THE DEEP CYCLE BATTERY
Flooded or wet cell lead acid battery deep cycle battery types are by far the most popular battery types in service for house power roles, and this is generally based on economic considerations.
The first significant purchase decision you will make after buying your boat is that of choosing new batteries, and usually the first decision at the start of each sailing season.
The lead acid battery open cell arrangements first progressed to sealed lead acid units which are safety vented and have built in hydrometers taking the human out of the equation on the maintenance issue. Good boat house power starts with a deep cycle battery.
The battery decision making process also depends on the load types, such as start or housepower, and for deep cycle batteries it is about discharge rates, charge acceptance rates, projected cycle life etc and for start batteries it is their high cranking current ability and the deep-cycle battery for house power duty.
In most yacht and power-boat applications inefficient charging is a major cause of shortened life and performance and fast charge smart regulator systems are essential if the full capacity is to be realized.
The disadvantages appear daunting however flooded cell batteries are bullet proof in many respects. They are tolerant to overcharging and the use of smart alternators overcomes the lower charge acceptance rates.
There are many innovations and performance enhancing design battery features being implemented by the various manufacturers to improve reliability and performance. This may include a greater number of and thicker plates as this improves current flow, along with improved grid designs.
Separator design and material is also an area of development, with some are using fiberglass matting that is bonded to the plates to reduce the shedding of active material, while there are others that now use carbon fiber.
This is conductive and is bonded to the plates to stop plate material shedding and improve current flow, and the encapsulation of the plate is claimed to eliminate sulfation. The costs are much lower than other newer battery types, and if the maintenance and charging are kept up they will have long service lives of several years.
Quality deep cycle batteries are subject to frequent deep cycling service such as the Rolls, Trojan, Deka, Surrette etc, and which are properly maintained, will probably offer the best value for money and life expectancy.
It is important to remember that just one serious flattening episode can ruin the battery or severely curtail its life. Good boat house power starts with a deep-cycle and careful consideration of charging systems. Boat Power Starts with a Deep Cycle Battery