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Optima batteries [Merged 10-6]

logic

20+ Year Contributor
921
32
Jun 11, 2002
Berkeley, California
Hi,

I've been doing a little battery research. I've settled on Optima, based on comments I've seen regarding them and the fact that they're a sealed setup. I'm now looking at the various versions of batteries that they produce, and I've noticed very little difference (from reading over their techinical specifications) between their various "colors" (red for engine use, blue for marine, yellow for deep cycle applications). For reference, here are links to the specs they publish for each major type of battery:

The "Red Top 34" engine starter battery:
http://www.optimabatteries.com/products/pdf/34.pdf

The "Blue Top 34" dual-terminal marine starter battery:
http://www.optimabatteries.com/products/pdf/34M.pdf

The "Yellow Top 34" dual-terminal deep cycle battery:
http://www.optimabatteries.com/products/pdf/D34.pdf

My question, then, is simple: what's the difference, besides packaging? The marine battery literature makes claims about not discharging as much over time and recharging faster, but that would seem to be about it between the red and blue (the yellow has a few obvious differences, such as resistance and power output). Am I misreading, or is there really very little real-world difference?

For the curious: the reason I'm asking is because I'd like to be able to run the blue-top to match the rest of the underhood setup (along with any advantages that might come from the discharging characteristics; it sounds like the perfect setup for a car that's stored over winter, for example). That's the kind of eraser-head riceboi I am. :)

(I was a little unsure of whether to post this in the Basic/Newbie forum, or in the 2.0 Turbo Performance forum. Mods, please feel free to move if you think this is too basic.)
 

BGGSTin

Proven Member
302
7
Jun 4, 2004
Eighty Four, Pennsylvania
I have a yellow top and love it, lifetime warranty too :D Went into a resteraunt the other day and had left my lights, and radio [just head unit and small amp to speakers, not the subs] on because I always forget with the turbo timer, but I was in there for around an hour and a half and I didn't even notice it was down, I checked the power on the turbo timer before I started and it was at 12.0 which I thought was impressive considering it wasn't being charged at all.
 

94mitsuGST

Proven Member
99
2
Nov 26, 2004
Watertown, Wisconsin
I highly recommend this battery. It my be on the expensive side but you have the assurance that your battery will hold up. I have had this battery for over a year now and have never had a time where i couldn't start it. I can play my system for an 1 hour and 20 min. and it still starts hard. :thumb:
 

-silencer-

Proven Member
195
4
Aug 2, 2005
Orlando, Florida
Advance Discount Auto Parts & Autozone both carry the Red Top and Yellow Tops.. Price is around $110 for a Red Top and $160-170 for a Yellow Top.
 

Zleeper

Probationary Member
2
0
Aug 21, 2005
Reading, Pennsylvania
RiceKiller_TSi said:
How long do these batteries last? And what makes them better than the standard batteries that Wal-Mart / Autozone sells?

I've noticed that they cost considerably more.

Optima batteries use purer lead spiral wound elements, opposed to the conventional battery design which uses a calcium or antimony lead alloy and flat plates. Pure lead design is better because it corrodes slower and it can withstand over-abusvie discharges better (like leaving our lights on until it is dead), but pure lead batteries are harder and more costly to manufacture. The spiral wound design is better because it can withstand shock and vibration better than (most) flat plate designs; and it has better current density distribution. One disadvantage to spiral wound batteries is the wasted space between the "cans," so they must be slightly bigger to produce the same energy. Optima also use absorbed glass mat, so there is no free acid to spill or watering required.

I use a Genesis/Odyssey 17 Ah battery in my TSI. It uses pure lead metal, but a flat plate design. They are just a rugged as Optima, and they come in smaller sizes. I use a 17 Ah 13 pound battery year round with no problems. But you probably don't want to go that small if you have a big stereo system, or you use power a lot without the car running. Odyssey does have some bigger batteries though that would work well with high power stereos. Depending on where you get them, they can be slightly cheaper than Optimas.
 

Jaronk56

Proven Member
110
0
Nov 7, 2004
st.john, Indiana
I've had an optima in evey car i ever owned. They take so much abuse, there completely sealed, and they just rock. i ha e one that still going on 7 yrs old. its works great.. It worth the extra money just trust me.. having the confidence of leaving ur neons or radio on for a long time is worth it :thumb:
 

RiceKiller_TSi

Proven Member
2,938
12
Nov 21, 2003
Mobile, Alabama
I'm going to buy one when my Wally World battery finally dies. I have an amp and subs in the trunk and I need more power than the average guy. Sounds like a good battery... especially since it lasts so long. Neons definitely draw a lot of current. I had a conventional battery at the time I had my neons installed and my car felt "slower" with the neons on.
 

-silencer-

Proven Member
195
4
Aug 2, 2005
Orlando, Florida
If power is a major concern - massive stereo sytem, power inverters, lighting, computer - then you may just want to fork over the cash for a Stinger high output alternator too. I believe they've got models for the 4g63 in the 140-160A range, and possibly more..
 

Lilni

Proven Member
73
0
Apr 4, 2005
St. Louis, Missouri
you only really need an optima if your gonna be using electrical stuff with the engine off though. its stupid to buy one for performance. you only need your battery for when the engines off and starting it. i dont have any subs or amps so im not too concerned about buying one.
 

-silencer-

Proven Member
195
4
Aug 2, 2005
Orlando, Florida
Lilni said:
you only really need an optima if your gonna be using electrical stuff with the engine off though. its stupid to buy one for performance. you only need your battery for when the engines off and starting it. i dont have any subs or amps so im not too concerned about buying one.

Not true.. I never ran my stereo with the engine off and my standard battery couldn't handle the deep cycles while driving. Got an Optima Yellow top and 18 months later everything has been fine.
 

c5chris

Proven Member
1,347
4
Jan 7, 2003
SoCal, California
Lilni said:
you only really need an optima if your gonna be using electrical stuff with the engine off though. its stupid to buy one for performance. you only need your battery for when the engines off and starting it. i dont have any subs or amps so im not too concerned about buying one.

That's true in a sense.....

BUT, you need a batterty that will be reliable and be able to start your car everytime. When your DSM does not want to start, at least you can rule out the battery as your cause.

Optimas are very reliable and even comes with a 3 YEAR REPLACEMENT warranty. I heard some stores saying 90 days, but that's untrue. Optimas are a little heavier than the new Delcos but what's a few pounds compared to a 3000 lb. car?
 

RiceKiller_TSi

Proven Member
2,938
12
Nov 21, 2003
Mobile, Alabama
Lilni said:
you only really need an optima if your gonna be using electrical stuff with the engine off though. its stupid to buy one for performance. you only need your battery for when the engines off and starting it. i dont have any subs or amps so im not too concerned about buying one.

Not true. I've killed two conventional batteries with my high powered amps and subs WHILE the car was running. It really depends on the voltage needs of the individual. Not to mention the power it takes to run the cars ignition system under high boost runs. Even when the car is running sometimes the battery can be severely discharged with the stock alt.
 

gsx951

Proven Member
848
13
Dec 30, 2002
townsville, Michigan
RiceKiller_TSi said:
Not true. I've killed two conventional batteries with my high powered amps and subs WHILE the car was running. It really depends on the voltage needs of the individual. Not to mention the power it takes to run the cars ignition system under high boost runs. Even when the car is running sometimes the battery can be severely discharged with the stock alt.

Yes, it would be a good idea to keep system efficiency in mind when designing a system.
 

doug

Proven Member
3,122
16
Mar 9, 2002
SoFla
Interesting that this thread just came up again-- my blue top died yesterday. I've praised it in other Optima threads in the past, but now I'm doubting that. It was only about a year and a half old-- barely out of puberty. :cry:

If I get another Optima, it will be a red top.
 

v860

Probationary Member
11
0
Sep 11, 2004
Oakland, California
I also have a blue top, It has been great and is on its second car (about 5 years), and is still going strong. To me it has been definitely worth the extra money.
 

slider85

Proven Member
469
1
May 21, 2004
Langley, B.C._Canada
I want to pick up a Yellow Top battery but I don't know the part number for it. Their website sucks and it does not list a number for the 1st Gen DSM. Anyone know what the part number is and what the ratings are? CCA's and such. thanx
 

fltblkteg

Probationary Member
5
0
Oct 20, 2005
southfork, Pennsylvania
if this is a repeat question i apologize in advance If you use a sealed battery(optima) do you still need the sealed box
 

tibby_boy

Proven Member
43
9
Jan 9, 2006
watervliet, Michigan
no, you will not need to use the sealed box unless you want to. side note though i thought about battery moving while driving so i looked at my car, 2004 tiburon (its slow), and i have nothing holding it down and i've never had a problem with battery movement while driving. so again i say no on the sealed box.
 

GSTealth

Proven Member
37
2
Mar 30, 2004
Rosemead, California
Totally worth the money, especially if you are draining yours from lots of high-output accessories. If you live in cold climate, you probably want the red top for the higher cold cranking amp rating.
 

tibby_boy

Proven Member
43
9
Jan 9, 2006
watervliet, Michigan
i know for a fact blue is a marine battery. for boats and things of that nature, but can be used on cars. not sure on differences between red and yellow. a friend just bought, a month ago, a red top and has had nothing bad to say of it yet.
 
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