I am considering buying a trolling motor and a battery for my Capri Omega. In addition to motoring away from the dock, I also need the motor to head for shore when CB's blow up. Is anyone using a sealed Optima deep cycle battery? What size motor are you using?
I installed a Minn-Kota Riptide 40 trolling motor from Cabela's, and powered it with a MK 8GU1H sealed Gel Cel. According to what I read at the time, this is enough for about 45 minutes of use before the battery poops out. The battery only weighs about 27 lbs - it's the smallest I could find in it's class that's made for marine use. This combination seems to power the Capri nicely when the winds die, but it's a long hard slog to make headway against winds 20 knots or faster. In such rare cases a larger motor is needed.
All and all, the motor, battery, charger and battery box were about $400.
The mod 3 I just bought came with an Optima gel battery. It is a lot heavier than a conventional battery. I was told by the local Marina parts guy that the only real advantage of the gel battery is that it is much less prone to damage from jarring, say for an off-road vehicle, but on a boat, there would be no real advantage. they do not last any longer than conventional, and he has actually seen more returns due to defects on these. Mine is working fine so far, but I will opt for a less expensive conventional deep cycle battery when it comes time for replacement.
Here's a pretty good summary of why I swiched to gel cell batteries;
Gel Battery Advantages
• Totally maintenance free
• Air transportable
• No corrosion
• Spill proof/leak proof
• Installs upright or on its side
• Superior deep cycle life, about 3 times the life of a lead acid deep cycle battery.
• Very low to no gassing (unless overcharged)
• Compatible with sensitive electronic equipment
• Superior shelf life
• Rugged and vibration resistant
• Very safe at sea with no chlorine gas in bulge (due to sulfuric acid and salt water mixing)
• Will not freeze to -20°F
• Lowest cost per month (cost / months of life)
• Lowest cost per cycle (cost/ life cycles)
Gel Battery Disadvantages
• Higher initial cost
• Heavier weight
• Water can not be replaced if continually overcharged
• Automatic temperature sensing, voltage- regulated chargers must be used
• Charge voltage must be limited to extend life
(13.8 to 14.1 volts maximum at 68°F)
I didn't see anyone throw out the idea of an Absorbed Glass Mat battery or "AGM" battery. They are maintenance free (no need to add water), have basically the same qualities as a gel cell battery, and they're less expensive.
Yeah no problem. I work at West Marine and that's what I recommend to my customers. Few people realize that you have a buy a special multi-stage charger for gel batteries (this ups the cost) while most lower cost marine chargers will work for lead-acid and AGM.