Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
  Really Expensive Batteries

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   Really Expensive Batteries
Ablewis posted 04-30-2009 09:21 AM ET (US)   Profile for Ablewis   Send Email to Ablewis  
Does anyone have any experience with any of the [really expensive] batteries like the Optima Bluetop battery? [A link to a retailer selling the Optima Bluetop for $220 has been removed.--jimh]
glen e posted 04-30-2009 07:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
The recent Optima batteries have had problems. They have premature failure at about 15 months. Search the web for examples. Or email me and I'll send you some. No ax to grind here, just my expedience dealing with tens of owners that have switched. A better buy is the Sears AGM.
Ablewis posted 04-30-2009 11:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ablewis  Send Email to Ablewis     
Glen, thanks for the tip. I'm not clear which line of Sears batteries you were refering to when you said AGM, but I have also been curious about the pricey "platinum" series batteries. If they truly lasted twice as long as their other line they might be worth the investment.


andygere posted 04-30-2009 12:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I'm two years in on a set of Optima blue tops (combination marine starting/deep cycle). I've had no problems, and will go as far as saying these are the most reliable batteries I have ever owned. They really hold their charge, even when the boat has been idle for months. In addition, I was able to get the same CCA/MCA from a group 24 size battery that replaced the group 31s that were necessary before. It's getting quite difficult to find higher CCA/MCA lead acid batteries these days. Note that the warranty on Optima batteries is quite good.
davej14 posted 04-30-2009 02:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
This will be the fifth season with an Optima Blue Top starting battery. Just brought it up from the basement and it is still at 12.6V after 8 months of off season storage. I never charge before or during storage. I give it a quick charge in the Spring and that is it for the season. Last year I didn't even charge it at all before launch. For me, an AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery is the only way to go.
jimh posted 04-30-2009 08:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Removed some inaccurate information about the nature of the Bluetop battery based on a misrepresentation of it on a retailer's website, which has also been redacted.]
jimh posted 04-30-2009 08:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
AGM batteries are sealed batteries, so if they are over-charged they will be forced to vent gas. This leads to loss of electrolyte. Although I am absolutely sure that there are some boaters who have anecdotal reports of short life for their AGM batteries, there is not any way to know if the short life was caused by a defect in the manufacture of the battery or if the short life was due to poor charging voltage regulation.

First-hand reports are always preferred over citation of second hand or third hand accounts. Here we have first-hand reports of good life span from the Optima Bluetop. If anyone has first-hand experience with the Optima Bluetop battery and would like to contribute to this discussion, please join in.

glen e posted 04-30-2009 08:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
I have posted links from three different sites with "real world" personal experiences on bad Optimas only to have them removed by the moderator. I will post them again if allowed and you can read why I would not recommend the battery. Further, Yellowfin and SeaVee used Optima for a few years as std equipment and moved away from them due to failures. They saw a lot more batteries than anyone here that posts. I would consider that alone a reason to hesitate buying an Optima. Please feel free to email me if you would like the links.
jimh posted 05-01-2009 01:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Glen--The links were removed from another discussion on a different topic. Here I have gone out of my way to create the topic you wanted so you could post the links, so go ahead and post them.

In general, I don't find much value in getting referrals to things other people said somewhere else and who are not involved in this discussion. If a guy says his battery failed, the first I want to ask him is how he was maintaining it and how he charged it. You can kill a $220 battery with poor maintenance and improper charging.

If there is a statement on a boat builder's website that says they stopped using a product because of too many failures, I'd like to read that. But there are many reasons a boat builder might change to a different brand of product. Price or delivery might be very important factors. To make the inference that they changed because of poor quality is not inherently correct.

glen e posted 05-01-2009 01:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e

jimh posted 05-03-2009 03:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I read the threads Glen cites above. In them I found three or four anecdotal reports of problems with an Optima battery, as well as two or three reports of good service from an Optima battery. Among the anecdotal reports I did not find that the preponderance of them were negative, at least not if Glen's own reports are excluded. Glen joined most of the discussions to add his own opinion to them, which is notably negative about Optima batteries.

I don't have an opinion on Optima batteries, as I don't have any first hand experience with them. I do notice that each year there seems to be a new brand of battery that is strongly endorsed on various on-line discussion areas by various people. A few years ago it was the Cabela's AGM battery, now fallen from favor it appears and replaced by a Sears-branded AGM battery.

One of the anecdotal reports about the Optima was a complaint that the retailer would not provide much of a remedy for a failed battery in the warranty period. I think this is illustrative of the importance of dealing with a retailer with integrity. If you want to pay over $220 for a battery, you have your choice of quite a few brands. With that much invested into a battery, you should choose a retailer that will stand behind their brand.

glen e posted 05-03-2009 06:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
Oh lord Jim, I did not expect to sway your opinion for an instant.
glen e posted 05-03-2009 08:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
OK, Jim let's do one of your world famous searches.

Here's optima:

now google "odyssey battery problems"
or Deka
or Cabella
or Lifeline
well, you get the idea...

I don't care if you keep buying them or not. Costco is the best to buy the Optima if you still like them.

jimh posted 05-04-2009 08:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Glen--As I said already, I do not have an opinion on Optima batteries.

As for my "famous searches" could you please point to some example of my "famous searches." I have no idea what you are talking about. In this case you seem to have been conducting and compiling search results and presenting them for our consideration.

By the way, when you wrote:

"Oh lord Jim, I did not..."

I am not clear if you meant to write:

"Oh Lord! Jim, I did not..."

or if you intended it as you wrote it. Either way is sorta funny.

glen e posted 05-04-2009 08:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
I will concede you are the Lord here.(LOL)
Jefecinco posted 05-04-2009 09:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
I've had a pair of Optima batteries in my boat for about seven years. They are used for starting and to power a VHF radio and a GPS/sounder/map combination.

They have been flawless and maintain a charge for several weeks with no need to recharge between uses. The long life of these batteries make them an excellent value. They are often on sale at automotive parts outlets.

I have no knowledge of the Sears AGM batteries but due to the overall good reputation of Sears batteries generally and the warranty I would not hesitate to buy them when my Optimas eventually fail. I would make a selection between the Sears and Optima batteries based upon price.


andygere posted 05-04-2009 12:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
How many Optima Blue-Top batteries have you owned? What size were they? How long did they last, and on what boat/motor combination were they installed? If there were problems, how did the retailer handle your warranty claim? Some additional first-hand data would be relevant to the discussion.
glen e posted 05-04-2009 03:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
C' the don't have to own something to decide it's not for you. In 2008 I took at least 7 phone calls from optima owners that had boats dead in the water due to the batteries. They replaced them with various other type and never had a low voltage or failure problem again. You do what you want, I'll buy somethig else.

Yes and I know many of my fan club here think the same of verados - no matter, we'll all go on living.

andygere posted 05-04-2009 04:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Glen, just so I'm clear on this: you have never owned an Optima battery for your boat?
glen e posted 05-04-2009 05:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
who do you think you are? Some smug prosecutor that thinks you've made a point? Grow up. No I never have,and never will. Clear enough for you? I've never owned a YUGO either.
jimh posted 05-04-2009 08:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am thinking of changing the topic to "Jehad Against Optima Battery."
andygere posted 05-04-2009 10:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Glen, I'm just trying to figure out how you came to be such an expert on Optima batteries. And I doubt you would be foolish enough to tell me to grow up directly to my face, so don't be a coward and do it over the forum.
glen e posted 05-04-2009 10:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
I run a club of over 1534 verado members from all over the world. I handle 30 emails a day and am in contact with about 20 boat builders across the nation DAILY. The company I work for is one of the largest marine installers in South Florida. All we do is work with electrical systems on boats. We yank Optimas routinely that are trash.

I have seen them fail more than any other battery in my life. I have posted threads and also Google searches.

That's how I am an expert about them. I don't care if you believe me or not.

Brian7son posted 05-05-2009 08:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for Brian7son  Send Email to Brian7son     
Jim and Andy,

I think that your logic is flawed. You both imply that Glen would have to have personally owned an Optima to have an informed opinion on this topic. I don't agree with your logic.

I have never personally owned a Ford Pinto. Many of them exploded when they were rear ended due to an engineering flaw. I'm sure that many folks owned Ford Pintos and had rear end accidents wherein the car did not explode. However, that doesn't mean that they are good cars.

As a completely neutral observer on this matter, I respectfully disagree with your logic on this topic. You imply that someone would have to personally own an item to know it if was not a good product.

Jefecinco posted 05-05-2009 11:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
I believe that to have an informed opinion of the reliability of a product it strengthens your argument to have had a good deal of personal experience with the product.

Anyone can read about a product and report on what has been read. I believe we can all read for ourselves. Do you think it is more common for disappointed users of a product to voice a opinion of the product? Do you believe that reading mostly negative reports skews ones opinion of a product even if one has no personal negative experience.

Glen has chimed in on the negative side on the Optima issue so many times in so many discussions that one could wonder if he has an axe to grind. His opinion seems to be based upon his reading of reports from others. If so, perhaps it would be useful to say something like, "I've read of xx Optima Battery failures in xx months"?


andygere posted 05-05-2009 12:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
hearsay [heer-sey]
1. unverified, unofficial information gained or acquired from another and not part of one's direct knowledge: I pay no attention to hearsay.
2. an item of idle or unverified information or gossip; rumor: a malicious hearsay.

Glen really goes out of his way to disparage Optima brand batteries (see the links he has posted in addition to his comments in this thread). I think that's rather curious considering he hasn't owned one. I don't recall any threads where Brian7son has gone out of his way to disparage Ford Pintos. In addition, the Pinto problem was well documented by many objective third parties. I haven't seen evidence of that with Optima batteries. See the difference?

For what it's worth, I don't care if Optima never sells another battery. I've had good luck with mine, and that's just one data point, but it's a first-hand data point.

glen e posted 05-05-2009 02:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
Call Matt Weick at Lauderdale Marina and ask him about Optimas. He's the general service manager at one of the top 10 Whaler dealers in the US.I really don't go out of my way at all, as there is data everywhere you look.

How much data do I have to give you?

Good luck with your batteries Andy, the question is are you gonna buy them again? If you do in the face of so much data, you're just being stubborn and rather ignorant.

andygere posted 05-06-2009 12:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Glen, you haven't given me anything but a bunch of what you have heard. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not, but since you have gone out of your way to speak out against Optima batteries, your credibility is somewhat suspect. If I continue to get good service from these batteries, I'll probably consider buying them again. If I don't, I'll try something else.

Now you are calling me stubborn and ignorant on the forum, something I am certain you would not do in person. If you want anybody here to take you seriously, calling people names is a habit you should try to correct.

My input to this thread is over, I'd rather be boating.

L H G posted 05-06-2009 12:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
I think I've got it. Optima batteries work great for the simple, pull start capable, low draw electrical technology of an E-tec, but can't handle the highly sophisticated electronic on board technology needs of the Verado and DFI Optimax. It seems the lower tech an engine is, the better the Optima can handle it.
jimh posted 05-06-2009 01:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Larry--More FUD for the E-TEC--Low power demand is high-tech, just the opposite of your paradigm. But you do have a valid point: there very well could be a correlation with motor type and battery problems. A current-guzzling motor can chew up a battery in a hurry, especially when poorly maintained.

The Verado motor electrical system has very high current demand due to the 60-amperes needed to run the electrical boost pump in the power steering, and the greatest demand probably comes when making maneuvers around the dock at low speed, just when the engine is not putting out much charging current. Then, when the engine speed increases, the alternator pumps out 60-amperes of charging current trying to put some charge back in the battery. That sort of high-current discharge followed by high-current charge cycle, over and over, could easily cause a decrease in battery life. It seems like every time someone complains about problems with their Verado or loss of power steering boost, the standard response is to tell them to get a new and bigger battery.

The same for the Optimax--its double set of electrical injectors and well-known sensitivity to any voltage sag require a very high-current and stiff battery to even get it started.

A motor like an E-TEC, which really does not need a battery to run at all, and only puts current demand on the battery during cranking, probably does treat the battery much more gently. It is completely reasonable that batteries will last longer when used in this manner. The other significant factor is there isn't a 60-ampere load for the steering boost pump with the E-TEC. So the net demand for current is less.

Environment could also be a factor, as perhaps the higher temperatures of Florida affect batteries differently by brands.

modenacart posted 05-06-2009 09:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for modenacart  Send Email to modenacart     
andygere, Glenn could say the same about your support of the battery. Becareful how you aproach the subject.

Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.