Thursday, May 7, 2015

Battery Upgrade

I know we put some of you in a mini panic last time we talked about batteries on the boat, but fear not, we've got four new 6 volt batteries waiting to be tucked in nice and cozy in their battery boxes on the boat, which we still need to make.
Almost everything on the boat other than the engine, which has it's own battery, will be powered by these handsome devils, everything from interior/exterior lights, the chartplotter/radar, water pump, bilge pump, water heater, fans, electrical outlets, VHF radio, stereo system, etc. Pretty much everything but my sun shower ;)

We chose these Trojan T-105s, which are actually golf cart batteries, because they're made to be charged and recharged over and over. Partnered with our solar panel set-up (still to be purchased) and generator (still to be purchased), we can use what power we need and still have plenty left over as there will be a (semi) constant stream of charge going to the batteries. With all this power I think Hullabaloo could totally rock a disco ball, no?!?

Ron shopped around online trying to find the best deal but with these suckers weighing in at a hefty 62lbs each, shipping was outrageous so instead we went to a local golf cart shop and got exactly what we needed at a "fair" price, well, as "fair" as $575 is for 4 batteries. Wish I was kidding, batteries are the bane of my existence. 

BUT, once we get these on board we can get started on the solar and refrigeration projects. Yeehaw, we're getting there!


  1. That's a good price. We went with the Deka golf carts (sold as Duracells from Sam's Club) for about the same price and the same rating. We love them. Way better than our old 4Ds.

    We just did our first reconditioning charge of the year. (Drain the batteries all the way down and recharge them 3 times in a row, check the SG, equalize if necessary, water if necessary. You should do this on new batteries once you install them and then annually. Keeps the capacity higher.) It took 6 days running cabin lights, fans, our TV (it's a 12volt flat screen), stereo, water pump, bilge pump, charging phones and the iPad and running the fridge without much food in it (need to go shopping). It's great to have this type of capacity.

    By the way, I highly recommend you add a watering system. Makes it so much quicker and easier to do the maintenance. I do it every other week in less than 10 minutes.

    How are you going to heat water from the batteries?

    Good luck and fair winds,


    1. Ha, now that you ask....I don't think we are running the water heater off the batteries. My bad!

  2. Hey Jackie,

    New batteries are awesome! Take good care of those things, and you'll do fine. A couple thoughts:

    - I presume you've sized the battery bank according to your needs, with some wiggle room left in? I have a 440 amp-hour bank at 12vdc on Aletheia, with 270 watts of PV, and find that to be sufficient. We have significantly less power usage than you do, though. Perhaps if you get a better PV solution than I've got, you'll do better.
    - Check out for thoughts on setting up your battery box.
    - In fact, that guy has a lot of good things to say about a lot of things. Check out all his articles relevant to your needs:
    - When building/siting your batter box, make sure you have access to the top of the batteries to add distilled water. You don't want them stuck in a corner you can't get a jug of water to.
    - There is a difference between solar panels. My Kyocera panels are good, but I wish I had SunPower ones. More power for the same area, and they make more power at lower sun angles. Definitely more expensive, but definitely worth it in my opinion. A Sunpower 250 is barely larger than a Kyocera 140.
    - The AGM batteries on our boat are $450 each, so don't feel too bad about spending that money. Those are good batteries.
    - Everyone loves the little 2kW generators from Honda and Yamaha. They're about $1k each. I know, that's crazy. But they work well. Honda seems to be that one tiny bit quieter (though they're both very quiet), and in the Caribbean everyone knows how to work on Yamaha engines, so they have parts. Honda might be a little harder. Both are excellent units.
    - For $1k in a generator, you could get some extra PV and batteries, if you've got the space. Think about what you are using the generator for, and what you could sacrifice to not have it, and whether the sacrifice is worth it.
    - My current favorite fridge is from Indel B: I have a Whynter, and it works fine, but takes more electricity than I'd like.