Why Do Automobile Car and Marine Boat System Use a 12 Volt Battery?

April 11, 2022

Why Does a Car and Boat's System Use a 12 Volt Battery?

Batteries are a part of your life, whether it's in your remote control, watch, automobile, or RV. Nowadays, you don't have to worry about a battery's voltage very much. Although there are rare exceptions, most automobiles, RVs, and boats use a 12-volt electrical system. Under a nominal load, the battery produces 12 volts, which is indicated by the symbol 12V.

Because electrical components such as the starter, lights, and ignition systems are intended to function on 12 volts, most automobiles utilize 12-volt batteries. Although the nominal battery of voltage is 12 volts for cars and boats, this could change depending on the state of charge and load. It could be higher or lower.

Why Do Cars Use 12V Batteries?

car battery

For the uninformed, batteries may be a perplexing subject. Particularly because, unlike most other automotive components, consumers are more likely to come across batteries in their daily lives. You may just go to your local big-box store and get a set of batteries from your favorite brand, which you can then use in a variety of ways.

As a result, it's not unexpected that some individuals assume that automotive batteries are interchangeable and universal. This isn't the case at all. It's critical to make sure your car has the correct battery. But why do cars use a 12V DC battery?

This is a question that has two components to it. The first part asks why a car use DC power, and the second asks why the battery's nominal voltage is 12V? The answer to the first question is quite simple. The battery provides DC power, which is more useful than AC power. This means you don't need to use a converter to get the AC power that you don't need anyway.

It's a little more difficult to answer the second question. The use of a 12V battery is due to battery chemistry and convention. However, the true question is why we don't use 24V, 48V, or even greater voltages.

Yes, higher-voltage batteries have a lot of advantages. You may save money on wiring, eliminate voltage dips, reduce battery stress, and extend the life of various components like relays and motor brushes. There's a lot to be said about batteries with higher voltage.

However, if the voltage is considerably high, this can cause safety issues. The combination of a car's demand for low power demand and the potential safety risk of a high voltage means that a high voltage battery is pretty much out of the question for regular vehicles.

vintage car

Conventions are hard to break. If there is no valid reason to change anything, the convention won't change. For decades, 12V has been the standard, and changing it would need a compelling reason that just does not exist. From chargers to accessories to every electrical automotive element, the infrastructure established around the 12v convention is considerably enormous.

With the introduction of hybrid electric cars, 48 volts for the drive train has become the standard, while 12 volts remain the standard for the rest of the vehicles. As the world seeks to minimize energy usage, the trend is downward. The low-voltage trend is unlikely to change very soon.

However, we're "stuck" with the 12V battery in most automobiles due to a long-standing habit with little need to alter. The norm is 24 Vin trucks with larger power needs, and many bespoke systems utilize other voltages as well, but 12V is going to persist in vehicles.

So today, you'll find a 12-volt lead-acid battery beneath the hood of your lovely new sparkling 2017 model (not a hybrid or electric vehicle, but a regular petrol or diesel vehicle).

With this battery, you can crank your starting motor to full compression in the midst of winter when it's -10 degrees outside, start your car and then have that cranking power restored in a matter of minutes.

Why Do Boats Use 12V Batteries?

marine battery

Marine batteries for boats! The electrical power source systems are one of the most crucial yet least understood systems on a boat. Marine batteries are the heart of your boat.

They pump life-giving power and current through the vessel.

Batteries are necessary since a boat's various electronics and other home comforts require power to function. Things don't get done if the heart of a machine isn't in tip-top shape and performing well. Marine batteries come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and like with most things we use for enjoyment, you get what you pay for.

Can You Use a Car Battery in Your Boat?

This is one of the most common misunderstandings about boating, and the fact is that you can use a vehicle battery for your boating needs, but it won't last very long!! Probably not even a couple of times!

Exactly what is the truth then? There is a big difference between a car battery and a marine battery. The first significant difference is the position of the lead plates within the batteries. They've raised the plates that generate power in a marine battery so that they don't short out when the boat and battery bounce about.

Second, they utilize a specific bonding procedure to ensure that items within the battery stay in place even as they bounce and fall around. With the bouncing of a boat and battery, a car battery would soon die on you, and the last thing we want is a call to Sea Tow.

The majority of boats less than 50 feet in length are powered by 12-volt batteries. Many experienced boaters, on the other hand, are unable to explain how their batteries and charging systems operate, let alone how they work.

Almost all boats under 40 feet with an electrical system use the standard voltage of 12 volts. These boats use a 12.6-volt battery, and the boat's loads and charge devices are intended to work at a voltage of 12 to 14 volts. The major reason for this is that boats have components that are based on a 12-volt standard.

Almost all boats under 40 feet with an electrical system use the standard voltage of 12 volts. These boats use a 12.6-volt battery, and the boat's loads and charge devices are intended to work at a voltage of 12 to 14 volts. The major reason for this is that the electrical components of boats are largely based on a 12-volt standard.

12 volt battery for boats

12 volt systems become inadequate or at least challenged when boats become larger, say in the 50–60 foot range, which operates DC loads that require greater power and longer wire runs. This makes 12-volt systems ineffective or at least challenging.

It becomes difficult to avoid voltage drop - the enemy of your boat wiring systems. This can cause electrical gadgets to work less effectively than you'd want. The electrical resistance of an electrical circuit's wires, connections, switches, and other conductors causes a voltage drop.

Although no component is immune to the effects of this phenomenon, the voltage drop can be detected and controlled, and properly designed boats seldom suffer from it.

So why not use 24V systems? The biggest reason is that there are so many more devices that are available in 12-volt variants, particularly in areas like pumps, electronics, inverters, and chargers.

A single automotive-style battery is also required to operate a 12V system. To run a 24V system, two 12V batteries must be connected in series, which adds to the battery bank's weight and volume.

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