Without going into too much detail here, the electrical energy is stored in chemical form, and can be discharged in an electrochemical process to transfer negative and positive electrons between the lead, and turning the sulfuric acid into lead sulfate, forming water in the process. From there, charging the battery reverses this chemical process, and ideally reforms the sulfuric acid in its original quantities.
The shortcomings of the traditional lead-acid battery design come into play with the issue of layering, also referred to as stratification. If one of these batteries is subjected to low voltage charge or drain, the sulfuric acid electrolyte can become poorly mixed with the water, leaving stratified layers of high and low concentration, with the sulfuric acid settling at the bottom, leaving nothing but water up at the top.
With AGM batteries, that acid layering is no longer possible, as the electrolyte is suspended in the glass mat, bound in place in with the electrode plates. Optima batteries use an advanced form of AGM in sealed individual cells called Spiral cells, using 99.99% pure lead plates.
The high vibration resistance and lightweight make for a no-brainer for these applications where stepping up to lithium-ion batteries are either cost prohibitive or do not provide the reserve capacity needed. Interstate also has slightly better warranty coverage for their batteries overall, and with service centers all over the country, you might have easier access to getting a replacement.
These are especially helpful in cold climates and for diesels for Optima’s highest initial cranking power to be able to start reliably every time. Yellow Top are deep-cycle batteries, which means they excel in applications with high electrical load above what you would normally subject a stock vehicle to.
Optima BlueT op : BlueT op batteries in their light gray case are essentially identical to the Yellow batteries in the fact that they are starting and deep-cycle capable, but with added threaded terminals on top in order to accommodate extra accessories that need to be run. If you’re still not sure whether to choose OPTIMA vs Interstate, take a look at the thousands of car battery reviews available at AutoAnything.
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Their job is to start your main engine, using a lot of juice initially and then reducing the charge. A deep cycle marine battery, on the other hand, is designed to power peripherals, such as a trolling motor, onboard electronics, fish finders, and radios.
They consume power more slowly, allowing onboard electronics to run continually. Most marine batteries you see are hybrids, so if you'd prefer cranking or true deep cycle, make sure that is what you get.
And remember, cranking and deep cycle marine batteries are designed for different purposes, so you can't use them interchangeably. List the appliances you want to power, as well as the amp draw of each (you can figure this out by dividing watts by volts).
Getting a 100 amp battery is not good, though, because the capacity is measured by the intervals between charges. One more note: if you keep your battery charged up to about 50 percent capacity, you can extend its life dramatically.
All offer-up expert opinions on marine batteries and consumer reviews that have been posted to their website for you to check out. Again, reading owner comments and feedback online is a great place to start and learn which models are the best performers.
The best marine battery for your boat depends on your needs and budget, but it is helpful to have an idea of brand names to try and models to consider before you shop. The following are popular batteries that should serve you well and give you an excellent starting point for your search.
A favorite with both Amazon reviewers and Bazillions, the Die Hard PM-1 Platinum Marine Battery (find it at Sears.com) features 205 minutes of reserve capacity and 1150 cold cranking amps. The corrosion-resistant battery has high quality tin-coated brass terminals, military-grade construction, superior vibration resistance, longer off-season storage time, deep discharge recover, 99.9 percent virgin lead plates, high purity grade acid, absorbed glass mats (AGM), nonrefillable design, absorbed glass mat construction, and three-year free replacement limited warranty.
These are standard issue on some boats, and it is used in tanks, ships, fighter jets, and other military applications because of its remarkable durability. The Odyssey 34M-PC1500ST TROLLING Thunder Marine Dual Purpose Battery, for instance, features great starting power and deep cycling capability, up to 400 cycles at 80 percent, twice as much power and three times as much life as a standard marine battery, pure virgin lead plates, high conductivity, brass terminals plated with tin that are made of corrosion-resistant materials, well-guarded terminal seal, sealed design for internal gas recycling, self-regulating relief valve, flame retardant cell containers, robust internal cell connections, 15 percent more plate surface than standard batteries, and 40 percent more reserve capacity.
Both the Die Hard and the Odyssey marine batteries will treat you well, and if you care for your battery properly (keeping it at least 50 percent charged), either will last for years. Exile is a major manufacturer of auto batteries, and a marine model may be an affordable addition to your boat.
The Exile MC-31 MEGACYCLE AGM -200 Sealed Maintenance Free (AGM) Marine Battery, for instance, features 700 CCA (the number of amps a battery can support for 30 seconds at 0 degrees F) at 0 degrees and 840 CA at 32 degrees F, 200 minute reserve capacity, dual terminal design, two times better cycling, 12 times more vibration resistance, and 40 percent greater charge acceptance compared to other 31 series flooded batteries, and a two-year “no hassle” nationwide free replacement warranty. This is very commendable, but there are occasions when you can maintain your unit to death.
Those are the vent caps on top. For the past four years, Road trek has provided AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries as standard equipment. These differ from the old flooded lead-acid batteries, which were mounted on slide-out trays and needed to be checked for water every month or two.
Well, OK, if you can't stop yourself, go ahead, but remember, you're damaging your batteries by doing this. Vent plug for an AGM battery. Blowing through these two stop signs, pry the cap off, and figure out a way to unscrew the vent plug.
The vent plug is an ingenious device which opens at a preset pressure, like a radiator cap, and contains the catalyst which recombines the hydrogen. Slosh copious quantities of water into each cell, close them back up, and now charge your batteries.
Watch the excess electrolyte bubble out of the caps like a volcano, spilling concentrated sulfuric acid all over your battery tray. Rinse this off, and it will continue to reappear every time you charge your batteries, because you overfilled them.
Buy a new battery tray within a year or two because your old one looks like Swiss cheese. Replace your batteries, because you diluted the electrolyte down to the point where they won't hold a charge.
In addition to ruining the batteries, the caps hold a fair amount of pressure sometimes, and you risk getting splattered with sulfuric acid, as well as risking battery explosions. These are no fun, even with eye protection, because that sulfuric acid really, really stings when it gets all over your skin.
If you want an exfoliant scrub, try the beauty salon, not the garage. Your batteries will provide you with many happy years of service if you resist the impulse to mess around with them.
“Campskunk” is a blissfully retired former public servant who has left the challenges of how to run the government to younger and less cynical hands, and wanders the continent in his Road trek Class B RV with his wife and cat. In addition to his work in the public sector, he has also at various times been a mechanic and delivery driver, skills which come in handy in his new role.
Because his former job involved the forensic evaluation and sometimes the subsequent detention of some not-so-nice people, he uses the name camp skunk instead of his legal name on the Internet. Capacity MinutesCapacity Amp-HoursEnergy (kWh)Dimensions inches (mm)Weight lbs.
You adore their ability to take punishment and their paint-friendly nature, but they have developed a reputation for refusing to take a charge once they have gone dead. However, here the electrolyte is absorbed and retained by layers of boron-silicate glass matting between the lead plates.
Hot Rodgers are tough on batteries, but the extreme heat and vibration we deal them aren't the half of it. Between these rounds of serial abuse, often we let our cars sit unused for extended periods-like between race events or cruise nights, or even for the entire winter.
Also, the electronic gadgets in newer cars (engine and body computers, entertainment and security systems, and so on) often employ keep-alive memory functions that place a small but constant current draw on the battery. At room temperature, a standard battery loses nearly 5 percent of its capacity per month just sitting on the shelf.
And once the battery's voltage falls below around 1.75 volts per cell, permanent damage begins to take place in a process known as hard salvation. Essentially, the plates become coated with gunk (dense lead sulfate crystals), reducing the battery's capacity.
To replicate these diabolical conditions, we obtained two new Optima AGM batteries, a standard Rector and a deep-cycle Yellow model, and submitted each to a constant 2.2-ampere load. Older and more basic chargers are more prone to this hang-up than newer, fancier models, which are equipped with control circuitry to deal with these issues.
So there are two solutions available: Buy a new, expensive charger equipped with the extra brainpower, or employ a simple trick the Optima engineers laid on us. Then activate the charger and charge the battery normally, being careful to follow the manufacturer's instructions for current and voltage limits.
No matter how deep the discharge we applied, we were able to bring the battery back to a full state of charge using our cheap but trusty bulk charger. Of course, you can avoid all these headaches with deep discharge and parasitic loads in the first place simply by using a float charger.
We've seen basic versions of these chargers on sale for as little as 10 bucks-which is the deal of the century, especially when compared with the hundreds of bucks you'll pay to replace a dead AGM battery.