Did you recently buy a boat and need a marine battery for the same? Or, do you need to replace your boat’s battery for optimum performance? Regardless of what you need, buying a marine battery for your boat is a decision that you should make wisely. There are many marine batteries in the market, which can confuse someone who has never bought a marine battery before. The marine battery powers your boat, so you want to ensure that you get the right one for you.
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Types of Marine Boat Batteries
Marine batteries are two types and are available in 12-volts. The two types of marine batteries are cranking marine batteries and deep-cycle batteries. Also known as starting batteries, cranking batteries are responsible for starting your boat’s engine when you get in the water. On the other hand, deep-cycle marine batteries power radios, GPS, fish-locator technology, and trolling motors. In short, deep-cycle batteries power the electrical equipment on your boat. You can also get dual-purpose batteries that are a combination of both cranking and deep-cycle marine batteries. Dual-purpose batteries start your marine oat’s engine and power your boat’s electrical equipment.
Starting a marine boat’s engine requires a lot of power. Therefore, the battery’s lead plates should have a large surface area. These batteries deliver 75-400 amps for about 5-15 seconds. The batteries then recharge in short order by the engine’s alternator. The batteries have alternating negative and positive plates with insulation between the plates. Such a design of the lead plates causes the battery to deliver more power than when there is a large plate surface. The lead plates are thin to help the alternator regenerate the battery fast when the engine runs. There is a cranking amp on the battery, which gives you an idea of the starting power of your battery. The downside of starting batteries is that they do not tolerate deep discharges and are fragile in high-impact environments.
When choosing the rating of your cranking battery, consider the size of your boat and the engine’s power. Newer boat models have sensors, computer equipment, and the start of the art pumps. You would not want to make a mistake on the starting power of your boat’s engine. When choosing a cranking marine battery, choose one with the same value as your engine’s recommendation or one with a higher cranking amp rating.
Deep-Cycle Marine Batteries
Although it might not seem like it, the electrical accessories and trolling motors on your boat suck up power when the boat runs throughout the day. However, they do not require charging during the day. The discharges on the plates make the battery’s lead plates challenging. Therefore unlike cranking batteries, where it is more favorable to have thin lead plates, deep-cycle marine batteries should have thick lead plates. The wider the lead plate, the more power the battery will have and, as a result, more power to run the electrical equipment on the boat.
While the cranking batteries have the cranking amp rating, deep-cycle batteries have a reserve capacity rating. A reserve capacity is a number, and it gives you an idea of how long the battery will carry the loading before conking out. It is important to note that the reserve capacity for a deep-cycle battery is usually twice or thrice the cranking amp rating of the cranking battery. Therefore, deep-cycle batteries can endure long discharge cycles and recharges to keep running.
In comparison with starting batteries, deep cycle batteries deliver high energy for a short duration of time. These batteries recover faster after being discharged. For instance, overnight, a battery may use up to 70 percent of its capacity. Upon recharging the batteries, the energy goes to the bank, and the cycle starts over. Usually, deep cycle batteries should store about four times its power between their recharge cycles.
Do Not Substitute Batteries
Should you use a craning battery in place of a deep-cycle battery or the reverse, in no circumstance? These two types of batteries are designed differently to perform different tasks. A cranking battery does not have enough power to run the trolling motor. Also, a deep-cycle motor cannot provide enough power to start your motor. Substituting these batteries would cause your engine to overheat and eventually die. The last thing you want is to be out in the waters with a boat with no power.
When to Use a Dual-Purpose Marine Battery
It is recommended to have different cranking and deep-cycle batteries. However, there are some cases where a person may have to get a single marine battery to perform both tasks. Often, this arrangement suits small boats because of the limited battery space on the boat. Also, having two batteries may add considerable weight to the boat and hence compromise the boat’s performance. Dual-purpose marine batteries can handle both starting your engine and powering your accessories. It is important to note that the performance of a dual-purpose marine battery is not optimum and might not hold the numerous discharge and recharge cycles. These batteries have thicker plates than cranking batteries and have a lead paste. Therefore, they can tolerate deep discharges that would ruin a starting battery. However, the storage capacity is lower than that of a deep cycle battery. Dual-purpose batteries are suitable for applications that include:
Small boats that use one battery to start and run loads when the engine is off. Boats that have one battery tank. Sailboats that have two batteries are often used interchangeably.
Marine batteries come in four different types; lithium, gel, flooded, and AGM, according to chemical types. The choice of your marine battery will depend on your budget, lifespan you need, capacity, and your needs. Below is a breakdown of the batteries according to their chemical composition:
Flooded batteries have a liquid sulfuric acid reservoir that releases oxygen and hydrogen when the battery is charging. Vented battery cells allow the produced gases to escape before combining them again and reintroducing them into the system. Hydrogen has explosive properties, and if the battery cells are not vented, it damages the compartments.
The battery cells require constant refilling with distilled water. Therefore, flooded batteries require a keen inspection from time to time. Flooded batteries do not have a seal and thus handle discharging well than other types of batteries. On the flip side, these batteries discharge at a higher rate and need off-season charging.
Absorbed Glass Mat(AGM) batteries contain fine, porous, microfiber glass separators between the battery’s positive and negative plates. These separators are tightly compressed and contain acid electrolytes to activate the battery. When the battery is charging, precision pressure valves allow oxygen to move from positive to negative. The oxygen recombines with hydrogen gas to produce water. Besides providing equal saturation across the battery’s plates, the fibers embed onto the surface of the plates to offer more support for the plates. In addition, the fiber provides vibration and shock protection to these batteries.
AGM batteries have internal resistance and therefore allow a high charge acceptance resulting in a high starting power. The charge acceptance is often up to 40 percent of the battery’s capacity. The self-discharge rate is low, making these batteries long life and with excellent performance. AGM batteries are ideal for boaters who need dual-purpose batteries due to their reliability, quick starting power, and fast charging capabilities.
Gel batteries offer more advantages over regular flooded batteries. The main benefits of these batteries are that they are leakproof, maintenance-free, submersible, and have the highest number of lifetime charging cycles. These batteries are sealed and regulated by a valve. The pressure release valve in the battery keeps the internal battery pressure at the recommended level. In case of excess pressure, the valve releases it. The design of these gel batteries makes them for use around people and electronics. Since these batteries are sealed, the manufacturers ensure quality standards. These batteries require careful and smart charging to prevent damage.
New technologies keep changing the dynamics of battery systems. Lithium plates are made of thin lead plates. Lead has low electrical resistance making them best for use in batteries. The lead plates are light and have a great surface area. Due to those design properties, lithium batteries can handle high charging amperage. Besides charging quickly, lithium batteries are also capable of high charging cycles. Lithium batteries are suitable for long-distance cruisers.
Choosing the Best Marine Battery for Your Boat
Here are some of the things to consider when choosing the best marine battery for your boat:
- Longevity- The battery’s longevity is measured by discharging a fully charged battery at a temperature of 80°F until it drops to 10.5 volts. The recharging of the battery is done under controlled conditions, and the process is done repeatedly until the battery cannot hold half of its capacity. The cycle life tells the number of discharge cycles that a battery can provide in its lifespan. The main difference between cranking and deep cycle batteries is the ability to cycle repeatedly. Starting batteries cannot withstand multiple discharges before they begin to degrade.
- Size and Type of Engine- The type of your boat engine, its size, and the environment temperature determine the kind of battery you need. Diesel engines, large engines, and those batteries in cold regions require high cranking power. The best feature to look at is the CCA provided by the manufacturer. Your boat’s manual will always come with a recommended rating for the battery. That should be your guideline when shopping for a battery.
- Deep cycle Functions- Battery capacity functions are often expressed in two parameters—reserve minutes and Amp-hours. Reserve minute rating refers to the number of minutes a battery can run a 25A load before dropping to 10.5V. On the other hand, amp-hours rating refers to the energy that a battery can deliver for 20 hours before dropping to 10.5 V with a constant discharge rate.
- MCA vs. CCA- Marine Cranking Amps (MCA) refers to the number of amps that a battery can deliver for 30 seconds at 32°F. Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) refers to the number of amps that a battery will deliver for 30 seconds at 0°F. MCA should always be higher with about 20 percent because batteries perform best at high temperatures.
Marine Batteries You can get for Your Boat
Now that you know the different types of marine batteries, here is a list of marine batteries you can get for your boat from amazon.ca. Each battery has a description of its characteristics and what to expect regarding performance.
ECO-WORTHY 12V 50Ah LiFePO4 Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery Deep Cycle Rechargeable Battery with Built-in BMS, 3000+ Life Cycles, Perfect for RV, Marine, Trolling Motor, Solar Battery
- This lithium-iron battery can run for a period of more than 3000 cycles. Its service life exceeds that of lead-acid batteries.
- This battery contains a built-in Battery Management System (BMS), which protects it from deep discharge, overcharging, overheating, low self-discharge rate, overload, and short circuits.
- The weight of this 50Ah lithium battery is 12.7 pounds, a fraction of the standard weight of a lead-acid battery. Due to its lightweight, this battery is easy to move around and install. This battery is excellent for simple indoor applications or outdoor camping power supply.
- Suitable for electric scooter, golf carts, off-grid power, tool trailer, Marine, RV, Caravan, Camper, Golf Carts, Power wheels, Trolling motor, Backup power supply, Solar, etc.
- You can connect this battery in parallel or series. When creating a series connection, you can connect up to 4 batteries. However, the parallel connection of batteries is unlimited to support solar panel charging and fast charging.
LISUATELI 12V 100Ah Lifepo4 Lithium iron phosphate battery Up to 3000-7000 Deep Cycles for Golf Cart Solar RV Camper Marine Battery and More Applications with Low Temp Protection Support series and parallel
- The Toronto warehouse in Canada provides the battery.
- This product has multiple applications, including golf carts, camping vehicles, solar systems, RV campers, CCTV cameras. It also has a DIY speaker, air pump, garbage trailer, trolling motors, travel trailers, caravans, camping vehicles, medical equipment, solar systems, ships, industry, hunting, lawns, garden tools, household storage Energy system, UPS backup, lighting, digital camera, portable TV, electronic robot, electric car, 12V router, fish detector, houseboat, garbage trailer, etc.
- The lithium iron phosphate battery can achieve 3000-7000 cycles. This battery’s service life is about ten years. In addition, this battery can fully discharge without risk and will not damage its future capacity. This battery can support solar panel charging and fast charging. Lastly, the battery has no memory. Therefore, you can recharge and use it at any time.
- This LiFePO4 battery has a built-in BMS. The BMS has a high temperature charging disconnection and low temperature charging disconnection. For example, the battery cannot experience a ground fault, overload, overcharging, deep discharge, or overheating, regardless of the battery’s state. You can connect up to 4 batteries in series and 8 batteries in parallel.
- This lithium iron phosphate battery uses A-grade batteries. These batteries have a peak discharge current of 200ah and a maximum discharge current of about 100ah. All this is within 5 seconds and hence causes a high energy density. The battery is long-lasting and has a more stable performance. The discharge curve is high and accounts for about 95 percent of the battery’s capacity. Lastly, this battery has an excellent self-discharge rate.
12V 6Ah LiFePO4 Battery Pack, RoyPow 3500 Cycles Rechargeable Deep Cycle Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery FiOS Drop-in Replacement of SLA Battery, for RV/Camper, Kid Scooters, Fish Finder
- This battery contains Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery Cells responsible for long-time cycles. This battery’s capacity still holds up to 80% after about 3500 charge and discharge cycles. The battery can still deliver up to 7000 cycles even with a low charge and discharge rate.
- The battery has a built-in BMS, which stops the charging process at 0 ℃ to ensure the battery does not experience damage. The BMS also offers battery protection from overcharging, over-loading, over current, ground faults, and temperature volatility.
- Can be connected in parallel (maximum of 2 batteries) and series (a maximum of 4 batteries). The connection you opt for depends on the voltage you are going for.
- This battery works well in multiple applications such as travel trailers, RV, fish finders, dump trailers, CCTV cameras, electric vehicles, air pumps, and lighting.
- Although the battery weighs about a quarter of an equivalent lead-acid battery, this battery has a long service life of at least 6 times. The non-harm feature makes this battery a perfect replacement for lead-acid deep cycle batteries.
- This battery comes with a 30- day money-back guarantee and a 1-year warranty. In addition, you will obtain excellent customer service and assurance of lifetime technical support. After running multiple tests on the batteries, the manufacturer is confident of the quality.
- Brand: Optima
- Vehicle service type: Trailer or Boat
- Item weight: 38.4 Pounds
- Item dimensions L x W x H: 25.4 x 16.3 x 20.1 centimeters
- Terminal: SAE Terminal
Your boat is an excellent investment, and so are the accessories you get for your boat. When getting a marine battery, you do not want to compromise quality and performance. Therefore, take your time to understand your boat parameters, their functionality, and your needs. If you are unsure about the decision of your marine battery, consult with an expert in marine batteries and accessories. You will get guided information that will help you make a choice.