Marine deep cycle batteries are good at what they do. Running electronics and just about anything that you need for long periods of time is a definite plus. Understandably you might want to take advantage of this and it’s natural to wonder, ‘Can you use a marine battery in a truck?”.
You can use a marine battery in a truck, as when it boils down to it your deep cycle is essentially a long-lasting 12-volt, but a dual-battery configuration with an isolator might be the best way to go.
In this article we’ll talk about why this is better than using a marine battery alone, as well as some of the differences in automotive and deep cycle marine batteries.
Finally, we’ll touch briefly on the subject of a dual-battery configuration employing an isolator so that one battery starts the truck and your marine battery is there to keep the stereo and other good time devices running when you go camping!
Car batteries vs Marine batteries
Automotive and marine deep cycle batteries are both 12-volt batteries but they do have some appreciable differences. One of the biggest differences in in the battery’s plate sizes.
Automotive batteries are sometimes referred to as ‘starter batteries’ because they employ a number of thin plates with the purpose of delivering a quick, powerful current to the engine to get it going.
This is why it is easy to drain them quickly, as they really aren’t designed for sustaining those massive currents. The automotive battery gets your car started and then the alternator takes over, generating electricity that helps to recharge the automotive battery after that big, electrical push.
Marine deep cycle batteries, however, employ thicker plates which allow them to give a big jolt (though slightly lesser than an automotive battery) but also to supply a continuous power source for longer periods of time.
Deep cycle batteries can give up 80% of their charge, which is what gives them that long run-time that is so prized.
This is also why you can load your boat up with GPS, stereo, and a number of other devices. They are simply better suited for providing continuous power. Marine deeps cycles are also sturdier, with those thick plates and their overall design meaning that they can withstand a bumpy ride.
Marine deep cycle batteries do come at a literal cost, however, if you want to take advantage of those long periods of constant power. They cost more than automotive batteries but it seems fair considering what you get.
With this in mind, you don’t want to risk burning one out when your automotive battery will work just fine.
There are AGM deep cycles that are better suited for automotive use out there. Let’s talk briefly about those.
AGM Deep cycle automotive batteries
Companies like Optima and Duracell provide AGM automotive batteries so that you can get the long-lasting energy benefit of a deep cycle in a medium that is better suited to fit and use in your car, truck, or boat.
If you really want to put a deep cycle battery in your truck then this may be the easiest option.
Largely this is going to be because an automotive deep cycle battery is designed for a better fit. One of the biggest problems of taking your marine battery and putting it somewhere else is the problem of properly housing it.
By using a deep cycle that has been redesigned for a proper fit and optimal performance in a vehicle you can save yourself a lot of time.
You COULD set up a Dual battery with an isolator
A lot of RV and camping enthusiasts have hit on an idea that has a lot of great merits and works well in practice. Setting up a dual battery configuration is simply using both an automotive battery and a deep cycle battery in tandem.
The way it works is that when the vehicle is running the alternator keeps both batteries charged but when it’s not running the batteries are isolated from each other.
Simply put, with your deep cycle battery isolated then it is available for you to use for running your electronics when you like and you won’t have to worry that the truck won’t start in the morning. It’s the best of both worlds, really, but it takes a little work.
Setting this up can be costly, however, and essentially can amount to using a smart switch to keep your batteries isolated and to give you current charge readings or having a cheaper, manual switch that you utilize on your own.
It’s not easy to set up but there are a lot of advantages, so this might be your best approach if you really want to put a marine deep cycle battery in your truck.
Solutions summary: There’s more than one way to deep-cycle a truck
As you can see, you can indeed run a truck with a deep cycle battery. There is the somewhat ‘band-aid’ method of just using the battery directly, the easier method of procuring an automotive-specific AGM, and finally the dual-battery configuration with an isolator.
Now that you know some viable ways to get this done, we hope that you will have fun preparing for your next camping trip.
When you’ve got gadgets to go with the great outdoors, the hardest part of the trip will be convincing yourself to go home!