In the world of marine batteries, What is Cranking,the term "cranking" holds significant importance. But what does it really mean, and how does it relate to finding the ideal deep cycle marine battery for your trolling motor? In this comprehensive guide, we'll unravel the mysteries of cranking and explore the key considerations when selecting the perfect battery for your boating adventures.

What is Cranking: Unveiling the Basics

Cranking, in the context of automotive and marine applications, refers to the process of starting an internal combustion engine. It involves the use of a cranking or starting motor, commonly known as the starter, to turn the engine's crankshaft, initiating the combustion cycle and starting the engine.

Here are the key elements and steps involved in the cranking process:

  1. Starter Motor:

    • The starter motor is an electric motor typically powered by the vehicle's battery. When the ignition key is turned to the "start" position, it engages the starter motor.
  2. Engaging the Flywheel or Flexplate:

    • The starter motor is connected to the engine's flywheel (in vehicles with manual transmissions) or flexplate (in vehicles with automatic transmissions). The flywheel/flexplate is linked to the crankshaft and contains teeth along its edge.
  3. Rotation of the Crankshaft:

    • As the starter motor turns, it engages with the teeth on the flywheel/flexplate, causing it to rotate. This rotation, in turn, initiates the movement of the engine's crankshaft.
  4. Compression and Ignition:

    • As the crankshaft turns, it moves the pistons within the engine cylinders. This action compresses the air-fuel mixture in the cylinders, creating the conditions for ignition.
  5. Engine Start:

    • The ignition system sparks, igniting the compressed air-fuel mixture. This controlled explosion generates power that further turns the crankshaft, allowing the engine to continue running independently of the starter motor.

Cranking is a crucial phase during the engine start-up process, and the efficiency of this process is particularly important in various applications, including automobiles, boats, and other internal combustion engine-powered machinery. The term "cranking" is often associated with batteries and starter motors that are specifically designed to deliver the necessary power to initiate the engine's rotation.

It's important to note that there are batteries designed specifically for cranking applications, known as "cranking batteries" or "starter batteries." These batteries are engineered to provide a burst of high current for a short duration to start the engine efficiently. In contrast, deep cycle batteries are designed for sustained, lower-current discharges and are better suited for applications that require a steady power supply over an extended period, such as trolling motors on boats.

Deep Cycle Batteries

Cranking vs. Deep Cycle: Understanding the Difference

Choosing the right battery for your specific needs involves understanding the differences between cranking and deep cycle batteries. Both serve distinct purposes, and the choice depends on the intended application. Let's explore the characteristics that differentiate cranking and deep cycle batteries:

What is Cranking Batteries:

1. Purpose:

  • Engine Starting: Cranking batteries, also known as starter batteries, are designed primarily for the brief but intense burst of power needed to start an engine. They deliver a high amount of current for a short duration, making them ideal for the rapid energy demand during engine cranking.

2. Construction:

  • Thin Lead Plates: Cranking batteries typically have thin lead plates, allowing for rapid electron flow. This design facilitates the quick release of energy required for starting the engine.

3. Characteristics:

  • High Cranking Amps (CA): Cranking batteries are characterized by their high cranking amps (CA) rating. This measures the battery's ability to deliver a burst of energy for a short period, which is crucial for starting an engine, especially in cold weather.

4. Discharge Cycle:

  • Low Depth of Discharge: Cranking batteries are not designed for deep discharges. They perform optimally when used for short bursts of high-energy demand and are quickly recharged by the vehicle's alternator.

Deep Cycle Batteries:

1. Purpose:

  • Sustained Power Supply: Deep cycle batteries are designed for applications requiring a steady and sustained power supply over an extended period. They are commonly used in marine applications, RVs, golf carts, and solar energy systems.

2. Construction:

  • Thicker Lead Plates: Deep cycle batteries feature thicker lead plates, allowing them to endure numerous charge and discharge cycles without sustaining damage. This design supports a more extended and consistent energy release.

3. Characteristics:

  • Capacity in Ampere-Hours (Ah): Deep cycle batteries are characterized by their capacity, measured in ampere-hours (Ah). This represents the amount of energy the battery can deliver over an extended period.

4. Discharge Cycle:

  • Deep Discharge Capability: Deep cycle batteries can handle repeated deep discharges without significant performance degradation. They are designed to provide a consistent power supply, making them suitable for prolonged use.

Choosing the Right Battery: When choosing between cranking and deep cycle batteries, consider the intended application. If your primary need is to start an engine, a cranking battery is the appropriate choice. For applications requiring a sustained power supply over an extended period, such as trolling motors, solar energy storage, or RV appliances, a deep cycle battery is the more suitable option.

Understanding the differences between cranking and deep cycle batteries ensures that you select the battery type that best matches your specific requirements, ultimately optimizing the performance and longevity of your battery-powered systems.