I have a PHCC 2400 battery backup sump pump. It started beeping today and the controller light indicated that the battery terminals were corroded or that the battery was bad.

I opened up the case and checked the terminals, no corrosion. I pulled the plug on the controller (charger) and tested the battery and it read 12VDC. The manufacturer sells two different replacement batteries. One that you fill yourself and one that is pre-filled and sealed.

Can I use something like this instead?

Note: I found the actual product on ebay which lists it at 12V, 90A max. So it would seem the universal battery I found would fit the specs.

  • 1
    How old is the pump/original battery? A failed battery can still have voltage when measured, but if you have a way of test-running (turn off the circuit breaker and either raise the plunger or pour water into the sump) you can see if it runs the pump or not. Often the voltage drops to nothing much when current is drawn, once dead.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jan 15, 2014 at 14:37
  • @Ecnerwal, bought the house 3 years ago and the system was already in place. To test the battery, I unplugged the system and pushed the "test" button which runs the pump. The charge indicator on the unit went from 100% to 25% immediately.
    – mikeazo
    Jan 15, 2014 at 14:46
  • 1
    Yup, that's a dead battery. Good of the controller to actually tell you before you found out the other way. More than 3 years is pretty decent (sad to say); perhaps it's the rare item with a half-decent charging system.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jan 15, 2014 at 22:03

6 Answers 6


There are several important factors when replacing a battery with a different one:

  • Form factor: size, shape, terminal type and location should ideally be the same. This can be worked around in most cases, just make sure the battery will fit somewhere and that you can wire it properly.
  • Voltage: must be identical
  • Chemistry: the existing charger probably only handles lead acid batteries, which all the ones you linked to are
  • Capacity: measured in Amp Hours (Ah). This is the total capacity of the battery. It needs to be similar to the old one. Too low and the pump wont run as long. In most cases higher is ok, but a lot higher could cause tue charger to overheat.
  • Maximum current: Measured in Amps (A). Sadly not all batteries will list this. It needs to be the same or higher. A battery that can't supply enough voltage to run the pump wont work.

If you can't find the exact specs of the battery, in general if the original and replacement batteries are the same physical size and same chemistry (both lead acid), the capacity and max current will be similar enough that they won't cause problems.


As long as the battery supplies the correct voltage and amperage, yes, you can use it.

  • 1
    Maybe. Maybe not. The battery must be able to handle the charging current and voltage as well. (For the OP's proposed battery, it probably would be okay: The PHCC Pro 2400 charges 13 amps at 12 volts and that is in line with the battery's capability.)
    – wallyk
    Jan 16, 2014 at 0:21

A deep cycle marine battery is a reasonable compromise between the dedicated sump battery and a light discharge car battery. The deep discharge potential is the problem: car batteries react poorly to getting used to the point of exhaustion, especially repeatedly.

The sump use profile matters also:

  1. If the battery sump runs often and hard, buy the manufacturer recommended battery.
  2. If the sump runs almost never because your power is reliable, you can skimp with an automotive/marine battery.

Sadly, the chargers on sumps are notorious for poor battery management. They overcharge batteries, charge them too fast, and are generally stupidly dumb. In general if your charger or battery are warm in everyday standby mode there's a problem, and you'll burn through backup batteries even in dry weather.

The good news is your charger actually warned you before the flood. That's good.


The detailed instructions for PHCC 1730/2400 Pro Series say to use lead-acid batteries only (which are maintenance types). The 1370 says "Do Not Use with Maintenance-Free battery." That leaves only two solutions for a corroded terminals signal on the PHCC systems when using a maintenance-free battery with them. 1. Muffle the noise somehow, or 2. replace the backup system with one that works with a maintenance-free battery. Eg., one of the recent Watchdog series. The latter might be worth it to avoid adding distilled water to a lead-acid battery three to four times a year. Ugh.


I've been using 105 amp/hr. "maintenance free" marine deep-cycle batteries. I just had to replace mine after 3 years and a good quality name brand cost only $82 at a big box home improvement center (national chain.) You've got to shop around. (These are supposedly sealed, maintenance-free batteries but the two large caps/covers are easily removable.) Remove the large cap closest to the positive terminal and drill a small hole just large enough for your sensor to go through into the electrolyte in the second cell and you can add DISTILLED water as necessary to maintain your electrolyte level. (My batteries would probably last a little longer if I took the time to "exercise" them but I seldom get around to it.) I've had numerous hours-long power failures and never had a problem.

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack exchange. Drilling into an acid-filled container seems a bit iffy to me. Jan 21, 2017 at 0:55
  • @DanielGriscom -- he says to remove the cap before drilling a hole in it Jan 21, 2017 at 21:32
  • @ThreePhaseEel I missed that, but modifying an acid-filled container, even carefully, still seems iffy. Jan 21, 2017 at 23:24
  • I ended up purchasing the one I linked to on Amazon. It worked great. 3 years later, I just purchased another. The prices is much higher than what you are saying with a marine deep-cycle. So I may have to try that next time. As for the sensor, my manual stated that I could connect it to the positive terminal if I used a sealed battery. So that is what I have been doing.
    – mikeazo
    Jan 24, 2017 at 14:38

You can use a car battery for this -- 12v and plenty of amperage, not to mention cheaper. You may need to adapt the leads to it.

  • 2
    A standard car battery isn't designed for long sustained power drain, it's optimized for short periods of very high current output and won't stand up to repeated discharge/charge cycles as well as a deep cycle battery will. A comparably sized deep cycle battery will tend to have more reserve power than a standard car battery, so it'll run the pump longer. In a pinch, a car battery will work, but I'd go for a deep cycle battery recommended by the manufacturer -- especially since the charger may be tuned to work with a particular battery type (gel cel, AGM, etc).
    – Johnny
    Jan 17, 2014 at 19:33

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