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Discussion Starter #1
I'm really beginning to think that Optimas Quality Control has gone to hell.
I bought 13 Blue Tops. 2 were blatantly bad. (undervoltage, got hot
spots during discharge)
Those were replaced No Charge by the supplier. (BatteriesRUs.com, nice guys)
The 2 replacements came in, and seemed ok. I did a few short runs with
them, and a medium run.
I did notice that one of the new ones (#12) seemed to not come up to
full charge. All the other regs were flashing, but not that one. I
then put it on a power supply for an hour or two, pumping 1-2 A into it.
I just did a discharge test on it. I used my 2000W inverter with a 300W
Halogen light plugged into it. Should be a 25A load.
It lasted 57 minutes.
Seems kinda short, doesn't it?

Note that that battery was the reason I had to stop and wait on my first
full length trip. It triggered the undervoltage detect at about the 2/3
mark, so I spent some time just sitting while the genset recharged things.

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Discussion Starter #2
John G. Lussmyer wrote:
> Halogen light plugged into it. Should be a 25A load.
> It lasted 57 minutes.
> Seems kinda short, doesn't it?
>
(Note on the above, the discharge test ended at 10.34v, which is where
the Inverter cut out.)
I had hooked a 30A Smart Car Charger up to that battery after the
discharge test.
2 hours later it was still charging - at 14.5v. Battery was warm, but
not hot.
30 seconds after disconnecting the charger the battery was at 13.5v.

I think it's dead jim.

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Discussion Starter #3
John,

Comments below...


John G. Lussmyer writes:
>
> I'm really beginning to think that Optimas Quality Control has gone to hell.
> I bought 13 Blue Tops. 2 were blatantly bad. (undervoltage, got hot
> spots during discharge)
> Those were replaced No Charge by the supplier. (BatteriesRUs.com, nice guys)
> The 2 replacements came in, and seemed ok. I did a few short runs with
> them, and a medium run.

When you say "a few short runs", what current limit did you use? How many
amp hours did you draw out?


> I did notice that one of the new ones (#12) seemed to not come up to
> full charge. All the other regs were flashing, but not that one. I
> then put it on a power supply for an hour or two, pumping 1-2 A into it.

The regs on the other batteries were keeping the charger's current too
low to get the new batteries charged. The new batteries probably weren't
fully charged and/or needed some cycles to get to the same state the
others are in (even if the others just have a few cycles on them too).

Are you doing the specified charge? Sounds like you're skipping the final
step of 2 amps for an hour. Skipping this step will result in batteries
that are not fully charged. For new batteries, this means they never get
to full capacity.

I had several undercharged batteries in my pack that almost doubled in
measured capacity after switching to a proper charge cycle.


> I just did a discharge test on it. I used my 2000W inverter with a 300W
> Halogen light plugged into it. Should be a 25A load.
> It lasted 57 minutes.
> Seems kinda short, doesn't it?

Yes, it should be higher. You really need to try giving it a few proper
charge cycles.


> Note that that battery was the reason I had to stop and wait on my first
> full length trip. It triggered the under voltage detect at about the 2/3
> mark, so I spent some time just sitting while the genset recharged things.

Ouch for the battery! How did you know it was giving you trouble? Do you
have a "live low-batt" dash indicator?

Ralph

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Discussion Starter #4
Ralph Merwin wrote:
> When you say "a few short runs", what current limit did you use? How many
> amp hours did you draw out?
>
6AH or so twice, and one 14AH run.
>> I did notice that one of the new ones (#12) seemed to not come up to
>> full charge. All the other regs were flashing, but not that one. I
>> then put it on a power supply for an hour or two, pumping 1-2 A into it.
>>
>
> The regs on the other batteries were keeping the charger's current too
> low to get the new batteries charged. The new batteries probably weren't
> fully charged and/or needed some cycles to get to the same state the
> others are in (even if the others just have a few cycles on them too).
>
> Are you doing the specified charge? Sounds like you're skipping the final
> step of 2 amps for an hour. Skipping this step will result in batteries
> that are not fully charged. For new batteries, this means they never get
> to full capacity.
>
Both new batts were independently charged first, and then topped off
with the 2A charge.
I did put them both on 2A charge (no reg) for over an hour. Twice now.
> Yes, it should be higher. You really need to try giving it a few proper
> charge cycles.
>
I have. I just didn't give the full history of the batts in my previous
message.
The other new battery is doing just fine, and seems to be almost
matching the others.
>> Note that that battery was the reason I had to stop and wait on my first
>> full length trip. It triggered the under voltage detect at about the 2/3
>> mark, so I spent some time just sitting while the genset recharged things.
>>
>
> Ouch for the battery! How did you know it was giving you trouble? Do you
> have a "live low-batt" dash indicator?
>
Sort-of. One of the side-effects of a battery going low with MKIIC regs
on the rebus, hooked up to the charger, and charging while driving, is
that the charger shuts down if a batt goes low while charging.
This was very easy to notice, as the genset suddenly changes pitch. So
I stopped to check, and saw the Red LED...

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey John,

I am having the same problem with some new Optimas in Tweety. I have
done lots of testing on this situation. The batteries are bad. I
didn't have the luck you had with your supplier, but at this point I
don't really care. I'm now looking into a new pack. Don't think the
new pack will be Optima.

Ken

http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/983



-----Original Message-----
From: John G. Lussmyer <[email protected]>
To: Electric Vehicle Discussion List <[email protected]>
Sent: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 7:44 pm
Subject: [EVDL] Bad Optimas



I'm really beginning to think that Optimas Quality Control has gone to
hell.
I bought 13 Blue Tops. 2 were blatantly bad. (undervoltage, got hot
spots during discharge)
Those were replaced No Charge by the supplier. (BatteriesRUs.com, nice
guys)
The 2 replacements came in, and seemed ok. I did a few short runs with
them, and a medium run.
I did notice that one of the new ones (#12) seemed to not come up to
full charge. All the other regs were flashing, but not that one. I
then put it on a power supply for an hour or two, pumping 1-2 A into it.
I just did a discharge test on it. I used my 2000W inverter with a
300W
Halogen light plugged into it. Should be a 25A load.
It lasted 57 minutes.
Seems kinda short, doesn't it?

Note that that battery was the reason I had to stop and wait on my
first
full length trip. It triggered the undervoltage detect at about the
2/3
mark, so I spent some time just sitting while the genset recharged
things.

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Discussion Starter #6
John G. Lussmyer writes:
>
> The other new battery is doing just fine, and seems to be almost
> matching the others.

Sounds like the new Optimas do have quality issues. Which is a bummer
because I need to replace a few of mine too...

Ralph

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Discussion Starter #7
Make sure when you go to a battery dealer, take all you battery testing
equipment with you to check out the batteries before you take delivery.

The first thing I do, is to check out the manufacture date that is either
stamp on battery case next to a post or may be stamp in the lead offset bar
that the battery post sets on. These are coded dates that are different
between battery manufacturers.

Out of the first 50 batteries I inspected for the date, there was 10 that
was slip in the group that was over 9 months old that was mix in with 40
batteries that was only 2 weeks old. Dealers like to get rid of the old
stock first.

Next, check the color of the posts. If they look darker, like a tan or
brown color, than the battery post seal is leaking. When they stack up
batteries on a pallet, and even if they use card board separators, this
extra weight, may cause the battery top to break away from the post.

If you have flooded pb/acid batteries with removeable caps, then check some
of them to see where the electrolyte level is at. Lets say they are below
the bottom of the filler neck and the batteries are full charge to about
1.275 SG, then you have a big problem. This means they were not initially
fill up all the way to the bottom with the electrolyte.

Adding just water at this time will only dilute the electrolyte in a full
charge battery. You will always have less than 1.275 sg at full charge,
unless you want to overcharge them, but this only boils off the water and
lowers the electrolyte level again.

Do not accept these initially low electrolyte level batteries, unless the
dealer has battery electrolyte at the same specific gravity in the batteries
that you can add. I rather do this my self.

If you have post that have a embedded stud in the post, check them at the
torque rate which is recommended by the manufacturer. I do not connected my
cables to these studs, but use them for additional down ward pressure and
internal pressure of a battery clamps.

Using a digital volt meter that can read at least to 3 places to the left of
the decimal point, select the best batteries that are at least 0.001 volt of
each other.

Doing a load check at this time while they may be about fully charge may not
show a bad battery at this time. It is best to do a load test after you
discharge to at least below 75% SOC. A 75 amp load using the EV motor as a
load may show a bad battery at this time.

If the voltage of a battery drops more than the others, then replace it
away.

If you buy a pallet load of batteries at a time, which is about 50
batteries, the manufacture packs in at least two carrying straps and a
maintenance guild sheet for these batteries. Some dealers will remove these
items, and try to sell them back to you again.

In the last 33 years, I found 10 batteries that the dealers try to slip in,
and replace one new battery that blew up which was about a year older than
the other ones in the pack that the dealer slip in, several that the
threaded stud was loose on the low profile type posts, two batteries that
the positive post got very dark, and battery tops on the whole pack that was
wet all the time that had those gang type caps on them, which I replace with
single locking type cap with a 0-ring seal.

Roland








----- Original Message -----
From: <[email protected]>
To: <[email protected]>
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:21 AM
Subject: Re: [EVDL] Bad Optimas


> Hey John,
>
> I am having the same problem with some new Optimas in Tweety. I have
> done lots of testing on this situation. The batteries are bad. I
> didn't have the luck you had with your supplier, but at this point I
> don't really care. I'm now looking into a new pack. Don't think the
> new pack will be Optima.
>
> Ken
>
> http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/983
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: John G. Lussmyer <[email protected]>
> To: Electric Vehicle Discussion List <[email protected]>
> Sent: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 7:44 pm
> Subject: [EVDL] Bad Optimas
>
>
>
> I'm really beginning to think that Optimas Quality Control has gone to
> hell.
> I bought 13 Blue Tops. 2 were blatantly bad. (undervoltage, got hot
> spots during discharge)
> Those were replaced No Charge by the supplier. (BatteriesRUs.com, nice
> guys)
> The 2 replacements came in, and seemed ok. I did a few short runs with
> them, and a medium run.
> I did notice that one of the new ones (#12) seemed to not come up to
> full charge. All the other regs were flashing, but not that one. I
> then put it on a power supply for an hour or two, pumping 1-2 A into it.
> I just did a discharge test on it. I used my 2000W inverter with a
> 300W
> Halogen light plugged into it. Should be a 25A load.
> It lasted 57 minutes.
> Seems kinda short, doesn't it?
>
> Note that that battery was the reason I had to stop and wait on my
> first
> full length trip. It triggered the undervoltage detect at about the
> 2/3
> mark, so I spent some time just sitting while the genset recharged
> things.
>
> _______________________________________________
> For subscription options, see
> http://lists.sjsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ev
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________________
> Email and AIM finally together. You've gotta check out free AOL Mail! -
> http://mail.aol.com
>
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Discussion Starter #8
[email protected] wrote:
> I am having the same problem with some new Optimas in Tweety. I have
> done lots of testing on this situation. The batteries are bad. I
> didn't have the luck you had with your supplier, but at this point I
> don't really care. I'm now looking into a new pack. Don't think the
> new pack will be Optima.
>

As a followup to this. The replacement for the bad Optima showed up.
But had been dropped in shipping.
Now I get to wait for another replacement to be shipped.
sigh.

(At least BatteriesRUs has been really good about that, and paying for
all the shipping.)

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Discussion Starter #9
John G. Lussmyer wrote:
>
> I'm really beginning to think that Optimas Quality Control has gone to
> hell.
> I bought 13 Blue Tops. 2 were blatantly bad. (undervoltage, got hot
> spots during discharge)
>

I'm considering a purchase of 12 Optima Yellow Tops throuigh a SClub where I
previously I purchased 12 same-pallet mexican-made Energizer GC8s. They were
all within +/- 0.01 volt of each other.

The battery manager groks the concept that I want identical batteries and
that I show up with a voltmeter. He offered to order a batch of > 12
Optimizers 'direct from Interstate'. He contacted 'Interstate' and was
told that it would a be a couple of weeks suggesting that dated/old stock in
the supply chain has been cleaned out.

Any other precautions I can take?

Any indication that the QA/QC issues with Optimas previously noted in this
thread have been addressed?


TIA ! Marc

http://www.evalbum.com/1610
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Discussion Starter #10
> Any indication that the QA/QC issues with Optimas previously noted in this
> thread have been addressed?

I'm not convinced that there IS a QA problem. I might be confusing
threads, but Optimas need a very specific charge regime and I don't
believe the original poster was using it. You can't expect them to
perform properly if you don't charge/discharge them properly.


Also, I don't recall Optima YT's EVER living up to their claimed capacity
at EV currents. I think they originally used to call them 65 AH
batteries, then downgraded it to 52 AH at the 2 HR rate. Folks who used
them back in the day stated that 40-45 AH was more accurate (at the 1 hr
rate).

Further testing indicated ~30 AH of usable capacity (i.e. keeping them
above 80% DoD)

So if you expect to empty these in 30 minutes and get 52 AH out of them,
you are going to be very disappointed. This has nothing to do with QA
problems.

In other words, if you are pulling 100 amps continuously from these,
expect them to be empty in less than 15 minutes, 12 minutes if you want to
keep them above 80% DoD. 5-8 minutes if you don't charge them properly,
maybe less.



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Discussion Starter #11
Peter VanDerWal wrote:
>
>> Any indication that the QA/QC issues with Optimas previously noted in
>> this
>> thread have been addressed?
>
> I'm not convinced that there IS a QA problem. I might be confusing
> threads, but Optimas need a very specific charge regime and I don't
> believe the original poster was using it. You can't expect them to
> perform properly if you don't charge/discharge them properly.
>
> Also, I don't recall Optima YT's EVER living up to their claimed capacity
> at EV currents. I think they originally used to call them 65 AH
> batteries, then downgraded it to 52 AH at the 2 HR rate. Folks who used
> them back in the day stated that 40-45 AH was more accurate (at the 1 hr
> rate).
>
> Further testing indicated ~30 AH of usable capacity (i.e. keeping them
> above 80% DoD)
>

Thanks for the clarification. Best practices start with selection/buying
strategy so as to start with factory-fresh batteries which I think I have
mostly under control.

Our need is complicated by the fact that we live in a river valley, so most
every trip starts with a ~ 2 minute 4-5% grade at ~30mph. Whatever we do
has to meet that condition. Other than safety, everything else (total range,
maximum speed, battery life) is secondary.

I've been doing quantitative computer environmental modeling for 30 years,
so numerical simulation is my native MO. (Is there a non-java, spreadsheet
or C or VB version of the UVE calculator? )

There seems to be a dearth of reliable data on actual V, I, time data for
for AGMs including Optimas.

With more good data points I could make some more progress.

The current published 20hr rate for the Optima D34 Yellow Top is 55AH which,
as I understand you, is realisticallly closer to 52AH.

Did I read you correctly to be suggesting a Peukert capacity (1-hour value)
of 40-45 AH ? That implies a Peukert exponent of ~1.1

Any additional pointers to quantitative V I time data of YT Optimas would be
appreciated. Or even just Peukert exponent calculated from known-good,
measured values (not just undocumented/hypothetical estimates).

Ditto for Deka or any similar 40-50lb 12v AGMs potentially suitable for
2500lb street EV.

TIA .. Marc







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Discussion Starter #12
Peter VanDerWal wrote:
>
>> Any indication that the QA/QC issues with Optimas previously noted in
>> this
>> thread have been addressed?
>
> I'm not convinced that there IS a QA problem. I might be confusing
> threads, but Optimas need a very specific charge regime and I don't
> believe the original poster was using it. You can't expect them to
> perform properly if you don't charge/discharge them properly.
>

Optima/Interstate isn't particularly helpful, are they?

At the FAQ at http://www.1st-optima-batteries.com:80/faq8.asp

Q: What kind of charger do I need for an Optima?
A: Optima batteries do not require any special type of charger.... You can
monitor the voltage state of your batteries during or after use by
installing a volt meter available at any auto or marine parts supply house.

Marc
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Discussion Starter #13
hult wrote:
>
>
> Peter VanDerWal wrote:
>>
>>> Any indication that the QA/QC issues with Optimas previously noted in
>>> this
>>> thread have been addressed?
>>
>> I'm not convinced that there IS a QA problem. I might be confusing
>> threads, but Optimas need a very specific charge regime and I don't
>> believe the original poster was using it. You can't expect them to
>> perform properly if you don't charge/discharge them properly.
>>
>
> Optima/Interstate isn't particularly helpful, are they?
>
> At the FAQ at http://www.1st-optima-batteries.com:80/faq8.asp
>
> Q: What kind of charger do I need for an Optima?
> A: Optima batteries do not require any special type of charger.... You can
> monitor the voltage state of your batteries during or after use by
> installing a volt meter available at any auto or marine parts supply
> house.
>
Oops. That's not actually the Optima web site.

But the "Specs & Tech " page at the North American and European Optima web
sites is hardly more useful.

http://www.optimabatteries.com/optima_edge/maintenance_storage.php
http://europe.optimabatteries.com/publish/optima/europe/en/config/technology/maintenance_and_storage.html

... Marc
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Discussion Starter #14
Peter VanDerWal wrote:
>> Any indication that the QA/QC issues with Optimas previously noted in this
>> thread have been addressed?
>>
>
> I'm not convinced that there IS a QA problem. I might be confusing
> threads, but Optimas need a very specific charge regime and I don't
> believe the original poster was using it. You can't expect them to
> perform properly if you don't charge/discharge them properly.
>

Sorry to say, i DID follow the charge recommendations.
It still took 18 batteries to find 13 good ones.
And I STILL have a pack that won't stay balanced very well.
I did Reserve Capacity tests on the batteries after a couple of charge
discharge cycles.
Some of the bad ones were as low as 45 minutes. The "good" ones were
around 90 minutes.

Also, I'm not the only one who's had this problem. Several people have
told me that their local dealers have stopped carrying Optima's due to
the number of returns they were getting.

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Discussion Starter #15
You might take a look at the Hawker Odyssey batteries. They will at least
tell you what you can expect to get out of their batteries when you
discharge at the 1 hour rate and the 15 minute rate.

http://www.odysseyfactory.com/specs.htm

Later,
Kyle
www.zevutah.com


hult wrote:
>
>
> Peter VanDerWal wrote:
>>
>>> Any indication that the QA/QC issues with Optimas previously noted in
>>> this
>>> thread have been addressed?
>>
>> I'm not convinced that there IS a QA problem. I might be confusing
>> threads, but Optimas need a very specific charge regime and I don't
>> believe the original poster was using it. You can't expect them to
>> perform properly if you don't charge/discharge them properly.
>>
>> Also, I don't recall Optima YT's EVER living up to their claimed capacity
>> at EV currents. I think they originally used to call them 65 AH
>> batteries, then downgraded it to 52 AH at the 2 HR rate. Folks who used
>> them back in the day stated that 40-45 AH was more accurate (at the 1 hr
>> rate).
>>
>> Further testing indicated ~30 AH of usable capacity (i.e. keeping them
>> above 80% DoD)
>>
>
> Thanks for the clarification. Best practices start with selection/buying
> strategy so as to start with factory-fresh batteries which I think I have
> mostly under control.
>
> Our need is complicated by the fact that we live in a river valley, so
> most every trip starts with a ~ 2 minute 4-5% grade at ~30mph. Whatever
> we do has to meet that condition. Other than safety, everything else
> (total range, maximum speed, battery life) is secondary.
>
> I've been doing quantitative computer environmental modeling for 30 years,
> so numerical simulation is my native MO. (Is there a non-java, spreadsheet
> or C or VB version of the UVE calculator? )
>
> There seems to be a dearth of reliable data on actual V, I, time data for
> for AGMs including Optimas.
>
> With more good data points I could make some more progress.
>
> The current published 20hr rate for the Optima D34 Yellow Top is 55AH
> which, as I understand you, is realisticallly closer to 52AH.
>
> Did I read you correctly to be suggesting a Peukert capacity (1-hour
> value) of 40-45 AH ? That implies a Peukert exponent of ~1.1
>
> Any additional pointers to quantitative V I time data of YT Optimas would
> be appreciated. Or even just Peukert exponent calculated from known-good,
> measured values (not just undocumented/hypothetical estimates).
>
> Ditto for Deka or any similar 40-50lb 12v AGMs potentially suitable for
> 2500lb street EV.
>
> TIA .. Marc
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>


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Discussion Starter #16
zevutah wrote:
>
> You might take a look at the Hawker Odyssey batteries. They will at least
> tell you what you can expect to get out of their batteries when you
> discharge at the 1 hour rate and the 15 minute rate.
>
> http://www.odysseyfactory.com/specs.htm
>
>

Thanks for the suggestion and reference.

Their deep-cycle model that best fits my needs and comparable to the Optima
YT D34 would be the Odyssey PC 1500 (34 footprint)

I find it disconcerting that that their spec sheet for this model at

http://www.odysseyfactory.com/documents/US-ODY-1500-002_1206.pdf

shows a graph that unambiguously claims that their PC 1500 gets 400 cycles
at 80% dod but a "Flooded " only achieves 75 cycles ... So what else is
misinformation? Bad PR folks have a way of undoing good engineering
(grumble ...)

Marc
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