Whether you are heading outdoors to enjoy the water and the sun or to get some fishing in, marine batteries will get your adventure going. Getting your engine started and then running all the other accessories on your boat, such as the electronics and lights, requires some serious battery power. Boats are different to cars, and their environment is different, so marine batteries have to be tough, reliable and resistant to vibrations. A choppy sea or bumpy trailer is a totally different ball game to a smooth highway, so purchasing specialised marine batteries is a must for a successful adventure on your boat.
There are several types of marine batteries, and what you buy might depend on the size of your boat. Larger boats will probably run a couple of batteries – one to crank the starter engine and the other to run the accessories. These are different types of batteries as one is required to supply a lot of power at once, and the other is required to run a low amount of power over an extended period. Smaller boats can’t take two batteries – the space is tight, and the weight of the batteries won’t be compatible, so in this case, dual-purpose marine batteries are the way forward.
How does a marine battery work?
There are three main types of marine batteries: the marine starting battery, deep cycle marine batteries and dual-purpose marine batteries.
A marine starting battery is going to work by providing a powerful surge of electricity. These cranking batteries work through a series of thin plates. There are a lot of these thin plates, which increases the plate surface area. An increased plate surface area means these marine batteries can provide a faster surge of volts to fire up your engine. Because of the way they are made, they are not suitable for powering up your accessories or as trolling motor batteries. If they were to be used for sustained use, they would overheat, depleting the available capacity.
Deep cycle marine batteries have the same technology as other deep cycle batteries by discharging slowly over longer periods of time. They are also designed to be discharged deeply and then put on charge again many times. These marine batteries are also constructed differently from a marine starting battery as the plates are thicker. Thicker plates mean that they can withstand higher temperatures and are less likely to overheat. These are what are going to be used for a range of applications such as to run your accessories, audio systems, lights and appliances.
Marine dual-purpose batteries are the best marine battery for your smaller boat. They are designed for when two batteries won’t fit and perform the function of a marine starting battery and a deep cycle marine battery. They have thicker plates still and contain more antimony than a regular cranking battery so they have a higher charging capacity. They may not be as efficient because they combine the two functions, so you may have to compromise on performance.
How to install a marine battery?
It’s really important to consider safety and be responsible when working with marine batteries. Protective eyewear, gloves and clothing will help to prevent any harm being done. It’s also highly advisable to read your vessel’s manual or consult the dealer for any advice before attempting this task.
Before you start to mess around with marine batteries, you need to switch off all your appliances, equipment and your ignition switch. First, remove the negative cable, followed by the positive one. Make sure that these are secured so that you don’t accidentally get electrical contact from them. Mark them up, so you know which is which when you come to install your new battery.
After this is done, you can remove the old battery. Old batteries should be disposed of responsibly so as not to harm the environment. Make sure you check out how best to dispose of your old marine batteries, such as taking them to a battery recycling centre.
Next, there should be a little maintenance of the battery equipment. The battery case or tray will probably need a clean and the terminals, so clean them carefully with warm water. This will help prevent corrosion, which is a concern when we are talking about batteries. Check the connectors, cables and terminals for corrosion and replace if necessary.
Now it’s time for the new battery. Check that the wires are the right size for your new battery, and then strap the battery tightly into the battery compartment or box. It should be really secure. Once this is checked, connect the black cable first and then the positive cable, and you are ready to go.
You need a good product for your outdoor adventure, and Outbax has the goods, including RV batteries, golf cart batteries, AGM batteries and boat batteries. Want to camp off-grid? You’ll need an inverter battery and a set-up for your solar batteries, so look at ours. We also have fast automated shipping across Australia.