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  #21  
Old December 11th, 2009, 04:54 PM
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Shane
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The Optima that I just took out was put in by ECR (Holly was kind enough to send the work order to me to fill in the blanks). I'm not sure that it sat for extended periods. I just left for the weekend and when I returned the weather had turned and it was near dead.

There's a possibility this Kirkland will suffer the same fate if there's a drain on it so I'll let it sit and see. I wanted to go with the marine battery but the only one they had was far beyond the spec dimensions and I was too lazy to go out and measure.
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  #22  
Old December 12th, 2009, 07:50 PM
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Tom Rowe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ECR
Didn't say they were made by them, don't know, don't care.
I read it that you were saying Optimas are a brand name and the NAPA Spiral cell are a no-name.
Quote:
They are all likely made in China anyway.
Last I heard Johnson Controls moved the Optima manufacturing to Mexico when they bought the company. Exide batteries are still made in the US.

Quote:
Does your dad have a way to teach customers how to disconnect their batteries when they leave the truck sit for the winter??
Not that I know of, but I suppose he could come back and haunt someone for not doing it. LOL

As for the OP, I'd find the source of the drain and if it's not normal, fix it. If it's normal, get a battery that can support it, or disconnect it when away, like others suggested.
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  #23  
Old December 15th, 2009, 11:14 AM
OptimaJim
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Jim McIlvaine
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I’m sorry to hear some of you have had problems with your Optima batteries. Hopefully, I can offer some insight into what we’re seeing on our end, which might help mitigate further issues. Because an Optima has very low internal resistance, it will run your electronic devices at a lower voltage than other batteries. So if you have a high parasitic draw of some kind, an Optima could get discharged more deeply.

Cory, do you know what the current drain on your vehicle is right now? Most vehicles are in the range of 25 milliamps or less. Anything over 100 milliamps indicates there is a draw (or problem) that requires further diagnosis.

If any battery is deeply discharged (below 10.5 volts) most basic chargers will not supply a charge. Also, an Optima will not recharge properly if treated as a regular flooded or gel battery. Chargers designed specifically for AGM batteries are your best bet for bringing an Optima back around. However, you can also use a regular charger.

To charge an Optima with a regular charger, you can wire a second fully-charged automotive battery (12V+) to the discharged Optima in parallel (+ to + and to ). Then hook up the charger to the discharged battery, setting the charger at 10 amps for 2 hours and monitoring it frequently. When the discharged battery reaches 10.5 volts or more, remove the second battery and continue charging the Optima until fully charged (12.8 volts for RedTops, 13.1-13.2 for Yellowtops).

Typically we recommend charging at a relatively low current, such as 2 amps, but when the battery has been deeply discharged, some sulfation of the battery plates may have occurred. If you charge at 10 amps, the higher current will help to break up this sulfation. If you have an automatic charger, let it run until the charger indicates charging is complete. If you have a manual charger, estimate charging time by multiplying the capacity (amp hours or Ah) of the battery by 1.2 for a rough estimate of charging time in hours.

In most cases, these steps will recover an Optima battery. It’s ok for the Optima battery to get slightly warm during the charging process, but hot to the touch means there’s a short and the process should be discontinued. If you’d rather not deal with that, you can always take your battery to a professional battery specialist, like Interstate, who knows AGM technology. Most of them are willing to provide “charge and check” procedures for a small fee and many will provide the service for free. Many auto parts stores are not capable of accurately determining an AGM battery’s condition and will often use conductance testers that will not provide correct readings or will indicate a “bad cell.” Battery specialists like Interstate Batteries and other independent battery distributors are experts, who can help determine if your battery is recoverable or not.

If a battery has been discharged to the point where a vehicle needs to be jump-started, the battery in that vehicle should be recharged with a battery charger as soon as possible. I understand this isn’t always practical, but in relatively stock applications, alternators are designed to maintain batteries, not recharge deeply-discharged batteries. In many instances, jumped vehicles are not driven under conditions that will allow the alternator to fully-charge the battery and a cycle of dead battery/jump/dead battery jump begins and continues until either the alternator or battery fails.

If you know your vehicle will sit for extended periods of time, using a battery maintainer or disconnecting a fully-charged battery is a good idea. If the battery was not maintained or isolated while in storage, it’s a good idea to check the battery voltage before starting the vehicle, when removing it from storage and charge it if necessary, before starting. Otherwise, a battery may have enough juice to start a vehicle once, but leave you stranded a few miles from home. I should also mention that with any battery or alternator, it’s almost impossible to have grounds that are “too good.” One-wire alternators are especially sensitive to good, quality grounds.

Optima batteries constantly seeks out ways to improve the quality of our product and production process. Many of the “bad” batteries returned to us now are simply deeply-discharged and work just fine when properly charged. If you have any other questions or concerns, I’ll do my best to answer them. I appreciate your interest in Optima batteries!



Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, Optima Batteries
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  #24  
Old December 15th, 2009, 11:19 AM
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john
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Thanks Jim thats very helpful. My 90 just showed up after being spending 2 weeks on a truck being shipped cross country and of course the batteries (one yellow and one red top) are both dead. I charged them overnight and they are dead by the end of the day. Lets hope these instructions make the difference.
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  #25  
Old December 15th, 2009, 11:25 AM
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Bill Adams
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Jim, will an optima take an equalization charge? It could be he has just discharged his battery too much for a normal charger to bring back up.
If so how much amperage should be pumped in to equalize?
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  #26  
Old December 15th, 2009, 12:27 PM
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I was just checking the age of my RED TOP and it's been powering my 97' D90 300Tdi for over 6 years now. Having recently moved to a higher elevation and having to park outdoors this winter, I have found that the Optima is a little weak compared to the original Varta AGM (but there again the Varta was MUCH bigger, and yes, size does matter). So when it gets down below 20 degrees F, I have a timer that turns on my block heater and a 6 amp charger and I run those for about 2 hours. One cycle of the glow plugs and she starts right up.

East Penn is the parent manufacturer of Exide, MK and the Deka brands. Most if not all "maintenance free" automotive batteries are AGM (absorbed glass mat). The AGM's hold up great under most conditions and can take vibration very well.
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  #27  
Old December 15th, 2009, 07:07 PM
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Tom Rowe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis
East Penn is the parent manufacturer of Exide, MK and the Deka brands.
Unless they recently bought them, the only relationship between East Penn and Exide is being direct competitors.

Quote:
Most if not all "maintenance free" automotive batteries are AGM (absorbed glass mat).
Nearly all automotive batteries are considered "maintenance free", but a minority are AGM.
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  #28  
Old December 16th, 2009, 12:58 PM
OptimaJim
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Jim McIlvaine
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Bill, normal charging procedures at 10 amps will usually work just fine. If that doesn't work, it might be necessary to use the parallel charging directions I noted previously. The problem that can happen when a battery gets discharged is that an alternator may not be able to get it back up to full charge.

Dennis, 6+ years in your part of the country and application is an impressive lifespan for most batteries. I have dual RedTops in my diesel Excursion, which sits outside without a block heater. When it gets into the sub-zero temperatures here, I start to think about replacing the RedTops with YellowTops when the time comes. It might not turn over better, but it would be able to handle the cycling of the glow plugs better.

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
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