It’s likely that you depend extensively on batteries of some kind if you engage in any outside activity. If you depend on batteries, you have most likely experienced some disappointment from them at some time. You might whine that they’re not made as well as they once were, but more often than not, high-power gadgets and poor maintenance are to blame for your batteries’ demise. The truth is that you can minimize battery problems with a little knowledge, planning, and maintenance.
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Select the Correct Battery
Choosing the appropriate tool for the job is crucial, and this also applies to choosing batteries. Be aware that a standard starting battery is designed just for that purpose if you want to use it to power a boat or UTV. Light bars, GPS systems, and a plethora of other accessories might draw too much power when used in tandem for the alternator or stator to handle. utilize a dual-purpose battery if you plan to utilize any attachments. They have adequate reserve power to run accessories in addition to being built for cold cranking starts. With all of the often used equipment on boats these days, it is not unusual to need two starting batteries to power boats as little as 20 feet.
The only option for something like a trolling motor, which will be often drained down, is a deep cycle with as much reserve as feasible. Batteries for trolling motors should only be used for that purpose; nothing else should be connected to them.
Lead Acid Fill
Lead acid fill batteries were the most widely accessible twenty years ago. Lead acid fill batteries are still available, although AGM (absorbed glass mat) and, more recently, lithium batteries have supplanted them.
Batteries are easily located wherever they are sold, which is crucial for replacement and warranty purposes. Because of their widespread availability and outdated technology, they are less expensive than other battery kinds.
It’s necessary to check and replenish the fluid levels. Liquid battery acid is less durable and far more dangerous. They may even freeze at extremely cold temperatures, making them more erratic in the cold.
Glass Mat Absorbent (AGM)
When it comes to longevity, cost, and ease of maintenance, I often choose for an AGM battery. If you knock the battery over on your boat, the fiberglass mat inside will absorb the sulfuric acid from the battery and prevent it from leaking into your soft plastics.
Low maintenance, robust against spills, withstands more damage, and often has more life cycles.
more costly than filling with lead acid.
While lithium batteries work well in small fish finders used by ice and kayak anglers, they are not the ideal choice for powering ATVs or snowmobiles. Because lithium batteries have a higher energy density than conventional batteries, you can carry them over the ice for an extended period of time and get more power in a smaller package.
much lighter and have a longer life time than other kinds of batteries.
The most expensive, and charging systems are not always compatible. Like everything else, the type that best meets your needs will depend greatly on where you want to use it.
Terms to Understand When Looking at Battery Specifications
Selecting the appropriate battery might be difficult if you are not familiar with reading labels. To facilitate your choosing process, speak with a trustworthy dealer and the maker of your equipment. Understanding the most significant figures and parameters, such as CA, CCA, RC, and AH, is helpful while conversing about shops.
Amps for Cranking (CA)
This is the number of cranking amps the battery can produce at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Seek for a battery that is more than what the maker of your engine recommends.
Amps for Cold Cranking (CCA)
These are crucial in cold weather, particularly for big engines like outboard boat motors. The amount of amps a battery can provide at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty seconds without falling below 7.2 volts is known as cold cranking amps.
Capacity Reserved (RC)
The greater the value of this, the longer you can run. For batteries used in trolling motors, this figure ought to be high. It calculates how long it will take for a fully charged battery to discharge 25 amps at 80 degrees before falling below 10.5 volts.
Amp Hour (AH)
This is the number of amp hours that are listed for deep cycle or twin batteries. This is significant since it provides an estimate of the battery’s lifespan, which is useful when comparing other batteries. 50AH, for instance, is equivalent to 5 amps for 10 hours or 10 amps for 5 hours.
Appropriate Battery Upkeep
Nothing is worse than turning on an engine and discovering complete stillness. One excellent approach to keep an eye on the state of your battery is to add a voltage overlay to your sonar or GPS screen. I use my boat, my snowmobile, and any other device I’ve fitted with electronics for this. If the voltage falls below 12.0, I know my battery requires maintenance.
Another excellent, multipurpose instrument to have on hand is a basic multimeter. Any battery’s voltage may be used to rapidly ascertain how dead it actually is.
A battery might sustain irreversible harm if it is not charged or is not charged correctly. To make sure your unused batteries won’t run out of power in the spring, take them out of the cold over the winter and maintain a maintenance or trickle charge. To make this process easier, chargers made especially for trickle charging usually come with a fast disconnect strap.
These days, a lot of battery chargers come with a selection to charge the particular kind of battery you have. I have the option to use gel, AGM, or lead-acid fill batteries with my onboard Minn Kota boat charger. Because each bank has 15 amps of power, it charges batteries incredibly quickly, but it cannot charge a dead battery. The majority of these smart chargers display a code rather than registering a completely dead battery. If your battery is fully dead, jump-charge it for an hour or two using a conventional battery charger. This will provide it with sufficient power so that it may be securely charged back to full condition using the inbuilt charger.
Upgrade Your Machine with a Battery Kill Switch
You may turn off your machine’s power all at once by installing a battery kill switch. This is an excellent method to ensure that nothing is inadvertently left on or pulled down excessively. For instance, in order to maintain their memory operations, auxiliary devices like your radio are frequently directly connected to the battery. They will gradually deplete your battery. In addition to resetting your channels, using a kill switch will prevent your battery from dying.
Get Ready to Leap Into It
After just one brain fart, even the greatest, most meticulously kept battery will require a jump start. This used to imply a helpful bystander and a decent set of jumper wires. When jump boxes first came on the scene, they were great because they allowed you to leap in locations that would normally be difficult to get without outside help. The issue with the older versions was that they lacked the amps found in the more modern ones and were large and heavy. These days, a lot of jump boxes include clever technology that prevents you from reversing the leads. Even though they are no bigger than a brick, they have enough power to repeatedly jump a diesel vehicle. Flashlights and connections for charging or using other tiny electrical devices are common features of these gadgets.
Though this sleek, little technology is fantastic, don’t forget about the trusty, old-fashioned jumper cords. Steer clear of short, thin-gauge wire box shop cords. More access is possible with longer leads, but there will be a loss in amperage. Acquire the heaviest possible gauge jumper cables. You want wires that are as thick as your finger; pencil-thin cables are not good.
They will notify you at the worst possible time if you mishandle or forget about your batteries. Get the largest battery you can buy and fit, and regular upkeep will keep you fully charged and prepared for any expedition.