Can I use an isolator with an Optima Battery?
Yes, most any type of battery separator or solenoid can be used with an Optima Battery. The important thing to remember is that the charging voltage must be within the limits suggested by Optima Batteries. If you are using an Optima Battery and a conventional battery, your system must charge each battery independently. Remember, some isolator cause a voltage drop, make sure your charging voltage at the battery is sufficient. Continued undercharging of a battery will lead to premature failure and a drop in capacity.
Why does the Optima Battery last longer?
The main reasons the Optima battery has a longer life are:
What does deep cycle mean?
Deep cycle means using the optima battery in an application that will typically discharge 60% to 70% or more of the optima battery capacity. An automotive battery is an SLI (starting, lightly, ignition) battery. It's plates are designed to deliver maximum power for a short duration. Starting a car typically discharges an SLI battery only 1% to 3%. When an SLI battery is used in a deep cycle application, or in a vehicle with heavy accessory loads, the battery life will be shortened proportionally to how deeply it is cycled on a regular basis.
Red Top Optima
Use Optima Red Top Batteries for normal engine starting where an alternator immediately monitors the state of charge and provides energy to the battery whenever it is needed. This would describe most stock vehicles.
Yellow Top Optima
Use Optima Yellow Top Batteries when electrical loads are higher than average, or when the discharge cycle is more than typical engine starting, such as vehicles without alternators. This also includes vehicles with significant electrical loads that may exceed the average alternator output (for example aftermarket audio system, GPS, chargers, winch, snowplow, inverters, drag cars). This can also include vehicles that have a lot of electronics from the factory, such as a minivan with power sliding doors and a DVD player, especially if the DVD player is used when the engine isn’t running.
Blue Top Optima
The Optima BlueTop starting battery (dark gray case) is to be used when a dedicated starting battery is required and it should never be used for cycling duty. The dual purpose Optima BlueTop (light gray case) can be used for both starting and deep cycling; it is a true deep cycle battery with extremely high cranking power.
When should I use a deep cycle battery?
Any time you need the battery to supply all the operating power for a vehicle or other device. Additionally, Optima deep-cycle batteries should be used in vehicles that have heavy accessory loads where the alternator cannot maintain the battery in a fully charged condition. Some examples include vehicles with powerful stereo systems, vehicles with increased electronics like GPS systems, game systems, DVD players and LCD screens or boats with on-board chargers, trolling motors, fish-finders, stereos, lights, etc.
Do I need a special charger for my Optima Battery?
Under normal vehicle starting applications, most regular automatic lead acid battery chargers will properly charge an OPTIMA Battery. However, since OPTIMA batteries are frequently used in high-performance applications or non-standard vehicle starting applications, there are certain instances that must be given special considerations.
An OPTIMA battery is an AGM battery, not a "gel" battery or regular flooded acid battery. A deeply discharged OPTIMA battery (less than 10.5V) will not test or recharge properly if treated as a regular flooded battery or gel battery. A handheld electronic battery tester will most likely provide inaccurate test results.
An OPTIMA battery has the benefit of very low internal resistance, which allows high amperage output as well as efficient charge acceptance. This benefit also allows an OPTIMA battery to run longer than its specified ratings and run to a lower voltage than typical flooded batteries. All of this can lead to confusion when it comes to recharging a deeply discharged OPTIMA. Most basic battery chargers have a built-in function to prevent charging a battery with less than 10.5 volts. If your OPTIMA is discharged below that, the battery charger may not start up.
Most high-quality, modern battery chargers now have built-in features to charge AGM batteries like OPTIMA. Some have specific AGM settings which should be used to charge an OPTIMA. Do not use “gel” or “gel/AGM” settings, as they will not fully charge an OPTIMA and could damage it over time. However, even some AGM compatible chargers will not recharge deeply discharged (less than 10.5 volts) OPTIMA batteries. It may be necessary to follow the instructions provided in section #3.
For regular charging we recommend a maximum of 10 amps, 13.8-15.0V. For float charging, we recommend one amp maximum, 13.2-13.8V.
Under normal (engine starting) conditions, an OPTIMA battery should never experience “at rest” voltages below 10.5 volts. In these applications, most 12 volt chargers (old or newer) or alternators will sufficiently recharge an OPTIMA with at least 10.5 volts. Typically we only see issues with charging when it relates to stand-alone deep cycling applications or severely discharged OPTIMA’s.
Does the Optima Deep Cycle have a memory?
Lead-Acid batteries do not suffer from memory effect. Many people think they have a memory because they experience a reduction in capacity or run-time as the battery ages. The active paste material in a lead-acid battery is a consumable item, similar to tread on a tire. Every time you cycle the battery some of the paste is used up. As the battery ages, less of the active paste is available to charge and discharge, resulting in a reduced operating time. This situation can be more apparent in the case where a high power or SLI battery is used in a deep cycle application. The plates of an SLI battery are designed for high current, short duration discharges. Plates in deep cycle batteries are better suited to repetitive deep discharge applications.
Why do Optima Batteries have such long shelf life?
Mostly this is due to the purity of the lead in the Optima Battery plates. Some of the alloys in conventional batteries are more prone to electron transfer resulting in self-discharge than what is used in the Optima Battery.
Can you trickle charge an Optima Battery?
Yes, you can use any charger on an Optima Battery as long as the voltage is regulated properly. If your charger will remain on indefinitely the voltage should be at 13.8 volts maximum with a one amp maximum current.
Can I hook an Optima Battery up in parallel with my other battery?
No, when hooking batteries together in parallel they should be of identical make, model, and of similar age.