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scott12180

OPTIMA battery or Wet Cell?

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I am under the impression that for older cars without a modern voltage regulator, a conventional wet cell battery is better to use than a OPTIMA battery.

OPTIMA batteries are particularly sensitive to overcharging, whereas old-style lead-acid batteries are more tolerant to overcharging because of the large heat sink of lead and liquid. If your car has only a simple generator cut-out and there is any risk of overcharging depending on your driving habits, an OPTIMA or similar gel-cell battery is not the best choice. . . . In my opinion thus far.

I had a 1926 Packard with which I drove long distances frequently and never drove at night with lights or other accessories on. The car used a conventional lead-acid 6 volt battery. Once after a 300-some mile trip I got home to discover that the caps of the battery had all popped off and the acid boiled out. The battery was not long for this world after that.

I then reduced the charging rate from 10 amps to about 2-3 amps and never had a problem with overcharging or undercharging. Again, considering my driving habits.

My point --- or my question --- is that an OPTIMA battery would not withstand that kind of overcharging or even a fraction of that kind of overcharging without rapid failure or even catastrophic failure. OPTIMA batteries are great but only when there is no risk of overcharging.

Do you guys agree with this? Or am I all wet (pun intended).

--Scott

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I'd point out that your Lead Acid battery didn't survive the abuse of overcharging either. An optima is a very good battery, and is subject to damage just like a Lead Acid battery, but it might be damaged easier.

I simply add the ammeter to my instrument scan, and after say 20 minutes of driving, I'll turn on the headlights to bring the charge rate to near zero. It's safer to have headlights on anyway, and the lights consume the excess charge rate.

Another fix is to add internal voltage regulation using modern small electronics inside the generator cut-out box on your car.

Personally I like Optimas. They can be put into and removed from the battery box under the floor boards of our 20's and 30's cars much easier and safer than a lead ACID battery. And they are lighter. I've not ruined any upholstery or clothing since I started using Optima batteries.

GLong

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I put a similar question to an auto electrician some time ago. He said that all modern batteries including Optima can take all the current our low output generators can deliver, my 1920's car with third brush output control is normally set to 8 Amps for daytime running. Apparently modern alternators can put out up to 80 Amps and the batteries will take that

I was concerned that on a long tour over say 1 week the generator on fixed output would over charge and damage the Optima. He told me to start the rally on a fully charged battery and not to worry about it..

The advice seems logical except for the fact that the modern high output alternator is regulated .

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My 30s era Packard does not have a current regulator and I use the large commercial NAPA wet-cell battery. They typically last about 8 years and have far more CCA than an Optima. I really can't see going to a battery with less capacity that lasts about the same length of time as the wet-cell.

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Optima - Amazon has the best prices. I ran one in my 1941 Cadillac for 14 years (amazing servie froma battery) and I am running them in another 41 Cadilac, a 35 Auburn, and a 36 Auburn, and have bought about 30 plus of them over the past 10 years or so. They are a little tricky to charge if you wear one down, but other than that they are a delight and so easy to pick-up and carry. You can also get a case for them that looks like an old batter - a little expensive but worth it if one shows for CCCA judging.

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Lot of people have issues with the newer Optima batteries... I use the cheapest, biggest wet cell battery I can find..

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