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Is my Optima generator battery ruined

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2004-03-30          81554


Our generator transfer switch has a built-in battery charger made by the Quick Charge Company that keeps failing. It has failed three times, and each time it fails it drains the Optima battery down to very low levels. The charger failed again last week so instead of fixing it I bought a BatteryMinder trickle charger/maintainer to use instead.

I disconnected the battery and charged it up with a conventional charger until it said it was fully charged. I then connected the BatteryMinder to it and it took another 24 hours to bring it up to a full charge.

My question is, do you think the Optima battery is ruined? Is there a way to tell? It passes a load test just fine, but I don't want it to fail during an outage when I need to start the generator.

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Is my Optima generator battery ruined

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AC5ZO
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 928 Rio Rancho, NM 87144
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2004-03-30          81557


A load test is the best method to test a lead-acid battery. If the battery will take a charge and come up to full voltage, then you did not lose a cell. If the multiple deep discharges caused some chemical damage to the plates, the damage will show up during the load test as reduced capacity. (I am talking about a battery load tester that puts about a 100 ampere load on the battery and then measures the voltage. You can read the residual capacity and battery condition directly off of the meter.)

Optima batteries are pretty rugged, but I would suggest that you connect a good fully automatic charger to the battery and forget about the failing internal charger. I use one of these chargers from Century on my ham radio batteries and they stay in top shape. This charger is labeled as fully automatic and will taper down to zero but you can keep it on the batteries all the time. If the battery drops below full charge, the charger will spring into action and charge at up to 10 amps or so. Trickle chargers are OK for keeping a charged battery at full capacity (in storage, for example) but cannot address a variable load condition very well. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Is my Optima generator battery ruined

View my Photos
kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2004-03-30          81562


Thanks Michael. You da man!

I have always placed a lot of trust in the ability of a load test to tell the condition of a battery, but I wasn't sure how deeply discharging the battery several times would affect it. ....

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Is my Optima generator battery ruined

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TimB
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 31 Southwest PA
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2004-08-02          92505


The Optima site lists a spec for the number of deep discharges allowed. The 'red tops' which aren't normally considered deep discharge batteries can still take a limited number of discharges (I think 50?). The batteries sold as 'deep discharge ' (i.e. the yellow tops) can take more - I think it's about 300. So one or a couple of heavy discharges *shouldn't* hurt it - but it will (as was said above) depend on how far down it was drained. If it takes a full charge, holds it's voltage over a reasonable time, I'd say you got away with it just fine. They're tough batteries. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Is my Optima generator battery ruined

View my Photos
kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2004-08-02          92508


I think I got away with it. It's been five months now and the battery is working just fine. The new BatteryMinder trickle charger keeps it topped off just great. ....

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