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Battery Maintenance

by Nelson Murakami

Trolling motor batteries will last a long time if properly maintained. More importantly they will give greater power and cycle longer. Trolling motor batteries are 'deep cycle' batteries. The name Deep Cycle refers to the cycle of charging and expelling power or electricity. They charge up slowly and let out there power over a long period. This cycle is deep as compared to a cranking or starting battery that expels a short heavy burst of power, to start an engine for example, and then is quickly charged back up by the engine's alternator.

The way you use and charge your deep cycle battery is the most important part of proper maintenance. Whenever possible try to cycle the battery deep. That is, drain it down through use, don't charge it when you've only used a small amount of it's power. Unless it's the night before a tournament or you think you will need all the power you can get the next day, don't charge unless the battery is below half full. Never charge the battery unless you can give it a full charge. In other words, if you have to unplug your charger before it can fully charge the battery it may be better not to charge at all. If you repeatedly charge a battery up only 80% it may start to accept only an 80% charge.

Every once in a while (several times a season) cycle your battery very deep. Take it down to less than 10% then give it a good full charge. This type of cycling is what a deep cycle battery is designed to do. Don't forget to top the cells up ( fill to the bottom of the hole) with distilled water and keep the outside of the battery clean.

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