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The Ultimate Optima Battery Information Page


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Elite In Memoriam
March 4, 2007
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...I posted this here in this sub-forum as it seems to get the most questions about Optima Batteries...I don't have all the answers but thought this would be some good information to pass along..;)

...I have had trouble finding the exact information I was looking for on Optima's site...This is copied from a pamphlet that came with the new Optima batteries I have bought...This is a link to their main page..

...The links I will additionally include in this post takes you to the Optima website and will better cover each sub topic in this first post...There may be a couple other info links too..:confused:

...At the bottom are some other useful Optima Threads...:biggthump

You now own one of the World's most sophisticated batteries produced by the leaders in bettery technology. Optima batteries are ultra high performance AGM products with advanced Spiralcell technology that can outperform all other lead-acid batteries...

Benefits of Optima Spiralcell Technology:
* High power density
* Rapid recharge capability
* Maintenance free
* Higher, more consistent voltage under load
* Increased vibration resistance for longer life
* NONSPILLABLE classification
(can be mounted in any orientation except upside down)

Optima Facts
GEL vs. AGM Sealed Batteries
* Optima batteries are high performance AGM, not gel
* You can use a high performance alternator with an Optima Battery
* You can charge an Optima battery
* You can jump start a car with an Optima battery

What is the difference between RedTop, YellowTop, and BlueTop batteries?

Use this for normal engine starting where an alternator immediately monitors the state of charge and provides energy to the battery whenever it is needed. This would describe most stock vehicles.
* Automotive & RV under-hood starting
* Heavy equipment where starting is primary function
* Diesel powered vehicles with no aftermarket electronics

Use this when electrical loads are higher than average, or when the discharge cycle is more than typical engine starting, such as vehicles with multiple electronic accessories and vehicles without alternators. This can also include vehicles with a lot of factory electronics, such as a minivan with power sliding doors and a DVD player.
* Racing vehicles without a chrging system (alternator or generator)
* Dedicated drag racing vehicles
* Diesel powered vehicles with aftermarket electronics
* Car audio/video applications exceeding 250 watts over the OE system
* Vehicles or heavy equipment with inverters, hydraulics, winches, or other accessories
* Electric vehicles

The BlueTop starting battery (dark gray case) is to be used when a dedicated starting battery is required and it should never be used for cycling duty. The dual purpose BlueTop (light gray case) can be used for both starting and deep cycling: it is a true deep cycle battery with extremely high cranking power.
* Trolling motors, marine applications with heavy electrical accessories, and RV's should use a dual purpose (Starting and Deep Cycle) BlueTop
* Use a BlueTop starting battery for marine applications and RV's when the battery's only function is starting

Note: The difference between BlueTop and YellowTop deep cycle batteries is that BlueTop batteries have both automotive (SAE) posts and threaded posts, while YellowTops (other than D31T) only have SAE posts.

Charging Recommendations
An Optima is an AGM battery, not a gelbattery or regular flooded acid battery.
Most modern battery chargers have a built in AGM charge setting, which should be used for your Optima. If purchasing a new battery charger, make sure it has an AGM compatibility or a separate AGM setting. Do not use gel or gel/AGM settings, as this will not fully charge an Optima and can damage it over time.
Repeatedly charging at high current levels can damage your battery. For best results use the following recommendations:
Charger Type...............Amps....Target Volts
Regular/Automatic...........10.........13.8 to 15.0
Float................................1..........13.2 to13.8

How long to charge
If you have an automatic charger, let it run until the charger indicates the process is complete. If you have a manual charger, estimate charging time for a completely discharged battery (11.2v) by multiplying the capacity (amp hours or AH) by 1.2 for a rough estimate of charging hours. If your battery is not completely discharged the time will be less.

................................Charger Setting.........................
Capacity (AH).....2 amps.........5 amps..........10 amps
.........38..............23 hours.......9 hours..........4.5 hours
........44-55..........33 hours......13 hours.........6.5 hours
........66-75..........45 hours......18 hours..........9 hours

Deeply Discharged battery
If an Optima is deeply discharged (below 10.5 volts) most basic chargers will not supply a charge. Also keep in mind an Optima will not recharge properly if treated as a regular flooded or gel battery. To charge the battery, you can wire a 2nd fully charged automotive battery (12v+) to the discharged AGM in parallel (+to+ and - to -). Then hook up the charger to the discharged battery, setting the charger to 10 amps. Leave for 2 hours, monitoring periodically. When the discharged battery reaches 10.5 volts or above, remove the 2nd battery and continue charging the AGM until fully charged. In most cases the AGM will be recovered.
It's okay for the AGM to get slightly warm during the charging. Hot to the touch means there's a short and the process should be discontinued. Have your alternator checked immediately.


What are storage recommendations for Optima Batteries?
The most important consideration when storing any battery is to make sure the voltage never drops below 12.4 volts. We recommend using a type of "battery maintainer" - a device that will monitor our battery and keep it at full potential during storage.

There are 2 types of maintenance chargers:
1) Traditional "float" chargers, which provide constant voltage with tapering amperage to the battery even when it is fully charged. For float charging we recommend 1 amp max, 13.2-13.8v. OK but not preferred.
2) Fully automatic "multi stage or multi step" chargers, which monitor the battery and charge it as necessary. Multi stage maintainers will charge at varying voltages and varying amperage (rarely exceeding 2 amps).
Some of these Multi step chargers are also capable of working well as a battery charger.

If it is not possible to use a maintenance charger, disconnect battery from the vehicle during storage to prevent the vehicle from discharging the battery. Always provide a full charge with a battery charger prior to storage and then check the battery voltage every 3-6 months and charge if it falls below 12.4v.
Also, when possible, store your battery in a cool, dry location.

Optima Batteries Adapter Intructions

Direct fit battery recommendations can be found at . If an exact fit size is not listed, measure the dimensions of your existing stock battery to see if there's an Optima that will fit the battery compartment. Detailed dimensions and specifications can be found at

(Here is a quick pic of the 4 adapter's that come in the Optima Battery lid)

If using an Optima battery in a custom application, consider the following:
* Hood clearance - at least 3/4" clearance between terminals tops and underside of hood
* Trunk/Interior mounting - If battery is mounted inside passenger compartment or trunk, it must be vented to outside of vehicle
* Side terminals - If using a dual terminal battery in a vehicle that uses the top terminals, ensure the side terminals cannot come in contact with metal. Keep post protectors on terminals not in use.
* Battery Modifications - Cutting, drilling, trimming or otherwise modifying the battery may present a safety hazard and voids warranty
* Mounting - Battery must be securely mounted. Terminals are not intended to be used to secure battery
* Heat - Protect the battery from any high heat source such as a turbocharger

Troubleshooting battery/electrical issues
Why is my battery dead?
Fully charged batteries should measure ~12.8v. Deep cycle batteries should measure ~13.1v. When the engine is running this measurement should be ~13.7-14.7v. If you don't have a multimeter you can test this by starting your car and turning on the headlights. If they are dim, it indicates the lights are running off the battery and that little or no juice is being produced by the alternator. If the lights get brighter when you rev the engine, it means the alternator is producing some current, but may not be producing enough at idle to keep the battery properly charged. If the lights have normal brightness and don't change intensity as engine is revved, your charging system is probably functioning normally.

If this checks out okay, you should check whether or not the battery is holding a charge, or if something on the vehicle is discharging the battery.

There are 3 likely scenarios to explain the problems your having:
1) A high parasitic draw ("key off" load). This can quickly discharge a battery and decrease it's service life. This may be caused by a trunk light, cigarette lighter, clock/radio, alarm system or other electrical device. Current drain on the battery can be checked with an ammeter. With the ignition off, disconnect one of the battery cables. Connect one ammeter lead to the battery and the other to the cable. The normal current drain on most vehicles should be about 25 milliamps or less. If the key off drain exceeds 100 milliamps, there's an electrical problem that requires further diagnosis. If you don't want to take your car to a mechanic, the easiest way to isolate the problem is to pull one fuse at a time from the panel until the ammeter readings drop.

2) A problem with your battery causing it not to hold a charge. To check this, wait 12-24 hours after charging to the full voltage, keep the battery out of the vehicle and measure it's voltage(another faster but less preferable way to do this is to turn on the high beam headlights for 15 seconds, turn them off, wait 5-10 minutes, then check the voltage). If you measure the voltage of the battery the next day, week, or even a month later, the voltage should be close to the max voltages listed above. If the voltage holds when not installed in your vehicle, but drops when it is in your vehicle, see #1 above.

3) The battery was somehow discharged, and your maintenance charger is not able to properly charge your deeply discharged battery. Please see the directions for charging a deeply discharged battery.

Connecting Multiple Batteries in Parallel
If your battery application requires more starting power or reserve capacity than one Optima can provide, you can install multiple batteries in parallel (+ to + and - to -). Each time you add a battery in parallel you increase the CCA and reserve capacity while voltage remains the same.


Suggestions for connecting batteries in parallel:
* Use batteries of identical make, model, and age
* Make sure cable gauge is sufficient enough to handle the higher current flow
* Prevent cables from shorting
* Use only high quality connectors and clean all contacts prior to installation
* Periodically check all connections to ensure a firm connection
* Contact your automotive service center if you are unsure of how to handle these procedures
* Connect + cable to first battery and connect - cable to last battery to more evenly distribute current flow

Battery installation tips
* Check adapter tips
* Check package to see if required adapter is included
* If adapter is not included call 1-800-8OPTIMA to request the proper adapter
* Install battery using proper adapter, following diagrams in this guide
* Check mounting surface for objects or protrusions tht could cause damage or wear to the case or cover
* Ensure battery is properly secured to prevent movement or vibration wear. Do not over tighten the hold down bracket, as this can damage the plastic case and cover
* Use top terminals for accessory and vehicle starting applications. Only use battery side terminals for automobile starting applications
* Never connect a winch to the side terminals
* Replace cables and connectors that show signs of corrosion, rust, or other damage
* Do not lift or handle batteries by the terminals

* Do not over tighten terminal bolts:
The following values are recommended:

* SAE (tapered) automotive terminal: 50-70 inch-lb.
* Side terminal (3/89 nut): 70-90 inch lb.
* Threaded stud terminal: 120-180 inch lb.
* The hold down should be tightened so that it is snug.
* Top bar or top frame hold down: 30-50 inch lb.
* Bottom recess hold down: 60-80 inch lb.
* Bottom ledge type hold down: 70-90 inch lb.

For the complete Optima Battery Limited Warranty

Here are some important items to remember:
* You must retain your original receipt for proper issuance of credit. Claims without proper identification of purchase date are not valid
* Warranty service is provided by your original retailer. To evaluate your battery warranty, take the battery along with your original receipt to the place of purchase for testing. If you have any questions please contact Optima Customer Service Center at 888-8OPTIMA(888-867-8462)


..Some other useful threads...:D

Optima Hold Downs and Safety Reasons

Optima battery-How long do they live?

Optima batteries junk now?

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Scott B.

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February 15, 1999
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Lots of good info...

I bought a CTEK US 3300 charger, at the recommendation of Optima, when my Napa (cheap) rebuilt alternator shorted out and drained my battery. I set up the charger with a good battery (as in the picture above) - the setup brought my RedTop back to life. That was 2 years ago, and the battery is going strong.

I am very happy with my Optima. Is it hype? I don't think so. Most batteries cannot handle the vibration and shock of off road use (I split the case of a Die Hard on day, about 20 miles from a paved road.) I've put my Optimas through a lot more hard use than that other battery ever saw, and they have never let me down.


Moderator & long time member.
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Elite In Memoriam
March 4, 2007
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anaheim hills,california
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95 ranger 4x4/ 91 X 4x4
...Thank you to the powers that be...:salute:

...I am currently researching info to run the second battery in the bed of the Ranger as I believe my cabling will be 7-10' depending if I can get it to the opposing side of the bed from the battery...:hammer:

...I will post up some info on that as soon as I get'er done...:D


Moderator Emeritus
Elite In Memoriam
March 4, 2007
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anaheim hills,california
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95 ranger 4x4/ 91 X 4x4
...I thought I would add a little testimony of my own..

..This week out in the middle of the desert at KOH I got to put my yellowtop and alternator to a test..

..Not only was I powering my equipment and fridge but for 3 days I got to jump start a completely dead Diesel Super Duty..

..Not only were the trucks 2 batteries totally drained but something on the toybox trailer was draining the trailer and both truck batteries..That requires some serious battery and a good alternator to bring all that back to life..

..Honestly though, this was such a test on both my alternator and my '06 Yellowtop that I want to put this down in writing just in case either my battery or alternator fail here in the near future..;)


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September 11, 2011
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Thinking about getting a Red Top as my next battery. If I can find a good deal.

Edit: Bought a RedTop.. let's see if it's really as bad as they say it is.