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View Full Version : Optima Batteries wants your input on their products



David Pozzi
10-28-2009, 01:59 PM
I've been chosen by Optima Batteries to attend SEMA this year as their guest! While there I will attend an educational seminar on their products, plus participate in an advisory conference of internet forum members from a wide range of automotive interests. They want to know what problems you are having with their products or service, and how they can do better.

After a brief review of our Electrical section archives, I've seen many posts about how to recharge a dead Optima battery, and some reports of battery life too short, also charging system or battery drain issues.

My task will be to report these issues to Optima so they can improve their products, and also to bring back to you more tech on how to properly maintain and charge them.

The Optima guys are our kind of people and are investing a lot this year to hear feedback from us, plus if there is anything special you want me to report on or photograph from SEMA (not just batteries) please include it in this thread. I have to say, their heart is in the right place on this, and they just want to get input and do better.
Thanks, David

jknight16
10-28-2009, 02:32 PM
I rather enjoy the fact that the red tops never make it past the 2 year free replacement warranty period in my daily driver diesel truck. I haven't paid for a battery for my truck in quite a while. They're great batteries through the first 20 months or so though...

They just don't seem to like the occasional use that the Camaro gets though. My red tops wouldn't make it past a year.

MonzaRacer
10-28-2009, 02:37 PM
David why other people have had issues, and the blue top blem I bought from interstate battery store, has been nothing but awesome.
Bought it asw a Blem, it sat out on ground in snow all winter a summer and part of another winter, thought I had bad battery (was starter going south) and then ran it in my truck from 04 through 08, truck sat till november last year, then recharged it as it went dead from sitting, it charged up fine and ran great till I was given a 91 Cavalier to drive, for mileage reasons and it was too nasty to ride my Buell.
I really need to recharge it again and get truck ready in case I need to exit present employment.
So far so good.
I am wondering if some batteries are several years older than thought from sitting on shelf , mostly due to price vs other types. Oh and I think if they gave warranties much same as conventional batteries they would only get back the odd failures as I know several guys who have something like 10 ys or better on theirs.
But David thank them for the great one I have, even it turns up bad right now its been well worth the Blem price I paid. I only bought it in blem as it wasnt going to be in my daily driver.

CarlC
10-28-2009, 02:43 PM
Maybe I'm lucky. The red top in the Camaro is six years old and still works fine.

I would like to know about the proper care and feeding of their products. Do battery tenders work? Fast charging? What kind of user-caused problems are there?

Be sure to ask for a Barcalounger for you to sit in at their booth!

ITLBTU
10-28-2009, 02:51 PM
I have a red top in my 02 Z06. I'm on battery # 2. I let the Vette sit one week and the battery was dead. I was told to charge it on a 2 amp/deep cycle setting on my charger. Maybe I have a drain issue on my vette, but the old conventional battery lasted 3 weeks before it would die...

colt zantop
10-28-2009, 03:31 PM
Im also on red top #3. they last about a year...then I get a new one for free... LOL

Larry Callahan
10-28-2009, 03:39 PM
I myself have had good luck. The pair of yellow tops in the trunk of MotiV8r are only a year old so it's too early to tell. All the other red tops I have used in various vehicles have outlasted any thing else I have used.

NovaPwr
10-28-2009, 03:43 PM
Very good luck with my yellow top. Bought new in 03. Car sits and battery never gets charged from now until mid April every year. So far so good.

Mike Holleman
10-28-2009, 03:59 PM
I have been using Optimas in all my hot rods for many years. Can't say I've ever had a negative issue. They will discharge like any other battery, but seem to recharge well. I had the alternator in my Tempest die coming home from Goodguys a few years back. When it stopped charging I was still 100 miles from home. I shut down all my electronics I didn't need and drove home on just battery. All my gauges had stopped working the last 20 miles and the voltage meter was only reading 9.0 volts but it provided enough juice to keep the MSD ignition working. That was three years ago and the same battery is still going strong. Only battery I buy. It is a yellow top (deep cycle).
Mike Holleman

tellyv
10-28-2009, 04:16 PM
I've had really good luck with them!

class67
10-28-2009, 04:20 PM
I (as well) have read alot of the bad luck stories about Optima batteries but I myself have never had an issue at all. I ran a red top battery for two years with no issues and I am on my third year with a yellow top with absolutely no issues as well.

130fe
10-28-2009, 04:30 PM
Yeah, they seem to last a long time if you use them everyday. My wife's DD (2000 maxima) has had one for about 5 years without any issues (knock on wood). I tend to go through one about every 2 years on my camaro. Only have about 1 1/2 years on this one and will be trading it in on another one. They hate long periods of not being used.

jfaria78
10-28-2009, 05:14 PM
I personally think they are too heavy and for the price you can get a better performing battery that is less than half the weight.

Lowend
10-28-2009, 07:20 PM
I've found the red tops to be kind of fragile. They don't like being discharged completely.

I would really like to see somthing like the BatCap (http://www.batcap.net/) as a super-micro battery for racing

mc84_zz4
10-28-2009, 07:30 PM
I have purchased 3 Optima red tops, my truck is still running years (3.5) later not a single issue, my SS's died in less than a year of being mostly parked.
A third one we bought for another Daily driver was good for about 1.5 yrs until the car was parked for 4 months. RIP for 2 out of 3.
I replaced the one in my SS with DieHard Platinum, similar technology, it sits forever, and starts with better power than the red top, only time will tell if it makes it to year 2, so far so good.

TPI Monte SS
10-28-2009, 07:35 PM
I was also one of the guys that reported a dead Redtop, but it was replaced under warranty (died just short of 3 years). It was in my DD Jeep Cherokee, and gave me absolutely no warning that anything was wrong either. The day it puked, I drove to work with the volt gauge reading normal the whole way down, and when I put the key in after work, it wouldn't even crank. I pulled it out, and my father-in-law gave me a lift to the parts store. When we put it on the tester, it was @12 volts , but as soon as we put a load on it, it dropped to ~7 volts. They gave me my replacement, and it's been in the truck for a year so far with no issues.

MCMLXIX
10-28-2009, 07:37 PM
I was warned about the Red Tops having issues so I purchased a Yellow Top.... I ran the yellow for a few months, and just pulled it out for the LS swap... we'll see how it works when I get ready to use it again in a few months...

shmoov69
10-28-2009, 07:39 PM
The first red top lasted about 9 months in the camaro and now the second one is a couple years old.
That's all I know!

I do like not having to have a box in the trunk tho!

David Pozzi
10-28-2009, 08:09 PM
Thanks for the input so far.
On the Optima web page, they say if the battery get's below 10 volts, it needs to be charged "in parallel" with a "regular" battey. I've had discharged batteries before that required an extra load of some kind to get the battery charger to start charging.
David

Larry Callahan
10-28-2009, 08:21 PM
Mine has dropped below 10 a couple of times by my fault. I have 2 yellows in the trunk and I charge them with a cheap sears charger.

MonzaRacer
10-28-2009, 10:48 PM
My blem blue top when dead as in zero will make the internal breaker kick till it gets some charge in it then its up and running, very old 10 amp tru-test charger.

TonyHuntimerRaceHome
10-29-2009, 12:56 AM
I rather enjoy the fact that the red tops never make it past the 2 year free replacement warranty period in my daily driver diesel truck. I haven't paid for a battery for my truck in quite a while. They're great batteries through the first 20 months or so though...

They just don't seem to like the occasional use that the Camaro gets though. My red tops wouldn't make it past a year.

For your Camaro, you're using a red top for the WRONG application. For occasional use vehicles...you should pony up for a YELLOW top. At Goodies Speed Shop we sold hundreds of these batteries. Repeat red top returns ALWAYS turned out to be occasional use cars. These were always upgraded to yellow tops and never had another return.

I'm not sure about your truck problem. Maybe David can get a good answer from Optima.

Any store that continually returns batteries like in your case is doing you and Optima a dis-service by not selling you what you really need. It's kind of like a bad doctor treating an infection with asprin to keep the fever down, when antibiotics would be the better choice to fight the infection.

My $.02 :)

stealth71
10-29-2009, 03:28 AM
Would be nice if they had some mini batteries like the Braille 11.5# that I'm running.

elacruze
10-29-2009, 05:43 AM
I have a pair of yellow-tops I inherited from a motorhome who was passing through and wouldn't wait for us to charge them, and bought new. I have no idea how long they had been dead, and were then about 9 months old. I charged them up, stuck them in my '85 GMC 6.2 diesel pickup and never looked back. That truck was a DD for 9 months, a lot of short trip driving, then I took this overseas job and it gets started or driven about once a month...it never fails to start when I'm home every 6 months, nor does it take long to come to full charge. I'm impressed with them.
I have a blue top in my boat, which went without a trace of a charge for a year and worked fine...in a month I'll find out if it lasted another year.

My input to the company is to include an 'owner's manual' with each battery, giving specific instructions for charging, system running voltage, etc. to give less-informed owners an opportunity to make their batteries last. Small document, big returns.

teamplex65
10-29-2009, 08:18 AM
I am on my 3rd or 4th red top in 6 years. They hate to sit it seems. I have been told that they don't take being drained at all, and doing it just once pretty much kills there power. I do agree that I continually get new batteries, but it seems like a weird way to run a company.

I have even tried the tender idea, and have been told that they dnt like many of the battery chargers out there either. I am about ready to switch to an AC or an Interstate just to save the headache.

People kept telling me that I needed an optima because of my Air-Ride and stereo. Im not so sure anymore.

Sounds like I need to ask for the Yellow Top upgrade next time the battery fails (which is inevitable)

stealth71
10-29-2009, 09:18 AM
I am on my 3rd or 4th red top in 6 years. They hate to sit it seems. I have been told that they don't take being drained at all, and doing it just once pretty much kills there power. I do agree that I continually get new batteries, but it seems like a weird way to run a company.

I have even tried the tender idea, and have been told that they dnt like many of the battery chargers out there either. I am about ready to switch to an AC or an Interstate just to save the headache.

People kept telling me that I needed an optima because of my Air-Ride and stereo. Im not so sure anymore.

Sounds like I need to ask for the Yellow Top upgrade next time the battery fails (which is inevitable)

Probably not the best thread for this, but buy a Braille and be done.

mroth
10-29-2009, 09:36 AM
I have a red top that I am getting ready to put in my car. Dave, are you saying that we should not try to hook up a discharged battery to any battery charger. This would mean that we need to keep another spare battery(probably not an optima battery) for a spare? My setup is in the trunk also and it is nice not to have to encase the battery due to the fumes.

parsonsj
10-29-2009, 10:08 AM
Here's an idea for a product:

A battery with an additional volt or two so that trunk-mountings can still drive starters and EFI without voltage drop below 10V.

The yellow top in Milton's Nova (formerly known as II Much) was marginal to keep the FAST seeing 10V while cranking.

jp

jknight16
10-29-2009, 10:33 AM
For your Camaro, you're using a red top for the WRONG application. For occasional use vehicles...you should pony up for a YELLOW top. At Goodies Speed Shop we sold hundreds of these batteries. Repeat red top returns ALWAYS turned out to be occasional use cars. These were always upgraded to yellow tops and never had another return.

I'm not sure about your truck problem. Maybe David can get a good answer from Optima.

Any store that continually returns batteries like in your case is doing you and Optima a dis-service by not selling you what you really need. It's kind of like a bad doctor treating an infection with asprin to keep the fever down, when antibiotics would be the better choice to fight the infection.

My $.02 :)

I agree with you on the Red Tops in the Camaro. As noted I came to the conclusion that they don't like occasional use, and that's why I don't use them anymore in that car. Believe me, I have no problem ponying-up for quality parts if I know that is what's needed for an intended application. However, it's not exactly posted on the battery's label that they shouldn't be use in occasional use vehicles. Should it be? I don't know...

With my daily driver truck, I would be more inclined to believe that the 120 degree summers here on the surface of the sun (Phoenix) probably take an added toll on the batteries. Very few batteries last more than 3 years in a daily driver vehicle in this city.