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Arapo

Original Poster:

244 posts

64 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
Guys - can I pick your brains?

Fitted an Optima Red Top battery in my Tuscan S (MK1) in January this year.

Due to a broken foot I picked up while on holiday in August, the car had not been used since mid August, just short of 2 months. It was in the garage, unlocked (so no alarm on to use any power..), and unfortunately not on the battery conditioner. When I tried to start it a few days ago, the battery was dead.

I was a bit surprised, as the Optima batteries are supposed to hold their charge better and longer, and when I tried to put the conditioner on, the amber and green lights started flashing. Left it plugged in for over one day, and when I checked the next morning, only the amber light was flashing, and I could hear the beep of the alarm at random times. A few hours later, the amber light stopped flashing, so I just unplugged the conditioner.

For the experts out there: I suppose this means that the battery is dead, right? Do you think there was an issue with it to begin with? Maybe it was faulty or something? Or could it be that my conditioner had it?

Any advice?

ChimpofDarkness

4,535 posts

64 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
There is almost certainly nothing wrong with your Optima battery, other than it's state of charge.

Failure to accept a charge is a common problem with AGM batteries, but it's almost always not the fault of the battery.

It's actually the battery charger that's the problem.

Your issue is your charger needs to see some volts before it will respond and deliver the charge current, if your AGM battery voltage has fallen below 10.5v your charger simply won't kick in.

The solution is straightforward:

Just connect another fully charged 12v car battery in parallel to your problem battery using a set of jump leads.

The charged second battery supplies enough voltage to stimulate your charger to start delivering the necessary current.

You only need to keep the second battery hooked up like this for a couple of hours at the most, after this your Optima will have enough volts to stimulate your charger correctly.

Many newer chargers have improved electronics that eliminates this problem.

AGM batteries are actually a significant improvement over traditional wet technology and will take many more deep cycle discharges before they fail.

I would put money on you recovering your Optima, you just need your charger to see it wink

swisstoni

1,193 posts

164 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
I'm no expert but in true Pistonheads style, I'm not going to let that stop me!

You don't mention what kind of charger you have but if it is of the 'trickle' variety it is only suitable for maintaining charge in a fairly healthy battery.

It will not have enough power to resurrect a deeply discharged battery. For that, you will need a charger with more power to bring it back to life, and then it can be trickle charged.

I have a CTEK charger which will automatically charge and then maintain. They even have a special program for the Optima type of battery.

Arapo

Original Poster:

244 posts

64 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
Thanks a lot guys - very helpful info indeed.

However, I am still surprised that the Optima lost its charge so soon. When I paid the £200 to get it, I was hoping that I would not have to face these kind of issues. Otherwise, what's the point? I could have spent £70-80 at Halfords and gotten the 5 year warranty as well..

ChimpofDarkness

4,535 posts

64 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
Arapo said:
Thanks a lot guys - very helpful info indeed.

However, I am still surprised that the Optima lost its charge so soon. When I paid the £200 to get it, I was hoping that I would not have to face these kind of issues. Otherwise, what's the point? I could have spent £70-80 at Halfords and gotten the 5 year warranty as well..
All cars have a parasitic drain to one degree or another.

Many modern cars struggle to hold a charge for longer than two weeks, it's just they get used more frequently than the average TVR so the problem doesn't present itself.

It doesn't matter how much you paid for your battery, eventually the parasitic drain will win.

The solution is to keep it connected to your trickle charger, or disconnect the battery.

A disconnected AGM battery should hold enough charge to start the car after months of inactivity.

You can fit a simple switch or use a "Battery Brain".

A Battery Brain allows you to disconnect your battery using a remote.

This means you can dead lock the car, then use the Battery Brain remote to disconnect the battery leaving the car locked & secure.

Works a treat on my Chimaera and is essential given I have no mains power in my lock up.

http://www.batterybrain.co.uk/proddetail.php?prod=...

Recommended wink

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Dischordant

471 posts

86 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
Thanks Chimp - I saw this year ago before I bought a TVR and thought it looked like a great idea - thanks for reminding me =)

Arapo

Original Poster:

244 posts

64 months

[news] 
Friday 19th October 2012 quote quote all
Right - Update..

Borrowed a CTEK MXS 5.0 charger, plugged it in using the jump leads with the Anderson connector as the CTEK leads had crocodile ends, and left it overnight to charge.
This morning, the red light (error) is on.

Looking at a video on line, this is supposed to light if you connect the positive lead to the negative pole on the battery, or the other way round. Pretty sure that I connected it the right way (actually, the AA battery expert did it for me..), and I am a bit confused as to why this error light is on now, and did not come on in the first place when I plugged it in the mains.

Any ideas?

swisstoni

1,193 posts

164 months

[news] 
Sunday 21st October 2012 quote quote all

I would connect direct to the battery and see what happens then. This would rule out anything odd going on with the Anderson connector.

This is of course a pain cos you'll have to take the wheel off and wrestle with the battery compartment cover but you will have to do that anyway if you can't get this battery back to life.


Arapo

Original Poster:

244 posts

64 months

[news] 
Monday 22nd October 2012 quote quote all
Thanks Toni - already did that on Friday evening, took the tyre off and connected the CTEK charger directly to the battery, but without disconnecting the terminals from the battery. Seemed to be charging at first, but on the next day that I checked, I had the error light on again.. In fact, as soon as I would plug the charger to the mains, the alarm lights would come on and off (although faint) and would stay like that.

So I disconnected the battery completely, put it on the charger and the next morning it seemed to be fully charged.. Connected everything back yesterday (Sunday) evening, but haven't taken the car out for a drive yet. Sounded really rough when I started it for a few seconds yesterday though..
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