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Couple battery questions

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First.  I've been having an electronics (sonar unit) issues. It was suggested that my starting battery might be bad. It only shows up on tournament days when I'm running livewells and only with the bow unit. The unit shuts off a few minutes after firing up the recirc pumps. It's a voltage drop issue I know.  My question is this:. If the battery "tests" good at an auto parts store does that mean all good or could it test ok and still be bad for my application?

Second question. What have y'all had good luck with regarding brand of batteries?  Regardless of my electronics issue its time for trolling motor batteries. Not looking for bashing of a brand, just what your personal experience has been. I'm looking at lead acid only. I currently have interstates. They came with the boat and i feel like they've done ok given their age. I've used Deka in the past and had luck as well.  

I'm looking for a decent battery. I've heard folks going the cheaper route with a good warranty and just swapping out all the time. Nothing wrong with that but I'd rather not deal with it personally. 

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Make sure you are running the electronics all the way back to the cranking battery on their own wire/fuse. Don't use the dash hook ups. You could have a break in the wire. Don't just assume it's your battery when everything else works. If he battery load tests fine, then make up 2 dummy wires and run your bow electronics to the cranking battery with everything else on. If all is well, you probably have a break in your wire. Use marine grade as a replacement. 

This could also be as simple as a dirty/loose connection at the unit. 

Battery wise, for trolling motor batteries I don't have an issue using the WalMart Everstart MAXX 29g batteries. If they go bad, there's a walmart almost everywhere near a ramp to replace them. I don't cheap out on the cranking battery as it runs everything in my boat. 31g AGM.

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You should not use an AGM on your motor.  It's hard on the charging system and hard on the battery, and can shorten the life of either or both.  Some of the newer motors with belt driven alternators can run them just fine but not the others.

The last time I checked, CDI, one of the largest manufactures of aftermarket charging and ignition system parts, would void their warranty on charging system parts if used on AGM batteries, so that should suggest something.

Now, I know there are bunches of folks going to say they run them and that's fine.  That's when I say it boils down to, it's yours and you can run anything you dang well please.   There are lots of things people do wrong and get away with it (for a while), but if and when it does bite you in the butt, it's going to be very expensive.  

As for trouble shooting your electrical problems, there is nothing more valuable than a good DMM and knowing how to use it.   Use it and follow the voltage or voltage drop in your case, always going from a known good spot to an unknown.   Which means, start by check the voltage drop across the cleaned, battery post.  If you are getting low voltage on the battery when there is much of a load on it, then it's not getting fully charged, or it's bad.  Use a battery hydrometer (one with the floating glass bulb) and check it. Depending on the type electrolyte, it should be 1,260 - 1.280 on a good, fully charged battery that has rested 24 hours after charging.  Once you have a know good source voltage, then go to the Sonar and check it there.  If low, start following it back until you find the source causing the voltage drop. 

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When you say lead acid battery, do you mean a wet cell deep cycle marine battery?

What group size is your current cranking battery?

There Isn't any reason today to go with wet cell high maintenance marine battery unless you like to constantly clean terminals and add water.

Trogan 225 series is still top of the line wet cell marine batteries and pricy.

VMAX is a top of the line AGM marine deep cycle and pricy.

Tom

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Thanks guys. I'm probably going to run the front unit all the way back to the battery as suggested. It's been on the list but you know how that goes.  I have encountered wiring breaks in this thing other places in the past.  

I'll pick up a hydrometer and check the electrolyte. My meter, prior to going on strike tonight, showed 12.45v on a full charge  dropping to 12.15v when I turned on the recirc pumps.  Combined they draw about 2.25A. Does that sound about right?  

 

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12 minutes ago, WRB said:

When you say lead acid battery, do you mean a wet cell deep cycle marine battery?

What group size is your current cranking battery?

There Isn't any reason today to go with wet cell high maintenance marine battery unless you like to constantly clean terminals and add water.

Trogan 225 series is still top of the line wet cell marine batteries and pricy.

VMAX is a top of the line AGM marine deep cycle and pricy.

Tom

Yes it's wet cell, not deep cycle I don't believe. It is the cranking battery. It's a 24m xhd Interstate so I assume group 24, but I am pretty ignorant on batteries. 

As far as maintenance I don't have too many issues. I put what we used to call no-ox on the terminals and have not needed to clean them since. I add water maybe once or twice a year. No maintenance would be nice but I have an older 225 and if AGM and the ignition aren't going to mesh well then I'm fine with just continuing the maintenance. I'll check out the Trogan. I appreciate the advice. 

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If you were reading off the battery terminals and not the cables, sounds like your cranking battery is toast.  12.6 to 12.8 volts (again, based on type battery)  should be your voltage.  A two amp load should not even cause a measurable voltage drop on a good, fully charged battery.  Understand, I'm keep referring to reading off the actual battery post.  Reading off the cables can lie to you because of them possibly having bad connections. 

I don't think Trojan makes a cranking battery, they are king of deep cycle batteries  but you should not use a deep cycle for cranking.  Because of their plate design, they can't deliver the high currents needed for cranking you larger outboards and can cause starting problems, especially on cold mornings.

For my cranking battery, I run the biggest, baddest, group 30 or 31, Dual Purpose Deka, flooded cell battery I can get.  I don't want a straight cranking battery because they are not designed to be discharged more than a few percent, and bass boats discharge the crap out of them.

Cranking battery plates are designed to produce very high currents but not to be discharged. 

Deep Cycle, batteries are design to be repeatedly discharged and charged but not deliver high currents.  Matter of fact, a true Deep Cycle battery like the Trojans will not even have a Cranking Amp rating on them.

The Dual purpose is a marriage of the two technologies. A portion of the plates are open like a cranking battery to give a quick surge of current, and the rest of the plate is solid and designed to handle the discharge cycles. 

I noticed you are running a group 24.  You should be using no less than a group 27 in a bass boat.   

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Thanks for all the battery info. I definitely had a good connection read directly off the posts so it sounds like it's smoked. My meter went nuts last night so I'm gonna double check with a good meter today. Most likely done for though.

I will go to a larger group size.

Thanks as always.  

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15 hours ago, Way2slow said:

For my cranking battery, I run the biggest, baddest, group 30 or 31, Dual Purpose Deka, flooded cell battery I can get.  I don't want a straight cranking battery because they are not designed to be discharged more than a few percent, and bass boats discharge the crap out of them.

To make sure I'm looking at the right type of battery would the Deka DP31DT be along the lines of what you're talking about?

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Exactly.  DP is for Dual Purpose, 31 is group size, DT is dual terminal, meaning it has studs and lead post.

One word of caution when buying one.  There is a huge price swing on them, depending on who you buy from so make sure you shop around.  I pretty much get the wholesale from a distribution center near me. 

Most all BPS Marine batteries are East Penn batteries, who also makes Deka's and I looked at theirs, but they only stock the group 24 in a Dual Purpose. 

If you happen to have a Deka/Voltex battery distribution center near you, they will sell you one at MSRP, which is usually a lot cheaper than most retailers sell them because unless they are a major company and have a national contract, they only get about a 10% discount so they mark them way up to make a profit.

One of the discount parts store brands is an East Penn battery also, but I've forgotten which one.  Easiest way to tell is take a Deka spec sheet and compare the specs.  they will be identical across the board if it is.  You can get a full spec sheet from East Penn's web site but it's hidden pretty good.

Now, I will say, I like and buy Deka's and have for many years, one reason is the price I've been able to buy them and they are a top of the line battery, but are they any better than the Delco or Interstate, don't know.  Both of those batteries get good reviews also. 

Also another little word of wisdom.  Only buy batteries from a place that has a fairly high turnover rate.  It don't take many months on the shelf to start degrading them.  Deka's have a very low self discharge rate, but they still need to be topped off every few months and most places don't do that.   Also, that little sticker on them is the date they were put in that location, that is not the manufacture date.  That's encrypted and engraved into the battery, but I've never been able to get the code for it. 

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The best battery is a Duracel AA battery you can run your motor on 1 AA battery for 12 hours. Just put like 5 AA batteries in the gas tank and you won't have to worry about buying gas ever again. I hope I helped you all a lot. 

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On October 11, 2016 at 11:18 PM, Way2slow said:

Exactly.  DP is for Dual Purpose, 31 is group size, DT is dual terminal, meaning it has studs and lead post.

One word of caution when buying one.  There is a huge price swing on them, depending on who you buy from so make sure you shop around.  I pretty much get the wholesale from a distribution center near me. 

Most all BPS Marine batteries are East Penn batteries, who also makes Deka's and I looked at theirs, but they only stock the group 24 in a Dual Purpose. 

If you happen to have a Deka/Voltex battery distribution center near you, they will sell you one at MSRP, which is usually a lot cheaper than most retailers sell them because unless they are a major company and have a national contract, they only get about a 10% discount so they mark them way up to make a profit.

One of the discount parts store brands is an East Penn battery also, but I've forgotten which one.  Easiest way to tell is take a Deka spec sheet and compare the specs.  they will be identical across the board if it is.  You can get a full spec sheet from East Penn's web site but it's hidden pretty good.

Now, I will say, I like and buy Deka's and have for many years, one reason is the price I've been able to buy them and they are a top of the line battery, but are they any better than the Delco or Interstate, don't know.  Both of those batteries get good reviews also. 

Also another little word of wisdom.  Only buy batteries from a place that has a fairly high turnover rate.  It don't take many months on the shelf to start degrading them.  Deka's have a very low self discharge rate, but they still need to be topped off every few months and most places don't do that.   Also, that little sticker on them is the date they were put in that location, that is not the manufacture date.  That's encrypted and engraved into the battery, but I've never been able to get the code for it. 

Ok thanks. I'll shop around some. I think there is a distributor about an hour from me. Might be worth the trip. 

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I appreciate all the advice.

I ended up with a couple issues. There was a breaker at the battery that had quite a bit of resistance across it relative to the other breakers on the boat and I had some significant voltage drop there so I replaced it.  

With a new DMM the battery read 12.8 at the terminals and the specific gravity of the electrolyte was good as well. Worked my way up the harness and had progressive voltage drop as I went. I ended up running a separate circuit to the bow unit and tapped the console unit off of it. I will be replacing the starting battery with a dual purpose 31 soon but I'm gonna try to make it to spring on that one since I need to replace the other two right now for sure. 

Again, I really appreciate the advice. It definitely helps a lot. 

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