Gadget’s new battery, the Chrome Pro Series iGel


This was such a pleasant surprise. Perhaps you recall how I built a solar-charged bilge pump system into Gizmo’s beloved Fatty Knees 9 tender Gadget in early 2016. Well, it has worked very well but also taken some abuse, and the already seasoned 3AH motorcycle-type battery died last December. There were a great many choices on Amazon (even with the same YTX5L-BS model name ;-), but if you want the amazing technology seen above, get the Chrome Pro Series iGel (somehow only $22.50 with shipping in January).

Yes, that is a built-in voltage tester, and if you hold down the Push button you get the number of days since it was first hooked up. Moreover, the iGel will buzz you about low voltage, and do it intelligently. That is, if you don’t acknowledge the alarm within 30 minutes, it will shut down and try again in 4 hours. And at 5% capacity, the battery will shut down completely for self-preservation. Plus all this, and more, is clearly explained in a manual printed on good paper in large fonts!


I’ll add that the 12.61 volts seen in the first photo is what I found last week even though the battery had been sitting in the New Bern Grand Marina’s office since late January. And it easily pumped out Gadget through several tests with a dock hose. In fact, I wanted to run Chrome Pro down a little so I could confirm that the old Flexcell Sunslick 7 Watt panel and Sunsei regulator were still working (they date back about 10 years to sloop Annie G days and the LED on the regulator is unreliable).

Sure enough, after a short time with the panel in sunlight, I could see the iGel’s voltage increase. At any rate, I’m thoroughly impressed with everything about the Chrome Pro iGel so far, though I’ll certainly let you know if it has trouble living in the often very damp and sometimes freezing aft seat of Gadget.

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

7 Responses

  1. Having a read out on the battery is a really cool idea. I wonder why more battery manufacturers don’t put that sort of thing on every battery. Could save owners a ton of time.

  2. Colin A says:

    That’s pretty cool. Looking at the specs I’m surprised they have the charge voltages listed so high. Typically with Gel your better a little lower particularly on the float . I’m setting up a small gel system on my trailer sailor and looking at charging at 14.1 and floating at 13.5.

  3. Jorgen says:

    This post made me think about the upgrade to Gizmo’s battery bank two years ago. Can you, Ben E., give us some insight into how the Fireflys are holding up?

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Jorgen, the Firefly battery bank is in fantastic shape. Last fall I did have some issues, mostly self-inflicted, that I described here in comments:

      But now that I have the grounding problems fixed (and one replaced battery) — plus I did some “restorative” deep discharges — the bank is performing better than ever.

      In fact, yesterday (Wed.) late morning my boat had seen very little solar gain and just one hour of engine alternator in about 42 hours.

      House loads like refrigeration, boiler, inverter etc. had drawn about 300 amp hours out of what should be a 440 total and the (still vague) SOC meters sort of confirmed that at about 25%. But the bank voltage was still 11.9, and I was even able to run the microwave several times at half power for a minute (80+ amp load) without problems.

      That’s a darn healthy Firefly bank that’s taken a lot of abuse from yours truly.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Testing update on the terrific Chrome Pro Series iGel 3 dinghy pump battery: At least twice now, maybe three times, I’ve managed to run this little battery dead, but it always shut itself down before it got to the point of no return. In fact, after dying trying to pump a frozen bilge late last fall, and then sitting longer than it should have before a recuperative charge, it’s been handling numerous serious rain events all this summer. The little screen has gotten hard to read, but if I ever have to replace this battery, I’ll buy a Chrome Pro again.

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    The little Chrome Pro 4 ah battery finally died this fall, though the LCD screen became unreadable about a year ago. But Chrome Pro is selling them for about the same $22 on Amazon, so a new one is on its way. I might have tried another brand if there was one with similar built-in monitoring and BMS, but there does not seem to be any competition.

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