Marine batteries are pretty expensive and can cost you a huge amount to buy, which makes them a large investment. The problem is that, if you’re not careful with how you treat them, they can lose a significant part of their capacity in a matter of a few seasons. On the other hand, if you treat them just as they are meant to be treated, these batteries can last for up to 7 years. Here are a few tips on how to make your marine batteries last longer.
Keep an Eye on the State of the Battery
Managing your battery well can make all the difference when it comes to how long it lasts. It doesn’t matter how deep a battery is designed to be able to discharge. If you take it below 50 percent of its capacity, then its lifespan will be dramatically shortened. If you regularly take it all the way to full discharge, it’s unlikely to last beyond a few months.
If you’ve got the cash, you can consider purchasing battery monitoring systems that will accurately measure the charge input and output of the battery and even tell you how long it will be before you need to charge the battery again. If you’re looking to save the dollars, you can consider using a regular voltmeter. The battery should measure about 12.7 volts at full charge and a mere 11.8 volts when fully discharged, and 12.2 volts typically represents a 50 percent charge. The idea is to charge the battery before it reaches 12.2 volts. For more information about monitoring the state of your battery, click here.
Calculate How Much Power You Use Daily
This is another important thing you should do to ensure the long life of your battery. If your batteries are too small, then you’re likely to be using up too much charge daily. You can figure out your daily use by multiplying the amperage of each electrical device on your boat by the amount of time you use it each day. The batteries should have an ampere-hour rating that is at least thrice the daily consumption of the boat.
Use Less Power
This is probably the cheapest and the easiest way to add a few more years to your battery lights. You can start with something as simple as switching off lights whenever you’re not using them. You can also use low energy bulbs, such as LEDs. Ensure your refrigerator has enough insulation to reduce its power consumption as well and even throw in some bottles of frozen water into the refrigerator when you start a trip to reduce the power consumption of the refrigerator further.
Consider Solar Panels
Your batteries will typically be undergoing discharge even when you aren’t using the boat. Depending on the type of battery you use, that should range between 1 percent and 3 percent discharge a month. However, by getting a solar panel at a small extra cost of between $10 and $20, you can prolong the life of your battery.
Get a Good Mains Power Charger
You can plug into the shore power supply at marinas if you frequent them a lot. You can also get a good quality 3 or 4 stage charger to make sure your battery is at full capacity by the time you leave the marina.