Unlike batteries used to start engines, deep cycle batteries are designed to store power. They have fewer and thicker lead plates as compared to starter batteries. Starter batteries are designed to provide a sudden surge of power needed to crank an engine, so there are more lead plates within these batteries and they are thinner, providing a larger surface area.
Deep cycle batteries are often used in marine vessels, RVs, motor homes or caravans to provide power to run electrical equipment and appliances. So you would need a battery that would store a large quantity of power, to discharge deeply, and to recharge over and over again.
There are three basic types of deep cycle batteries.
- Lead Acid Flooded Cell
- Gel Cell
- AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat)
Lead Acid Flooded Cell
Lead Acid Flooded Cell batteries are the typical batteries that you see in most deep cycle applications. They are available in several sizes, in both 12v and 6v. They have very thick lead plates submerged in an acid solution (electrolyte). The majority of RV’s or caravans use this type of battery.
Many RV’s have two or more 6-volt batteries, wired in series and parallel to create a 12-volt battery bank. Golf Cart batteries are the primary example, and Trojan brand size T-105 is the industry standard.
- Advantages: Inexpensive, durable, powerful, widely available.
- Disadvantages: Produce corrosive and flammable gasses when charging, so they must be in a vented compartment. Can spill and are corrosive. Must be checked periodically and water must be added to them because small amounts boil away during charging.
- A great choice for most applications.
Gel Cell Batteries
Gel Cell Batteries are similar to Flooded Cell batteries, except the electrolyte is gelled. For this reason, they require little maintenance and rarely if ever emit gasses.
- Advantages: Low maintenance, no venting of gasses, somewhat greater capacity than standard flooded cells.
- Disadvantages: Expensive, slow to charge, can be easily damaged by improper charging – even once.
- Not Recommended: They’re just too picky and easy to damage, also charge rates are too slow.
AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat)
AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries have a glass mat material between the plates and the electrolyte is absorbed into this glass mat. This makes them “spill-proof” and they’re the only battery that can be shipped via UPS or FedEx. Being spill-proof also gives them advantages in RV and marine use.
- Advantages: Low maintenance, no venting of gasses, they will take a charge faster than other batteries (if you have a big enough charger), can be installed on their side if necessary, can be installed in un-vented compartment**, can be installed in tight fit area because you don’t have to check water level, etc.
- Disadvantages: Expensive. Can be damaged by excessive float voltage, but MUCH more durable than Gels.
- Recommended for convenience anytime cost isn’t a concern. Also for special applications in tight fit areas
All deep cycle batteries regardless of type suffer a degenerative process also known as Sulfation. This process can be reversed saving your battery (in most cases even junked or ‘dead’ batteries), with the Infinitum Desulfator.
This article has been selected or written for the benefit of our customers and visitors. Information found in these articles are of general nature and can not be applied universally. For this reason, we strongly advise anyone seeking advice or information to find a professional who can assist with your specific situation.