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East Penn

Not all batteries are created equally!!

Batteries are the core if not the heart of your system, the fuel tank,  be sure to start with the right stuff!  Batteries, next to generators are the component that are most often skimped on, but can make or break your system. Deep-cycle batteries are like any other batteries - the less they work, the longer they will last.  Therefore a bigger bank not only gives you a larger reservoir, but also offers longer battery life.  Batteries are purpose constructed. Constructed differently for specific applications and therefore perform best for the application for which they are designed.  Put to an application for which they are not designed they will do poorly in one way or another.

Quality is a decisive factor in performance. Fresh batteries in good condition offer all of their rated runtime and recharge fully after use.  Improper battery types, batteries with inappropriate ratings and aging batteries, which have been discharged and recharged many times, accept less of a recharge over time which results in shorter runtime. Severely degraded batteries and ones with manufacturing defects may fail prematurely or even explode.

Initial vs. Lifetime Cost
Canadian Tire, Wal-Mart, Sears and others sell "deep cycle" marine battery for as low as $60 which may seem like a good deal for off-grid.  After all, they are deep cycle batteries... However, the use to which you will put these batteries may kill these batteries within two years or so.    The cheapest alternative is an industrial application where they are put to a long discharge cycle and recharged daily. A golf cart battery if you are starting off on your own and expect to make mistakes and think you might damage or destroy your first batteries start with these. What's different?  Typical deep cycle batteries are a compromise to provide cranking amps and deeper cycles.  Off-grid specific batteries have less but thicker heavier plates and different composition.  Allow us to recommend quality batteries built to last many years.  We deal with a number of manufactures and will find the most appropriate battery for you at your location and application and budget.

Adding Batteries
If you intend to purchase what you can afford now and add more batteries later, please reconsider. Mixing old and new batteries is never a good idea. Batteries age over time, when tied together in a single battery bank the batteries act as and are treated as a single battery resource.  The limit of this resource is the oldest, weakest battery within the array.  Batteries within a battery bank should all be identical.  At minimum the batteries should be of the same manufacturer, construction and rating. If your system is set up and configured to work with several battery banks a new battery bank can be set up with different batteries.

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Last modified: January 12, 2023