New Optima Battery DOA (almost); And Getting Worse

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Technical Discussion' started by FlyboyTR, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Cheffaz

    Cheffaz Junior Member

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    So is it a bad battery?
     
  2. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    Wow Red09, that battery does look pretty weak!

    BTW. Are you measuring the voltage at the jump start terminal in the front? Have you tried confirming these results with voltage readings displayed in the maintenance mode "service menu". See http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-...out-switching-headlights-off.html#post1095046
     
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  3. direstraits71

    direstraits71 Member

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    Wherever you are reading the voltage, you need to confirm that the voltage between the plus and minus battery posts themselves is the same or nearly the same to eliminate the possibility of a high resistance contact between the battery post and its connection to the car. A high resistance contact at either post can cause all other readings to be low also.
     
  4. OptimaJim

    OptimaJim Member

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    Red09, have you had a chance to fully-charge your battery yet on the setting with the picture of the snowflake and one of our batteries? If so, how long did you charge it and did you measure the voltage before and after charging? Thanks!

    Jim McIlvaine
    eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
    www.facebook.com/optimabatteries
     
  5. Red09

    Red09 Junior Member

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    I used that setting for ten hours the night before I made the video. The green light was on saying it was charged. When I hit the unlock button the charger went back to charging the battery. When I disconnect the charger the voltage was 12.8 but it drops really fast at the slightest little thing, door locks, cab light, lifting the back door.

    This morning it read 12.2v using the alternate method to get into the screen without using the head lights and no other load. It went down to 11.9v just before the computer booted and I was charging at 14v.

    But I guess there is a three year warranty so I will see what happens.
     
  6. Cheffaz

    Cheffaz Junior Member

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    Still waiting for my replacement.
     
  7. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    It looks like you've done everything right to charge it and measure it Red. It definitely should be giving higher readings that what you're getting (btw, you're not operating at -40F or anything crazy like that are you?).

    For reference my seven year old OEM battery reads 12.2 to 12.3V (service menu display) at no load (accessory mode) and drops to around 11.9 to 12.1 at Ig-On (then of course jumps to 14V at ready when the Dc-DC converter takes over).
     
  8. OptimaJim

    OptimaJim Member

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    Red09, if I'm understanding you correctly, the voltage read 12.8 volts off the charger, but would lose voltage when you when you were taking the voltage readings for the video? Was the cab light on? It looked like your hood was up as well. If so, is there a light under the hood as well?


    Jim McIlvaine
    eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
    www.facebook.com/optimabatteries
     
  9. Red09

    Red09 Junior Member

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    No light under the hood, I don't have a smart key, I had the cab lights turned off and waited a few minutes after getting in before I started the video. I have only seen 12.8 once right after I took the charger off, then it drops fast to 12.5 or 12.4 I guess that's just where this "new" battery likes to live.
     
  10. sub3marathonman

    sub3marathonman Active Member

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    Well, I'm in the club too!!

    I purchased an Optima battery back in 3/2010, when you also needed the conversion kit. It went dead in 11/2011. I contacted Bernie at eLearnAid, and after a bit of email correspondence it was figured out that the battery was bad. So he sent me a brand new Optima.

    I got the new Optima, put it in the car, and immediately upon connecting the negative cable to the sheetmetal, it starts with a terrible weak beeping sound. I've replaced batteries in several Prius before, so I knew this wasn't good. I took the voltage reading, 10.8. I contacted Bernie. It was a highly suspicious story, TWO failed Optima batteries, what are the odds? I told him that actually I had let the battery sit for three weeks without installing it. He said to try and charge it. I did, and it was still dead. He was a great guy, and told me during our correspondence that he had been contacted by another customer with a bad battery from the same batch as mine. So once again, a new battery was sent out.

    This time, I tested the voltage before putting it in. As others found, mine was 12.4. I asked Bernie, and he said between 12.4 and 12.8 would be fine, so I installed it. I haven't checked the voltage lately, but if I get a chance I will. I am still somewhat concerned with what is considered a borderline low initial voltage reading.

    I will say that eLearnAid (Bernie) was great with everything. There were no objections, just Bernie wanting to make everything right. And really, he is at the mercy of Optima. Buying from him is actually better, because he gives them a full charge before he sends them out. They are packaged to be virtually impossible to damage too. It is really great to write about such a great vendor like Bernie. It is also great to hear that Optima is concerned too, I hope they will continue looking into this.
     
  11. OptimaJim

    OptimaJim Member

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    Red09, as your YellowTop cycles a few more times, the maximum voltage may increase, but please be sure to let me know if you have issues with this battery. sub3marathonman, when Bernie sent you another battery, did you return your battery to him or just recycle it? Please let me know if you get a chance to measure your voltage.


    Jim McIlvaine
    eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
    www.facebook.com/optimabatteries
     
  12. FlyboyTR

    FlyboyTR Member

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    OK… since I started this thread, I wanted to do a follow-up. I’ve been tied up with work and have not kept up with all the posts, until this morning. This is the current status of my new (replacement) battery.

    My Prius has sat for 8 days while we were on vacation. The temps have been in the high 40’s to 70 degree range. Last night we drove it to dinner, approximately 15 minutes each way. This morning, after reading all the many wonderful posts… I decided to check it.

    Outside temp = 52 degrees
    Smart Key to unlock, jumped in and turned off interior lights.
    One press on the Start button (without brakes) and went to the voltage screen on the MFD.
    Nothing on: 12.3 volts
    Second press on the Start button:
    Everything still off: 12.1 volts
    Lights on (HID): 11.6 volts
    Brakes applied: 11.5 volts
    Rear window (& mirrors) defroster on: 11.1 volts

    I will retest this later in the week after it has been driven several hours under normal condition…well, normal for me anyway! When I do the retest I will also have my multimeter connected to the battery itself and let me wife read those numbers out during the test. I like the idea of the video recording and will try to do the same. …sort of gives you the feeling of being there!
     
  13. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    I've found that if I measure it directly in the battery bay with a voltmeter, then the no load voltage is generally at least 0.2 volts higher than what you'll read on the MFD. No doubt part of the reason is that when you're measuring it from the MFD then you even the "nothing" load must still be several amps to power the display itself and whatever basic systems are powered up in accessory mode.

    My guess is that if you measure at the 12V jumper terminal up front, with the prius truly powered off (and no sks fob in sight), then you'll measure at least 12.5, possible 12.6 volts.
     
  14. ramdisk01

    ramdisk01 Junior Member

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    I would recommend EVER Reputable Dealer in the batteries check the product before it leaves the gate!:rockon:
     
  15. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Expert and Devil's advocate

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    In regards to the CTEK Multi US 3300 definitely use the snowflake symbol but I'll go you one further. The charger has 4 modes but only two charge status lights (in terms of low vs full).

    Phase 1: desulphation
    Phase 2: bulk charging (ends at about 80% charge level)
    Phase 3: absorption (slows charging rate as it nears 100%)
    Phase 4: Pulse (charges from 95% to 100% over and over)

    The thing is if the simple computer in the battery charger misjudges the battery state during the 3rd phase it can stop charging before the battery gets to a fully charged state.

    If that happens you have two remedies with this charger:

    A. Leave it plugged in for several days so that phase 4 will pulse it up to 100% eventually.

    B. Unplug/replug both from AC and DC to fully reset the unit and reconnect to start the cycle over again. Depending on how inaccurate the SOC is you might have to do this more than once.

    In short I'm saying it's a very good charger but when you are charging a large battery (and the optima yellow top is one in this sense) you need to give this charger much more time for a full charge than you would for a simple top off or batteryminder style keep it alive style charge.

    The Prius charging system on the Gen II is just too anemic to be the primary method of fully charging a discharged or new battery. Give it a couple of days on the CTEK charger and see if it doesn't behave better.
     
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  16. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Expert and Devil's advocate

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    See my post above about the modes on the CTEK charger. My experience with mine says that 10 hours isn't enough time to fully charge a battery that large. I don't have specific voltage readings to give you but my number 1 symptom of a weak battery is getting messages on the MFD about "Caution: The transmission lock mechanism is abnormal".

    Any time I see that message I put the battery on the CTEK for a couple of days and then I don't see the message for a few months. If I just let it run through the normal cycle and charge for the 8 or 10 hours or whatever it is to get to the supposed "full" battery state I'll often see the message again in days instead of months.

    Oh, and fwiw I'm charging through the cigarette lighter port on the dash (passenger side near the center). I would expect this is similar to charging via the jump point under the hood but not as quick as charging via the battery terminals in the cargo area. No matter how you connect I'm suggesting you leave the battery charger on for a much longer period than just overnight.
     
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  17. Red09

    Red09 Junior Member

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    I have a scan guage now and I can check the voltage when I get in the vehicle. When the battery starts getting below 12.4 in the morning I know it is time to put the charger on over night again. I decided my daily drive is not quite long enough to keep the battery charged.
     
  18. fintonissimo

    fintonissimo Member

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    I purchased an Optima DS46B24R from elearnaid and received it 10 days ago. I didn't charge it before installing, because I didn't have a charger. After installing it, I measured the voltage through the car's MFD, and it was about 12.1 volts with no load. The temperature was about 35 degrees F. when I measured the voltage. Although it was a little low, I figured that driving my car would charge it adequately in the next few days. However, that did not happen. I began to scour all the battery threads on Prius Chat, and came to the conclusion that I should buy a battery charger, and charge up the battery.

    The new charger arrived yesterday, and it is the batteryMINDer Plus model #12118. I hooked it up to the fuse box connection under the hood according to the instructions in the Prius manual. I attached the negative lead to the front of the engine box/hood latch. The charger had a green light indicating everything was hooked up correctly, so I plugged it in and the battery began to charge. After several hours, the charger entered its float stage, so I figured that the battery was fully charged. I unhooked everything and checked the voltage through the MFD. This time, the battery measured 12.5 volts with no load at 32 degrees F.

    I am puzzled that the battery voltage was not higher, because the instructions for the charger say that it will not go into the float stage until the battery reaches a trip voltage of 14.7 volts. I'm wondering if the MFD is not accurately reading the voltage because of the cold temperature. The other possibility is maybe there is something wrong with the battery that made it impossible for the charger to charge it to the highest capacity. Given this scenario, maybe the charger went into float mode because the battery had reached its highest charge at only 12.5 volts.

    I am going to charge it again overnight tonight (about 16 hours total charging time) and measure it tomorrow morning. Maybe the float charge is necessary to reach the fullest capacity of the battery.

    Does anybody have any ideas what is going on here, or if there is something else I should consider? I'm beginning to think the battery might be defective. I know that sulfation can occur and lower the charging capacity of the battery, but after only 10 days, I wouldn't expect that to happen. Although I didn't do any long trips, I did drive the car every day.

    Aside from what I have already written, the batteryMINDer claims to be able to recondition and desulfate batteries while in float mode. Really? I wonder how this can be true, because I thought sulfation was irreversible. Any thoughts on that as well?
     
  19. OptimaJim

    OptimaJim Member

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    fintonissimo, as you can see from this graph, there is a slight increase in reserve capacity in the first 20 or so cycles of our batteries' lifespan, as the cycling process helps the paste fully-impregnate the plates during that time-




    [​IMG]


    The charger manufacturer may be able to give you some insight into how their chargers work. Sulfation can sometimes be reversed to some extent, but certainly not entirely.


    Jim McIlvaine
    eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
    www.facebook.com/optimabatteries
     
  20. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    Read me reply #53 above.

    The charger may take it to 14.7 volts but there is a big difference to between the charging voltage and the resting voltage of a battery. Basically as soon as you disconnected from the charger the voltage starts to fall, and after several hours or more it eventually reaches it's rest voltage. The rest voltage of a fully charged battery depends on both the temperature and exact chemistry of the particular battery, but will typically be around 12.6 to 12.8 volts for a lead acid battery in a good state of charge.

    As I outlined previously, when you measure the voltage using the MDF in the Prius, then you don't really measure the true "no load" rest voltage, because some of the Prius's systems are powered on. If you measure the voltage with a voltmeter, directly at the jumper terminal with everything powered off, you'll probably read another 0.2 volts. Your battery is probably ok.
     
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