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~ Houseboat Battery Banks - What Type Of Batteries

Houseboat Battery Banks - What Type of Batteries, Chargers, How to Install  by Mo

What type of batteries to use in houseboat battery banks?


What type of batteries to use in houseboat battery banks?

When it comes to houseboat battery banks, it's confusing on how many batteries buy, what type, and how to install them all?

Sooner or later I am going to need to make a decision on building a battery bank system for my 31' houseboat. What would be the best type of battery for a live aboard houseboat situation?

I hear about people using 6v golf cart batteries, some using 12 volt Gel and others AGM! Also, how many would make a good bank, four, six and what size APH (amperes per hour). Can you have too many or too big of batteries?

This picture is what I believe was the battery bank of the previous owner of my houseboat. :)

I would like to thank Old Houseboater, Mr.B, and Ian for their input on my outboard jet question. I am now looking at a prop drive Yamaha.

Thanks, Mo.

Reply - Answer
Well Mo, you can rest assured that you are not the only, or first person to have a battery bank setup like that on a houseboat.

When it comes to what types of batteries to buy, you will get a wide variety of explanations as to which to buy.

You basically have a few choices, you can use 6 volt batteries and put them in series to give you 12 volts, or you can use 12 volt batteries and put them in parallel to give you 12 volts. I haven't run across many people using 6 volt batteries, since 12v models are so popular and obtainable.

IMHO, my verdict isn't in yet on the cost, value, longevity, and effectiveness of buying premium higher cost AGM, or Gel Marine batteries. This doesn't mean that they aren't cost effective, just that I find other factors play more important roles first.

Batteries have to be in secure, and covered battery boxes. They have to be easily accessible in order to be easy to maintain and check them. They have to have properly sized marine cabling, and connections.

The battery charger should be sized appropriately, thus providing @ 20% of the total battery bank amperage capacity. I have always preferred an automatic multi-stage 3 or 4 phase charger. More on this below.

I find that the biggest factors that relate to battery life are related to the battery maintenance and charging. Once you calculate what your needs are, you can size your battery bank accordingly.

You will find that you can use two banks, one bank of starting batteries for the engine(s), and one bank of deep cycle batteries
for the household needs.

Now you will have to calculate how many items in your houseboat that you anticipate to run, and for how long, to not discharge your deep cycle batteries below 50% for extended battery life.

I am sure there will be many different opinions when it comes to batteries, but I generally like to get them locally, with some form of a pro-rated warranty so if it does become dead or defective, I can return it for a partial reimbursement or replacement.

Now when it comes to properly charging the batteries, I have had great success and no hassles with the Multi Stage ProSport Battery Chargers.

One of the best features is called "distributed on demand charging" which means that all the charging current can be used on one of the banks, and not divided between banks like all other chargers. This is great since it is usually the house bank that needs it most.

It's a fully automatic multi-stage charger that does bulk, absorption, and maintenance mode, which is also great for short or long term storage. And the best thing, it's one of the best priced ones around. :)

I have had a few of these ProSport chargers over my lifetime, and will definitely install one again in my next houseboat if need be.

Well Mo, as you can see there is many different things to look at, and there is no perfect or magic solution, and I am sure there will be many opinions and comments to your post.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their houseboat battery types and experiences. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page

If you're still looking for information, you can try our search function, found at the bottom of the left Nav bar.

by Mo
(San Antonio,TX USA)


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