The original 8D batteries were still functional in 2009 but were getting weak. I nolonger had the reserve I needed to feel comfortable on overnight anchoring and the refridgerator would take the battery down overnight. It was time to change the batteries! (What I didn't realize until I changed the batteries was that I had a battery switch problem that was reducing my available capacity to half.)
The thought of wrestling those 8D's out of the battery compartment had me thinking twice about replacing them with more 8D's. Most folks that do their own work, seem to opt for 6 volt batteries when replacement time comes. This make the batteries much more manageable, and maintains the same storage capacity. The choice before me was either cheaper supermarket golfcart batteries or spend almost twice as much for high quality heavy duty batteries. Hoping to have less problems and replace them less often, I opted for the "Long life" Rolls Surrette batteries. The following is a description taken from their website.
Established in 1935 in Salem Massachusetts, The Rolls Surrette Battery Company has been a trusted name in deep cycle batteries for well over 50 years. The company relocated to Springhill, Nova Scotia Canada in 1959 where it is the nation’s only remaining independent battery manufacturer. Their unparalleled quality and workmanship have earned the manufacturer a solid reputation in the battery industry, as one of the most reliable batteries on the market. These batteries are known for their high cycle life, featuring the thickest plates in the industry, a large liquid reserve, and a durable double-wall construction. Rolls Surrette stands behind their batteries with some of the longest warranties in the industry, up to 10 years on certain models. The average life expectancy for these batteries is known to be in the 15 to 20 year range.
EngineeringRolls Surrette batteries are known for their rugged, dual container construction. Each cell is encapsulated in its own inner container made with a high grade, polypropylene shell and its own heat bonded cover. The cells are then further protected with a second, high-density, polyethylene outer container. These safety measures allow the battery to still be operable should the outer container break, eliminating the hazard of a toxic sulfuric acid spill.
Rolls Surrette cells feature double insulated positive plates. The first layer utilizes a thick woven glass mat, which then is sealed in a non-destructible micro porous polyethylene envelope. The protective envelope reduces the possibility of separator misalignment, cracked separators, or shorting at the bottom or sides. This also allows the sediment chamber to be eliminated, creating more space for liquid at the top of the battery, thus lengthening periods between watering.
I went with the EHG 210 6 volt batteries in 2009. These are extra heavy duty golfcart size batteries. I also installed a Xantrex Link 20 battery monitor at the same time. That's when I found the battery switch problem. These batteries are almost twice the cost of Sam's Club batteries but the expected life is 3 -4 times those. Most reviews are indicating 2-4 years life on the Sam's Club variety. The warrantee is 1 year replacement. The Rolls batteries have 2 year replacement and 7 year prorated warrantee. Expected life is in excess of 10 years.
In August of 2014 I again lost one bank of batteries, and thought my switch was in disrepair again. After rebuilding the switch, I still had the same problem. Not being real faithful in my battery maintenance, my poor monitoring of the electrolyte levels had resulted in that bank being low on water. I pulled the batteries and brought them home to refill and recharge. One battery had been damaged and was unservicable. I opened a trouble ticket on the Rolls support site and was told they would honor the prorated warrantee as the batteries were only 60 months old. The dealer also discounted a replacement battery at 25% beacuse of the reduced service I had gotten from the rolls battery. I am sure I would not recieved anything from Sam's Club or the manufacturer had I bought their bargain battery. The replacement battery is an S-290 which is the upgraded equivilent of my old EHG 210.
So far I am very happy with the way the batteries have performed, and I have take responsibility for the one that failed. I'll be back in 5 years to let you know if the Rolls Battery decesion was the right one!