Long time readers will remember my multiple blogs on batteries. However, I’m not going to make this post a long one. I just thought I would post an update on our current golf cart battery bank. YES YES, we have indeed ordered a new fancy lithium battery bank (really LiFePO4) . No it has not arrived yet. No joke, it’s a race between those batteries arriving and the 6 month date of the money leaving my account (TLDR: its almost been 6 months since I paid). Ok, we need to talk about something else or I’m going to end up swearing at some Chinese man with a made up English name who I would love to strangle. Then I’ll end up drinking beer, crying and the blog won’t get written. I’m sure, no one wants that!
So back to the golf cart battery bank. This is the same battery bank I built in Key West that is about to turn 3 years old. It has been beaten, cooked, undercharged and generally abused. So far it has stood up amazingly and impressed me everyday. Unfortunately just the other night, one battery decided I might be too impressed. Just like a one eared Holyfield it decided it had enough and tapped out. That failure lead to a confused, bare ass dance by a fat guy when the voltage alarms starting sounding at 1:00am (Its HOT AF down here in Grenada and sleeping nude is a thing). Just to draw a sexy picture.. A fat nekkid guy running around the boat looking at the numerous lighted panels trying to figure out what the hell was making the screeching noise. Ah, yes the Victron energy monitor was alarming due to 11.9 volts on the batteries.
Sigh.. I quickly ran around the boat telling everyone to close their hatches as I need to run the generator (a dead battery bank is bad enough, I don’t need dead kids from the CO). I fired up the generator while my sleep addled brain tried to work out how we had used so much power (clothes were still optional at this point). We had never been to 11.9V unless we were running a HUGE LOAD (like our water heater). No matter, the generator was running and our voltage was now good. I grabbed my laptop and fired up a Seinfeld (I don’t run the generator while sleeping, EVER).
Now after an hour of running the generator (pouring in 50A), I decided to cut it and see what the voltage was without charge (still laughing at Seinfeld… I WAS IN THE POOL, I WAS IN THE POOL). Dammit, the voltage quickly dropped to 12.3V with an 8A load on the batteries. Even at 2:30am and still laughing from Seinfeld, I knew a battery had failed. Reluctantly, I tore the settee apart until I exposed the batteries so I could put my “pokin bits” on the terminals. A poke here, and a poke there, and we found the lazy lady! One battery was reading only 4.35V (a healthy 6V battery will be over 6V even with a load on her). However, for once that night, luck was on my side and it was one the end of the bank. Some quick nut removal and wire swapping and that battery was removed from the array (I know you sick bastards had your brains in the gutters at the beginning of this sentence). Unfortunately its partner was also removed, leaving us with only 2/3 the battery capacity we had before. Luckily after another hour of charging (of course another Seinfeld) it was able to limp us through the night (the whole 2 hours left).
Once the morning came, I was faced with the reality that I would need to find a replacement 6V golf cart battery since some China man SCREWED ME! (insert a whole string of salty explanatives here). Initially I thought this would be a fairly trivial thing. I’m mean, there are like 300 boats between all the bays here in Grenada. SOMEONE had to be changing a set a batteries. I only needed one “OK” battery. Nope, we got to live with a smaller bank for 5 days before I finally found one (Let me play you the sound of my people… A Honda 2000 running nightly).
A BIG SHOUT OUT TO BUDGET MARINE. They gave me a Trojan T105 that someone traded in. After sitting in their back room for 7 days it still had a voltage of 6.25V. They didn’t charge me a cent. I know we all grind on Budget Marine, but they definitely won me over as a customer that day.
Now for another sexy image.. A fat man trying to hump an 80 pound battery back to his boat in full sun at +35C (only 1/2 the job since the dead one needed to go somewhere). Goddamn cruising is sexy!