The Trojan battery company has been around since the 1920’s and is best known for their deep cycle and semi-traction batteries. In this article I hope to make clear why my own boat, where I live full time, has a leisure bank equipped with Trojan T105’s, and why they, or something similar, should be your first choice if you require a battery for something other than starting an engine. This may include leisure batteries on your own boat or RV, a wheelchair or to power a golf buggy or similar. This also applies to solar panel electrical storage wherever those panels are used, at home or while on the move.
First of all, let us get something straight. There is no such thing as a ‘starter / leisure’ battery. For a battery to be a successful starter battery it has to have thin internal plates to allow a big fast burst of power, for a short period of time to start an engine. Starter batteries can do this and be quickly recharged from the engine’s alternator. Starter batteries die very quickly if they are deeply discharged on a regular basis.
A leisure battery, on the other hand, is designed to be discharged much more slowly, and is manufactured with thick internal plates that allow a much deeper discharge without buckling and damaging the internal plates. This kind of battery makes a perfect leisure battery. Something to consider, is the fact that the vast majority of golf buggies in the USA run using the power of Trojan deep cycle batteries. They get charged overnight and run for hours each day, without damage to the batteries. This is absolutely NOT possible with a so called starter / leisure battery. You can use a Trojan to start an engine if you must, but don’t imagine for a moment that you can successfully use a starter battery for serious deep cycle work. Expensive mistake to make.
My own interest is leisure use on my own boat, so I’ll tell you a short tale about my own experience. If you are as uninformed as I was, this should be very useful to you. Bear in mind that what follows applies to any kind of leisure use. This is especially true if your intended use is storage from solar panels etc.
Batteries are expensive, and in my early days of owning this boat I had many calls on the available funds I had. Compromises had to be made, so I bought the starter / leisure batteries in the false belief that I was saving money. I learned over time, that I was simply buying batteries ‘in instalments’. By this I mean that I was killing batteries relatively quickly by charging and discharging them on a very regular basis. I was finding that over time (and you don’t always notice early on) the batteries were losing capacity. To make matters worse, I was using a ‘dumb’ garage type charger when I was on shore power. This type of charger is meant for only very occasional use, not for long term ‘care’ of an expensive battery bank. What follows is exactly what I did, and is what I strongly suggest that you do too, income allowing.
My boat’s leisure bank is 24 volts, and Trojan T105’s are only 6 volt, but this is not a problem. If your boat or RV etc. is 12 volts, you need two T105 batteries to connect together in series to give you 12 volts. In my case, I needed four batteries connected in series to give me 24 volts. The standard Trojan T105 has a capacity of 225 amp hours whether used at 6, 12, or 24 volts ( if you use 1, 2 or 4 batteries as described).
I did something else too, something I couldn’t afford previously. I bought a low end ‘intelligent’ battery charger. The reason? Simple. If T105’s are looked after properly you can expect years of reliable service. Poor quality battery chargers do not respect your shiny new battery, they simply push in current and often exceed the safe voltage the battery can accept, and this will result in the batteries’ early demise.