The World of Marine Batteries

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By: Battery Systems Inc.

It’s August and the end of the boating season is quickly approaching so make the most of it! And if you want to ensure your boat is performing to its full potential, it is important to dedicate time to the batteries that run it. This article will discuss the various battery setups for boats, and how you can employ them to maximize your fun on the water.

In the world of Marine Batteries there are three main groups: starter, deep-cycle, and dual-purpose. The following article discusses in more depth the differences between deep-cycle and starting batteries, batterysystems.net/deep-cycle-vs-starting-battery/, but for all intents and purposes, deep-cycle batteries can be thought of as the marathon runners of the battery world, and starting batteries are the sprinters. Deep-cycle batteries supply power at a slower rate for an extended period of time while starting batteries supply large amounts of power for a short period of time. Starting batteries are typically used to “crank” or start the engine, and are often referred to as cranking batteries. Dual-purpose batteries work as an imperfect middle ground between starter and deep-cycle batteries.

Often, a boat will usually employ the use of both deep-cycle and starter batteries. The starting battery is connected directly to the engine and discharges rapidly for the initial “crank” followed by a quick recharging by the engine’s alternator. Deep-cycle batteries, or house batteries, are not involved in the startup of the engine, but are used to power the electronics on the boat. In a typical boat wiring, the deep-cycle battery is connected directly to the DC panel, which is wired to the various electrical apparatuses, including air-conditioning, appliances, speakers, etc. The picture to the left shows the starting battery’s relationship with the Engine, and the house battery’s relationship with the DC panel, labeled ‘House.’ The negative end of the starter battery would be connected to the engine, and the negative end of the house battery would be connected to the charger as well as the starter-battery’s negative, as demonstrated by the picture on the right. Also pictured is the ACR, which stands for Automatic Charging Relay. A lot can be said on the importance of the ACR, but essentially the ACR functions in combining the circuits of batteries during charging, by putting them in parallel (https://www.batterysystems.net/series-vs-parallel/) and isolating them when charging has stopped. This prevents a load from discharging and draining both batteries.

So far we have discussed the role that deep-cycle batteries and starter batteries play together. The next article will outline the individual uses of deep-cycle, starter batteries, and dual purpose batteries.

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