Gaining a basic understanding of battery abbreviations will help you make the best decisions when it is time to replace your boat battery. You do not need to be able to tell others how to build a battery - so don't be confused. Remember, the biggest decision you have to make is between a starter battery, a deep cycle battery or a battery that is designed to do both. Once that decision has been made then pay attention to the abbreviations, price, warranty, and anticipated life expectancy. Begin by matching the specifications from your old battery to the new one. Ask questions at the store where you plan to purchase your new battery in order to insure that you have done this.
Cold Cranking Amps:
CCA is the number of amps a 12 volt battery can deliver for 30 seconds at 0°F and maintain 7.2 volts
Marine Cranking Amps:
MCA is the amount of amps a battery can deliver at 32°F.
RC is the number of minutes it takes to discharge a battery to 10.5 volts by a 25-amp discharge at 80°F.
AH is a unit of measure for a battery's storage capacity. Most auto/marine and light truck batteries are tested at for 20-hours at a standard discharge rate. For example: A 12-volt 100ah rated marine battery means that 5 amps can be discharged for 20 hours at 80°F (26.7C) before falling below 10.5 volts (6 cells X 1.75v)
There are two basic categories or applications for batteries - the starter battery, and the deep cycle battery. This is the place to begin - which application are you looking for - starting your motor, or keeping accessories running for your all day outing?
After choosing which usage category battery you need, you need to determine the power - cranking amps, amp hours, etc. Click on the following link to better understand battery abbreviations.
There are three basic construction types - the flooded or wet cell battery, the Gel Battery, or the AGM battery. These differences in construction offer different features and benefits and will differ in their price as well. Click on the following link to read more about these construction types:
There are many different applications that require batteries. For example you will find Automobile, Marine, RV, Large Truck, Tractor, Motor Cycle, Lawn Mower and on and on. It is important to choose the battery that most closely matches the requirements of your application. A good place to start is to simply replace your battery with an identical one that came with your application when new. If you are having trouble with your accessories running your deep cycle battery down, then discuss with your battery department or dealer and consider perhaps a deep cycle battery with a longer Amp Hour rating.
Boat Batteries are notorious for not getting used constantly, and often sitting through the winter for long periods of time. If you don't want to buy new batteries every 2-3 years, then try the following: Perform routine maintenance per the manufacturers directions at the end of the season or before any long storage period. In addition, fully recharge each battery before placing in storage, then store them hooked to a "Trickle Charger" for the duration of the storage period. Trickle Chargers run a small charge like 1.5 amps to the battery and most have a float that turns it off and on as it needs. You should get more than 3 years. However, these batteries are not built to last forever, and it would be best to have them checked out to begin each season. Store them in a well ventilated area.