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  #11  
Old 02-23-2010, 08:20 AM
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Both of my Exide Orbitals were close to dead after 2 weeks of no activity in the 80. The each measured about 10.5 volts.. however somehow when I combined them the truck started. Now my main one is 12.3 after sitting for a bit (normal) and my backup one is 11.9.. after some highway time hopefully the second one gets back into the 12's..

I am wondering about drains too- will poke around some this weekend. The fridge plug has an LED in it, but that can't pull much right? I do have a Scion head unit.
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  #12  
Old 02-23-2010, 08:26 AM
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Ken, sitting on the bottom of the pallet, your battery had no load on it so I don't think the plates are sulfated, unless there is an internal short -- and I suppose that's possible if it was smacked around in the store waiting for you to buy it.
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I did find this, They were the last on the pallett so I wonder how long they sat there. If it doesn't maintain charge after being charged on the AGM setting, I am going to go back there to return them.

"False" Capacity

A battery can meet the voltage tests for being at full charge, yet be much lower than it's original capacity. If plates are damaged, sulfated, or partially gone from long use, the battery may give the appearance of being fully charged, but in reality acts like a battery of much smaller size. This same thing can occur in gelled cells if they are overcharged and gaps or bubbles occur in the gel. What is left of the plates may be fully functional, but with only 20% of the plates left... Batteries usually go bad for other reasons before reaching this point, but it is something to be aware of if your batteries seem to test OK but lack capacity and go dead very quickly under load.
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Old 02-23-2010, 08:51 AM
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FAIK batteries sulfate from just sitting, and discharging internally, no?
That has been my experience with motorcycle batteries through the years.
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nakman View Post
Both of my Exide Orbitals were close to dead after 2 weeks of no activity in the 80. The each measured about 10.5 volts.. however somehow when I combined them the truck started. Now my main one is 12.3 after sitting for a bit (normal) and my backup one is 11.9.. after some highway time hopefully the second one gets back into the 12's..

I am wondering about drains too- will poke around some this weekend. The fridge plug has an LED in it, but that can't pull much right? I do have a Scion head unit.

To give you something to compare to

Disconnecting the ground wire and placing a voltmeter between the ground cable and ground terminal;

after closing the door, the current draw was 130mA, then after time (less than 30 seconds) it went to 56mA. I figured out this was the light on the ignition key

The hellroaring (in the off position was 1.2mA)
There was about 4mA of other draw through the electronics I did not track down.
The Scion Head unit is about 50mA

My truck can sit for a week as it's not my DD anymore. Over the last two years I have never had a problem even when it sat for a month while I was in Australia or 3 weeks when we were in Europe. Started right up.

Now, after 2 days, I hear it groan and start, after 5 days it doesnt even crank. Maybe it wasn't probably set up.
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Chili View Post
FAIK batteries sulfate from just sitting, and discharging internally, no?
That has been my experience with motorcycle batteries through the years.
Not technically, doesn't matter why it's discharging. A stored battery will experience sulfonation no different than what it would in normal discharging use, although it will happen faster if the battery is stored below fully charged. It's a discharge current phenomenon, so lowering voltage and increasing internal resistance yields accelerating self discharge current. But the chemical reaction of a discharging lead acid battery produces lead sulfate (PbSo4) and water and that is reversed during charge, so all batteries are constantly sulfonating when they are not charging.

The problem is not that lead sulfate is produced, though, but that in an unused battery it is left undisturbed and begins to crystallize. This crystallization of the PbSO4 is what is usually called 'battery sulfation' generically. In crystal form PbSO4 is not conductive and tends to clog the plates or mat. This is very temperature related, happens faster in warm temperatures. Don't mistake this for freezing of the electrolyte, which is a different problem.

Under normal use you don't put them in discharge long enough for crystallization to occur. But you can sulfinate a battery in your truck if you chronically undercharge. It will probably be slower and less pervasive. This is the charge profile that Christo mentions, AGM batteries want to see a different charge than flooded lead acid that our old junk is designed to charge, so a periodic restoration is important. You can usually repair mild crystallization with restoration charging that produces enough current, e.g. an equalization charge. But if left long enough not even an equalization will convert hard crystal PbSO4.

The main reason that some people leave dead Optimas uncharged and are fine and others don't is temperature, crystal growth is discouraged. Ideally you would store batteries just above freezing. This is also IMVHO why some people hate Optimas and others don't, storage by the distributor and vendor. If you buy a 6 month old battery that has been sitting in a hot warehouse it might already be ruined when you put it in. It's just chemistry and being relatively higher cost, AGM type batteries move less quickly than cheapies. Say Auto Zone sells 5 times the number of $75 generics for one $150 Optima, they are generally going to be older and have spent more time sitting, discharging. Buy from a higher volume dealer (like Slee, who I suspect moves a lot more high dollar batteries or at least a reputable dealer who periodically charges his stock) and watch manufacturing dates.
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Last edited by DaveInDenver; 02-23-2010 at 12:52 PM. Reason: Clarified what I meant.
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  #16  
Old 02-23-2010, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nakman View Post
I am wondering about drains too- will poke around some this weekend. The fridge plug has an LED in it, but that can't pull much right? I do have a Scion head unit.
Notice too that different battery types like or hate different discharges. A starting battery is designed to dump massive current quickly and hates trickle discharges, so a fridge on a Red Top kills them faster than equivalent starts might. IOW, 250 1A-hr discharges is worse than one 250A-hr, they are not all the same. Parasitic drains are horrible on starting batteries' life.
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:49 AM
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As usual... very interesting read. If one has the time to read it!
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  #18  
Old 02-24-2010, 03:33 PM
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Fully charged the battery in AGM mode. It was at 13.3V

24 hours later it was at 12.8V

24 hours later it was just below 11V and would not start. Good thing I have a second battery.

When I get back from my current trip, i will swap it out for a group 31 AGM 4 year old Lifeline battery I took out of the trailer. If that has no issues, I will take the Blems back
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Old 02-24-2010, 05:05 PM
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good info to know...guess i'll stick with my optimas, which i've never had an issue with.
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  #20  
Old 02-24-2010, 05:24 PM
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Seems like it went from 'interesting battery drain problem' to 'pain in the rear battery drain problem'.
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