Battery Life

How long will my batteries last?

Not as long as you would like.  All lead acid batteries age and fail no matter how well you take care of them.  By following best practices you can maximize the life of your batteries.  This means avoiding all the things that kill batteries quickly.  If you get five years out of a set of batteries you are doing very well.  Seven to ten years - exceptional, you are doing everything right.  As a cruiser, cycling your batteries every day, you will be pressed to get a year or two out of batteries.

Cycle Life.  Batteries have a limited cycle life.  This is on the order of several hundred cycles.  It is easy to kill your batteries long before this point.  Cruisers will use their batteries often enough to see this mode of failure, but the rest of our batteries will die some other way.  Discharging and charging lead acid batteries physically expands and contracts the plate material.  Eventually it breaks away.  The deeper you discharge batteries the shorter their life.  That's why many recommend only discharging batteries a maximum of 50% before charging them up again.  

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