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Battery Solution?

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1 Battery Solution? on Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:53 pm

I have a problem with my trolling motor batteries and I'd like to hear what the you folks have to say.

I fish from a 20" North River Seahawk. It is a big high-sided boat that catches a lot of wind. Knowing that, I bought some Cabelas Advanced Anglers AGM batteris that have enormous capacity ratings. When I first got them, I could work against the current throwing reaction baits all day. After about a year and a half I started to run out of energy after about five hours. Now, I never attempt to run against the current and I still run out of juice early. I am constantly thinking about the best location and direction to go with the wind/current in order to conserve my batteries. Some times I get 4 hours. On a good day I can go about eight if it's really calm. I used-ta-could go as much as 12 hours and I wasn't even trying to save power.

I plan on getting new batteries soon. To help alleviate this problem and hopefully make my batteries last longer, I've ordered an onboard DC alternator charger for my boat. Will this make a significant difference?

My batteries are under the front of my boat in a small carpeted area. I have to have completely sealed batteries.

I'm willing to spend the money for quality trolling batteries. What do you suggest?

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2 Re: Battery Solution? on Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:29 pm

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Glenn, you may have a few things going on. First, when you let your batteries sit too long without using them (like during the winter) the batteries can build up sulfate crystals on the lead plates (called "sulfation") that reduces capacity. Here's a good reference on that.

Another possibility is that your current battery charger may be overcharging your AGM batteries--that is one sure way to reduce their life. Make sure the charger has specific setting for "AGM."

I'm pretty sure you already know this but another thing that can cause loss of AGM cell capacity is if you discharge your batteries to less than 50% too often (AGM batteries last the longest when they don't get discharged below about 50%). Reference link. The more times you deep discharge them below this limit, the less charge/discharge cycles you will get out of them.

So you can do a few things:

1. Make sure you immediately connect your boat batteries to a charger when you return from an outing. This minimizes battery sulfation.

2. Buy a desulfation battery conditioner/restorer that can not only remove sulphate crystals from your battery plates, but they can also actually restore batteries that have lost capacity due to this problem. I have used a conditioner from this company (http://www.batteryminders.com) and used it on both boat and car batteries. Let me know if you want a recommendation on a specific model--they have both external and on-board units. I use a unit that cost about $60.

3. Don't discharge them so much, which an onboard "on-the-run" charger can help with if you make long enough runs with the big motor.

4. Use higher capacity batteries so they won't discharge so deep for a typical day on the water (although it sounds like you already have high enough capacity batteries).

FWIW I've been using a set of 3 Walmart batteries (1 cranking, 2 troll) going on 2 1/2 years and still am not seeing any reduced capacity.

Hope this helps.


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