Battery Online Book Second Edition Published

Battery car

Our series of posts that eventually became the Battery Installation and Maintenance Online Book was, and continues to be, some of the most popular content we have ever published for one simple reason: The information therein, sourced from a battery manufacturer and hundreds of comments from real cruisers, all filtered through the sieve of our some 35 years of experience living aboard boats with batteries, can double, triple or even quadruple the life you get from your batteries and so save you a pile of money and a lot of aggravation.

To make that information even better and more useful we have just completed a total update and rewrite, and published the result as the second edition of Battery Installation and Maintenance. This Online Book joins our other two second edition books, Heavy Weather Tactics and Weather Reception and Analysis, as well as 20 first edition online books, several of which we are well on our way to rewriting to our second edition standard.

Brand New Chapter

Wait, it gets better. While rereading the hundreds of comments to the first edition of Battery Installation and Maintenance we realized that we had a unique survey of battery types in use in the voyaging community in our hands. So we have combined that with our own experience living with all three types of lead-acid batteries into a new chapter on which battery type you should buy, depending on your usage profile, that we will publish in the next few days.

That chapter will only be available to members, right from publication date, which is only fair since it’s the members that pay the bills while we put in the huge number of hours it takes to bring an Online Book up to our second edition standard—and this chapter is part of that.

If you are not an AAC Bookclub member, you can still view our full online library, complete with tables of contents of each online book, and learn about becoming a member here.

For those of you that don’t wish to become members, not to worry, this is not the thin end of the wedge of going over to a full paywall. Most of our new content will still be available for free when first published, thanks to funding from our sponsors.

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

5 comments… add one
  • Douglas Pohl Jan 13, 2014, 4:57 pm

    Thought I’d pass along a concern when considering LiFePO4 batteries. Sure they are good technology but expensive so when reviewing the Battery Management System (BMS) pay close attention to charging specifications. It does no good if you have to run another power source (i.e. diesel genset) for 10 hours to charge the bank even though they can accept a large current charge when the BMS is using a 100A charge switch you are stuck with a 10 hour charge cycle for a 900Ah bank unless you opt for an expensive 500A charging relay, provided you have a 400A charger to run for two plus hours. Bottom line – stick with wet lead-acid batteries – you can find replacements around the world as you cruise and get good Amp-hours of storage for the price. Even better – consider using a solar panel array to keep the batteries topped off rather then running the genset. Our solar system paid for itself in 6 months from not having to run the diesel genset so the remaining 25 years of solar cell life is a very sweet return on the modest investment. Don’t leave home without a good solar system.

    • John Jan 14, 2014, 1:46 pm

      Hi Douglas,

      In the next few weeks we will be publishing an in depth article by AAC Technical Correspondent on lithium batteries. There is a lot to know, other than price, before investing in any lithium battery and Matt is very well qualified to help us all understand this interesting technology.

      As to sticking with wet cells, it’s not really that simple (is it ever in boats?). The best choice of wet, gel or AGM, depends on usage profile. I have a chapter of the book coming right up on that.

      And yes, solar is a very good idea. But once again, there are trade offs. One of the main ones I am seeing is sailors that have compromised the handling qualities and safety of their boats by adding too many and/or poorly installed solar panels. In my opinion, trading a lot of solar for being able to reach your mainsail to properly reef it, or good and safe footing on deck, is a poor choice. Compromises, compromises, its all compromises!

      • Douglas Pohl Jan 14, 2014, 2:32 pm

        John – your own topic here is batteries related not mainsail reefing or safe footing on deck… Keep it on point you would say as admin. You of all persons have slipped off your own topic. lol

        • John Jan 14, 2014, 3:06 pm

          Hi Douglas,

          Basic seamanship and safety is always on topic at AAC.

          • Douglas Pohl Jan 14, 2014, 3:49 pm

            I cannot wait to see the LiFePO4 details… lol

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