Enertec Sports Utility, Marine And Leisure Batteries

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6th Jul, 2021

Batteries are ever-present across different aspects of daily life. From our homes to workplaces and everything in between, one is bound to come across some form of battery. Enertec, as a leading distributor of batteries, feels it is important to create awareness about batteries.

One effective way is to link battery types with their nature of use. With that in mind, some sub-categories of batteries would be covered in terms of their application. They include sports utility batteries, marine batteries and leisure batteries.

The exploration of these battery classifications would require looking at the use of the battery in the given context. This essentially means understanding the nature of the activity and then linking it to the battery.

Once that connection is established, further technical details of the batteries and some useful information for taking care of the batteries would also be added to give a sense of completeness to the entire discussion.

What is the use of batteries in sports utility, marine and leisure applications?

Enertec feels that it is best to start with understanding the nature of use so that the vendors can up their game in terms of educating their customers in the domain of sports utility, marine and leisure applications.

Sports Utility

Sports utility involves different kinds of starting modes which may serve a particular starting purpose. The nature of the sport utility is something which would normally be categorised as extreme or powersports.

This includes activities like off-road motorbiking, jet ski riding and off-terrain exploration via ATV/UTV.  For understanding the role of batteries in some of the common applications in this category, an overview of the nature of the usage is needed. The details are explained below:

  • Motorbikes can be designed for both off-road and tarmac. In the context of powersports, they are more powerful than the average motorcycle and can navigate their respective terrain expertly at high speeds.
  • Jet skis can be seen as motorcycles of the waters. Used by both thrill seekers and professional riders, the jet ski can travel at high speeds and can be used to perform different stunts which may prove to be an entertaining experience for both the rider and the viewers.  Jet skis, in particular the finish variety may also run a number of electronic devices requiring a rugged heavy-duty battery.
  • ATV and UTV are off-terrain vehicles which are used to travel on difficult topographies like hills, forested lands, deserts, and swampy land.  The main difference between an ATV and an UTV is the size. An ATV is normally designed for one person and has limited room to carry additional equipment whereas the UTV is larger and can carry additional passengers/equipment as well.

Most of these transport modes come with a combustion engine. The primary role is to provide current to the starter motor to start the vehicle. That is why the battery type needed for sports utility is generally a SLI (Starting, Lighting, Ignition) battery. Additionally, the battery needs to have special design features which prolong its life in the harsh conditions which sports utility vehicles encounter during their normal usage.

In terms of technology of the battery, there are a wide variety of options available. The Wet Lead acid battery is the cheapest option which provides baseline functionality. AGM and Lithium technology offer high performance characteristics resulting in a better long-term return on investment. Moreover, the lithium-ion battery is the most modern and expensive option which has the added benefit of being lightweight and portable.

Marine

The marine application relates to most of the types of transport that we use in rivers, lakes and seas, a boat, ship, yacht, etc. They are used for a wide variety of purposes. From travelling, leisure and fishing, the use of marine vehicles is a very important element of day-to-day activities in many countries.

Batteries used for motorboats, and different types of marine equipment can fall under the category of marine batteries. They are generally versatile batteries which play different roles within the marine vehicles and equipment. Broadly speaking, marine batteries fall under three different categories which determines the role of the battery in the context of marine use. They are:

  • Starter marine batteries are SLI batteries. This means that their role is to provide the starting current to the marine vehicle for the purpose of starting the engine. Starter marine batteries are used with different kinds of boats with combustion engines where they also perform the secondary role of providing power to the electronics present on board when the boat is in motion.
  • Marine deep cycle batteries are different from starter marine batteries. Their role commonly is to provide stable power to different electronics that may be present on the boat. This could include audio systems, power outlets, TVs etc. Electric sneaker motors also require deep cycle batteries as their primary source of power.
  • Marine dual-purpose batteries are a hybrid of the aforementioned battery types. This means it possesses the capabilities of both starter and deep cycle batteries. The reason for choosing this battery type is usually shortage of space where both functionalities are necessary but the space on the boat is not enough to install 2 different batteries.

Four basic battery types may be used in the aforesaid application. 

  • Sealed wet lead acid (SLI) batteries
  • Sealed wet lead acid (Deep Cycle) batteries
  • Sealed wet lead acid (Dual Purpose) batteries
  • Sealed Lead Acid VRLA AGM batteries
  • Lithium-Ion Batteries

Leisure

The term “leisure” here refers to the activity of camping where caravans and RVs are used to stay at a camping site. RV camping is a highly popular family activity which involves travelling and seeing new places. When one reaches a camp site, there is need to provide power for electrical appliances like fridges and TV’s.

This is where the role of the battery comes in. The leisure battery is primarily used to provide power to the electronics which may be taken to the camping trip.

Deep Cycle batteries are strictly required for leisure applications. This is because they need to provide a stable current to the electrical appliances for an extended amount time. This also includes providing power to different sockets and outlets which may be used to charge laptops and smartphones.

The size of the deep cycle battery needed for the trip is dependent on things like duration of the trip and amount of electronics to be used.

Another important consideration is the nature the camping site. Some camping sites have charging outlets available which can be used to charge the battery. However, there are still many dry camping sites as well which means that they are completely cut off from the main grid. That is why it is suggested that the battery storage capacity should be selected accordingly.

When exploring the available battery options, the level of ruggedness and suitability for use outdoors are key considerations. The lead acid battery is the cheapest option available and is fully capable of getting the job done. If the budget permits, more expensive options like AGM and Lithium Ion can be considered as well.

Other applications

While the broader classifications have been covered, there are some important sub-categories that need attention as well. Two such examples are golf carts and wheelchairs. Whether it be professional or recreational, golf carts are an integral part of golfing.

It has become the preferred mode of transportation for moving golfers and their equipment across the course. On the other hand, wheelchairs have a more serious use. It is used by patients who are temporarily or permanently incapable of walking by themselves.

Motorised wheelchairs have become fairly common too. Their benefit is that it does not require another person to push the wheelchair. The person sitting in the wheelchair can control the wheelchair’s motion.

The golf carts can be both combustion engine based and electric. For the former, a SLI battery is needed since it is like any other automotive and therefore requires an engine starting capability. For the latter, a deep cycle battery is used since it would serve as the power source needed to drive the golf cart.

As the concern for the environment grows, electric golf carts are becoming increasingly popular. Similarly, a motorised wheelchair also needs a battery to act as its power source. Therefore, a deep cycle battery is used in a wheelchair as well.

There are some considerations for selecting the battery for golf carts and wheelchairs. For golf carts, it needs to be as light as possible and capable of functioning normally even when the golf cart is fully loaded.

The wheelchairs need a battery which does not create any kind of risk for the patient using it. Depending on the budget and availability, it is possible to opt for an option ranging from the traditional lead acid, AGM and modern lithium-ion batteries.

Maintenance tips for sports utility, marine and leisure batteries

For these applications, different Enertec and Discover battery brands are available at the Enertec stores. For in-depth details, the technical specifications of different batteries are available on the Enertec website.

Additionally, for the convenience of the vendors and customers alike, the batteries have been classified according to their application as well. You would find separate sections for marine & leisure (motorboats and caravans), motorcycles, wheelchairs and golf carts etc.

Under each section, the list of available batteries along with their technical specifications is displayed accordingly. The maintenance of the batteries is certainly an important aspect. That is why for the benefit of the relevant stakeholders, some general steps for taking care of the aforementioned battery types are listed below:

  • Keep the battery terminals clean from any deposit and dirt. This is because it affects the conductivity of the battery and can lead to lowered performance. Not cleaning the terminals regularly can lead to more permanent damage to the terminals.
  • Check the battery body for any damage or leaks. If the electrolyte leaks, its fumes can prove to be hazardous. Also, there is a risk of explosion as well given the acidic nature of most electrolytes.
  • Keep the battery in a fully charged state. This can be done by connecting a smart charger to the battery when not in use. As a result, the battery remains fully charged and overcharging is prevented by the protective circuitry. Alternatively, if the smart charger is not available then it is important to fully charge the battery and disconnect it after the charge cycle. (Sealed batteries require a “float mode” feature for continuous charging)
  • If the battery is unsealed and flooded, it is important to check the electrolyte levels of the battery. If there is a shortage in acid the battery must be refilled by the predetermined water level mark.
  • It is imperative that batteries are recharged after use.  Sulphation which occurs on the plates when batteries are left standing in a discharged state is one of the primary causes of premature battery failure.