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Trojan T-105 batteries

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It looks like I will soon need to replace my FLA domestic batteries. I'm a CC with no generator (yet), so charge using engine power and (I think) 200w of solar (I get 14 amps on a good day).

 

I've read on this forum many people praising Trojan T-105's, but I'm having trouble getting a clear view of why they like them so much. So, could someone give me specific reasons? Also, what charging regime would I need to follow with these batteries?

 

Since these are 6v, and will be connected in series to make 12v, do they charge from the normal 12v alternator, or do I need something extra?

 

 

Thanks all.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, eid said:

I've read on this forum many people praising Trojan T-105's, but I'm having trouble getting a clear view of why they like them so much. So, could someone give me specific reasons?

 

Broadly speaking, cheapo batteries lose capacity quickly and easily from even the slightest abuse, and need replacing when you still feel they are 'new'. Trojans however, seem to be far more resistant to this effect, and even if they lose capacity this can usually be recovered with a process called equalisation. Equalisation doesn't really work in my experience on cheapo batts. 

 

I have never owned Trojans though, so am not writing from personal experience. I too am considering buying some shortly. 

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54 minutes ago, eid said:

It looks like I will soon need to replace my FLA domestic batteries. I'm a CC with no generator (yet), so charge using engine power and (I think) 200w of solar (I get 14 amps on a good day).

 

I've read on this forum many people praising Trojan T-105's, but I'm having trouble getting a clear view of why they like them so much. So, could someone give me specific reasons? Also, what charging regime would I need to follow with these batteries?

 

Since these are 6v, and will be connected in series to make 12v, do they charge from the normal 12v alternator, or do I need something extra?

 

 

Thanks all.

 

 

 

We’re also CC’ers and have never used a shore line or generatorv to charge up dometics in 6 years. 

 

I had 2 new 6v Trojans (£300) which only lasted just over 2 years. I have since been usung a single heavy duty starter battey (about £80). It’s still doing the job nicely after nearly a year now.

 

The advantages-  

Charges up much quicker from engine alternator.

Can deliver more amps if you need it (e.g as emergency starter battery)

Has a hande and being a single battery can easily be taken to a mates house to get a full trickle charge every few months.

If it fails after 2 years like the Trojens  did, it’s only £80 to replace, not £300. 

 

Our power consumption is probably no more than 15-20a per day at the moment. The battery rarely goes below 50% capacity. We use  LED lights, (we have gas fridge!), TV for the missus about 4 hours per evening, water pumps, phone charging and occasional radio. No washing machine, dryer or dish washer on board (just me and the wife!). 

 

 

Edited by rowland al

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57 minutes ago, eid said:

It looks like I will soon need to replace my FLA domestic batteries. I'm a CC with no generator (yet), so charge using engine power and (I think) 200w of solar (I get 14 amps on a good day).

 

I've read on this forum many people praising Trojan T-105's, but I'm having trouble getting a clear view of why they like them so much. So, could someone give me specific reasons? Also, what charging regime would I need to follow with these batteries?

 

Since these are 6v, and will be connected in series to make 12v, do they charge from the normal 12v alternator, or do I need something extra?

 

 

Thanks all.

 

 

I’ve often repeated my story but no harm in doing it again! New boat with powerful 175A alternator, came with 4 110AH leisure/dual purpose “el cheapo” batteries. I fitted a Smartgauge (which tells me the actual State of Charge as a % of the actual capacity) and an amp hour- counting gauge that tells me the state of charge assuming the actual capacity is the same as the stated capacity.

 

We use the boat for extended leisure cruising (100 or more days a year, including a fair bit in winter) and when we are not on the boat it is in a marina on shore power (Mastervolt Combi).

 

within 6 months I noticed that the SoC on the Smartgauge was decreasing about twice as fast as the other gauge - in other words my batteries were approaching 50% of badged capacity, despite being fully charged and then some, each day.

 

I put it down to the batteries having been in the boat during fit-out and maybe not well looked after. I got a new set of “Albion” batteries from Midland Chandlers, around £75 each I think. After 6 months, same problem down to 50% capacity. I tried equalising (charging at about 15.5v for a few hours) following a full normal charge. This restored all the lost capacity as if by magic. But a few months later, signs of major capacity loss again. More equailing required. Intervals between equalising decreased and finally after 2 years they were goosed (probably ran out of water).

 

So I got 4 x Trojan T105s, slightly over £100 each. New interconnects to be made up (cheap crimping device bought from eBay), slightly smaller footprint (but taller) so packed battery box out with some wood, and they were good to go.

 

Now approaching 5 years later, they still have full badged capacity. Chalk and cheese! However like any battery, they need to be charged properly. It’s OK for us because we generally cruise long days (7 hours or more) and so they are fully charged each day.

 

They are also like a fairly high charge voltage at the end of the charge, nominally 14.8v or more. However in my experience, a normal charge voltage of around 14.4-14.5v is perfectly OK in summer with warm batteries. As you probably know, charging voltages have to be increased as temperature falls so in winter, 14.4v isn’t really enough and sulphation can start to creep in. We are fortunate in having a Travelpower that can feed the Combi, and I have a communication screen (Masterview Easy) that allows easy modification of all the parameters of the Combi. So in winter I just set the charge voltage to 15v or so and run the Travelpower near the end of the cruising day for 30 mins or so to give the batteries the high voltage finish they like.

 

So for you, I think charging in summer won’t be a problem. Yes with 2 6v batteries in series you just connect to the alternator as if it was a 12v battery.  It will be more problematic in winter when the alternator voltage may not really be high enough for cold batteries and there won’t be much output from the solar. I think you will need a generator and battery charger that can be adjusted to give 15.5v (the Sterling Pro-Charge Ultra seems favourite for that).

 

Anyway you can identify the start of sulphation by checking the fully-charged specific gravity, which should be 1.277. I use a refractometer (cheap, from eBay) to keep an eye on it. You could try using your existing charging equipment and as winter starts to set in, keep a close eye on the fully charged sg. If it starts to decrease, this means you are getting sulphation and you will have to take immediate steps to increase the charging voltage (genny + charger). Sulphation is reversible  but only if tackled reasonably quickly.

 

Also with decent batteries you really need a decent way of monitoring them. At the very least an ammeter to know the charging current (because that tells you when you can stop charging) and preferably some other sort of battery monitor. I am a fan of the Smartgauge but we are aware that recently they have been selling them badly calibrated and thus misleading. If I were you I would buy one, and check its voltage reading against a good known reference. If it is out by more than 0.05v then send it back!

Edited by nicknorman

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You’ll have to let us know where you got yout T105’s from. I cant find any just over £100. Even buying 4 gives only about £10 saving per battery on £600. 

Edited by rowland al

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Just to add to what Nick said above. We have had trojans as a liveaboard since new four years ago with no noticeable loss of capacity. You should not have too much trouble reaching the higher charging voltage with your solar, to finish off the charging process, even during winter after an initial engine alternator charge. Trojans do like to be equalised periodically, and again depending on how programmable  your charge controller is  this can be done easily with the solar.

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5 minutes ago, rowland al said:

You’ll have to let us know where you got yout T105’s from. I cant find any just over £100. Even buying 4 gives only about £10 saving per battery on £600. 

Don’t forget I bought them nearly 5 years ago when the £$ ratio was different (they are American of course). Yes they are a lot more expensive now, £140 or more.

  • Greenie 1

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17 minutes ago, Phil. said:

Just to add to what Nick said above. We have had trojans as a liveaboard since new four years ago with no noticeable loss of capacity. You should not have too much trouble reaching the higher charging voltage with your solar, to finish off the charging process, even during winter after an initial engine alternator charge. Trojans do like to be equalised periodically, and again depending on how programmable  your charge controller is  this can be done easily with the solar.

I think the key to this is whether you have access to a shore line and can give the battery a good 24/48h trickle charge every few months (or more often).

 

Most boaters have access to a shore line for the majority of the year, so it’s easier to get them up to near 100% capacity overnight. This is why banks of ‘domestic’ batteries last so long for the majority of boaters. 

 

The trouble is that if you dont give batteries a full overnight trickle charge every so often, you lose a bit of the batteries overall capacity each time you take a daily load from it. Tbe battery effectively gets a bit smaller in capacity every day because the last few percent doesn’t get charged up.

 

I get around this problem by taking my single starter tyoe battery out every few months and trickle charge it away from the boat. That would be real pain to do with 4 x heavier Trojans with no handle!

 

 

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1 hour ago, rowland al said:

 

We’re also CC’ers and have never used a shore line or generatorv to charge up dometics in 6 years. 

 

............................... can easily be taken to a mates house to get a full trickle charge every few months.

I

Cheat!!!

Never used shore line ...........so you go to your mates house.?

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2 minutes ago, Dr Bob said:

Cheat!!!

Never used shore line ...........so you go to your mates house.?

Well I actually go to my wife’s house because I get my washing done at the same time. ;)

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5 minutes ago, rowland al said:

Well I actually go to my wife’s house because I get my washing done at the same time. ;)

Just go into any marina for 24 hours and plug in. Doesn't cost much, plenty of em around and you don't need to visit the wife ?

  • Haha 1

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Or take your batteries and charger to a pub. Unplug the Jukebox and plug it in there.

  • Haha 2

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21 minutes ago, bizzard said:

Or take your batteries and charger to a pub. Unplug the Jukebox and plug it in there.

Fruit machine surely? Far more ethical.

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1 minute ago, rowland al said:

Fruit machine surely? Far more ethical.

No, not with the crap they call music today! Far better the music is off!

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7 minutes ago, mrsmelly said:

No, not with the crap they call music today! Far better the music is off!

What pubs do you frequent? Some pubs specialise in certain genres. For example near Fenny Stratford you have the Red Lion (rock) or Pink Punters amoungst others.

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Trojans have thick plates and big cells, that's what its all about. I think £100 is a thing of the past. Just paid £337 for a pair of T125s, these have slightly higher capacity than the 105.

 

Our new local, the Golden Lion in Todmorden, tends to use ready made playlists for its music (when therse's not live music or a DJ) and so its pretty much luck of the draw.

Last week they had a DJ playing a sort of Latin Jazz. I hate latin and I hate Jazz. Later on he moved on to obscure soul type stuff and after the latin jazz it sounded really good in comparison, maybe that's what been a DJ is all about ?

 

.............Dave

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15 minutes ago, dmr said:

Trojans have thick plates and big cells, that's what its all about. I think £100 is a thing of the past. Just paid £337 for a pair of T125s, these have slightly higher capacity than the 105.

 

Our new local, the Golden Lion in Todmorden, tends to use ready made playlists for its music (when therse's not live music or a DJ) and so its pretty much luck of the draw.

Last week they had a DJ playing a sort of Latin Jazz. I hate latin and I hate Jazz. Later on he moved on to obscure soul type stuff and after the latin jazz it sounded really good in comparison, maybe that's what been a DJ is all about ?

 

.............Dave

I thoght starter batteries have more plate surface area which is why they can give uo more amps and suck in more amps over a short period. They tend to have thinner plates as a result though, hence the fears about warped plates. 

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6 minutes ago, rowland al said:

I thoght starter batteries have more plate surface area which is why they can give uo more amps and suck in more amps over a short period. They tend to have thinner plates as a result though, hence the fears about warped plates. 

Yes, its the plate area that gives high current, but plate thickness that gives lots of deep discharge cycles, so starters have lots of thin plates and Trojans have fewer but thicker plates. Better batteries usually have bigger cells but I don't fully understand the advantage, though having more space at the bottom to collect the "sheddings" is a factor. The 12volts Trojans have an inferior cycle life to the 6v Trojans, and proper 2v Tractions have huge cells.

Warped plates will be a failure but its just loss of material from thin plates that usually defines battery life.

 

................Dave

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1 hour ago, mrsmelly said:

No, not with the crap they call music today! Far better the music is off!

So Schmelly ,name some good Music.... would not be surprised if you Nominated the Wurzels..

Edited by cereal tiller

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4 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Broadly speaking, cheapo batteries lose capacity quickly and easily from even the slightest abuse, and need replacing when you still feel they are 'new'. Trojans however, seem to be far more resistant to this effect, and even if they lose capacity this can usually be recovered with a process called equalisation. Equalisation doesn't really work in my experience on cheapo batts. 

 

I have never owned Trojans though, so am not writing from personal experience. I too am considering buying some shortly. 

 

Thanks.

I think I probably am a battery-abuser. I can't stand the thought of running my engine for more than perhaps an hour a day (when not moving) so I'm really looking for a choice which might allow this (or something close). I don't really use much electricity. I think the major use is the fridge (I'm considering putting it out under the cratch cover for the winter!). I also charge phone, laptop and sometimes play movies through the laptop onto PC screen. LED lights.

 

For me it's a balance between comfort (using appliances) and noise (running engine). I'm willing to give up some comfort so I don't have to put up with noise.

 

I suppose the question is, are the Trojans so good they are worth spending 2x the amount to get the equivalent AH (1), and will they allow me to carry on with my poor charging practice. If not, what is the minimum I could get away with?

 

(1) Is this correct? I would get 225 AH at 12v using 2x T-105's?

 

3 hours ago, rowland al said:

 

We’re also CC’ers and have never used a shore line or generatorv to charge up dometics in 6 years. 

 

I had 2 new 6v Trojans (£300) which only lasted just over 2 years. I have since been usung a single heavy duty starter battey (about £80). It’s still doing the job nicely after nearly a year now.

 

The advantages-  

Charges up much quicker from engine alternator.

Can deliver more amps if you need it (e.g as emergency starter battery)

Has a hande and being a single battery can easily be taken to a mates house to get a full trickle charge every few months.

If it fails after 2 years like the Trojens  did, it’s only £80 to replace, not £300. 

 

Our power consumption is probably no more than 15-20a per day at the moment. The battery rarely goes below 50% capacity. We use  LED lights, (we have gas fridge!), TV for the missus about 4 hours per evening, water pumps, phone charging and occasional radio. No washing machine, dryer or dish washer on board (just me and the wife!). 

 

 

 

I did actually consider buying one new FLA and seeing how I get on with it, so that if I ruin it over the winter, it's only £75 lost. Mostly as a test/learning experience really (I'm new).

 

Do you think the Trojan failed due to bad practices, or what?

 

3 hours ago, nicknorman said:

I’ve often repeated my story but no harm in doing it again! New boat with powerful 175A alternator, came with 4 110AH leisure/dual purpose “el cheapo” batteries. I fitted a Smartgauge (which tells me the actual State of Charge as a % of the actual capacity) and an amp hour- counting gauge that tells me the state of charge assuming the actual capacity is the same as the stated capacity.

 

We use the boat for extended leisure cruising (100 or more days a year, including a fair bit in winter) and when we are not on the boat it is in a marina on shore power (Mastervolt Combi).

 

within 6 months I noticed that the SoC on the Smartgauge was decreasing about twice as fast as the other gauge - in other words my batteries were approaching 50% of badged capacity, despite being fully charged and then some, each day.

 

I put it down to the batteries having been in the boat during fit-out and maybe not well looked after. I got a new set of “Albion” batteries from Midland Chandlers, around £75 each I think. After 6 months, same problem down to 50% capacity. I tried equalising (charging at about 15.5v for a few hours) following a full normal charge. This restored all the lost capacity as if by magic. But a few months later, signs of major capacity loss again. More equailing required. Intervals between equalising decreased and finally after 2 years they were goosed (probably ran out of water).

 

So I got 4 x Trojan T105s, slightly over £100 each. New interconnects to be made up (cheap crimping device bought from eBay), slightly smaller footprint (but taller) so packed battery box out with some wood, and they were good to go.

 

Now approaching 5 years later, they still have full badged capacity. Chalk and cheese! However like any battery, they need to be charged properly. It’s OK for us because we generally cruise long days (7 hours or more) and so they are fully charged each day.

 

They are also like a fairly high charge voltage at the end of the charge, nominally 14.8v or more. However in my experience, a normal charge voltage of around 14.4-14.5v is perfectly OK in summer with warm batteries. As you probably know, charging voltages have to be increased as temperature falls so in winter, 14.4v isn’t really enough and sulphation can start to creep in. We are fortunate in having a Travelpower that can feed the Combi, and I have a communication screen (Masterview Easy) that allows easy modification of all the parameters of the Combi. So in winter I just set the charge voltage to 15v or so and run the Travelpower near the end of the cruising day for 30 mins or so to give the batteries the high voltage finish they like.

 

So for you, I think charging in summer won’t be a problem. Yes with 2 6v batteries in series you just connect to the alternator as if it was a 12v battery.  It will be more problematic in winter when the alternator voltage may not really be high enough for cold batteries and there won’t be much output from the solar. I think you will need a generator and battery charger that can be adjusted to give 15.5v (the Sterling Pro-Charge Ultra seems favourite for that).

 

Anyway you can identify the start of sulphation by checking the fully-charged specific gravity, which should be 1.277. I use a refractometer (cheap, from eBay) to keep an eye on it. You could try using your existing charging equipment and as winter starts to set in, keep a close eye on the fully charged sg. If it starts to decrease, this means you are getting sulphation and you will have to take immediate steps to increase the charging voltage (genny + charger). Sulphation is reversible  but only if tackled reasonably quickly.

 

Also with decent batteries you really need a decent way of monitoring them. At the very least an ammeter to know the charging current (because that tells you when you can stop charging) and preferably some other sort of battery monitor. I am a fan of the Smartgauge but we are aware that recently they have been selling them badly calibrated and thus misleading. If I were you I would buy one, and check its voltage reading against a good known reference. If it is out by more than 0.05v then send it back!

Thanks for your detailed reply. It's certainly given me lots to think about.

 

There seems to be some disagreement on whether normal FLA batteries can be restored using "equalising". I wonder if this is due to different makes or types? (I have no idea). I've heard others say FLA will give you 2 years but they didn't mention equalising was needed to get there, so that's good to know. So it's possible the ones I'm using now could be restored, if I can give them an equalisation charge. My charger is a "Sterling advanced digital 4 step charger". Doesn't say Ultra on it sadly. I'll have to look up what it can do.

 

charger.jpg.40a94f276acf5c1f1dbe30f03800a8dc.jpg

 

So if I go down this route, I will need a refractometer, a smartguage, and possibly a new charger and generator. The alternative is to buy a set of cheap FLA, but they will also die in 6 months without regular equalisation charges.

 

Also an ammeter. I use this to find when the amps-in bottoms out for a while, which tells me it's fully charged, right?

 

 

 

2 hours ago, Phil. said:

Just to add to what Nick said above. We have had trojans as a liveaboard since new four years ago with no noticeable loss of capacity. You should not have too much trouble reaching the higher charging voltage with your solar, to finish off the charging process, even during winter after an initial engine alternator charge. Trojans do like to be equalised periodically, and again depending on how programmable  your charge controller is  this can be done easily with the solar.

 

The solar controller installed allows me to choose between FLA, sealed or Gel batteries, but doesn't seem to have any way to choose a higher voltage than those defaults. This would seem to be the easiest route though (no genny needed).

 

Thanks for the help.

Edited by eid

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If  minimal charging is your goal, don’t get Trojans! They are a lot more expensive than cheap leisure types and won’t last any longer if not charged properly.

 

Of course what you really need are LiFePO4 (lithium) batteries, but that would be a major undertaking (see other threads on the subject).

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All types of battery will struggle to deliver over time if you cant charge them to full capacity on a regular basis. Anyone with expensive cordless vacuum cleaners learn this if they don’t leave them plugged in  :/

 

One day battery technology will overcome this I expect. It does seem slow in coming though.

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28 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

If  minimal charging is your goal, don’t get Trojans! They are a lot more expensive than cheap leisure types and won’t last any longer if not charged properly.

 

Of course what you really need are LiFePO4 (lithium) batteries, but that would be a major undertaking (see other threads on the subject).

I am considering going with lithium. They do seem to be the only option which would suit my laziness needs, but damn they're expensive. There's also this, though how long it will take to come to market I don't know.

 

I was hoping Trojans might work but they seem to need more looking after rather than less. I had no idea batteries were such a complex issue.

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17 minutes ago, rowland al said:

All types of battery will struggle to deliver over time if you cant charge them to full capacity on a regular basis.

...Except lithium batteries.

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1 hour ago, eid said:

 

So if I go down this route, I will need a refractometer, a smartguage, and possibly a new charger and generator. The alternative is to buy a set of cheap FLA, but they will also die in 6 months without regular equalisation charges.

 

Also an ammeter. I use this to find when the amps-in bottoms out for a while, which tells me it's fully charged, right?

 

Rather than a smartguage, get a decent battery monitor so you can see the amps and amp hrs as well as voltage. If you want a smartguage get both. If find my ammeter (BMV battery monitor) is useful for seeing how many Amp Hrs have been used.

You dont need a refractometer. You can manage your batteries without one especially if they are cheapo's and then you rely on rested voltage and amps used to check capacity. If I invested in Trojans then yes I would buy one for extra assurance.

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