Re: [DML] Optima Batteries?
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Re: [DML] Optima Batteries?

I have gained unique battery experience with my recent experimentation 
with owning and driving a pure electric vehicle for daily use. I've 
researched battery types, behavior, vendors and cost in my quest 
to "stick it to the man" by greatly reducing my need to buy gasoline.

1. Gasoline powered cars are not a proper application of the Optima 
Yellow top. It is true that they are deep cycle but they are 
not "marine" batteries. The Blue-tops are. Yellow tops are often used 
in pure electric vehicles that require high performance, but not 
necessarily long range.

2. Red tops do suffer from some manufacturing defects but we as 
DeLorean owners exacerbate the problem with dirty grounds, and low, 
but constant loads on the battery and long periods of non-use. Combine 
this with the low alternator output and heavy cooling fan load from 
OEM fans and these batteries often get more than their fair share of 
abuse. The stock alternator/fan combo isn't so much of an issue if 
your grounds are clean and tight and the alternator is working 
CORRECTLY and doesn't have a few dead diodes.

3. I have only had to install 1 red-top in my DeLorean. I have 
upgraded my lock module with lower capacitors and different 
transistors to reduce the standby current, upgraded the alternator and 
keep my grounds clean and tight. The battery has lasted over 3 years 
so far, through all seasons, daily driving as well as extended periods 
of non-use. I did not use a cut-off switch.

4. Optima batteries are an AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt), spiral-wound 
cell construction, that does not vent explosive hydrogen gas when 
charging (unless grossly overcharged), nor leak if you flip over in an 
accident which is a Good Idea for batteries stored in the "people 
space" like our cars and Corvettes. Wet-cell, flooded lead-acid 
batteries are cheaper, and adequate for vehicles where the battery is 
stored in the engine compartment. I wouldn't waste the money on an 
Optima for my pick-up truck.

The bottom line is, the DeLorean must be healthy in order to keep the 
battery healthy, what ever the type or vendor. If you prefer to use a 
flooded, lead-acid battery, brands to avoid are "generic" brands 
offered by Auto-zone and such, Exide, and certain Sears Die-hard 
models. The lead plates are thin and of an out-dated design. A couple 
of reliable brands are Interstate, and the Die-Hard "Gold" series. If 
it seems like a 1000 cca battery is the only fix that works in your 
car, it's only because the lead plates are thick enough to handle the 
abuse that your car is dishing out in the form of poor grounding, weak 
alternator output and constant drains from wiring problems and the old-
style lock module. You're just masking the real problem.

Mike Cohee's Optima for example, was probably slowly killed by his 
faulty alternator. Now that his alternator is replaced, his grounds 
are clean and he has Lockzilla, let's see how long the new one lasts. 

If you like the AGM type battery, but don't trust Optima, Orbital 
(made by Exide) and a few other marine battery manufacturers make a 
similar battery. You may note that in one statement I recommend a 
brand and in another statement I do not recommend the same brand. The 
fact is, not all vendors make all bad or all good batteries. 

Rich A.
--- In dmcnews@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "Ryan Wright" <ryanpwright@...> wrote:
> Curious, I wonder how many of you drive your cars regularly and 
still have
> problems with the Optimas? Is it possible the batteries just don't 
like to
> sit? Do they discharge more quickly when not in use, or are they 
> less tolerant of being discharged too low?
> Does anyone really know the actual reason so many have had problems 
> them?
> -Ryan

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