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



turbojimmy
10-18-11, 09:42 AM
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.

Submariner409
10-18-11, 05:31 PM
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.

turbojimmy
10-18-11, 06:06 PM
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.

Submariner409
10-18-11, 06:52 PM
'..........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.

OptimaJim
10-19-11, 04:15 PM
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

turbojimmy
10-19-11, 05:27 PM
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.

turbojimmy
06-16-12, 07:20 AM
Okay, I finally have amassed the parts I need for the installation of 2 batteries.

http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/limo_wiring.jpg

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.

still_walkin
06-19-12, 02:33 AM
Put it on a isolater

turbojimmy
06-19-12, 09:15 AM
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.

still_walkin
07-10-12, 07:50 AM
It shouldnt have failed unless its low quality or something wired wrong how long have u had the alt

turbojimmy
07-10-12, 08:42 AM
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.

turbojimmy
07-10-12, 04:13 PM
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:
http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-1.jpg

With the lid:
http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-2.jpg

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.
http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-3.jpg

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.

http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-4.jpg

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

turbojimmy
07-11-12, 05:20 PM
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.

http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-6.jpg

http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-5.jpg

turbojimmy
07-12-12, 08:32 PM
I added a flux capacitor today, and removed the old battery cables:

http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-7-1.jpg

http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-8.jpg

http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-9.jpg

turbojimmy
07-13-12, 01:07 PM
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.
http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-11.jpg

The ground to the frame (that didn't exist previously) uses a stock bolt that also holds the clamp for the starter cable:
http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-10.jpg

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

turbojimmy
07-14-12, 03:28 PM
A bit more progress. Got the cable from the trunk pulled into the interior and close to where it should be. I had to drill another 7/8" hole in the floor because I didn't like where the existing hole was. It left that big cable fairly well exposed. The new hole allows me to pull the cable through the side of the floor pan right by the frame rail which should minimize the risk of damage.

I'm having a hard time finding 7/8" grommets with 5/8" ID. They're perfect for the cable I'm using, and because my step bit only goes up to 7/8". I'll have to shop around some more.

I also came up about 18" short on the run from the alternator to the solenoid. I have 7.5 feet of cable and I needed 9. So I dropped another $50 on 10-feet of 0-gauge cable and will now have a 7.5 foot piece of scrap. Grrr...

It's not the most beautiful arrangement, but what you see is normally behind a blanket of vinyl behind the passenger seat. In my own defense, the mess of wires you see was there when I got it. I added a few, but it's mostly a mess from the previous owner.

http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-12.jpg

http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-13.jpg

I didn't fuse the short run from the solenoid to the fuse panel. I did fuse the run from the solenoid to the amps on the other side of the partition. It's cleaner to fuse that circuit on that side of the partition rather than by the amps, which are just about a foot of cable away.

I have to wire up the solenoid. It has some indicator lights and stuff that I need to install.

Slow progress, but progress nonetheless.

turbojimmy
07-19-12, 04:32 PM
DONE! Almost. One of the battery terminals I got doesn't clamp like it should - I need to replace it. But it works for now.

I might fabricate some sort of cover for this. It's behind the passenger seat, covered with a piece of vinyl, but I'd feel better if the terminals weren't exposed.
http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-14.jpg

Got a cheap-ish ($120) group 34 battery from Autozone. If it doesn't hold up, I'll move to an Optima.
http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-19.jpg

Put a 250 amp fuse where the feed comes off the alternator. The run from the alternator to the isolator goes outside the car, so I figured I'd fuse it.
http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-15.jpg

The Statusfuse back by the 2nd battery displays the voltage for a couple of minutes then it goes out. It wakes back up with major voltage changes.
http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-18.jpg

I had to fabricate this little panel under the ashtray. It originally contained just the buttons for the partition. When I drilled into it, I demolished it. Some day I may do something a little more fancy. When the green light is on, both batteries are connected.
http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-16.jpg

The Statusfuse shows 14.1 volts with the car running and the batteries connected to the alternator.
http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/ii636/jestoltz/batt-box-17.jpg

Everything seems to be operating like it should. It's really comforting having a 2nd battery back there to pick up the A/V system slack. I'd have to try pretty hard to get myself stuck with a dead battery with this arrangement.