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Old 12-26-2012, 04:55 PM   #1
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Default Deep Cycle Marine Batteries

Anyone know much about deep cycle marine batteries?
I have two in my basement that are supposed to run the battery back up for my sump pump, but they tend to fail reliably (lol). One battery is hooked up at a time to a continual trickle charger that runs off the house electric. When the power goes off and the sump well fills, the float on the backup triggers both the backup pump running off the marine battery, and a "siren" thing that sounds like a smoke detector. I call it the "hey, the house is flooding" alarm.

I can't seem to keep these batteries charged right. The charger often throws a "charge fault" error, which I'm assuming means it's doing jack for the system.

Do these marine batteries have a shelf life? Max number of charges? Does keeping them hooked to the charger at all times degrade them? Any way to tell if they're beyond useful life?

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Old 12-26-2012, 05:37 PM   #2
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The trickle charger is probably not adequate to keep them charged. Assuming the batteries are good, I would recommend a charger that has an automatic cycle that will reduce the charge rate as the batteries charge up. You mentioned the batteries are in the basement. Are they protected from freezing?
The batteries do have a shelf life. With the brand and model, you should be able to find the shelf life of your battery. There is usually a tag on top with the purchase month & year marked. The cells can be checked individually with a hydrometer. ( available at an auto supply.) It is important that the batteries are fully charged before checking with the hydrometer. With the batteries fully charged , the hydrometer with tell you if you have a bad cell. If you add water it must be distilled water.

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Old 12-26-2012, 05:40 PM   #3
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^^^^^Yeah that pretty much covers it all

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Old 12-26-2012, 05:47 PM   #4
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I pretty much gave up on 12v deep cycle in my RV. I had nothing but problems. I now use 2 6V golf cart batteries in series. Hold up much better. I would also suggest a smart charger available at RV supply store.

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Old 12-26-2012, 05:56 PM   #5
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FWIW, if the batteries are sitting on a concrete floor, does not improve their life- I use wooden cribbing under mine. A deep cycle battery- as the name implies- is made to go from fully charged to fully discharged- battery in your car would be wrecked doing that. The amp/hr rating tells the tale on capacity- bigger number, more power. I use 115 amp hr batteries for the trolling motors on my fishing boat.

Have you checked the fluid levels in batteries? If you have removable caps, take a look- with a flashlight- no matches or lighters, or you will learn about hydrogen gas. If liquid does not come higher than the plates, you got a problem.

Your charger may also be part of the problem. A trickle charger is intended to maintain a battery, not to charge it fully. If you have typical lead/acid batteries, 3-4 yrs is a good life. Gel types 4-6 or so. And yes, you can haul them down to the local car parts place and have them run a load test on them. And the best charge for deep cycle is a slow charge.

As said, a pair of golf car battteries and the CORRECT charger will do you more good. Suspect they will run the sump pump a lot longer than what you have now.

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Old 12-26-2012, 06:38 PM   #6
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Thanks, all.
The system was there when we bought the house, and the sellers were big "discount do-it-yourselfers". We didn't find that out until after we bought the house, and things started falling apart. I've found drywall screws used for some very odd uses in the house.
I'll do some research on cart batteries, and give the charger another look as well.
Now to see if I can get the EPA deposit back on these batteries without buying a new one...

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Old 12-26-2012, 06:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therhino View Post
Thanks, all.
The system was there when we bought the house, and the sellers were big "discount do-it-yourselfers". We didn't find that out until after we bought the house, and things started falling apart. I've found drywall screws used for some very odd uses in the house.
I'll do some research on cart batteries, and give the charger another look as well.
Now to see if I can get the EPA deposit back on these batteries without buying a new one...
Yeah, I know what you mean. The previous owners of my house were big redneck ingenuity types.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:34 AM   #8
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Might read up on batteries at this site

http://otherpower.com/

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Old 01-01-2013, 04:38 AM   #9
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Keep the batteries clean and dry. Dirt and moisture between the posts can drain a battery.

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Old 01-03-2013, 02:16 PM   #10
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Battery's are self discharging. In other words they are constantly discharging themselves. I use a battery tender on my motorcycles and the batteries are 7 years old. They can vary the output to keep the batteries up. It sounds like your battery have sulfated. Might need new ones. As long as they are kept clean then it doesn't matter if they sit on concrete.

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