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A quick post to see if I have the wrong information about Otima Batteries and to see what everybody else thinks?
First, a bit of background...
I have a ex MOD 110 (12 volt) that has two type 072 batteries in a split charge.
One of the batteries is confirmed dead, and the other pretty stuffed too. So two new batteries are needed.
As I'm preparing for a long trip next year, and various books like SO and Tom Sheppards say Batteries are pretty importent(obvious), I thought I would look at Optima Batteries as they seem to have a good reputation and appear to be targeting the "if your serious about batteries, then you need a" type market.
Quotes for two replacement 072's seem to come in around the £65-£85 each area, with all offering a 3-4 year warranty.
Reading up on the Optima's from optimabatteries.com and .se sites I came across the following:
"Off-road, on rough waters, or just braving the potholes in your SUV...OPTIMA Batteries are built to take a beating."
"the OPTIMA Red Top Starting Battery will perform extremely well, often providing up to two to three times longer life than conventional batteries. If the vehicle has few or no after-market accessories and uses a stock or upgraded alternator"
Given that the optima's are twice the price or more, I was some what horrified to find out that the yellow top only comes with a 1 year warranty (not international, return to purchaser etc) and the Red Top 2 years(or 1 depending on who you speak with.
Have I got it wrong? I spoke with Frog Island and Boyriven.
If a battery that costs twice as much and claims to last at least twice as long can only offer 30% of the warranty as others I think I will stick to standard 072's, despite the claimed benefits of the Optima's.
Anybody have any opinions on this, or show me where I'm going wrong? I'm reluctant to pay twice as much for something that won't last longer than 12 months.
Any comments welcome (including the best brand of 072's to buy etc)
I bought a Halfords 072 2.5 yrs ago.
The battery has sat in an old Landrover during this time - the vehicle has covered 14 000 km, but in 2 bursts, each over Christmas of the last 2 years.
I have totally abused the battery (left it standing for long periods of time in the cold, half charged etc), but put it through some tests last weekend. I ran the brights for 2 hrs and then checked to see what was left. I disconnected the ignition coil and cranked the motor for several minutes. It was fine - showed no signs of getting tired.
The motor started immediately once the coil was back on line. I was quite surprised what the battery seemed to have left in it! Meantime I'm sticking to the 072.
I fitted a pair of Red tops in my TLC a couple of years ago at 120 quid each. Like everything else on the car, I like to fit-and-forget where possible and the sealed Optimas fitted that role.
Then again they have gone flat a couple of times (once, understandable during inverter tests - I hardly use the tlc at home) and so my wosrt case scenario still looms and I keep one of the old normal batteries on the roof charged by a solar panel to back up the Optimas should they miss a beat.
Bottom line - in the desert any battery in good condition will do as long as you have a spare (or a crank).
BTW, make sure that split charger is not buggering your bats - I've heard of it happening before which is why I got a panel.
I think I might be telling fibs about the split charge? I think they might be in parallel? (they sit next to each other, and one pos and one neg cable goes onto the first battery, and from there each of the terminals have a cable over to the second battery.)
MOT and insurance runs out on saturday, so bought a Redtop off scorpian racing so that I can at least get it down there for a MOT etc.
Excuse my ignorance, but whats a panel? Solar panel?
I've read the section of the book, and it seems that "solenoid switch to alternator output" is the way to go. Any idea who can sort me out one of these?
I'm very keen to use solar panels and will be going on a very long trip. Would a yellow top optima be best for the second battery or should I stick with a red?
I won't have a winch, but would expect to use power via a inverter etc for many days when I won't be running the vehicle.(It's a exmod 110, with a Webasto btw)
There doesn't seem to be any consistent advice.
I think I had better change my username to (confused) complete novice :-)
Frogs island 4x4 sell an ARB split charge relay, it may be worth checking out www.arb.com to find some info, otherwise most caravan accessory suppliers will sell split systems as you dont have a winch these will probably be up to the job, the same crowd I was talking to about batteries also supply a heavy duty rely somewhere in the 150 squid mark that will handle 60amps, but without a winch I doubt you will need to draw this type of current, I`d speak to scorpian again about a second battery, but my guess is that a second red top would be better as you wont be deep cycling your second battery without a winch, the crowd at scorpian seem to be on the ball with there advice, I had a good yarn with kiwi lad, at stoneliegh who worked for them, and they seem to want to provide good customer service, which isnt always easy to find.
I have a couple of pretty ordinary standard batteries fitted to my 200 tdi. They were no more than £45 each. The main one is four years old and still works a treat, the auxilary is fed by a split charge system bought from a caravan shop. The fridge flattens it during the course of one hot day of no running, but it soon charges up again. I have no experience of Optima, but am always suspitious of people who spend a lot on advertising. I'd stick to ordinary good quality batteries and save your money for other little luxuries.
>Would a yellow top optima be best for the second battery or should I stick with a red?
I assume yellow is deep cycle (good for fridges and complete flattening, bad for turning an engine), so I would stick with a normal car starting spare battery so you can always crank your engine with it if the main one packs up. Swap them around accasionally, they'll last longer.
>I won't have a winch, but would expect to use power via a inverter etc for many days when I won't be running the vehicle.
Then you definatly want a solar panel (or some other generator). For the inverter, go for 300w upwards if you want it to be useful.
There was guy selling both opposite me at Billing (stand V-something)
>There doesn't seem to be any consistent advice.
There never will be - whatever you ask! ;-)
Have spoken to Frogs Island a few times and always found them obnoxious, arrogant and rude. This maybe is because I don't always have any idea what I'm talking about, but they aren't getting any of my money. Will check out the options and thanks for the tips. SR do seem to be pretty good.
Wish I had stuck with the standard 072's in some ways - less money to spend on the Minidisc player now :-)
Yellow is deep cycle, and your comments are consistent with most others about deep cycle batteries etc, but Optima seem to be selling them as starter and deep cycle - the perfect solutiona etc etc. Just trying to see if this is true, or a load...
Will probably stick with a red top I guess. All of the Invertor type places sell solar panels but its all starting to add up - common problem I'm sure ;-) - anybody found a cheap place to buy them - mailorder from the states etc?
All I can say about the advice side of things is thank your particulair flavour of heavens for books like VDE Guide and your's Chris (starting to slime in case you want to sel the Optimus 2nd hand :-)
I'll start asking dumb questions about split chargers and solar panels now. I owe you all a etc
R/Y instead of an inverter, & solar panels ect, would`nt it work out cheaper to use a small generator, then you have a lot more freedom with your power, and if worst comes to worst and you flatten both batteries you can recharge 1 for an engine start. There are some pretty small & quite ones on the market, they do cost a little but I can see the solar panels coming cheap.
Just a thought!!!
Me I think generators are way too bulky and noisy for most normal desert travellers. I travelled with a guy who had one just to light a bulb! It ruined the evening silence of the desert (and he ruined the rest!).
A 40 watt solar panel about the size of a small ironing board now costs about 100 quid in the UK and sits up there making power all day, modern ones dont need full on sunshine. IMHO in the Sahara it makes a lot of sense. I recently wired in a BP regulator gadget so I don't cook the battery if /when I forget to switch it off. 80 quid but it has some coloured flashing lights and an LCD readout.
A spare battery is vital for a diesel in the dz I reckon, and with a panel (or even a wind generator from a sailing shop...) and that battery can be kept reliably charged independently of the car. Natural energy sources are much under-rated.
Cheers, but I'm not keen on the idea and have a few 'things' in mind and underway for my trip in order to promote 'greenie' stuff like solar and wind.
Spoke to a friend who chooses to holiday on water rather then land, and he suggested that the wind generator was quite noisy in an irritating way, and it made people who had them extremely umpopular in a marina. I guess there might be smaller ones? I'll look into it over the next few weeks.
Have to sort out what split charge system to buy and how to install it first. Oh, and decide on which second battery to buy.....
Always a sucker for flashing lights, so maybe a reg gadget will have to be investigated as well :-)
We have two Optima yellow tops in our Defender 110 V8. Also, with a 160 amp alternator. We have had the yellow tops for about two years and 45,000 miles. Before that we had red tops. We live out of our truck so they get constant use. They are set up so we can switch off each battery. (We use marine switches). We do not use an aftermarket split charger. When in camp we switch off one battery when we know we are going to be using a lot of amps. If we have used a lot of amps we will switch off the battery we have used, THEN we will switch on the unused battery to start the truck, THEN we will switch back on the used battery. This gives us a fresh battery to start the truck with.
We do not have a fridge or freezer (because when you can find things to put in it you should just eat what the locals eat and we go on very long sea kayak expeditions and like to eat the same). We do charge nickel-metal hydride batteries for head lamps, radios etc, use our sat phone, lights, stereo, etc. We do have a winch that is of no use in the desert but is of great use in jungle and forest, and the yellow tops have helped greatly on a few major extractions.
For back up we have a custom power pack. In a Pelican model 1550 case we have mounted a smaller sealed 12v gell cell battery, solar and AC charge controller, inverter with plug, two female cigar plugs and two solar panels. We can use the box for many power needs. We can also plug the solar panels into the truck if we were stupid enough to drain both Optimas. We can also take out the small gell cell fully charged and start the truck with it.
Chris fair play on the solar panels, I didnt realise thet were that cheap and efficient.
I was a bit confused reading you last reply as I was sure you were a TLC driver but then the rex at the bottom explained all(I didnt read the first line). I like the idea of switched batteries, rex mentioned marine switches, but I thought you would have to use a large battery isolation switch which couldnt really be fitted to the dash or run the switches thru high capacity relays so as to handle the current, maybe you could shed some more light on the s/w he used.
money permitting we`ll be taking a fridge, I dont mind a nice COLD ofter a hot days driving.
Location: where the Defender 110 & Feathercraft K1's are
Optimas are in parallel with marine battery two position switches to turn the POSITIVE on and off. Very easy, works, do not need anything but switches and extra cable. Both Optimas fit under the left side front seat on 110 w/the switches on the front bottom corner of the seat box and a U shaped door handle so you do not brake them. The Hella switches we use have keys you can remove! Good security feature.
E-Mail if you need to.
[This message has been edited by REX (edited 28 September 2001).]
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