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Old 27 June 2006, 12:21   #1
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Battery type

Quick question: what sort of battery is best for a RIB/what do most people use? And conversely is there any type you should NOT use e.g. because it explodes when it gets sea water on it or some other undesirable side effect!

Obvious options are normal lead-acid and the newer automotive types such as lead-calcium, there are also sealed gel non spill ones, and (expensive) exotica like Hawker Odyssey (sealed ones used in special forces vehicles!) and Optimas with funny shaped spiral cells etc etc.

Any thoughts please? The one in there at the moment is just a bog standard lead acid vehicle battery but if I am going to change the battery plumbing I might as well put a new battery in at the same time. The easiest type for me to get is the sealed lead-calcium type fitted to newer Land Rovers (made by Delphi I think), because I can buy those at work and being designed for a diesel they have loads of reserve capacity for a RIB sized petrol engine or to power radios etc if the engine isn't running.

Ta

Stephen
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Old 27 June 2006, 12:46   #2
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AGM types are prob the best - non spill and high capacity - not cheap though!!! As you say things like the Hawkers - Optimas etc. They do last longer but given the price you could replace 4 standard batteries for the price of 1 of them.

I think the LandRover calcium type will do pretty well. Having said that even bog standard batteries in my Landie never seem to spill despite driving over some seriously rough terrain at speed. About as bad a hammering as a RIB gets.
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Old 27 June 2006, 13:01   #3
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I think pretty much any battery is going to be unsafe if it gets seawater inside (seawater + sulfuric acid = not good).

That said, I don't recall anyone having that problem since WWII when submariners would occasionally gas themselves.

Three general types of batteries commonly used in boats right now: Lead/Acid wet cell, AGM, and Gel Cell.

Lead/Acid is the normal car battery type: Plates of lead are submerged in a sulfuric acid electrolyte. Inexpensive, reasonably reliable, easily charged. Need to keep fluid level up, they will offgas significantly when charging, are prone to sulfating (shorting between plates) if overly discharged, or left uncharged for long periods.

AGM is similar in construction, but rather than simply having liquid, they have a fiberglas mat between plates. The mats are saturated with the electrolyte compound. More vibration resistant, can be mounted at any angle, sealed so they are maintenance free (though they, too, will offgas to a smaller degree when charging.) More expensive than wetcell, but less maintenance.

Gel Cell's use a thick jelly as an electrolyte. Like the AGM's they are maintenance free, and can be mounted in any orientation. They are more finicky about charging, however, current and voltage must be limited in application to avoid cooking them. As I recall, they are very expensive.

Within the wetcell and AGM line you can find starting or Deep Cycle batteries.

Starting (or cranking) batteries are typical of what's in your car. They typically don't like to be discharged to a high degree (usually it's about 70% or so, as I recall.) They do, however supply a large starting current, which is what you need for starting.

Deep Cycle batteries use thicker plates, and can withstand deep discharges better than starting batteries. They can go to somewhere around 30% capacity up to 100 or so cycles (see manufacturers specs.) Deep Cycles are generally used as "House" batteries; for running lights and entertainment stuff while you're anchored up.

For my boat (18' aluminum RIB; no entertainment system), I have a pair of standard cranking batteries. They have enough reserve to run what I need for my normal uses (biggest worry is running the nav lights at night while I'm diving. Not much draw there, really.) I thought about going with one starting and one deep cycle battery, but the more I use the boat, the more I think it would be overkill.

http://www.vonwentzel.net/Battery/01.Type/index.html

Or, a websearch for "marine battery primer" should get you more reading material than you would ever want.

jky
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Old 27 June 2006, 13:54   #4
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Cool

Thanks for the info. Yep as you say Codders I think the price is the barrier with the fancy ones especially down here where a one-off will have to be ordered and then shipped as haz cargo... really wondering if ordinary batteries were safe and it looks like they are

I think when I change it all around (still waiting for a quote from Leeway for jockey seats at the moment) I'll probably stick one of the big 110Ah sealed lead-calcium Td5 Discovery batteries in under one of the seats, if a 1.8 litre petrol doesn't start by the time that is flat then it probably isn't going to! It's a "wet" type battery (i.e. it sloshes if you shake it) but must be sealed as I have never seen one leak unless it gets a hole punched in it and there is no way to top them up, the one in my Discovery is over four years old and still has plenty of oomph.

I don't have any real sources of non-running battery drain apart from the VHF; I have no real desire to do anything at night time and the only entertainment system I have or need on mine is the thirsty one on the back
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Old 27 June 2006, 14:07   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogMonster
I'll probably stick one of the big 110Ah sealed batteries in

downt bee a twatt yew twatt. ifn yew cann reed, luk inn de fkin manyewel forr yorr enjin. itt sez inn bigg letters lyke dis

DOWNT YEWSE A SEELD BATTIRY FORR DIS ENJIN YEW NOBBUR

ifn yew chooz too ignor dis advise ther wil be de biggist banng evver sinse dem arjis sunnk wan ov ower tawpeedos wiv a battulshippp


gaRf
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Old 27 June 2006, 15:47   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Garfish
ifn yew chooz too ignor dis advise ther wil be de biggist banng evver sinse dem arjis sunnk wan ov ower tawpeedos wiv a battulshippp
You do have an interesting way of putting things

An event which led to one of the all time classic newspaper headlines: "Gotcha!"
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Old 14 October 2006, 02:50   #7
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I've used Optimas in all sorts of applications (but not RIBs since I don't yet own one!).

If you look around you will find them for perhaps twice the cost of a normal lead acid. They are completely sealed, can be used in any orientiation, take and deliver vast amounts of current (due to their spiral cell technology), and the "Yellow" type is good for both deep cycle and starting.

I can't commend them highly enough for their all round useability and durability.

Given their vast ability to deliver current, I am contemplating fitting two smaller ones to the RIB I plan to buy, one for starting and one for everything else, at the same weight as a single normal battery.
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Old 14 October 2006, 13:05   #8
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I have for the last 4 years and in five boats always used normal leisure batteries although they may not be the best i have had my last one through two winters and is still going fine.I have considerd though a dry-cell battery but as you know they are more than double the price .The reason i,m considering this is i feel i would be happier to put things like cloths etc in the jocky seat that holds the battery.You may also think about that it may sway your decission
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Old 17 October 2006, 05:07   #9
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We have used Optimas and like them a lot - the Verados actually come with a blue Optima in the box!
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Old 17 October 2006, 06:31   #10
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i got a optima from Bristol Batteries recently. they are superb, give them a call, was around 120.00 sorry dont have number,but directory enqs should find it, in central Bristol,
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