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Optima battery bad "again"

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by PriusGuy32, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. OptimaJim

    OptimaJim Member

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    Chris, I know we've been PMing about your issue, but I just noticed this thread. I am sorry to hear about the experiences you've been having with your retailer. Some industries and locations do have high employee turnover, so it can be a challenge sometimes to get folks behind the counter who are well-trained and well-versed on a wide variety of automotive parts.

    If your charger is only charging your battery to 12.5 volts, it is still leaving the battery about 35% discharged. This could be due to sulfation that has aleady developed in the plates over time from sitting in a partially-discharged state or it could be all the charger is capable of doing. Sometimes cycling the battery down to about 11.5 volts and re-charging it at a higher amperage rate (10 amps) two to three times, can help break up some of this sulfation and restore some performance, allowing the battery to have a higher state of charge (fully-charged YellowTops will measure about 13.0-13.2 volts).

    I noticed some comments about float charging and wanted to clarify that we recommend a maximum of 1 amp at 13.2-13.8 volts. While our batteries can be treated and charged just like regular lead-acid batteries in most situations, chargers with AGM-specific settings are preferred, if that option is available. If not, regular or deep-cycle is fine, but we recommend avoiding any settings that mention “gel” in them, as they may not fully-charge non-gel batteries and could damage them over time.

    turnbowm, your accusation suggesting the quality of our products has decreased in any way is false and PriusCamper, your suggestion that we fired our entire quality control department to increase profits is completely false as well.

    If any battery is going to fail from a manufacturing defect, it is likely to do so well within the first year of use, if not the first month. Beyond that timeframe, battery performance and lifespan is largely connected to how the battery is being used and maintained. Knowing what I do about defect rates both for Optima and the industry in general, I would say if Chris has managed to come across three defective batteries in a row (from any combination of manufacturers) he is defying some pretty long odds.

    Jim McIlvaine
    eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries

    OPTIMA® Batteries (optimabatteries) on Pinterest
     
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  2. PriusGuy32

    PriusGuy32 Prius Driver Extraordinaire

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    I just happened to check back on this thread, I guess I had totally forgotten about it!

    Checking my trickle charger/maintainer, it charges 12V – 14.8V @ 1.25a. I hook it up to the maintainer about once a week usually.

    Ive only had 1 bad Optima battery, I dont know why Jim thought I had 3. I brought it back to the store, the kid tried telling me 12.1v was acceptable because "anything about 12.0v is GOOD". Sigh.
    Anyways, at that point, he gave me the one I have now. I cant recall from my notes but right after buying it, it multimetered out at 12.3 or 12.4v before I installed it in the Prius. Oh well, good enough, or at least better than the first one. I charged it up and installed it. THAT is the battery that Im now not able to break 12.0v with under normal circumstances.

    I was thinking of trying and charging it "one more time" at 10amps like I see is recommended, to see if that can give the ol' Optima a "who's your daddy" and get it back up to 12.8v. I have my doubts..... but Im going to try. Update to come...
     
  3. 90miler

    90miler Member

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    OptimaJim (or whoever can tell me),

    I just bought an Optima yellow top for my Prius from an online retailer and am installing it now. It arrived with a respectable 12.83v charge, so I am very optimistic about this battery. Still, I would like to know the "born on" date of the battery. I found a code B40AL stamped on top. Can you tell me what manufacture date that corresponds to?

    Thanks!
     
  4. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Expert and Devil's advocate

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    Must be pretty darn new, that's a higher charge than the one I got brand new.

    I've had mine for 2 years now, ran it dead once with a heated seat plugged into the 12v with the car off, put it on the smart charger the next day (and the day after to be darn sure I had a good charge). Been running it for a while since then, still no problems.
     
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  5. PriusGuy32

    PriusGuy32 Prius Driver Extraordinaire

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    Thats the first thing I thought too...lol. 12.83v?! Wow. Im lucky to find one that will hold 12.30v after a smart-charge, which according to Optima is still undercharged.

    "Our YELLOWTOP® and BLUETOP® batteries (except for the 34M BLUETOP) are fully-charged at about 13.0-13.2 volts."

    Citation: Battery Voltage 101 | OPTIMABATTERIES
     
  6. OptimaJim

    OptimaJim Member

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    I didn't say you had three bad Optimas, I said the odds of you managing to come across three defective batteries in a row from any combination of manufacturers are long (and they are). You indicated in this thread that you replaced the battery when you bought your car in September of 2012 (1). You then indicated you replaced that battery (2). You are now indicating you are having trouble with your current battery (3).

    If you have some time over the weekend, it might be worthwhile to fully-charge (~13.0-13.2V) and disconnect your battery from your car. If your "smart charger" can't get voltage above 12.3 volts, it may be time to look for another charger. If it can hold close to it's maximum voltage for 12-24 hours afterward, it should be fine. If it holds voltage when disconnected, but drops voltage when connected, there may be something in your car discharging your battery. If it drops significant voltage during that timeframe, even when nothing is connected to it, there is something wrong with the battery and it should be replaced under warranty.

    90miller, can you tell me the 10-digit code on the white, 1"x3" "Non-Spillable" label on the side of the battery?

    Jim McIlvaine
    eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries
    OPTIMA® Batteries (optimabatteries) on Pinterest
     
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  7. PriusGuy32

    PriusGuy32 Prius Driver Extraordinaire

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    Well, battery #1 was the OEM original Toyota battery that came with the car from 2007. It might not have been completely shot yet, but I replaced it with a Yellowtop upon recommendation of the forums (and at the time, I apparently had money burning a hole in my pocket) lol.

    Im not bashing Optima. Im picking up what you are putting down, when you assert that quality hasnt slipped when operations moved out of country etc etc etc. I dont really care about any here-say, I just want an Optima battery that I can walk out of Advance Auto Parts with that - before I hook it up to anything - reads 12.6v+. I have mixed feelings about buying a battery that has been sitting on their shelves for at least 7 months (as evidenced by the date code when I bought mine) and is already exhibiting signs of sulfating, and will accept a charge and say its 13.0v but then slowly come down to 12.0v or below after disconnecting the battery charger.

    Im using both a Schumacher 1.5amp trickle charger for maintenance charges and a Schumacher 2/6/10 amp "smart" charger that has the 5 charging stages (desulfate/bulk/maintain, etc etc). It allows me to select if its a deep cell, AGM, or regular battery. I can also select 2/6/10 amps for the charge.
     
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  8. 90miler

    90miler Member

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    OptimaJim,

    Ten digit code is 4004537999.

    I got delayed in my install, so it won't happen until tomorrow or Sunday, but the battery still shows 12.83v. :) I am replacing b/c the current battery has a date code of July, 2007. I don't want to wait for that day when I go out to my car and have the surprise of a truly expired battery.

    Thanks.
     
  9. OptimaJim

    OptimaJim Member

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    Chris, I will admit you're probably more educated than most folks on batteries. I know I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between an OE battery and an OE replacement on a used car, unless someone deciphered the date code for me. If your current battery discharges from 13.0 to down below 12.0 while disconnected from your car, it should be replaced under warranty. Keep in mind, a battery that has just come off a charger may show significantly higher voltage, as it has a surface charge, than the actual battery voltage. That's why we suggest fully-charging to about 13.0-13.2 volts and then observing it over the next 12-24 hours while it is disconnected from your vehicle. You can charge your battery at a rate up to 10 amps, but we do not recommend any charger settings that mention “gel” even if they also mention “AGM.”

    90miller, your battery was produced January 4th of this year.

    Jim McIlvaine
    eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries

    OPTIMA® Batteries (optimabatteries) on Pinterest
     
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  10. 90miler

    90miler Member

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    Thanks, OptimaJim. Looks like I got a fairly fresh one.

    Got it installed Saturday afternoon. All went well except the new Optima is longer than the OE battery, and didn't really fit all the way down into the hole. It fit up against the metal battery holddown bracket toward the front of the car well enough, but there was a little interference trying to get the rear end of the battery in place. It was bumping into that putty or caulking stuff that they sealed the rear body panels together with. Don't know if I were to slice some of that stuff out of the way if it would make enough room for the battery to sit down all the way or not. It doesn't quite seem so. I had to leave the rear end of the battery sitting maybe a half inch to an inch high, so it is not exactly level. Hoping that will not be a problem(?) since it is a "non-spillable" battery, and wondering if anyone else had this problem.

    Interesting: before disconnecting my old battery, I checked voltage and it read around 10.5v (still connected, ignition off, had just been driven on a 100 mile round trip, and car was functioning fine). After disconnecting it from the car, I checked it a few times over the next few hours (out of the car) and it came back up to nearly 12.5v. It is still about 12.43v now. Wondering what all this says for the old battery. Was it maybe weak, and came back to 12v+ after it it was released from all load?

    New Optima went in at 12.83v (not connected). Checked after running it a while in the car and it seems to be consistently reading around 12.69v (connected, ignition off).
     
  11. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    90 miler,

    It sounds like your Prius takes the smaller battery that came with the base model Prius (no SKS system, backup cam, etc. etc.

    If that is the case, in order to fit the bigger battery properly the procedure is to change the tray that the battery sits in. Toyota made two different trays for the Prius, and two different 12 volt batteries. The smaller one is a lower amp/hr configuration than the bigger one.

    If your car is a base model and you would like to make the Optima fit properly, take the time to change the tray. That will allow the battery to fit in there properly. You can get the tray at any Toyota parts dept.

    This is a example of what I am talking about.

    2008 Toyota Prius Parts - AutoNation Toyota Gulf Freeway Parts

    Note that there are two #8 part's in the list. One is the small one (base model) and the other is the larger one (Smart Key System).

    Hope this info helps you.
     
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  12. 90miler

    90miler Member

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    Thanks, dorunron. Yes, I had the base size OE battery. I think I could probably accomplish the same with the tray by boring new holes into the existing one. I considered it during the install. Everything that I had seen showed this Optima replacing either of the two sizes of OE batteries, so this was a surprise to me. Hadn't seen anything prior to your post about having to change the tray.
     
  13. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    Below is a couple of examples.

    Also for a Prius without Smart-key or the Navigation system. If you Prius came without Smart-key or the Navigation system the Prius comes with a smaller battery, S34B20R or Toyota part number 2880021181 or 2880021180. The battery tray is also smaller and it can be a tight fit. From our experience it fits, however some users have loosened the two bolts and lifted one tab so you can slide the tray forward enough that it will fit. (Possibly there was more caulk on the back wall.) Of course one can also purchase the tray for the larger battery from Toyota but it is really not necessary. You are going to end up with 35% more capacity and with a deep discharge battery. (You can leave the lights on etc. more times before battery fails.)

    Optima DS46B24R Optima battery direct fit replacement for Prius 2004 + , Prius V & Plug-in Prius with Instructions

    Here's another example.

    Replacing 12V Battery in 2009 w/o SmartKey | PriusChat

    You can mod the tray and hold down clamp if you prefer or for less than $20 you can change the tray and the bigger battery will fit perfectly.

    Best of luck to you.
     
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  14. 90miler

    90miler Member

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    Thanks again. Wondering if anyone knows if it hurts anything to be tilted up in the back by, say, 10 degrees? It's secure where it is now, and you can't see that it's not level unless you remove all the panels, etc. Couldn't be worse than parking on a steep downhill grade overnight. Of course, if I have occasion to take it back out, I will probaby modify the bracket. It's just otherwise not a priority for me right now (too many honeydos). Anyone think it's normal to find the old batter at 10.5v while still in the car?
     
  15. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    The new battery needs to be secure where it is mounted and should not vibrate around as the car is driven. If it is secure then it doesn't matter that it is tilted up 10 degrees, except that is not a workmanlike result.

    Consider whether the small battery tray will put undue stress on the bottom of the battery where the edge of the tray contacts the bottom. A proper tray will evenly distribute the load across the bottom of the battery. In your case, I visualize that the edge of the tray will stress the battery case, possibly cracking it over time.

    Given the above, I recommend that you find time in the near future to replace the original battery tray with a longer one, thus enhancing battery life.
     
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  16. 90miler

    90miler Member

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    Patrick, good points, thanks. As an engineer myself, I am pretty high on professional looking results. So, I'll probably get around to adjusting the installation somehow. I will say that I looked the Optima battery case over a bit before the install, and if I recall correctly it looked fairly rugged. Ha, the bottom sure didn't yield much when I tried with moderate force to get it down in the hole that was too small.
     
  17. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Post #49 excerpt from OptimaJim: "If your current battery discharges from 13.0 to down below 12.0 while disconnected from your car, it should be replaced under warranty. Keep in mind, a battery that has just come off a charger may show significantly higher voltage, as it has a surface charge, than the actual battery voltage. That's why we suggest fully-charging to about 13.0-13.2 volts and then observing it over the next 12-24 hours while it is disconnected from your vehicle."

    Anyone else have a problem with the above statement? I would expect that a fully-charged AGM battery should measure at least 12.9V after surface charge has dissipated, and it should retain 12.9V for many days after that, when disconnected. A battery that dropped down to, for example, 12.5V after a few days, is in poor condition from my point of view and I would expect that to be replaced under warranty.
     
  18. PriusGuy32

    PriusGuy32 Prius Driver Extraordinaire

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    This has been what has been happening to me with my Optima yellow-top yet nobody seems to want to admit its defective.

    Anyways, Advance Auto Parts (at least in my state) doesnt even offer/carry the Optima any longer. I am going tomorrow to return it and receive a refund. Thankfully it has a 3 year full warranty.

    Then, Im going to waltz right over to my friendly Toyota parts department and purchase a battery and call it a day. Ive never had any problems with a battery like I have with the Optima and Ive owned over 25 cars.

    Currently I have (NOT optima brand) 2 AGM's (Group size 31) in my boat that are 3 seasons old and they are amazing units.

    Today my 12v battery readings were:
    Accessory Mode: 11.9v

    Ig-on Mode: 11.1v

    Ready: 14.1v
     
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  19. Tony D

    Tony D Active Member

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    I'm not a battery expert, however, having to charge and check the voltage on new batteries is crazy IMO. When I buy a new battery, I expect the charge to be good and last at least 3-5 years, except of course I leave th lights on or something similar.

    I thought that the Optima were deep cycle batteries? I looked into getting one when I bought my Prius, but just went for an Exide as the are a good brand here in
    Ireland. Also, the Optima supplier couldn't get one to fit the Prius, which I think isn't a bad thing after reading about some of the issues had by members here.
     
  20. Britprius

    Britprius Senior Member

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    What was the price of the Optima. In the UK the correct size (but wrong terminals) is £183 making it around $300 US an absolute crazy price. The Exide is a great battery with a long full replacement guarantee.

    John (Britprius)