Optima Batteries

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by JJ, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Was having a discussion with my new mate "Scottish Dave" in Portimao the other day and he was considering purchasing an Optima battery which, while being VERY expensive, would make sense for motorhomers if the company's claims are true...

    With it's "Spiral" build design and glass fibre (soaked in acid) packed between the "pure" lead plates the makers claim...

    ...Much reduced voltage drop as it discharges enabling it to deliver full voltage well past the 50% full point of normal batteries hence meaning a 55amp battery will effectively perform the same as a 100 amp traditional leisure battery....

    ... no damage if left flat...

    ... faster charging times..

    ... less weight...

    ... longer lasting...

    ... etc etc etc...

    Dave is thinking of trying one when he gets back to Blighty in the late spring...

    Does anyone have hands on experience of these "miracle" batteries?

    JJ :thumb:
     
  2. Douglas

    Douglas Read Only Funster

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    I have 2 of them or rather I think they are the same type, (I will check and get back to you) they have round cells instead of oblong as in normal design.

    I bought them for the last boat that I built for myself in 2000, I used them in the boat for 4 years, then in my first MH for 1 year, Then in the present MH for 2 years, I would be still using them now but I increased my battery bank size so they did not match.

    At present they have been on timed trickle charge for the last 3 years and as far as I can tell they are still in good order.

    Even though they may be good battery's, I doubt their ability to survive being discharged flat.

    Doug...
     
  3. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    As an electric forklift engineer, I tend to take the claims of most leisure battery manufacturers with a large pinch of salt!
    I'd spend my money on a proper lead acid traction monobloc battery. Look up Dyno, Trojan, CMP or Hawker for suitable products. We have 2 Dyno 115AH 12v monoblocs on our van.
    If they say 115AH on the side, 115AH is what you'll always get with an industrial battery!
    We go for days without hook-up, we never have to ration the TV!!
     
  4. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    I fully endorse you choice in batteries .. however, even Trojan recommend not to discharge below 50% .. as it will shorten their life.. and no more than 80% or you will kill them ..


    Trojan
     
  5. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    I can vouch for Hawker,I have 3 on the RV and have had them over 4 years now.
    Got them off ebay second hand,ex UPS and they have been the best batteries I have ever had.If they went down tomorrow I would replace with the same.
    Cost wise at the time was £25 each and the way scrap lead is going they will make a good weigh in when am finished with them.
    Dont know whats in them but they are twice the weight of similar size batteries.
     
  6. niggle

    niggle Banned - Rule 1

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    :Rofl1: got 4 x110 amp via intell charger,, run microwave,normal house 42 inch tv via inverter and all kinds of other things never never had the pannell cut out and thats set at 10.5 volts,,,, best thing i bought ???? if you get the chance get the ones that are aircraft fitting they cant boil/freeze and are totaly sealed,,, no not jelly but costly :thumb::thumb:
     
  7. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    as usual I was wrong...

    ...Optima don't claim you can leave them flat... my mistake... just reading some more reviews...

    JJ

    Thanks Funsters for the help... keep it coming please...
     
  8. Douglas

    Douglas Read Only Funster

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    Mine are Exide

    JJ, I have had a look at my batteries and they are Exide and not Optima.

    Doug...
     
  9. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    I agree with the quotes from Trojan, however it is all relative, as we as leisure users are never likely to reach the number of charge/discharge cycles these batteries are designed for!
    As a rule, do not discharge below a NO LOAD voltage of 12v for long life!
    Mind you, even the most abused industrial battery will last longer than the usual choice of re-labelled crap starter batteries marketed to us as deep-discharge types!!
    By the way, we also swear by our Sterling battery-to-battery charger on our van. It's brilliant!
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  10. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Just about to reply when you edited your post ..

    Good rule .. another way of saying it, go below 12v and you will shorten the life ..

    Cheap batteries won't last as long, of that there is no doubt .. however.. that's not to say they are not good value for money as you can probably buy three cheap one's for the same cost of a traction from say Trojan ..

    So if the cheap one lasts three years, the Trojan would need to last nine years to make them cost effective.. as you say, most people only use them for leisure so investing in Trojans may not be worthwhile..

    When I bought the RV and just before we went full time I bought four el cheapo 85ah FLAs for £30 each .. four years later they were still going strong .. and they had been regularly cycled below 12v .. in other words , abused ..

    However, the longevity was probably due to having a Victron Multi Plus charger / inverter which maintained them properly..

    So, from my perspective , Trojans are ace batteries and if your life depends on a dependable power source, ie , in a marine environment, or for a domestic solar system, the cost could be justified.. but for leisure use, unless you get them cheap , I would say no.. they are not worth the extra ..

    I'm guessing you got them at a good price .. or they fell off the back of of fork lift :Wink:

    :Laughing:


    EDIT

    For reference I've attached Trojan's battery voltage / state of charge chart
     

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    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  11. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    Our Dyno traction monoblocs came from a errrrr, contact in the trade lol:BigGrin:

    I have been very surprised by the low water usage of these batteries despite being fast-charged at 14.8v by the Sterling unit! A topping-up once a year seems to be the order of the day and that's with the batteries being 3yrs old! All the specific gravities are good and I reckon they'll go for at least another 6yrs!
    In that time the Motorhome fun subscriptions could have paid for another battery!

    I agree open lead acid traction batteries aren't ideal for everyone, especially those who use sites and hook up regularly and haven't a need for large a capacity battery! For the more adventurous amongst us, spending days at a time off grid, I reckon such batteries are essential.
    The other point worth making is that you need a method of externally venting the battery or mounting it externally to dissipate the fumes from gassing. Ours are in the garage in boxes vented by a hose to the outside to achieve this. We preferred this to losing battery capacity due to cold batteries outside in the winter.
    As an aside, we have fork trucks in our rental fleet operating in temperatures of down to -28 degrees C in cold stores. The batteries tend to freeze internally from the bottom up over repeated cycles and require a straight 48 hours out of the cold to thaw them and bring back their full capacity about once a week! Bear this in mind if you go skiing and have your batteries outside!
     
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