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Optima Marine starting batteries - Worth the money?


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I am headed to Cabelas to replace the starting battery for the boat. What is the consensus on Optima batteries?

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I'm sure they are wonderful. I'm not sure they are worth the price. I havent read any reviews. IF I felt like I would get 5 years out of it, I might roll the dice and buy one.

Ham

Every Saint has a past, every Sinner has a future. On Instagram @hamneedstofish

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I swap my battery's out every year. I get a bit of a discount but even back when I was poor and had to pay full price I bought all fresh ones every March-April and pawned off my used ones to friends.

It is cheap insurance, as nothing can ruin your day (and your ignition/charging system) like a bad battery.

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Can you explain how it can affect your ignition/charging system?

The ignition system:

Loss of 12v ground while the engine is running will fry the diodes in 40-225 hp Mercury switch boxes and 25-225 hp Johnson Evinrude power packs in a heartbeat. It doesn't have to be a broken circuit, just a momentary dip in voltage less than 10.5v will overheat the diodes and/or capacitors inside the switch box, not because of the low voltage (pressure) but from the lack of a strong grounding circuit.

If when the diode leads melt they happen to melt into the ground lead inside the switch box/power pack then it will also take out the stator.

When you hear someone say "it started running like crap and as we were limping back it just died and wouldn't restart".... That is usually what happened.

The charging system:

A stator has two separate sets of coil windings, one powers the ignition system and the other is either rectified and/or regulated and recharges the battery at either 16 or 40 amps after each starting cycle and also each time you touch the tilt/trim switch. As soon as the regulator senses the battery has returned to full charge then it directs all charging voltage to ground to prevent over boiling the battery. A battery that is failing will never actually reach full charge but the stator and VR do not know that, all it knows is that the battery will not accept the charge so it just switches stator voltage to ground and only attempts to recharge when you either first start the motor or hit the trim switch (dips in voltage are what trigger the diodes there). After awhile of running like that one of two things happen...either the low battery voltage causes heat in the two yellow VR wires and causes them to melt into a ground (can cause an actual fire), or the battery gets so low that it momentarily reverses polarity causing the dreaded loss of ground which takes out the VR and the charge coil winding side of the stator.

Whew! Now aren't you sorry you asked? :)

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Lol, I bought an Interstate Cranking battery around 2 years ago and it is starting to fail. The previous owner had interstates and they failed after less than a year. I got a pro-rated discount on New interstates and even with a master off switch and meticulous water level maintainence and charging, the new Interstates are failing. So the moral of the story is, you spend your money and take your chances.

I'm likely done with Interstate batteries though.

Every Saint has a past, every Sinner has a future. On Instagram @hamneedstofish

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I run an optima for my trolling motor, its 3 years old now and it can go 6 hours at full speed in the wind before its done, all day at 1/4 power no problem and when I get home its only down to about 74% on average. So int the trolling motor use its wonderful.

My starting is just a Cabelas AGM battery and its works fine

Fish finders are all on an old interstate battery that's 5 years old.

Best thing I ever did was putting the 3rd battery in the boat and dedicating the BATTERIES, Trolling has its own as does the Fish finder.

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Thanks for the well written explanation fishinwrench. Is it possible to check if the battery is being charged when the engine is running by checking the battery voltage? It appears my battery is not getting charged. When running live well and electronics all day the battery gets low. How do I check and see if it is getting charged. Thank you so much for your help you give on the site.

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