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Taking apart an Optima Battery?

11951 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  BenNelson
Has anyone every taken apart an Optima battery? Specifically a Yellow Top?

I have 3 yellow tops mounted on my electric motorcycle and I am trying to figure out how to cram one more in it. (No I do not want to mount two in the back as "saddlebags" or cut and extend my frame)

There is room under the seat that is big enough, the the "hole" to get it in there is two small. Also, there is enough width, but not enough clearence to fit a 4th battery under the frame.

What I am wondering is if each cell in an Optima is individually sealed, and it it is, can a person split the battery open and "reshape" it?

I would like to "butterfly" the battery, so that it is twice as wide, and only half as tall, then I could mount it in a custom box under the other batts.

Anyone done anything like this, or know if it's possible?


PS - I am not planning on chopping a battery and splattering myself with acid until I can find some good info first.
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Each cell in an AGM battery will have it's electrolyte sealed within it's own cell casing. Having said that, I can't tell you where the boundaries of the electrolyte chamber are, or how the internal strapping that connects the cells is configured. It might be possible to cut the plastic casing apart, incise around the interconnecting strap, and butterfly the battery without ever rupturing a cell, but I have no idea the issues involved. At worst, you would have to find a way to cut and then expose the interconnect between the cells at the end of the row. If the interconnects are made of lead, a good battery shop could probably cast you some new terminals with little effort.

Remember that an Optima is going to have a gelled electrolyte, so it's doubtful that it would "spray", but you would obviously need to exercise caution while working on it.

My suggestion is to see of you can find a dead Optima red-top (lots of them around, look in wrecking yards) and experiment on that first, it's probably an identical design to the yellow-top. Have lots of baking soda and water around, and wear lots of protective clothing! If you discharge the battery completely first, the electrolyte will be more water than acid.

Have you considered contacting Optima and seeing if batteries are available in a three-pack configuration? There must be at least some demand for 6 volt yellow-tops.
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I like the idea of experimenting on a dead redtop.

My local batteries plus has an employee how is an actual retired genius electrical engineer. He may actually know what the internal configuration on a yellowtop is.
It sounds like taking the old tar tops apart and changing cells when one went bad.

My uncle used to do that and it didn't seem like much of a job.

Without the tar to contend with and all of the new epoxy resins to build it back up with, it might prove interesting.

A custom designed battery pack would be nice for any conversion you were doing.
I would modify the car long before I tried to modify a battery.

My whole life I have tried to figure out how things work.

A battery is just another avenue of investigation.

I build most all of my special tools, built my own arc welder from a battery charger, built my own custom saddle and the leather worker bench to sew it up with.

Do my own air conditioning repair, built my own vac pump.

Life has too many interesting things to try, not to.

But that is just my opinion.

People send thing to my shop to repair or reproduce and I don't turn them down, hardly ever.

Everyday is an adventure.....or should be.....
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I talked to the former high-voltage electrician who works at my local Batteries Plus store.

He had a cut-away model of the battery. It has big, thick bus bars that connect the cells, that sort of criss-cross.

The "six-pack" shape of the case IS the case. There isn't anything else as a "sub-holder" inside. I think it would be very difficult to re-pack a yellow-top. But it COULD be done.

Optima makes a 6-volt Red-Top. It is 3 cells long. A yellow-top repacked into 2 redtop shells would be perfect.

I don't think I am going to try it. At least not for now. but I think just wondering about it isn't such a bad thing. That's how we learn about the world around us.
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