RedTop: 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.
YellowTop: Use this when electrical loads are higher than average, or when the discharge cycle is more than typical engine starting, such as vehicles without alternators. This also includes vehicles with significant electrical loads that may exceed the average alternator output (for example, aftermarket audio systems, GPS, chargers, winches, snowplows, inverters, drag cars). This can also include vehicles that have a lot of electronics from the factory, such as a minivan with power sliding doors and a DVD player, especially if the DVD player is used when the engine isn't running.
BlueTop: The BlueTop starting battery (dark gray case) is to be used when a dedicated starting battery is required; 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.
Note: The difference between BlueTop and YellowTop deep-cycle batteries is that BlueTop batteries have both automotive (SAE) posts and threaded studs, while YellowTopS (other than D31T) only have SAE terminals.
If you ever get confused on the colored tops, just remember: if it has a dark gray case, then it's a starting battery; if it has a light gray case, then it's a deep-cycle (dual-purpose) battery.
The Optima Spiralcell Technology provides many features not available in ordinary batteries, such as:
The main reasons the Optima battery has a longer life are:
Mostly this is due to the purity of the lead in the Optima plates. Some of the alloys in conventional batteries are more prone to electron transfer, resulting in higher self-discharge than is found in an Optima battery.
Optima batteries have an increased ability to withstand the high demands being placed on batteries today, including high-heat situations, heavy electronic loads and increased vibration. The Spiralcell Technology in an Optima battery is what keeps it from shedding active material that gives a battery power. This technology also extends an Optima battery's cycling ability.
A gel battery design is typically a modification of the standard lead-acid automotive or marine battery. A gelling agent is added to the electrolyte to reduce movement inside the battery case. Many gel batteries also use one-way valves in place of open vents, which help the normal internal gasses to recombine back into water in the battery, reducing gassing. Generally, gel batteries are less tolerant of high heat and are charged at lower power than traditional or AGM batteries. An Optima battery is neither a gel battery nor regular flooded battery. Optima is a SPIRALCELLTECHNOLOGY AGM battery.
When used with a properly regulated constant voltage charging system (such as an alternator), the Optima will not emit hydrogen gas. However, gassing can occur when charging at excessive voltage levels or in extreme high-temperature conditions. In automotive applications, this typically will not happen if the alternator/regulator stays below 15 Volt.
Deep-cycle means using the battery in an application that will typically discharge 60 to 70 percent or more of the battery capacity. A standard automotive battery is an SLI (starting, lighting, ignition) battery. Its plates are designed to deliver maximum power for a short duration. Starting a car typically discharges an SLI battery less than 5 percent. 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 it is cycled on a regular basis.
Anytime you need the battery to supply all the operating power for a vehicle or other device. Additionally, deep-cycle batteries should be used in vehicles that have heavy accessory loads where the alternator cannot maintain the battery in a fully charged condition. Some examples include vehicles with powerful stereo systems, vehicles with increased electronics like GPS, game systems, DVD players and LCD screens or boats with onboard chargers, trolling motors, fish-finders, stereos, lights, etc.
The Optima deep-cycle battery utilizes a different chemistry. This chemistry change allows for a much longer life in cycling applications, with only a slight reduction in starting power.
Deep-cycle batteries are designed for applications that require deep, repetitive amperage drain like trolling motors, golf carts, and electric wheelchairs or RV house power sources. However, there are other applications called heavy-cycling or high-cycling, when a deep-cycle Optima battery can successfully replace a starting battery to provide longer life and better performance. In heavy-cycling or high-cycling applications, a vehicle will pull unusually high amperage levels from the starting battery due to extra accessories or limited alternator capacity. Public safety professionals such as police, fire and ambulance fleet managers often find that traditional starting batteries cannot provide adequate life and performance due to heavy cycling. Using an Optima deep-cycle battery in this type of application will result in longer life and better performance.
In any vehicle or equipment that will use the battery only for starting, lighting and ignition (SLI) requirements and has a properly working alternator, the Optima RedTop Starting Battery will perform extremely well, often providing up to two times longer life than conventional batteries. If the vehicle has few or no aftermarket accessories and uses a stock or upgraded alternator, the Optima RedTop Starting Battery is the appropriate choice.
Remember, it is possible to have a deeply discharged YellowTop that will not start the engine; the advantages of the YellowTop are that it can accept a rapid recharge and it will recover from discharge many more times.
It is necessary to consider both the application and the charging system before deciding which Optima battery is correct for you. For example, if you have a Ford Expedition with an aftermarket alarm system and you drive the vehicle every day, the Optima RedTop would be the correct choice since the amperage drain will be nominal and the battery would be recharged on a daily basis.
However, if you store the vehicle for long periods with the alarm system engaged without maintaining the battery, you should use an Optima YellowTop since the amperage drain over several weeks would damage a RedTop and reduce its life.
No, today's batteries use polypropylene plastic for the case material. They will not be affected. When possible, always store a battery in a cool, dry location.
The most important consideration when storing any battery is to make sure the voltage never drops below 12.4 Volt. We recommend using a type of "battery maintainer" - a device that will monitor your battery and keep it at full state of charge during storage.
There are two types of maintenance chargers:
1. Preferred - Fully automatic multistage or multistep chargers, which monitor the battery and charge it as necessary. Multistage maintainers will charge at varying voltages and varying amperage (rarely exceeding 2-amps). Some of these multistep chargers are also capable of being regular battery chargers (seven amps or more).
2. OK but not preferred - Traditional float chargers provide constant voltage with tapering amperage to the battery even when it is fully charged. For float charging, we recommend 1 amp max, 13.2-13.8 Volt.
If it is not possible to use a maintenance charger, disconnect the battery from the vehicle during storage to prevent small electrical drains from discharging the battery. Always provide a full charge with a battery charger prior to storage, and then check the battery voltage every three to six months. Charge the battery if it falls below 12.4 Volt. Also, when possible, store your battery in a cool, dry location.
Fully charged, engine not running, starting batteries (all RedTop or BlueTop 34M) should measure about 12.6 Volt to 12.8 Volt. Deep-cycle batteries (all YellowTop and dual-purpose BlueTop) should measure approximately 12.8 Volt and 13.0 Volt. Voltage measurements of the battery when the engine is running are the output of your alternator. This measurement should be about 13.3-15.0 Volt, which may differ due to temperature. At average operating temperatures of 50°F to 80°F, your alternator output voltage should be about 14 Volt to 14.8 Volt.
If you don't have a multimeter, you can test the output of your alternator by starting the car and turning on the headlights. If they are dim, it indicates the lights are running off the battery and that little or no power is being produced by the alternator. If the lights get brighter as 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 the engine is revved, your charging system is probably functioning normally.
If this checks out, you should determine whether or not the battery is holding a charge, or if something on the vehicle is discharging the battery.
There are three likely scenarios to explain the problems you're having:
1. A high parasitic draw (key-off load).This can quickly discharge a battery and decrease its service life. This may be caused by a trunk light, cigarette lighter, clock/radio, alarm system or any 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 fuse panel until the ammeter reading drops.
2. A problem with your battery is causing it to not hold a charge. To check this, remove the battery from the vehicle, charge it to the full voltage, wait 12 to 24 hours then measure its 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 to 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.
The Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer enhances the performance of Optima and other AGM batteries, recovers deeply discharged batteries and extends battery life. However, under normal vehicle starting applications, most regular automatic lead-acid battery chargers will properly charge an Optima battery. However, since Optima batteries are frequently used in high-performance applications or nonstandard vehicle starting applications, there are certain instances that must be given special considerations.
An Optima battery is an AGM battery, not a gel battery or regular flooded battery. A deeply discharged Optima battery (less than 10.5 Volt) will not test or recharge properly if treated as a gel battery or regular flooded battery. A handheld electronic battery tester will most likely provide inaccurate test results.
An Optima battery has the benefit of very low internal resistance, which allows high-amperage output as well as efficient charge acceptance. This benefit also allows an Optima battery to run longer than its specified ratings and run to a lower voltage than typical flooded batteries. All of this can lead to confusion when it comes to recharging a deeply discharged Optima. Most basic battery chargers have a built-in function to prevent charging a battery with less than 10.5 Volt. If your Optima battery is discharged below that, the battery charger may not start up.
Most high-quality, modern battery chargers now have built-in features to charge AGM batteries like Optima batteries. Some have specific AGM settings which should be used to charge an Optima battery. Do not use gel or gel/AGM settings, as they will not fully charge an Optima battery and could damage it over time. However, even some AGM-compatible chargers will not recharge deeply discharged (less than 10.5 Volt) Optima batteries. It may be necessary to follow the instructions provided in Section #3.
For regular charging we recommend a maximum of 10-amps, 13.8-15.0 Volt. For float charging, we recommend 1 amp maximum, 13.2-13.8 Volt.
Under normal (engine-starting) conditions, an Optima battery should never experience "at-rest" voltages below 10.5 Volt. In these applications, most 12 volt chargers (old or new) or alternators will sufficiently recharge an Optima battery with at least 10.5 Volt. Typically, we only see issues with charging when it relates to stand-alone deep-cycling applications or severely discharged Optima batteries.
If an Optima battery is deeply discharged (below 10.5 Volt), most basic chargers will not supply a charge. Also keep in mind that an Optima battery will not recharge properly if treated as a regular flooded or gel battery. To charge the battery, you can wire a second fully charged automotive battery (12+Volt) to the discharged AGM in parallel (+ to + and - to -). Then hook up the charger to the deeply discharged battery, setting the charger at 10 amps. Leave for two hours, monitoring frequently. Duri ng this process, if the discharged battery gets very hot or if it is venting (hissing sound from vents), then stop this process immediately. When the discharged battery reaches 10.5 Volt or more, remove the standard battery and continue charging the AGM until fully charged.
For normal charging, a relatively low current, such as one or two amps, can work well, but when the battery has been deeply discharged, some sulfation of the battery plates may have occurred. If you charge at 10 amps, the higher current will help to break up this sulfation.
If you have an automatic charger, let it run until the charger indicates charging is complete. If you have a manual charger, you can get a rough estimate of the charging time in hours of a completely discharged battery (11.2 Volt) by multiplying the capacity (amp hours or Ah) of the battery by 1.2. If your battery is not completely discharged, the time would be less.
In most cases these steps will recover an AGM battery. It's OK for the AGM battery to get slightly warm during the charging process. If it's hot to the touch, it means there's a short and the process should be discontinued.
Yes, and you can use any charger on an Optima Battery as long as the voltage is regulated properly. If your charger will remain on indefinitely, the voltage should be at 13.8 Volt maximum with a one-amp maximum current.
No, as long as the voltage is properly regulated. Because the Optima battery has a very low internal resistance, it will accept high current more efficiently than conventional batteries.
The Optima factory warranty policy requires a receipt from the original purchaser. Your purchase receipt:
An Optima battery does not have a lifetime warranty. Your initial purchase of an Optima battery carries a warranty based on the model and type of usage. If your Optima battery is replaced under the warranty policy, your replacement battery carries a warranty period from the original Optima purchase date. Warranty replacement batteries do not carry a new warranty. The only way for us to determine your original battery purchase date is to have the original receipt.
The same Optima battery model that you purchased is used in many demanding commercial applications. Those applications carry a much different warranty than our consumer warranty. In addition, some Optima batteries are provided to customers for testing or sponsorships. These batteries may not carry a warranty. Lastly, even though Optima discourages this practice, some battery specialists may recondition Optima products that have been returned for warranty replacement. These batteries could be resold and they would have absolutely no factory warranty coverage. Though we pride ourselves in the relationships we have with our distributors, and we have numerous programs and incentives to have defective batteries returned to us, we cannot have complete control over what happens with every returned battery.
Unfortunately, Optima does not offer an exact-fit replacement battery for every application. You can measure the dimensions of your existing stock battery to see if there's an Optima battery that will work for your vehicle.
Alternately, you can check the Internet enthusiast forums for your vehicle to see how others have created custom fitments for their Optima batteries.
If you are using an Optima battery in a custom fitment application, it is important to consider the following:
1. Hood clearance - There should be at least 3/4-inch clearance between the top of the battery terminals and the underside of the hood.
2. Trunk/interior mounting - If your battery is mounted inside the passenger compartment or trunk (common in many European makes), the battery must be vented to the outside of the vehicle. Optima group 27, 51, DS46B24R, 78, 34C and 31 batteries all have ports for connecting a vent hose.
3. Side terminals - Optima 34/78, D34/78, 75/25 and D75/25 batteries have both top and side terminals. If you are using one of these batteries in a vehicle that uses the top terminals, it is important to ensure that the side terminals cannot come into contact with anything metallic (for example, the firewall or fender well), thereby causing a short. We suggest keeping the post protectors on the terminals you are not using. A winch should only be connected to the automotive posts.
4. Battery modifications - Cutting, drilling, trimming or otherwise modifying your Optima battery may present a safety hazard and will void the warranty.
5. Mounting - Your Optima battery must be securely mounted.The terminals are not intended to be used to secure the battery. Using the terminals in this way will damage the battery and void your warranty.
If you don't have aftermarket electrical accessories in your vehicle, we recommend the RedTop 35. If you do have aftermarket electrical accessories, such as an audio system with amps, we recommend YellowTop D35. Both of these are top-post-only batteries.
Please note we also make a group 75/25 battery (some retailers will label it 75/35 in their system). This battery has both top and side posts and probably will not work in your vehicle. The positive and negative posts are on the wrong side for your vehicle and your cables may not reach.
No, when hooking batteries together in parallel, they should be of identical make, model and of similar age.
Yes, most any type of battery separator or solenoid can be used with an Optima battery. The important thing to remember is that the charging voltage must be within the limits suggested by Optima batteries. If you are using an Optima battery and a conventional battery, your system must charge each battery independently. Remember, some isolators cause a voltage drop, so make sure your charging voltage AT THE BATTERY is sufficient. Continued undercharging of a battery will lead to premature failure and a drop in capacity.
Designed with advanced digital charging technology, the Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer delivers multistage charging, conditioning, automatic battery maintaining and reconditioning modes in addition to quick-set controls and an industry-leading LCD information display center. The Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer is THE ULTIMATE POWER SOURCE™ for all your battery charging and maintaining needs. The ultra-premium Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer will fully charge and maintain all types of 12 Volt lead-acid batteries while significantly extending their lives.
For years Optima has received feedback from consumers and dealers regarding the unsatisfactory performance of existing battery chargers, in addition to significant confusion about the best way to charge and maintain batteries.
As a division of the world's largest battery manufacturer, Optima batteries are able to leverage significant engineering resources and data to develop a superior battery charging algorithm. This algorithm allows the Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer to charge batteries faster than most battery chargers of similar size, and to charge faster than chargers with up to two times the current (amps) output. The safety of the Optima charger is also class-leading, with reverse polarity protection, spark-free connections and over-temperature protection. The Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer will safely charge and maintain your battery even during long-term storage with automatic restart in the event of power disruption, temperature-compensated charging and several innovative features to prevent overcharge, even in the event of battery failure. Finally, several unique and innovative features have been included, such as a backlit LCD display, a USB charging port for phones and other devices, integrated power cord and charging clamp storage, and an integrated work light on the charging clamp.
The Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer can charge all types of traditional and AGM 12 Volt lead-acid batteries used in automotive, motorcycle, marine, tractor, power sports, RVs and more, as it will maximize the charging profile for each application, while giving every battery the ability to perform at the ultimate level.
The Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer is optimized when used with high-performance AGM batteries but has enhanced charging capabilities that can also be used with all traditional types of 12 Volt lead-acid batteries.
No, but most chargers will not take advantage of the superior performance characteristics of Optima batteries. The Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer enhances the performance of Optima and other high-performance AGM batteries, recovers deeply discharged batteries and extends battery life.
Yes, the USB/maintenance port allows consumers to charge tablets, smartphones and other devices that require a USB port, such as cameras. The USB port is compatible with demanding charging devices like the iPad.
Yes, the Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer can be used for charging 12 Volt flooded and AGM lead-acid batteries, used in automotive, motorcycle, marine, tractor, power sport, RV and more applications, as it will maximize the charging profile for each application, while giving every battery the ability to perform at the ultimate level.
After charging is complete, the charger will automatically go into maintain mode, keeping your battery fully charged while minimizing sulfation. Periodically, the charger will "exercise" the battery by altering the charge profile, further enhancing the useful life of your battery. If there is a power interruption during charging, the charger will automatically resume charging and maintaining your battery when power is restored.
The Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer is only for charging 12V batteries.
Store your Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer in a dry safe location, and inspect all cables before use. Should the AC power cord, plug or the DC cables be damaged in any way, do not attempt to service. Follow the return instructions in the customer service and warranty section of the manual.
The new Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer is incredibly user-friendly. It features a full text LCD display for charging, maintaining and fault mode indication. This gauge displays battery charging and fill rate with charger mode and fault messages and is one of the best user interfaces on the market.
Other innovative features include an integrated LED work light with ergonomically designed DC charging clamps, quick-set selections that prompt users with a quick and easy selection of charge profiles by battery type of battery maintainer by connection type.
One of the most damaging things one can do to a battery is let it rest uncharged. This will severely decrease battery performance and shorten battery life. The Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer will automatically recondition your batteries in storage-recondition mode. When reconditioning is completed, the auto-maintain mode will resume, keeping your battery fully charged.
The Optima Chargers Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer Performance Charger employs the latest in digital, multistage charging. With up to six fully automatic modes, your OTPIMA Digital 1200 Performance Charger will sequence through stages 1 through 6 below:
Some battery charger manufacturers claim more charging stages or modes mean a better charger. More isn't better; the way the charging modes are designed is more important than the number of charging modes.
Optima Batteries, Inc. warrants this battery charger for three years from the date of original purchase against defects in material or workmanship that may occur under normal use and care.