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optima battery... what's under the lid?


mrspeedyt

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I have a 1995 optima battery that now has one dead cell... and was wondering if I could pop the top lid off or drill carefully thru the lid and create a 6v or 8v battery (with the remaining good cells) with a carefully placed jumper wire...:rolleyes:

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I have a 1995 optima battery that now has one dead cell... and was wondering if I could pop the top lid off or drill carefully thru the lid and create a 6v or 8v battery (with the remaining good cells) with a carefully placed jumper wire...:rolleyes:

Since you can't get to the inside of the battery for testing, how do you know it has one dead cell? More importantly, AGM batteries like the Optima can "fool" conventional battery chargers if the voltage drops too low. This article can help you recover the use of your battery:

Optima Product Support : Tech Tips

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  • 1 month later...

I believe they are filled with a gel type acid, that is why you in place them in any position even upside down, I had a friend that told me a tip on optima batteries, if they act like they have a dead cell you can set then upside down for a few days then charge them, then they sometimes come back around, maybe it allows the gel to re coat the plates inside them?? I have one in my motor home that this was done to, give it a try!

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Assuming you could access the center and find the good half I doubt it would be any good. When they doubled the voltage to 12 in the fifties they actually halved the amps. It all comes down to power. That's why the 55 and 56 Ford use the same battery holder. The cells of a 6 volt battery are twice as big as the cells of a 12 volt, or,3 cells at 2 volt each fit into the same case as 6 cells at 2volt each.

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good info. and i'll try the upside down tip next time i'm back home in arizona. idea for optima... make a 'super' 6 volt battery the same outside size as the optima 12v. could be done with just a minor change in the cell connections. that would be about 1600 cca...

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It is always hard to comprehend electric things. I'm just trying to save you trouble. Think of a dual voltage motor, say 2 hp. It has 2 sets of north and south poles. when you arrange

the poles in series it runs on 200 volts. 2 hp is about 1500 watts so you are sending 7.5 amps through. If you rearrange the poles in parallel it runs on 100 volts and sends 15 amps through. Either way it consumes 1500 watts. You could do the same thing in reverse to the generator that drives this motor or 2 100 volt batteries. another thing to consider is half of your battery will produce half of the volts AND half of the amps so the net power will only be a quarter of the original, but that's even more complicated.

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Guest willcmb

It was a long time ago but we used to configure and sell the Optima (was originally Gates in Denver, CO) batteries. They use a jelly roll configuration for each cell and we could hook 'em up for any configuration of capacity and voltage the customer wanted but we worked with prepackaged cells, not the substrate. They made other size cells ie common flashlight sizes to beer cans.

I'm not that knowlegable but did tour the plant and I'd guess you can dissassemble and look at it without much of a mess. It should be gooey rather than haveing a liquid bath-type electrolyte such a a normal lead acid battery. Not sure how they interconnect the cells but they should be seperate to the point you can isolate and possibly reconfigure.

Of course there is no source for info like the manufacturer.

Good luck on that...sounds like a fun exploratory exercise.

WillC:rolleyes:

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Guest azpaul50

If you had an Optima that old, you were lucky! I had one die that was just one month old. I must admit I let the clock run it down over that period but you'd think it would take a charge thereafter. The parts guy says that there's an arbitrary point for discharge that it won't come back from. He sees several failures over any given month. As to what's inside, I have no idea if you could rewire the plates... long walk for a short cigar, isn't it? - AZP

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Guest De Soto Frank

What has not changed between the lead-acid batteries of the last 100 years and the new Optima batteries is that each cell produces about 2 volts.

The six volt battery package contains three cells, connected in series.

The twelve volt battery contains six cells, connected in series.

To take an Optima 12-volt and make it into a "super 6-volt", one would need to open it up, disconnect all six cells, and reconnect them as follows: connect two cells together in parallel, repeat with the remaming four cells so that you have three pairs of two cells.

Because each "super cell" is connected in parallel, it still prodcues two volts, but with twice the current capcity. Now connect the three "super cells" in series, and you have a "super" six-volt.

In theory.

Or, you could just use three of the cells in series, and have the equilvalent of the Optima 6-volt, in theory.

In the case of the old lead-acid six volt, the plates were usually heavier, to withstand the heavy amperage involved. Since the 12 volt systems used about half-as many amps as their 12 volt predecessors, the plates could be made smaller and lighter, and twice as many cells made to fit in the same space as required by the old six-volt batteries.

It might still be the same case with the Optima: the cells for the six-volt battery may be different, to furnish more amps.

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Guest De Soto Frank

"Not ideal for cars that sit for long periods, in my opinion."

Ironic; and my personal experience over twenty-five years of driving six-volt iron on a daily / nearly daily basis, is that conventional lead-acids hold-up very well in regular service....

It would seem that the biggest advantage of the Optima is the lack of acid weepage that wrecks the battery box...

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I have good luck with 12v deep cycle marine batteries or traction (golf cart) 6V batteries for cars that I don't drive often. An occasional charge keeps them up and they withstand long cranking periods to fill up a carb with the stock mechanical pump. They look rather plain like you would expect a 30-40's battery to look like instead the ugly optima red cans.

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