Optima Red Top (1 Viewer)

Joined
Mar 27, 2003
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Georgia Tech
i had the same problem

it was an erratic charging system that went from not charging to overcharging at 17-18 volts when a diode went bad
 

Colorado Boy-74-FJ40

I may grow older but I refuse to grow up!
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Windsor Colorado
I have heard the red tops are overrated. I have a die hard and it seems to do just fine
 
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Yeah, I've run em for a few years and always liked em. If they're getting fried by a bad alt then it's not it's fault. But really, when it comes down to it, a good battery is a good battery Die Hard or whatever.

I think it's the fully sealed part that attracts people to em. My neighbor kid's eclipse got flipped over by some punk ass homies and when the batt he had installed in the rear hatch tipped over it leaked and fawked his interior, total writeoff. Trail rollovers being the point here. :)
 
Joined
Dec 18, 2004
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Vancouver Island
They aren't a bad value for the life you get out of em too. I've had mine now for 6 or 7 years. I think I would have replaced at least one 'regular' battery by now.
 
Joined
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EAST COAST
I run red tops in everything I have and have never had a problem. I remember a recent post though that was nothing but red top bashing. they were only lasting 5 or 6 months. I have been running my oldest for about 3 years and no complaints.
 
Joined
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Portland, OR
I managed to go through 3 in about a month, but that was from s***ty PO wiring and me re-wiring the whole rig, and then having the stock altnerator blow up on :censor:
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2005
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My understanding is that the vent blows if exposed to over voltage/charging. Some of the newer brands have an auto resetting vent, but the Optima does not, the battery has to be replaced.

I've used red tops in my cruiser for quite a long time now, maybe 15 yeaqrs or more, and they have always lasted me 5 years, which is what I've gotten out of any battery with the rare exception of a bad one.

Until...

I put a red top in the Suburban about a year ago to solve a problem with terminal terminal corrosion (Optimas don't out-gas). Several months ago I spent about two months chasing some electrical problems, which I will spare you the details, but in the end, I replaced the battery twice, the alternator twice, the starter, and all the main power cableing. I know the batteries were bad, the first one started the whole thing off by dieing then smoked my charger when I tried to charge it back up. I replaced it with another brand new red top (and the charger too). Then I had two alternators burn up over the next month or so. Each time I put the battery on the charger, it would charge for about 15 minutes, then stop and tell me the battery is connected backwards. This is a new smart charger with a jell cell charging mode. But I finally got the hint that what ever was making the charger think the battery changed polarity mid charging, probably was not doing my alternator any good either, so I bought a plain old lead/acid battery. And just like that two months of chasing problems came to an end.

So, I was talking to the store I got the Optimas from, and asked why I was having such bad luck when they worked so well for me for so long. They said that Optima changed ownership two years ago, and there have seen a lot of problems with them in the last two years. The one in the LC just died too, so I brought two back to them and asked for my money, that I lost my confidence in them. They would only give me two more new ones. So now I guess it is time for me to put in a dual battery setup, and keep my fingers crossed.

gary
 
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not the" no", but the F-no CA
That's too bad. I've had a red top in my 40 for four years that was used before I got it. I put a lot of miles on it for a long time, but over the last year I've only fired it up every few monthes or so. Plenty of current to crank on it a bit if need be every time. I even used my aux lights afew times between starts. I always figured I'd get another if this one ever actually gives up. Besides, I like having equipment that is designed to sustain small arms fire and still function.
 
Joined
Mar 9, 2004
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Diamond Valley, Nevada
I've also experienced problems with Optimas in the past in various vehicles/tractors/equipment - all I run now are Exide Orbitals or John Deere Hibernators - zero problems and a little less money.
 
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So I finally had the time to go to the parts store where I got the batt and had em test stuff. I should point out that there happened to be 3 red tops there being tested today :rolleyes: .

Ok, so I get there and have the guy roll out the charging tester, both the batt and alt test out fine. Putting out 13.7-14.50 V. So the guy says to take out the alt and bring it in. Well as I'm leaning over the acid corroded engine bay :frown: to get the alt out I notice that in the 4 minutes (and couple minute charging system test) it's already starting to vent again.

So I get the alt out and he checks it, the diode failure indicator light on the machine lights up right after he gets up the RPMs, did this check a couple times with same results. His recommendation is that I find the short that caused the diode to burn out then replace the alt (or diode if possible?) and then move onto replacing the 3 mo old red top. WTF!!!!! :mad: I'm hoping that they'll replace the batt, but I need to figure this s*** out quick like.

HELP!!!

My questions:

1. If it's only putting out normal voltage then why would it fry the batt?
2. If the diode goes out what the hell does that mean, something about converting the AC alt power to DC power?
3. Is my wiring right for this alt (pics to come)?
4. Where could my short be, could a short be what caused the diode to fail or maybe just was it's time to go?

Sorry guys, I fawkin hate electrics.
 
Joined
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What kind of alternator are you running? How is it hooked up, as a one wire or 3 wire (if it is a GM type)?
 
Joined
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A diode: Is a semiconductor which allows current flow in only one direction.

A diode, zener: Is a diode which allows current flow in one direction but blocks reverse flow only up to a specific voltage, Above that potential, it passes the excess voltage. This acts as a simple voltage regulator.

DIODE TESTING, with a volt/ohmmeter, contact the negative lead to the diode positive side and the positive lead to the negative side, there should be continuity. When contacting the two leads in reverse, there should be no continuity.

ZENER DIODE TESTING

The testing of zener diodes requires a variable dc power supply. A typical test circuit can be constructed, as shown in figure 4-19. In this circuit, the variable power supply is used to adjust the input voltage to a suitable value for the zener diode being tested. Resistor R1 limits the current through the diode. With the zener diode connected as shown in figure 4-19, no current will flow until the voltage across the diode is equal to the zener voltage. If the diode is connected in the opposite direction, current will flow at a low voltage, usually less than 1 volt. Current flow at a low voltage in both directions indicates that the zener diode is defective.

Go to this link to see figure http://www.tpub.com/celec/47.htm


If you are testing Diodes, here is some info

Scott
 
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Ok, it's a CS-144 alternator with a 1 wire hookup out of a 90s GM car (I'm pretty sure anyways). This is how I have it wired. I went through all the wiring of this thing a while back and figured that this was correct.

The main power terminal wire goes to my cutout switch and connected to that post is the starter cable and the one single wire that everything runs off inside (goes through the amp meter). I ran it this way so that all items needing power would be pulling it from the alternator output first and not from the battery. Then on the other post of my cutout switch the power runs right over to the positive batt terminal to recharge the batt.

And the energizing power wire comes right off of the alt's own main terminal. This is the only thing I could think of that might be wrong, but as long as it has power it shouldn't matter because essentially it's connected to the battery there as well. The little black wire is not connected to anything.

Ugh!

I gotta go back out and ground test every circuit. Thanks...
Alternator 001.jpg
 
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Good pic. The wire off the back of the alternator is the feed to the battery. The red wire from the connector to the back of the alternator is the voltage sensing wire. That white wire is the field wire. I think the best thing for that is to be hooked up to your battery light in the instrument panel. There should be a keyed power source to the battery light, then the wire goes to that field wire. This is at least a basic way to know your alternator is charging.
 
Joined
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Not sure wiring of the alternator is your problem, but you can easily run some new wire for everything, then you know it would be correct. I believe you can replace the regulator inside the alternator, might be a cheap way of testing that as well.

I agree, electrics can suck :censor:
 
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OK so getting by without the light does that need to be hooked up at all? And is the voltage sensing wire hooked up fine? I'm pretty sure that the alt is hooked up right and I know that it is charging the battery. I think that the problem is that somehow the alt failed and the diode is toast. But how and why did this happen is the mystery. Thanks for the help. :beer:
 
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I promise that I don't just keep replying to myself because I like to read my own typing. :) Just like to follow up my threads for future readers.

Anyways, I got another alternator today and had it tested and it's all good. This time I pulled the small wire right out of the jack and eliminated the possibility of it shorting out and blowing the diode again. Then I wired the main charging wire directly to the battery post and just kept the fielding wire the same.

Ran it for a while and with the diode being good on this one the battery never started to vent, so that's what it was. Now hopefully with that extra wire gone there will be no other shorts. Now just to get the parts store to test and code the battery for replacement. ;)

Thanks again for the help fellas. :beer:
 

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