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OPTIMA BATTERY FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Spiralcell battery technology provides many advantages, including much more plate surface area, closer plate spacing, and the ability to use higher purity lead. These differences result in lower internal resistance; lower resistance gives you more power in a smaller battery box, the ability to recharge much faster, plus higher, cleaner voltage characteristics during discharge. OPTIMA's design also results in less shedding of active paste material, greatly reducing loss of power and capacity as the battery ages.
difference is the OPTIMA battery's immobilized plates, which are 15 times
more shock resistant than normal batteries.
2. Why does the OPTIMA battery last longer than conventional batteries?
The main reasons for the OPTIMA battery's long life are:
used with a properly regulated constant voltage charging system (such as
an alternator), the OPTIMA battery will normally not produce hydrogen gas.
Occasional gassing can occur when charging at higher voltage levels or
in extreme high temperature conditions. In automotive applications this
typically will not happen if the alternator/regulator stays below 15 volts.
4. What does deep cycle mean, and how are deep cycle batteries different?
Deep Cycle refers to applications that typically discharge 60 to 70% or more of the battery capacity. An automotive battery is an SLI battery (Starting, Lighting & Ignition.) Its plates are designed to deliver maximum power for a short duration. Starting an engine typically discharges an SLI battery 3% or less. When an SLI battery is used in a deep-cycle application or in a vehicle with heavy accessory loads, the battery life will be shortened proportionally to how deeply and frequently it is discharged.
OPTIMA Deep Cycle battery uses a different chemistry for the plates' active
paste material, and a slightly stronger acid. This chemistry allows for
a much longer life in deep cycle applications with only a slight reduction
in maximum power output.
5. When should a deep cycle battery be used?
The most common use of deep cycle batteries is in applications that require deep, repetitive drain, like powerful car audio systems, trolling motors, golf carts, electric wheelchairs, or RV house power sources.
safety and high performance vehicles are other applications that call for
the special characteristics of OPTIMA deep-cycle batteries.
6. Does the OPTIMA Deep Cycle battery have a "memory"?
The performance of both deep cycle and starter batteries will be reduced
over time, but OPTIMA Deep Cycle batteries do not suffer from "memory effect"
such as NiCad batteries do.
7. Why do OPTIMA batteries have such a low rate of self discharge?
is mostly due to the use of higher purity lead in OPTIMA batteries. Some
of the alloys used in conventional batteries are more prone to electron
transfer, resulting in much faster self discharge than the OPTIMA exhibits.
8. Can OPTIMA batteries be charged with a solar charger or trickle charger?
any charger can be used with OPTIMA batteries as long as the voltage is
regulated properly. If the battery charger will remain on indefinitely,
the voltage should be at 13.8 volts maximum with 1 amp maximum current.
9. Will a high output alternator damage an OPTIMA battery?
not as long as the voltage is properly regulated. OPTIMA's exceptionally
low internal resistance means it will accept higher current more efficiently
than conventional batteries.
10. Can I hook an OPTIMA in parallel with a different battery?
when hooking batteries together in parallel, they should be of the same type and similar age.
11. What is a gel cell battery? How does the OPTIMA battery compare?
A gel battery
is typically a modification of a conventional lead-acid automotive or marine
battery. A gelling agent is added to the electrolyte to reduce movement inside
the battery case. OPTIMA Deep Cycle batteries are able to deliver and receive
higher amperages than gel cell batteries, due to the much higher internal resistance
of gel batteries. Most gel batteries cannot handle engine starting duties, but
OPTIMA Deep Cycle batteries excel in such applications.
12. Could my vehicle be damaged by a battery with "too much power"?
It is NOT possible for your vehicle to be damaged by large battery capacity. Your engine's starter, and other electrical accessories, will only draw the amount of current (amps) that they need. A battery with extra power gives you the ability to run more accessories longer and not run out. It also gives you more and longer-lasting electrical potential for demanding conditions such as cold weather.
13. Can a deep cycle battery be used for engine starting?
Yes. If the cranking amps rating is sufficient for your vehicle, there is no reason not to use a deep-cycle battery for starting.
14. How can I know which Optima battery will fit my car or truck?
Step #1: Battery TYPE selection: See our Optima Battery Type Selector page.
Step #2: Battery SIZE selection: The best way is to measure the space available in your vehicle. Do not just measure your existing battery -- instead, measure the maximum length, width and vertical height available, being sure to allow side and top room so nothing metallic can accidentally contact the battery posts. Dimensions for each model are listed in the specification tables on our main information page, and those dimensions include the battery posts. A battery cannot have "too much" power for your vehicle. Your starter, ignition, lighting and accessories will draw only as much power as they need. A battery with extra power gives you the ability to run more accessories longer and not run out. It also gives you more and longer-lasting electrical potential for demanding conditions such as cold weather.
15. Where can I find warranty information?
Click here for warranty information.
16. How can I determine which OPTIMA battery to use with my power inverter?
Click here for information on inverter applications.
17. Are 6V batteries superior to 12V batteries for deep cycle applications?
It's popularly believed that 6 volt batteries are better for deep cycle power applications than 12 volt batteries, but it isn't true. This myth likely developed from the fact that golf carts use 6 volt systems. Because golf cart batteries were the only deep cycle batteries widely available for many years, the best way to obtain good 12 volt deep cycle power was to connect two 6 volt golf cart batteries in series (or more batteries could be connected in a combination series and parallel configuration for higher voltages like 24 volts or 36 volts.) The effectiveness of that approach owed entirely to the design characteristics and quality of the batteries used, not to the fact that the batteries used produced 6 volts.
In reality both 6 volt batteries and 12 volt batteries are simply built from 2 volt cells; if a battery is built with three such cells, it's a 6 volt battery. If a battery is built with six such cells, then it's a 12 volt battery. To make a 12 volt system by connecting two 6 volt batteries in series is to do nothing more than to build a 12 volt battery with two cases and external interconnection. In fact, every cable end connection results in some efficiency loss, so the two 6 volt batteries, because they must be connected by a cable, will be slightly less efficient than the 12 volt unit.
18. What are the differences between the D31M, the D31A, and the D31T?
The D31-series batteries are the largest made by Optima. The only differences are in the type of electrical connections and the color. There is no difference in the internal construction or performance of these three batteries; they are electrically identical.
The D31A has standard automotive ("SAE") posts for regular automotive-type cable end clamps. (The D31A does not have threaded studs.)
The D31T has 3/8" threaded stainless steel studs for flat connectors held on by provided wing nuts. (The D31T does not have SAE posts.)
The D31M has both SAE posts and 5/16" threaded stainless steel studs with wing nuts.
The D31-series batteries are deep cycle batteries and they ALSO function superbly as starter batteries. In fact, they are Optima's largest starter batteries, providing the most powerful Optima battery choice for either starting or deep cycle use. Multiple D31-series Optima batteries can be connected in series or in parallel for high amperage needs.
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