A regular automobile battery needs to pass only one test – whether it can provide a big enough surge of electricity to the engine of the car for the car to start. Once the car has started with the help of the battery, then the battery doesn’t have to supply power after that, and the engine itself is able to power the running of the car and the appliances attached to the car. A marine battery, on the other hand, not only is responsible for the initial burst of power but a gradual supply of power at a lower level for an extended period after that, with which the other appliances on the ship can run. It is also referred to sometimes as a deep cycle battery.
Also, marine batteries are used in such vessels or in such environments where on demand recharging might not always be possible. For instance, in a windmill set in the rolling fields outside the city, or a 200 feet yacht out for the whole day in the bay. The marine battery they use must have the capacity to provide power for longer periods before they can be recharged. Again, the marine batteries are used in environments which are hostile and often witness heavy rolling or jerking movements, like the two examples cited above. So the mobile battery you use must be robust and hardy.
Apart from ensuring the marine battery is resistant to tough environments and can go for long periods without recharging, let us look at a few more things a potential buyer of marine batteries must keep in mind :
- The first thing to do before venturing out is to take a good look at where the battery will be placed. What kind of space do you have? Some marine batteries have humongous dimensions, so it might be a good idea to measure the dimensions of the space you have before you set out to purchase.
- The kind of recharging outlet you have needs to be checked, so that you can ensure that the mobile battery you buy has outlets and inlets compatible with your charging systems and charging power.
- You need to decide whether you need two separate batteries, one for starting and one for running the appliances, or whether you want a single marine battery that will do both for you. The voltages and amperages of the battery or batteries you buy will need to be checked accordingly. Also, if you plan to have multiple batteries in a bank, then it is preferred that all those batteries should have the same chemistry, because it will save you the bother of arranging for different charging voltages for the different types of batteries.
- Read up and understand some technical words like cranking ampere (CCA), reserve capacity (RC), battery capacity, and understand how much of these you need. The person at the store would help you if you explain the proposed usage of the marine battery to him. It’s a waste of your money to buy a bigger capacity marine battery than you need, but you also do not want to be left stranded and look for recharging often, so choose wisely.
- Do check the warranty conditions. Some manufacturers provide free replacement, while some give you a pro rata coverage. This is not something that can be negotiated for, so you need to compare the conditions of several marine and batteries and take the best.
- And finally, the price. Compare, ask, negotiate, repeat, that should be your mantra till you get your best price. It is possible to negotiate yourself a good price or at least get them to throw in a few freebies along with your new marine battery. But please keep in mind that your new marine battery will be your companion in desolate areas, so don’t compromise on specifications while bargain hunting.
Now that your new battery is here, make sure that you recharge after every use, so that the life of your marine battery can be extended. You need to do regular housekeeping like cleaning of the terminals, refilling of fluids regularly. For your marine battery, please ensure that you are using the correct charging voltage. Try not to go beyond a discharge of 80% before you recharge.