Marine battery boxes, trays and mounting kits enable placing and storing of the marine battery and its use in a safe manner. During the operation, battery or battery bank should be kept safe, with an easy access if and when required.
There are few things to consider when choosing the right way to store the battery onboard the boat:
- type of the battery: flooded lead acid batteries must operate in vertical position, or acid spillage may occur. Also, they must operate in well vented space, to avoid hydrogen buildup in battery compartment. One single spark can ignite hydrogen and lead to fire and even explosion. That is one of the reasons why Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries are highly recommended on boats.
- battery usage: if the battery is used as the main battery on the boat, it must be stored low on the boat, with an easy access for maintenance, in the area protected from high and low temperatures and protected from oil, fuel, water and other contaminants. Since the battery compartment can be dedicated room or at least a cabinet, battery can be fixed to permanent position using mounting kit. If the battery is used on temporary location, for example, kayak or similar small boat, battery must be protected from high and low temperatures, all the contaminants, sun exposure, and it must have its terminals protected to avoid accidental short circuits by foreign metal objects. Closed battery box is highly recommended in such case.
Battery Trays and Mounting Kits
Battery trays and mounting kits are recommended for SLA batteries on boats that have their batteries placed permanently in well protected area. AGM and gel cell batteries are recommended type of batteries, since flooded lead acid batteries require additional ventilation. Note: in the case of overcharging, SLA batteries can release the hydrogen too, but not as much as flooded batteries.
Most battery trays are made using heavy duty, non-corrosive plastic, resistant to water, oil, fuel, acid and other aggressive contaminants.
Mounting kits can be made of metal or of plastic. Although metal parts are generally stronger than plastic, plastic parts are highly resistant to corrosion and they don't conduct electricity, decreasing the danger of accidental battery short circuits.
Number of crossbars and retaining bolts vary, but at least one crossbar and two bolts are required. Some trays don't use crossbars, but an adjustable foot clamp(s) which securely fix bottom/foot of the battery to the tray. Regardless of the tray and mounting kit type, battery tray and mounts must resist vibrations, corrosion, cold, heat and even mechanical impacts over the years of usage, or you might find yourself in rough seas with your battery trashing everything around it.
Battery trays are usually made only for one, single battery, so when battery bank is required, several battery trays are used.
Battery trays accept only limited number of battery sizes, so before buying one, check your Battery Group Size.
Boat Battery Boxes - Marine Power Centers
Marine or boat battery box enables easy installation and maintenance of the battery, must have large cable holes for large gauge cables or it must have well protected external terminals and plugs. Good ventilation is required releasing battery gases, even when SLA batteries are used.
Battery box must be vibration and impact resistant regardless of the external temperature and must withstand acid, gas, oil and other corrosive liquids and gases. Since battery boxes are often used on the deck, they also must be immune to UV rays and have their terminals and plugs well protected.
Marine battery boxes are usually made of heavy duty plastic, while metal boxes are not so common, due to price of such metals (aluminum or stainless steel), weight, electric conductivity, maintenance requirements etc.
Boat battery boxes usually accept only one battery, but can accept batteries of several battery group sizes.
Benefits of battery boxes also include builtin battery monitor for displaying battery charge status and manual-reset, automatic circuit breaker(s). Such motor power centers are ideal for electric trolling motors, fish finders and other electric and electronic equipment on small boats and kayaks.
Boat boxes must be securely fixed to the boat, to avoid any movement or even tumbling of the box with the battery inside. Most common methods for securing the battery box to the boat's deck are foot clamps, stainless steel screws or hold-down straps.
For carrying the box, with or without battery inside, carrying straps and fixed or adjustable handles are used.
Which one to choose - simple battery box, advanced battery box with circuit breakers and battery monitor or ordinary battery trays?
For kayaks and small boats without dedicated battery compartment, choose battery box with circuit breaker(s) and battery monitor. It comes as finished product, at, IMHO of course, acceptable price.
For kayaks and small boats with dedicated battery compartment, choose battery which can fit the compartment and don't worry to much about storing the battery.
For larger boats without dedicated battery compartment, simple battery box can provide additional protection to your battery. Battery monitor should be positioned near other gauges or displayed on central monitor. Main battery circuit breaker can be positioned near the battery or next to all other circuit breakers.
For larger boats with dedicated battery compartment or cabinet - use strong and durable battery trays to fix battery or batteries to their permanent location. Compartment or cabinet provides all the required physical protection to the battery.
Marine batteries pack plenty of energy and if something should go wrong, they can cause damage, injuries or worse. Treat them with respect and they will serve you well for long period of time.