Optima battery advice required.

Submitted: Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 10:31
ThreadID: 97035 Views:3338 Replies:6 FollowUps:12
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I was ready to place an order for Optima batteries the other day, when a contributor to this site reported that Optima were having premature failure with some of their batteries.
Has anyone else heard of problems with this manufacturer?
Any help appreciated.
Thanks Dennis
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Reply By: Member - mechpete - Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 11:15

Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 11:15
gooday Dennis .
going back a few yrs , we ran Optima batteries in the GMC ambulances as
an aux battery , they started to bulge the tops up , an shock horror the
manufactureer said it must be our vehicle thats at fault , they were all
replaced with OEM battereis no more problems
mechpete
AnswerID: 491477

Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 14:03

Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 14:03
Had the same problem and solved it the same way, different type of battery as replacement and the exact same response from the manufacturer
Broodie H3
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 18:34

Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 18:34
We have seen a far few of our customers have the same problem..... some have replaced them with another Optima under warranty and had not had a problem, we replaced most with a different brand/type battery and no further issues..... charging system checked out fine.

Have noticed in the specs that there charge rates are much more wide spread then most other battery's.

With battery's it hard to say what's good and what,s bad.... we stick to one brand and haven't had any problems with our or our customers..... most come down to how it is looked after.

The Optima's battery's are expensive for the capacity and in my view are no better or worse then most other reputable brands.

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Reply By: Rockape - Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 15:09

Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 15:09
Dennis,
I have had a top run out of Optima batteries up until recently when a red top failed after about 18 months.

I wasn't going to cart it from Derby all the way home so I could find the receipt so I will guess I will never know if they would have honoured the warranty or not.

I must admit I wasn't happy with it failing but then again these things do happen.

If others report failures then I guess Optima may have a manufacturing problem or they have changed the quality of their build to cut costs.


AnswerID: 491495

Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 23:51

Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 23:51
I've had 3 Optima Yellow batteries fail within about 6mths of each other. All my aux battery and each replaced under warranty. Each blew up like a football, was too hot to touch and vented sulphur dioxide. Not good when it sits in the back of the vehicle.

Think we finally fixed the problem with a new battery management system and new alternator.

Dunc
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AnswerID: 491532

Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 11:01

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 11:01
Thanks to all for your replies.
I suppose with battery failures there's always going to be a problem deciding whether it was the battery’s or user’s fault.
AnswerID: 491550

Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 13:00

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 13:00
There certainly seem to be quite a few Optima failures coming through the ranks, is this for your caravan Dennis?
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 14:57

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 14:57
I intended to put these in the caravan.
I think most of the replies have been from motor vehicle users.
Possibly the same problems won’t show up when using them in the more friendly caravan environment of moderate temperatures and accurately controled charge and float rates.
But I have changed my mind and will go for Concorde Lifeline now.
One my requirements was the ability to bulk charge at least 50 amps into a 100 a/h battery.
Both Optima and Concorde can handle twice this rate.
This would enable me to charge my batteries in a greatly reduced time.
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Reply By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 12:27

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 12:27
I recently read a similar discussion on, I think, LCOOL and one contributor said that Optima were now assembling their batteries in Mexico. Perhaps the QA is not up to scratch. Previously their reputation was excellent.
AnswerID: 491558

Follow Up By: Paul and Mel - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 20:10

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 20:10
My Optimas are now just on 9 years old and still going. So i guess i am happy to say the least?
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Reply By: Optima Bill - Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 08:00

Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 08:00
Hello guys,
I work with Optima, searching out such threads as this and addressing issues with our batteries. On the batteries that bulge, as I read in a couple posts, that is usually caused by overcharging the battery. Being an AGM designed battery, the charging method and amperes used is different and it is easy to over charge our batteries. In the one case of post 3, it looks like that problem was corrected by changing the management system to something that properly charged and didn't over charge the batteries.
Reply 1, Again, it is impossible to go back now and check, but I would guess that the GMC charging system was overcharging the Optima battery.
Reply 2, I am not sure about the warranty in your country, but you probably could have gotten a replacement for your battery if you had kept it, sorry.
Reply 4, when all you have is information you read online, you are correct, it is hard to tell and diagnose properly. A lot of returned batteries we get are simply deeply discharged and once we recharge them properly, they are fine.
We have a great video on utube ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Slqd73ZOQvI ) that describes the proper way to recharge a deeply discharged optima battery.
We build all our batteries at one location and there isn't nor has there been a lapse in Quality Control. We strive daily to maintain the highest quality product we can possibly produce.
Guys, I hope this helps out with some of your questions about our batteries.
Thanks,
Bill Howell
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
AnswerID: 491807

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 09:45

Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 09:45
Thanks for the reply Bill.
I appreciate that vehicle alternators are dumb chargers designed for flooded cells and they don’t have the multiple stages required to maintain AGM’s correctly.
I am going to put a couple of high quality AGM’s (either Optima or Lifeline) into my caravan and maintain them to the manufactures specifications with a good quality charger.
When not in use for 6 or 9 months, but on a float of 13.2 volts, which is the best way to maintain them?
i) Do a 50% DOD and fully charge once every 3 months
ii) Use a smart 5 stage charger which pluses them every so often
iii) Just leave it on a steady 13.2 volt float.
Regards Dennis
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 12:09

Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 12:09
"pluses" should read pulses
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 16:06

Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 16:06
Bill,
I will answer you about the batteries.

I had a top run out of both yellow top and red top Optima batteries for many years. We also have had a good run at work. These 10 year old batteries were in the same vehicle and under the same conditions as the ones that failed. One lot 10 years and the new ones haven't lasted 2.

The last redtop read fully charged voltage wise with a capacity of 1%. No need to tell you what that meant.

I have had 2 red tops fail now and have been away with no way of looking at any sort of warranty as my receipts were at home 6000 kilometres away. I did kill another battery when I accidentally knocked the switch on the battery charger to power supply which I knew caused the failure and did not blame the Optima.

When the last redtop went the same age yellow top was only showing 60% capacity even though it had been on a staged charger 15 hours +.

I don't think I will be using them again because that little lot have cost me $900 so I can't risk it. Sorry once a product fails on me more than once I walk away.

The failed batteries were float charged every night for 1/2 an hour on a time clock so they were well looked after. My alternator has no problems at all and charges at 14.2 volts.




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FollowupID: 767420

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 18:26

Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 18:26
Hi Rockape.
I wouldn’t put an AGM under the bonnet of a motor vehicle and expect a long life out of it.
I have a Toyota Troopy V8 diesel with two flooded wet maintainable batteries.
The internal temperature of the rear battery reaches 68 deg C (measured with a glass thermometer dipped into the electrolyte).
The alternator in this vehicle is temperature regulated and when cold it charges at 13.9 volts and after warming up it drops back to 13.6 volts.
Most AGM manufacturers won’t warranty their batteries over 60 deg C.
One manufacturer’s tables I checked lately was that at 68 deg C charging should be 13.7 volts.
If I charged at 14.2 volts I would be overcharging them.
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FollowupID: 767433

Follow Up By: Rockape - Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 18:47

Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 18:47
Dennis,

First lot 10 years. Same engine bay, same conditions and same alternator. Auto sparkie from battery world said the charge voltage was fine, in fact he said it could go a little higher. No sign of overcharging (bulging).

The Red top gave up the ghost after about 400K on the GRR. which I didn't find to corrugated at all and the old batteries travelled over worse country. The yellow top who knows as it has never been abused voltage wise. I believe that battery differently failed from vibration and that is what the Optima batteries are supposed to be good at.

I will now make the statement. If a (STARTING) battery (Red Top) can't be used under the bonnet what is is good for then. This vehicle is also only used in the cooler months. In fact in a couple of days I will stick my digital thermometer under the bonnet and tow the van the last couple of 100K home and see what temp it reaches.



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FollowupID: 767436

Follow Up By: Rockape - Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 18:51

Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 18:51
Dennis,
just looked at the recommended ALTERNATOR charge rate for the Optimas and it is between 13.65 and 15.00 volts.
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FollowupID: 767437

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 22:58

Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 22:58
All things being equal – 10 years out one batch and 2 out of the other doesn’t sound real good.
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FollowupID: 767460

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