Understanding The Different Marine Batteries

Marine Battery Types

Wet-Cell Batteries: Wet-cell batteries are the traditional batteries that everyone knows and loves. They are also sometimes called flooded-cell batteries. This type of battery is filled with lead plates and battery acid, or more specifically a liquid mixture of sulfuric acid and distilled water. These batteries have historically been the most popular choice of sportsmen because they are the cheapest. Besides being the least expensive, another thing that they have going for them is that a properly maintained wet-cell battery is capable of up to 1,000 discharge/recharge cycles. Depending on how much the battery gets used, that could be years of dependable service without having to replace your battery and at a much lower entry point price than a comparable AGM or gel battery.

They have their disadvantages as well. One of the main problems with wet-cell batteries is that they are usually vented to release hydrogen gas. This means the battery compartment must be well ventilated. The vents also introduce the possibility of spilling battery acid which is highly corrosive It also means that wet-cells require a little more maintenance because the battery must be inspected and distilled water added when necessary. Another concern is that wet-cell batteries are more fragile in high vibration environments, like a boat.

AGM (Absorbent Glass Matting) Batteries: An AGM marine battery contains a filling of absorbent glass matting (hence the name) which is packed tightly between the battery’s lead plates. The matting contains an acid electrolyte which through a chemical process allows the battery to replenish its own water supply. One of the best things about an AGM battery is that there is no maintenance other than a little cleaning now and then. Unlike wet-cell batteries, an AGM battery is sealed so you don’t have to worry about spilling it, refilling it or storing it upright in a well-ventilated location. AGM batteries can be installed at any angle which may be something to take into consideration depending on the layout of your boat. They hold up well in high vibration environments and they are even submersible, unlike a wet-cell battery. The problem with an AGM battery is that you are going to pay for all of those positives. They are more expensive than traditional wet-cell batteries. Other negative considerations include the fact that they are heavier than wet-cells and if you accidentally overcharge it, you have no way of replacing the water within the battery because it is sealed.

Marine Gel Batteries

Gel Batteries: A gel battery is similar to an AGM battery in the fact that it uses a chemical reaction to replenish itself so it doesn’t require the maintenance of topping it off with water. Instead of absorbent glass matting, a gel battery is filled with liquid electrolyte, gelled with silicates. One of the best things about gel batteries is that they are resistant to over-discharging which can damage the other types of batteries. Gels are maintenance-free, tolerant to low-temperatures and shock/vibration resistant. They also have a very low self-discharge rate so they can be stored for a long time without having to be recharged. Gel batteries sound great, right? Again, you pay for the positives. Gel batteries often cost much more than other types of batteries with the same rating. You may run into another problem when it comes to charging a gel battery. Gel batteries usually require a charger that is made specifically for gel batteries or a charger that has a gel setting on it. By using a conventional charger on a gel battery, you run the risk of over-charging a gel battery.

These are the basic types of batteries you will need to consider while shopping for a trolling motor battery. Now what’s the right choice for you? There is no one right answer. The solution will be different for everyone depending on his or her needs. Some people will be turned off by the high price of gel batteries and will be perfectly content to monitor and maintain their wet-cell batteries. Other people have more money than time and don’t want to be bothered with the tedious maintenance of a wet-cell. Still for others, the guy with a small boat filled with kids and life jackets and fishing rods, there won’t be room for both a cranking battery and a deep-cycle battery so he may choose a dual-purpose battery. They still haven’t invented the perfect battery that does everything for everyone. But I’m sure they are working on it!

Lithium-Ion Batteries: A Lithium ion marine batteries are generally much lighter than other marine battery types. It can charge rapidly and has a longer lifespan than other types of batteries. This battery has a low maintenance. These batteries require no memory. Lithium-ion trolling motor batteries are safer than Nickel-cadmium batteries. Lithium batteries ion cells cause little harm when disposed. To maintain safe operation it requires a protection circuit. The aging characteristic is important when purchasing batteries. We can Store lithium ion in a cool place to slow down its aging Process. Make Sure during Storage time the battery should be charged. It is recommended to charge 40%.Lithium-ion battery should discharge above 2.5 volts per cell as to maintain its safety. If it Discharges below 2.5 volts per cell then safety circuit built into the battery opens and the battery appears to be dead.