You might consider owning your first boat like a dream come true. You’ll have a sense of success, accomplishment, and prestige. After a long work week, you can head right into the open waters looking for a great catch. You can’t compare fresh fish with many things.
Of course, being a first-time owner of a boat, you may not be familiar with trolling motor batteries. You may not even know what type of battery is best for your machine. Getting the right batteries ensures that you’re safe from having a nightmare in the middle of your happy excursion.
When it comes to choosing batteries for your trolling motor, you don’t want to do trial and error. Since it’s not recommended to use a car battery, it’s always good to consider looking for a motor-specific option. However, the type of product and its amperage hour rating, as well as your budget, can affect your choices.
For a great trolling experience, you must have a powerful motor. Moreover, you need to optimize the machine with the right type of battery. Otherwise, you’re likely to have dead batteries in the middle of your excursion. Here are some battery types to consider.
Deep Cycle vs Starter
For many consumers, large and heavy car batteries are what they are familiar with. However, there are actually two types that fit this description. They are deep cycle and starter batteries. Each of them is different in the way they discharge current.
Deep cycle batteries are meant to discharge small amounts of current over an extended period of time. For instance, they can run a trolling motor for many hours. Contrarily, the design of starter batteries is to discharge large amounts of current over a short period of time. For example, they can be good at starting a car engine.
If the charge of starter batteries constantly drops below 50% only to require recharging over and over, they won’t last long. Therefore, it is easy to ruin your motor and this type of battery if you use it frequently for trolling. Instead, it’s recommended to utilize 12-V deep cycle batteries of two kinds for your fishing or boating: Lead-Acid Wet-Cell and AGM.
Wet Cell vs AGM
Wet-Cell batteries are the most common and affordable option that properly handles the frequent draining and re-charging that motor trolling use requires. For less than $100, you’ll get this pretty standard battery type that lasts about 2-3 years. These batteries are also able to stand overcharging.
However, Lead-Acid Wet-Cell batteries are susceptible to vibrations and spillage no matter how careful you are with using them because they’re not sealed. Moreover, they require occasional maintenance in form of topping off the water.
Wet cell refers to the flooding of the battery’s cells or plates in an electrolyte fluid (a mixture of sulfuric acid and water). The fluid level drops with frequent overcharging. That’s the reason you need to do occasional top offs with distilled water. If the electrolyte level falls enough to expose plates and cells, your battery can be damaged and have a shorter life.
Moreover, Lead-Acid Wet-Cells are susceptible to corrosion because of leakage and other factors. This can negatively affect their performance and even damage them completely. That’s another reason why they need more maintenance, which can be time-consuming.
Aside from the leakage that may be potentially harmful to your body and boat, Lead-Acid Wet-Cells require a well-ventilated compartment. This is because they usually release hydrogen gas. For this reason, you may prefer an AGM type of battery.
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM), Sealed Lead-Acid (SLA), or Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid (VRLA) batteries are newer than Wet-Cell options. They’re completely sealed, have a longer lifespan, and maintain their charge over extended periods of time. Moreover, they don’t require ventilated cases because of the safe containment of gases within their construction.
Since AGM batteries are sealed, they do not need maintenance as opposed to Wet-Cell options. However, they’re more expensive than their equivalent counterpart units. Nevertheless, they’re worth the extra cost because of their long lifespan that can be as long as 4 years.
Unlike Lead-Acid Wet-Cells, glass mats, instead of fluid, hold electrolytes in AGM batteries. The mats consist of very thin glass fibers, woven into a mat to optimize the surface area. The increased surface area holds the electrolytes on the cells all their life. This makes the battery lighter, less susceptible to vibration, and spill proof.
Since the AGM type of battery has an enclosed case, it is relatively easy to install it in a variety of positions. This is a great advantage especially when you have limited space or few mounting options on your boat or kayak.
Another advantage of AGM batteries is that they take less time to fully charge and can last up to two times the runtime of their Wet-Cell counterparts. Moreover, they perform well during cold weather. Since they’re durable, most people prefer them.
Unfortunately, AGM batteries are susceptible to heat and overcharging. However, it’s relatively easy to avoid damage from the two factors. Using the right charger, for instance, can help eliminate the problem of overcharging.
Which is Cheapest?
Of course, it’s easy to tell which one is the cheapest between Wet-Cell and AGM. However, you need to find out the type of battery that’s going to be the most cost-effective option. Whether you’re going to purchase the cheaper Wet-Cells or the more expensive AGM batteries depends on your budget and future goals.
Although the cost of purchasing Wet-Cells may be less in the beginning, the long-term implications may mean that you’ll spend more on maintenance. On the other hand, AGM batteries may be costlier initially but are cost-effective in the long run because you don’t have to maintain them.
Which is Most Reliable?
The type of battery you require for your trolling is one that doesn’t disappoint. That’s why you should go for the AGM option. This type lasts longer, requires no maintenance, is spill proof, and is less susceptible to vibration. The only thing you’ll have to be careful about is the way you charge it, which isn’t an issue: just get the right charger.