Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both?
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Cadillac Audio, Video and Security Systems Discussion, Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both? in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; I recently installed a JVC receiver and RF 500a2 Punch amp in my limo. After maybe 30 minutes of goofing ...
  1. #1
    turbojimmy's Avatar
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    Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both?

    I recently installed a JVC receiver and RF 500a2 Punch amp in my limo. After maybe 30 minutes of goofing around with the new receiver, watching videos, configuring the screens, etc. my battery was dead. Now I had the Xbox, big TV and Pioneer receiver (no external amplifier) in my '96 and the battery would tolerate at least 30 minutes of usage of all that stuff. I was shocked that this '94's battery was drained.

    So I'm wondering if I need something like an Optima battery that will provide more power and tolerate deeper discharges? Or, should I install a 2nd battery and isolator? If I install a 2nd battery, would a sealed AGM battery like an Optima be okay inside the car without a vent? I already have a 240-amp alternator so it will recharge 2 batteries quick.

    It's a little bit complicated by the fact that the rear passenger compartment power is fed directly from the battery and controlled by a 75-amp relay. The relay used to come on with the ignition, but I installed a separate switch so I didn't have to turn the key on in order to power the back of the car. I'm having a hard time envisioning where the isolator would go if I were to feed the back of the limo with an auxiliary battery. I guess in between the stock battery and the existing relay?

    I'm not sure of the age or condition of the battery that's in the car now, so maybe I should start there. But it's been fine until now.

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    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    Re: Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both?

    I'm not a car audio guru but we do use a LOT of Optima products in boats. You can mount any AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery in any position you like - even upside down, and they do not vent gas - they're sealed and use recombining technology to force the hydrogen produced by charging back into solution in the electrolyte.

    It's worth noting that an AGM battery has a slightly different voltage and amperage charging requirement than our traditional flooded cell batteries. We use "smart" 3-stage voltage regulators in boats, but that won't work in a car. In any case, keep both batteries the same type due to the different charging requirements. Did you know that batteries left in parallel (your isolator switch is necessary) will slowly self-discharge each other ?

    Pound for pound, volt for volt, the good ol' flooded wet cell battery is still the power king. You could take a hint from the boat world and run deep cycle batteries - they'll start anything on the planet and tolerate a LOT more full charge/discharge cycles than a standard start-it-and-run automotive battery. But you'll pay for the power......and you have to relearn the lost art of watering batteries.

  4. #3
    turbojimmy's Avatar
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    Re: Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both?

    Quote Originally Posted by submariner409 View Post
    I'm not a car audio guru but we do use a LOT of Optima products in boats. You can mount any AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery in any position you like - even upside down, and they do not vent gas - they're sealed and use recombining technology to force the hydrogen produced by charging back into solution in the electrolyte.

    It's worth noting that an AGM battery has a slightly different voltage and amperage charging requirement than our traditional flooded cell batteries. We use "smart" 3-stage voltage regulators in boats, but that won't work in a car. In any case, keep both batteries the same type due to the different charging requirements. Did you know that batteries left in parallel (your isolator switch is necessary) will slowly self-discharge each other ?

    Pound for pound, volt for volt, the good ol' flooded wet cell battery is still the power king. You could take a hint from the boat world and run deep cycle batteries - they'll start anything on the planet and tolerate a LOT more full charge/discharge cycles than a standard start-it-and-run automotive battery. But you'll pay for the power......and you have to relearn the lost art of watering batteries.
    Thanks for the info. The battery that's in the car now is small-ish and probably is old, too. I think I'll start with a Yellow Top (or equivalent) in the stock location. If it drains too fast, I'll put another one in the trunk and isolate it. It looks like a simple solenoid-type isolator will do the trick. I didn't realize that they should be the same type.

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    Re: Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both?

    '..........should be the same type."

    Same analogy as how far you push the gas pedal to get equal power out of a Chevy 327 or 283.

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    Re: Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both?

    Hello, I noticed your conversation regarding our batteries and was hoping I could offer some assistance. While our batteries can be mounted in a variety of positions, we do not recommend mounting them upside down. Additionally, even though our batteries (and many others) are considered “sealed,” all lead-acid batteries can vent gas that is both flammable and toxic in extreme situations. That is why we always recommend that any battery mounted in an enclosed space (trunk or interior) be properly-vented to the outside. The only batteries we currently offer with external venting provisions are our Group 27, 51, 78, 34C, 31 & DS46B24R batteries.

    When multiple batteries are wired in series or parallel applications, they do need to be identical in age, size and type. Our batteries can be maintained just fine in automotive and marine applications and we do recommend an alternator output range of about 13.7-14.7 volts, which is fairly standard. For stand-alone charging, we do not recommend charge rates that exceed 10 amps and “gel” or even “gel/AGM” charger settings should be avoided, as they may not fully charge an Optima and could damage it over time. If you have any other questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

    Jim McIlvaine
    eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
    www.facebook.com/optimabatteries

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    Re: Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both?

    Quote Originally Posted by OptimaJim View Post
    The only batteries we currently offer with external venting provisions are our Group 27, 51, 78, 34C, 31 & DS46B24R batteries.
    Thanks for the info. It appears as if the D34-78 will fit in the stock location. I'm going to start there. If I need more, I'll pop another D34-78 in the trunk. I assume that the D34-78 has a vent?

    The 240-amp alternator puts out a 14.4-14.6 volts consistently so I'm good there.

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    Re: Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both?

    Okay, I finally have amassed the parts I need for the installation of 2 batteries.



    I waited months for the Westin dual battery kit, but it seems to be perpetually back ordered. I got the Painless kit instead, which functions the same but doesn't have the voltage monitor that the Westin kit does.

    I got a Moroso sealed/vented box for the battery, a 0-gauge "big 3" kit and 0-gauge wire to connect the 2 batteries.

    I read in a few different places that the batteries don't necessarily have to be of the same type if they're only connected for charging. Otherwise, if they're always connected, one could drain the other because they "equalize". The Painless kit has a setting that only connects the batteries with the ignition on, so I think I'd be okay with an Optima for the limo power and a standard "wet" battery for the stock part of the car (engine, exterior lighting, etc.).

    I'm running the 0-gauge from the battery in the trunk up to the fuse/distribution panel at the limo's partition. I'll put the isolator solenoid there, then continue the run up to the stock battery. I have 0-gauge wire to ground the 2nd battery to the trunk floor and the frame rail. I don't need to run that negative terminal all the way up to the stock battery, do I?

    Once all that is done, I can disconnect the limo's fuse panel and a/v system from the front (stock) battery and them up to the isolator on the rear battery's terminal. This will clean up the underhood wiring a bit as well as get that wiring out from underneath the car. Even though it's well protected, I really don't like those big power cables running outside.

    I don't know when I'll have the time to do all of this, but I'll do it soon. Currently, when I'm "tailgating" I start the car every 10 minutes or so out of fear of killing the single, stock battery with the rear a/v system. I've stranded myself several times this way.

  9. #8
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    Put it on a isolater

  10. #9
    turbojimmy's Avatar
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    Re: Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both?

    Quote Originally Posted by still_walkin View Post
    Put it on a isolater
    That's what I plan to do. The Painless kit has an isolator rated at 250 amps.

    My 240-amp alternator failed this weekend, though, so I have to remedy that first. Word to the wise: stay away from Power Bastards. They're shady.

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    It shouldnt have failed unless its low quality or something wired wrong how long have u had the alt

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    Re: Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both?

    Quote Originally Posted by still_walkin View Post
    It shouldnt have failed unless its low quality or something wired wrong how long have u had the alt
    The alternator was about 8 months old. I've read things that say that PB alternators are just overspun stock ones. I don't know. It simply stopped working - it didn't come apart or anything. PB fixed it the same day and sent it back and it works fine.

    I don't have the means to measure the current output, but voltage remains steady under a load. At idle, with the sound system booming, 3 cooling fans running and both the front and rear HVAC blowers running, voltage holds at 13.75 - down from 13.86 with no load.

    I'm starting the battery project today. I'm not sure how far I'll get, but I at least want to get the rear battery box installed and the cabling run up to the isolator.

  13. #12
    turbojimmy's Avatar
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    Re: Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both?

    I didn't make as much progress today as I had hoped, but I am at the point of no return. In order to move forward, I need to disconnect the limo's rear power and reconnect it to the 2nd battery (which I don't have yet). I then need to use the existing holes in the floor (for the wiring I remove) in order to run the new 2nd battery wiring in to the isolator and back out to the alternator. The existing wiring runs outside along the frame rail, so that's how I'm doing the new stuff.

    First the box. The studs for the hold-down run through the trunk floor. The clear vent tube runs out the trunk floor:


    With the lid:


    The 0-gauge ground runs through this hole right to the frame. I'll put a distribution block here to also ground it to the body.


    I ran the 0-gauge positive cable through the back seat and out the floor under the seat. This way it avoids the moving parts around the rear axle. It runs along the frame rail and pops back inside the car near the limo's fuse panel (behind the passenger seat) and hooks up to the isolator. I need to run a positive cable from the isolator to the alternator, which should be easy because the cable that feeds the rear fuse panel is already there. The fuse panel will now be fed off of the isolator rather than the stock battery.



    I need to order up an assortment of terminals and grommets before I can move forward. And a battery.

  14. #13
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    Re: Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both?

    Did some cosmetic work today, and ran the positive cable into the interior (it was just posing in the earlier pics).

    Waiting on some convoluted tubing to wrap the cable in when it's outside the car before I do much more. I'm going to install the 0-gauge "Big 3" kit up front tomorrow.




  15. #14
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    Re: Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both?

    I added a flux capacitor today, and removed the old battery cables:






  16. #15
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    Re: Optima Yellow Top, add a second battery or both?

    Installed the big cables today. I may have plugged this guy in the past, but I'll do it again:

    www.innovativewiring.com

    The kits are well thought out, totally complete and come with vehicle-specific, detailed instructions. All the runs are the perfect length and he provides clamps to clamp the cables down just like stock.

    Yes, my engine compartment is dirty. I might clean it up a bit when I'm done.

    The wire that feeds the underhood fuse panel is now 2-gauge. Alternator wire is now 1/0 gauge.


    The ground to the frame (that didn't exist previously) uses a stock bolt that also holds the clamp for the starter cable:


    I can't wait to get the limo's fuse panel wired back up - that's all that's left now.

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