShillCreek, WA USA
Name
Shari
Boat
Mr. Buttercup
Batteries don't die, they are murdered.

You will need one starting battery for each motor, and your house bank will be based on amp hours needed to run your appliances, i.e. electronics, downriggers, pot pullers, lights, crockpot, keurig, bait pump, bilge pump, macerator, cell phone chager, washdown, etc.

As an example in flooded lead acid, a Dyno Group 27 dual purpose battery weighs almost 2x as much as a Wal-Mart dual purpose battery. Your reserve capacity is significantly lower as well in a lighter battery.

How you charge those batteries is important as well. Trickle chargers are killers. Batteries need to be quick charged to capacity to desulfite the plates. Then you can maintain that charge with a battery maintainer. Most newer chargers have a maintenance mode. Getting the electrolytes resuspended is critical for battery longevity. As you discharge the batteries, the electrolytes attach to the plates. You want them swimming freely!

You need a charger that will work for the type of batteries you have. Again, most better charters are capable of flooded lead acid, gel and AGM. You need one with adequate amp hours to fully charge your batteries.

I rarely recommend anything whatsoever from West Marine, but this is a pretty good intro to understand the basics.


There are new lithium batteries on the market that are high performers. But they need different chargers and are very expensive. If you're dad is buying Wal-Mart batteries, i doubt if he will spend money on Li-io batts.

Select your batteries and type/capacity. Get a good charger and go forth to fish and help get our 50%!
 
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Tish

Almost A Member
Jun 27, 2019
128
81
Shoreline WA
Name
Grant
Boat
1991 Achilles SGX-122, 1997 Boston Whaler Dauntless 17
Couple of thoughts here (note that I am not an offshore guy but know more than the average bear about starter/house systems):
  • Running an ACR battery isolator setup reduces the chance that you run down your entire battery bank while fishing on the drift or whatever (ths is the setup that tbev details above). This way you just run down the "house" bank and don't have to worry about using up the juice in the starting batteries, and the starting battery gets charged first. Also have the option to combine your starting and house if needed for emergency. This doesn't protect you against a battery problem with the starting battery itself though.
  • A jump pack that you keep topped off seems like cheap/simple insurance
  • Running a kicker with an option to pull start and an alternator seems like the ultimate in solving this concern, you can start it by hand and start kicking the amps back into charging the charging circuit until you can get the mains going.
 
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The Peddler

Living vicariously through others.
May 28, 2008
2,675
1,283
Olympia, WA
Name
Matt
Boat
2400 SeaSport Explorer - "Permanent Waves"
I tried some AGM batteries when I first got my SeaSport. They were big bucks, and lasted about 4 years before they started weakening. Next time-around, I bought lead/acid batteries from a tire store via an inside connection. They were 1/2 the price, and still lasted about 4 years, before my pot puller proved too much for them last shrimp season. Since my connection is no longer in the tire business, I bought DEKA lead/acid batteries. They are a little heavier than the ones they replaced, so-far/so-good. I guess in 3 more years I’ll know.
 

Hard Chargin'

Fischjäger
Aug 11, 2019
681
495
32
PNW
Name
Andre
Boat
Stabicraft 459 Fish'r
Thanks for all the responses guys.

@liltrouble we never put any thought into it before. He is definitely willing to spend money. Like I said he has 10k in Garmin going in and he just paid for a new outboard and rigging. What's another $800 if that's what it takes. That is why I started this thread. Also, that is interesting info on trickle chargers. He has a battery maintainer on his system but I'll see what it is.

Space is a little bit of an issue but we could rearrange and rewire things to run a pair of bigger batteries.

@Tish He does have pull start option on the kicker so there is that assurance.
 
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May 13, 2004
496
597
74
Long Beach and points due west
Name
Bob Ballew
Boat
2520 Parker with twin 200 Yamahas
...Sometimes, we forget that, like tires, some battery batches turn out to last longer than others plus it depends on how they are treated.....On my Parker twin engine, I went from 27 group standard batteries to 31 AGM marine batteries from Sam's Club at a good price.
...Bought a highly rated Schumacher model SC1280 designed-for-marine use charger from Walmart for $45 and quick charge both batteries at 15 amps AGM setting to keep them up...After 2 years, so far, so good...
...With a 3 year warrenty, I will take them back to exchange if, at near the 3-year mark, they show signs of end of life expectancy....Three to four-year life on most marine batteries is the norm...more is a bonus...
 
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MYNomad

Heading South
Dec 12, 2007
4,101
4,621
Pacific Northwest / West Coast Mexico
Name
Rick
Boat
Yes
My preference is 6v batteries, and I usually buy Trojans. So long as they are kept watered and not abused (left not fully charged for weeks on end or run down below 1/3 of capacity), they easily last 5 years. There is a size (L16 maybe) that is the footprint of a group 31, but about twice as tall, some if you have plenty of height that might be a good way to go.
 
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fishing fanatic

I Should Upgrade My Account
May 12, 2008
1,198
854
Alger, WA
Name
jason
Boat
28’ almar sounder //16' lavro
Why we still say one battery per motor particularly on outboards blows my mind. Also without an acr you’re living in the real distant past! Deka all the way for me. Battery tender is key as well. 99% of the “bad batteries” or “ugly battery situations” are lack of load understanding and shit wiring.
When you have one battery on a system taking the ass kicking of riggers, pullers, electronics etc and two others sitting to start each motor it shows lack of understanding. A correctly wired acr and one start battery is all you need with it being your priority on the acr side.
 
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easydoesit86

nubbie
Apr 6, 2008
1,752
256
lacey wa usa
Name
maarten
Boat
22' 672 Campion "Skidder"
I have a 9 year old Die Hard agm battery that I use for my engine (sbc). Still seems to hold a charge well. I also have two house batteries that are newer. Always figured if the engine battery does die all of a studden I'll still have back up. I keep them all charged all year. I normally check them by unhooking em for a week and checked the battery voltage, always holds about 12.7v i believe.
 
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Polarbill1999

Almost A Member
Aug 30, 2015
106
81
Snohomish, WA
Name
Brett Yates
Boat
1996 Arima Sea Chaser
I am in the camp of you don't need to spend big bucks on agm. Get the heaviest battery you can find (less but thicker lead plates).

I agree with a lot of what liltrouble said. Especially the part about batteries dying. Get a good charger that has enough umpf to charge them hard and then backs off to maintain.

I would consider something like a single group 31 dual purpose for starting and 2 group 31 deep cycles in parallel for house. Or better yet, 2 6v golf cart batteries as your house. Deka or trojan would be my choice. My families old business was a Deka distributor and had good luck with them selling to industrial, marine, fleets.

I also like the idea of a smart solenoid like blue seas or sure power. I like the idea of one of those in conjunction with a battery selector switch (so the smart solenoid can be manually bypassed if needed). I am also a fan of the kiss plan and just use a selector switch. The most important to me would be to make sure you know how to control your system and know what it is doing.

Another thing, Walmart doesn't make batteries. One of the 3 or 4 main manufacturers does and outs Walmart labels on them. I have no idea who makes theirs but they could be good batteries.
 
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eldplanko

got the skunk off
Jun 18, 2012
571
445
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Name
My other boat is a piece of...
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Floater
I finally installed a victron shunt and gx box this weekend to track discharge, bulk, absorption and float, as well as alternator charging, and feel a lot better with real information on what’s going on with my batteries: time curves of current and voltage, the victron gx tracks all of that, and can output to nmea or even the cloud if you have internet on your boat. Keep in mind you batteries are part of a system, will you have shore power or AC system to integrate, if not, and your completely relying on your alternators for charging, how you use the boat and electronic total current uses running vs non-running will make a difference on overall battery health. The best batteries can still get ruined by crappy chargers, deep,discharges, poorly regulated alternators, etc.
 
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Socket985

Almost A Member
Jun 6, 2008
210
78
Buckley Wa
Name
Mark
Boat
21 ft ThunderJet OB/OS
So pops is getting 10k worth of Garmin installed on the boat this month and just got it out of the shop with a repower and both of his batteries had crapped out over the last winter. No big deal- they are under warranty, he exchanged them at Walmart and called me on his way home.

During our conversation I got to thinking, do you really want to be betting your life on those Walmart batteries? Sure it's fine in a car, a dead battery doesn't normally put you in danger but at sea we are talking a different game.

So I told him I would ask the group and see what you guys are using. Specifically to the offshore crowd- what batteries are you buying?

Thanks


If you have that much in electronics and only two batteries. You should have a dedicated house and starting configuration. Forgo a ACR relay system as they will fail. Go with AGM or regular lead acid batteries from name brand distributors is all that matters.

I ran the walmart deep cycle batteries for almost a decade. They never got water,/serviced, never charged in the off season or taken care of. They sat outside year round and were literally stuck in a battery box when new and never checked again. They were charged before the pre fishing test run and when it was about 4-5 years on them I changed them out for new. They work very well.
 
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critterkiller

AKA Cohobankie
Jul 18, 2012
592
258
W.Seattle
Name
Jefe'
Boat
1998 Tiderunner Pt. Defiance
Is it correct that charging my battery after a winter of non use using a battery tender plus trickle charger is a bad idea? Or when you say the trickle chargers are bad you are referring to leaving them on a constant charge? Enlighten me please.
 
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Baby J

Grady prick in training
  • Jul 28, 2017
    522
    596
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    Graham, WA
    Name
    Jeremy
    Boat
    Grady White 265 Express Walkaround
    There’s a guy on YouTube that does an excellent job comparing products like this. His channel is called “Project Farm”. He takes zero money from anyone and is completely unbiased. He compared batteries and to my surprise found that the Walmart batteries were actually one of the better batteries you can buy.
     
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    Buzz2401

    Boat HO
  • Jun 29, 2009
    1,212
    144
    Shelton, Wa USA
    Name
    Russ
    Boat
    glass
    I've had great luck with Costco batteries. Got 5 years out of them in my boat and had one in my truck for 8 years before I pulled out just cause i was worried about it even though it still worked fine.
     
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    eldplanko

    got the skunk off
    Jun 18, 2012
    571
    445
    Ballard
    Name
    My other boat is a piece of...
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    Floater
    Is it correct that charging my battery after a winter of non use using a battery tender plus trickle charger is a bad idea? Or when you say the trickle chargers are bad you are referring to leaving them on a constant charge? Enlighten me please.
    Did your store the battery fully charged and with no parasitic loads, or was it discharged? The trickle thing is that you want the majority of the bulk charge at high current, as fast as the battery can accept, trickle does the damage causing sulfation.

    This is a good explanation targeted to sailboaters, but the fundamentals are the same:

     
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    EJ Swanny

    Three Generations of Uff-Dah
    Nov 30, 2010
    2,830
    1,614
    Redondo/WA
    Name
    Erik
    Boat
    "Riley-J" 2006 21' Proline Tourney
    Walmart, Costco, Autozone??? The old wives tale is that there are only three or so battery manufactures' for lead acid batteries, and they slap a bunch of different labels on them. Then you have the Optimax....these are supposed to be bullet proof and last many years. Is it worth the cost vs. lead/acid?? Who knows.

    There used to be cranking batteries and house batteries. Now they've made dual purpose batteries that work great. That's what I go with for both.
     
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    Baby J

    Grady prick in training
  • Jul 28, 2017
    522
    596
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    Graham, WA
    Name
    Jeremy
    Boat
    Grady White 265 Express Walkaround
    Hopefully this doesn’t violate rules. I know it’s not marine batteries but I’d think brand quality would be similar.

     
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