Battery upgrade vs dual battery install

burn_e

Adventurer
Gunnslinger: Get the biggest possible battery as a main battery and a smaller as a backup start-once-only battery in a dual set up. Use a simple switch as used in marine applications.

AC Delco or Hankook give you a fair price to value and are everywhere available in UAE (Emarat petrol stations e.g.).

I think to remember that you have lived in the region and you might remember that almost all batteries here die latest after 2 years of sudden heat stroke. I am through different brands and sizes but this they all have in common.
 

FellowTraveler

Explorer
Hands down, "Go AGM" for mobile applications.

Whatever type, size you decide on use an on-board de-sulfinator too to keep those lead plates working at peak performance thus extending useful battery life!

Be aware that AGM batteries have specific charging requirements as published by the manufacturer (s).
 
Last edited:

Gunnslinger

Adventurer
I appreciate everyone's input. Great information from the group as always.
At the moment I am leaning towards the Optima yellow top battery upgrade, a powerfilm 60 watt solar panel (with a controller) to keep it topped up and continue to use the starting battery to power the fridge.
The fridge cuts off at a preset voltage so hopefully I will not kill my battery.
We always travel with at least one other vehicle so a jump start is usually available. The Waeco power supply can be used to jump start as well.
Seems like a dual battery installation and the solar panel would be a better solution but there are rumblings on the work front of new adventures on a new continent, so I don't want to invest too much in the vehicle itself. I can fit the solar panel in my suitcase, the Xterra is too big.

Any input on how low the Optima can be discharged and still have ample voltage to start the engine? I think the middle setting on the fridge cuts off at 11.4volts

Does anyone use a solar panel in this manner? Does it charge the battery through the cigarette lighter plug or using alligator clips on the battery terminals?
 

Schattenjager

Expedition Leader
...
At the moment I am leaning towards the Optima yellow top battery upgrade, a powerfilm 60 watt solar panel (with a controller) to keep it topped up and continue to use the starting battery to power the fridge... hopefully I will not kill my battery.
... a jump start is usually available. The Waeco power supply can be used to jump start as well.
... I don't want to invest too much in the vehicle itself....

Any input on how low the Optima can be discharged and still have ample voltage to start the engine? ...

... charge the battery through the cigarette lighter plug or using alligator clips on the battery terminals?
This is certainly an economic approach to extra power. If you are guaranteed to have a second vehicle with you or within handheld radio range this idea has merit. Make sure you have an option to jumpstart from some distance just in case the rescue rig can't pull up close to your battery.

Most of the things discussed are removable and re-installable in a different rig. If you move, you can easily apply the hardware to something else if needed.

Anything that charges through a 12V outlet is going to take a while and is for marginally discharged batteries. You are energizing a lot of components in the truck when you do this. Make sure the outlet is not tied to the ignition switch else you will have to have the key turned over, which activates a lot of electrical systems and further hampers the charging process.

Optima used to be a great battery. I was a fan for a long time. But then they changed hands (maybe twice now?) and the quality of the original winner formula seems to be MIA today. I have read too many instances of failure to trust them anymore. You might be well served researching this to your own conclusion. But for the money, Sears Platinum and the pricier but identical Odyssey have nothing but rave reviews. The best warranty in the world is useless in the field.

Of all the components in a rig, I will not compromise the electrical system with anything even deemed to be sub-par. Taking into account that anything can fail, the odds are diminished with quality, tested (sometimes pricey) gear. So much depends on the electrical system - starter, fuel pump, injectors, sensors, perhaps a winch and fridge, that it makes sense to me to have the best possible. Buy the best - whine once.

Will look forward to seeing your ultimate purchases.
 

colodak

Adventurer
I've always had super good luck with Optima's. When I put my winch on my truck in '03, I put a Yellow top in before hand, it lasted 7 yrs, and even then it would have gone another year but I was having intermittent issues with it. I've had my current Interstate for 2 yrs and I hate it. Yeah you have to add water twice a year (I take it to them and they do it for free), but the first one had a cell go bad within 8 mos., the replacement is now starting to act up as well. Since I don't have room under the hood for dual full size batteries, I will either go back to a yellow top or figure out a different route within the next eyar.
 

brussum

Adventurer
For what it's worth, I've run dual Optima red tops in my diesel pickup for many, many years and have never had a single problem with them. I've also had them in my old FJ40, 4Runner, etc. without problems. I currently run dual red tops in my 200 series and they work great, even at -40F for sustained periods of time. I don't know if they're any better or worse than another battery, but they've done right by me.

Out of curiosity, Schattenjager, how did they fail for you? We're you able to ascertain what went wrong with them? Thanks.
 

Ludedude

Adventurer
I just picked up a Diehard PM-2 today.
Can't go wrong with those. I have a PM-1 and a PM-2 in my truck managed by a Blue Sea ACR. Maybe the best part about the Diehard Platinum batteries is that besides being a premium Odyssey battery at a discounted price, you can get them warrantied at any Sears store nationwide. Not an advantage in say South America but Sears is all over the place in the US.

To the OP: If you're only going to get one battery make it a big one and make it an AGM. Worst thing in the world is to get stuck without power miles from anywhere.
 

bfdiesel

Explorer
With red tops I have found People "kill" them with a deep discharge when they are new. Then the person will hate optima batteries from then on. I have also found when this happens I can connect it to another battery and put a charger to them and the red top will come back in 12-24 hours. I have to hook it to another battery because my battery charger will not put power to a discharged optima.
 

Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
With red tops I have found People "kill" them with a deep discharge when they are new. Then the person will hate optima batteries from then on. I have also found when this happens I can connect it to another battery and put a charger to them and the red top will come back in 12-24 hours. I have to hook it to another battery because my battery charger will not put power to a discharged optima.
Good answer.


 

Schattenjager

Expedition Leader
...Out of curiosity, Schattenjager, how did they fail for you? We're you able to ascertain what went wrong with them? Thanks.
The ones I used back in the day died a normal death - no inordinate failures. It is the new branding that will keep me away. I have not only read a lot of negative reports, but have had numerous first hand conversations with respectable automotive folks about Optima just not being up to the high standard they introduced originally. Many have good luck with them, but for my money, it feels more like a roll of the dice than an educated decision to go with Optima these days. Sears gets my money for now.
 

Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
The ones I used back in the day died a normal death - no inordinate failures. It is the new branding that will keep me away. I have not only read a lot of negative reports, but have had numerous first hand conversations with respectable automotive folks about Optima just not being up to the high standard they introduced originally. Many have good luck with them, but for my money, it feels more like a roll of the dice than an educated decision to go with Optima these days. Sears gets my money for now.
Most of the Sears batteries are made by the same parent company as Optima; only their Platinum is made by Enersys.

The Optima QC issues that I constantly hear about are almost all hearsay. The failures I've seen in person have been from abuse/neglect.
 

OptimaJim

Observer
Hello, I noticed your conversation involving our batteries and wanted to offer some assistance. Internally, our YellowTops are identical to their BlueTop counterparts, except for the 34M BlueTop, which is the marine equivalent of our Group 34 RedTop starting battery. While BlueTops do offer additional threaded top posts for marine applications, they come with two-year, free replacement warranties, versus three years on consumer YellowTops, as Bill indicated.

.
Our batteries can be treated and charged just like regular lead-acid batteries in most situations, although “gel” and “gel/AGM” charger settings should be avoided. Fully-charged, our RedTops will measure about 12.6-12.8 volts, while our YellowTops will measure about 13.0-13.2 volts.

.
Whenever people start looking to add additional batteries or upgrade their electrical systems, I always encourage them to make sure their wiring is up to the task, especially because one-wire alternators are so sensitive to good, quality grounds. Any batteries run in series or parallel applications should be identical in size, type and age and it does make sense for some folks running multiple batteries to isolate their starting battery, to ensure there is always voltage available.

.
If you do end up discharging a battery to the point where it needs a jump-start, it is a good idea to fully-charge that battery with a battery charger as soon as possible. Most alternators are designed to maintain voltage and asking an alternator to recharge a deeply-discharged battery can lead to a cycle of dead batteries and jump-starts, until either the battery or alternator fails. It is also a good idea to make sure that any battery chargers (especially solar) have proper regulation that will prevent overcharging.

.
Johnson Controls has owned Optima for more than a decade, but we still manufacture all of our own batteries in our own facility and they are the only batteries produced there. We never re-brand or re-spec our batteries for any of our retail partners and the quality of our batteries has continually improved under JCI's ownership. The scenario bfdiesel described is fairly common not only for our batteries, but all AGM batteries. Enough of these good batteries were being returned under warranty to us, that Optima decided to produce the video Bill posted. Other manufacturers have responded to their issues by simply voiding the warranty on their batteries, if they are found to be discharged below a specific voltage level.

.
Schattenjager, I appreciate your feedback (and everyone else's). Many of the conversations I come across involving our batteries are a reflection of our presence in the marketplace, which covers more than 30,000 retailers worldwide. We could have a manufacturing defect rate that is twice as good as another company and still have ten times as many defective batteries in the marketplace, simply because the other company only sells 1/20th of the batteries that we do.

.
Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
www.facebook.com/optimabatteries
 

TangoBlue

American Adventurist
I have no complaints with my Optima red and yellow tops managed by an IBS DBS, and they've been stressed like any other off-road battery, to include depleting their power. I also use a BatteryMINDer.

Until they prove otherwise I can see no reason to ditch them for something else...
 

Schattenjager

Expedition Leader
Most of the Sears batteries are made by the same parent company as Optima; only their Platinum is made by Enersys.

....
I never bothered to see if they sold something other than the Platinum. Of course I was an Odyssey fan before Platinum became cool.
:victory:
 

VanIsle_Greg

I think I need a bigger truck!
Thanks for the input OptimaJim, always nice to see industry folks on the forums. Thanks for the information too...good to know.
 
Top