Jump to content
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Onewheeler

Starter battery - sealed or not?

Featured Posts

It's time to replace the starter batteries on our shared boat. The old ones (Varta) are nineteen years old, their electrolyte looks like soup, and although they are still working their capacity is getting low.

 

So, sealed or unsealed? (If the new ones last as long as the old ones, none of the current owners will be in a state to care!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sealed for me - fit and forget.  As I said in another thread, narrowboat starter batteries have an easy life because the engine they start almost invariably then runs for long enough to fully recharge them. Your 19 years service bears that out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My starter battery is exactly 15 years old and is an open cell type. It has never been topped up as far as I can remember, so if replacing I would feel comfortable with a sealed type. I have a standard regulator on the alternator,  so not sure how a sealed battery would cope if one of those external regulator things was fitted?

Edited by catweasel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sealed it is then. One less thing to maintain. Can't grumble at the lifetime of those batteries, I'm on the fourth set in my NB in much the same period.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, catweasel said:

My starter battery is exactly 15 years old and is an open cell type. It has never been topped up as far as I can remember, so if replacing I would feel comfortable with a sealed type. I have a standard regulator on the alternator,  so not sure how a sealed battery would cope if one of those external regulator things was fitted?

My domestics were/are sealed and are very accessible.

 

The starter battery was almost inaccessible, in fact I had never seen it, but that was ok because it was sealed also, wasn't it.

 

Well no, it was open cell and after 5 years (at least) it gave up.

 

As everybody here is always saying......don't assume. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, frahkn said:

My domestics were/are sealed and are very accessible.

 

The starter battery was almost inaccessible, in fact I had never seen it, but that was ok because it was sealed also, wasn't it.

 

Well no, it was open cell and after 5 years (at least) it gave up.

 

As everybody here is always saying......don't assume. 

Quite short life for a starter battery. Had it boiled dry?
I agree we should never assume (makes an ass out of u and me) but I can see the fluid levels thru side of the starter battery so no worries. I would check it periodically (remove caps) if I needed to, but not easy in your case. 
 

Edited by catweasel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can't get at the start battery then I suppose sealed is OK BUT modern lead calcium open cell batteries seem to never lose electrolyte until a fault develops  so they are to all intents and purposes maintenance free but with the bonus that you can look into cells to see if individual ones are using more electrolyte, check acid colour, compare specific gravity with  rested voltage to assess sulphation, and assess individual cell condition by Specific gravity. You can do none of this with a sealed battery, in fact I doubt a sealed lead calcium is any more maintenance free than an open cell one. Its open cell for me every time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

If you can't get at the start battery then I suppose sealed is OK BUT modern lead calcium open cell batteries seem to never lose electrolyte until a fault develops  so they are to all intents and purposes maintenance free but with the bonus that you can look into cells to see if individual ones are using more electrolyte, check acid colour, compare specific gravity with  rested voltage to assess sulphation, and assess individual cell condition by Specific gravity. You can do none of this with a sealed battery, in fact I doubt a sealed lead calcium is any more maintenance free than an open cell one. Its open cell for me every time.

Interesting point there. I have noticed that my last two sets of domestics (open cell) have used very little water in comparison to earlier ones.
In fact when they arrived I thought they were sealed, then realised you could remove some thick labels and top them up if necessary. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

Proper sealed ones have a labyrinth to recover electrolyte evaporate should they gas off.

I had some Yuasa sealed batteries that were as you describe. They were ex standby batteries from somewhere, and I was given 4 as payment for a bit of work. When I googled them they were close to 300 quid each, but were the best batteries I have ever had on the boat. Extremely heavy compared to a standard leisure battery, but about the same physical size.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 15/04/2019 at 09:49, Onewheeler said:

It's time to replace the starter batteries on our shared boat. The old ones (Varta) are nineteen years old, their electrolyte looks like soup, and although they are still working their capacity is getting low.

 

So, sealed or unsealed? (If the new ones last as long as the old ones, none of the current owners will be in a state to care!)

If you're using a battery charger then doesn't it depend on what sort of charger you've got and whether your domestic batteries are sealed or unsealed?

 

I replaced my start battery recently. My charger has 3 x 12v outputs (two connected to the domestics and one to the start battery); but.because the charger only has one battery type setting (open, wet, AGM, etc) and the  domestics are open/wet I also bought an open/wet start battery. 

 

Most chargers with different battery type settings will charge open batteries at a higher voltage, so if you're using a charger with multiple outputs and it only has one battery type setting and you're using it on different battery types, then you may either be under or over charging one of the banks.

 

On the other hand if you're not using a charger then you don't have to worry about it. I'm not sure about solar controllers - I don't suppose they have battery type settings, but alternator controllers do.

Edited by blackrose

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.