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Old 04-09-2007, 01:41 PM
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Default Battery Side Posts for Winch Connection

Long ago, I remember reading a post about NOT using the side posts on an Optima battery to connect a winch to (or anything else with a heavy draw). Here is pretty much what I read (from this site) plus an interesting comment on Red Tops and deep cycle use:
Optima Batteries

Optima's engineers were recommending to AM General's engineers the use of Optima "Red Tops" for the HUMMER (H1). The 34/78 and 75/25 both have dual setups with posts on the top and GM Side terminals. You need side posts for your H1.

Just to put some numbers to this. In the 34/78 popular size Optima the Red Top is 800 CCA and the Yellow Top is 750 CCA. Both do fine as a starter battery. Especially so in the Hummer since there are 2 of them in parallel 1600 CCA vs. 1500 CCA total. The difference should not ever be a problem except in those marginal starting situations that can come up. The Red Tops will die much sooner according to Optima if deep cycled which is the case with some vehicles running inverters, etc and not having the motor running all the time. This has been found to be true in actual experience. Only a few deep cycles can kill the Red Top. Just like any other battery. They can not take the deep cycling, and still start the truck like the Yellow Top. The Yellow Tops are designed to perform in Deep Cycle service up to 300 times as well as serve as a starter. I have found the Yellow Tops to last about twice as long in my truck as the Red Tops which I tried. If you have a box stock Hummer that will not have any significant loads for extended periods with the engine not running (the case AMG Engineers are considering) then the Red Tops will be fine. Your mileage of course may vary.

Do not use the Optima side terminals if you intend to attach an electric winch to it. I spoke with an Interstate engineer and he stated they will not warranty a DT battery for winch use. It appears that the top post is the main connector to the cells and the Optima uses a relatively thin connector strip from the top post to the side terminal connection. This strip will melt kind of like a fuse or fusible link under winching loads.
Well, I didn't go with an Optima for the LX but an Exide Orbital OR78DT that has both the top and side terminals. For the time being I'm only going to be running a single battery setup (maybe forever) so bolt space will become an issue as more accessories are added. I called Orbital tech support and asked them about connecting a winch to the side posts. Per the tech support guy at Orbital he said it should not be a problem and shouldn't damage the battery in any way.

I'm not sure if not using the side terminals still applies to Optimas or not but thought I would throw this up in case anyone else is wondering.

If your experience is different from what I am hearing please let me know!
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Old 04-09-2007, 07:37 PM
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I can't come up with a good reason not to run the winch up there, but for some reason still shy away from it. I guess if you fried your battery just save those plastic plugs and deny ever using those front connectors?

But the better solution for all aftermarket wiring is to upgrade to the "Mil Spec" connectors.. so the bolt that clamps the thing down to the battery does nothing but clamp, leaving another bolt to do nothing but attached external cables. Here are some for pretty cheap..http://www.kilbyenterprises.com/switches.htm
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Old 04-09-2007, 08:08 PM
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I bought some of these to use with my new Exide Marine battery. Since the marine battery has a second top post, that gives me three top posts to hook accessories to, which is plenty. I've used the side posts on Red Tops (though not for a winch), and they are worthless for my application.

Speaking of that, Red Tops, in general, are worthless for my application. My 4Runner sits about 350 days per year, and that's killed three Red Tops. I'm hoping for a better experience with the new Exide.

Mark
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Old 04-09-2007, 09:58 PM
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I have had the same red top on my DD 40 for nearly 3 years now. Runs great. Just .02

Drew
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nakman View Post

But the better solution for all aftermarket wiring is to upgrade to the "Mil Spec" connectors.. so the bolt that clamps the thing down to the battery does nothing but clamp, leaving another bolt to do nothing but attached external cables. Here are some for pretty cheap..http://www.kilbyenterprises.com/switches.htm
Those are the answer and that price is only 0.95c more than what we sell them for
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:44 AM
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Just to throw another wrenchin the equation, why not use the posts to power the winch and the side post to start the vehicle? I used a Sears marine battery that way for years with no ill effects. The vehicle was run of the side posts and all my accesories including 1500 watts of stereo ran of the top posts.

I also looked at the Excide batteries, they have some very good comments. THe other battery I have been looking at is the Odessy, very similar the the Panther battery of years back. It is a gel style battery that has a much smaller foot print for the same CCA as a Optima or ??? Does anyone have any expierence with them? I am hard pressed to find reviews on them, looked last night actually.

Well that is my two cents worth, take it for what it is worth.
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Old 04-10-2007, 10:14 AM
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In Long Grain (my v8 powered FJ-62) I had a single Red Top Optima in it. I did have the winch cables mounted to the side lugs and the vehicle wiring was off the top terminals. I never had a problem with that set up and in fact that vehicle is still running the same setup with that original battery. I learned later that using the side terminals for winching was a bad idea. On my 80 I use the side terminals on the Yellow Tops for charging/combining and the top terminals handle the load chores. I know Optimas get slammed a lot but I have been using them since back when they were made by Gates and have only had two die on me. The one (a Yellow Top) literally died suddenly and the early Red Top still would start a vehicle but would not hold a load very long. Both cases I later found were charging related and both cases the alternator overcharged. The side terminal weakness seems both real and logical.
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Old 04-10-2007, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockRunner View Post
Just to throw another wrenchin the equation, why not use the posts to power the winch and the side post to start the vehicle? I used a Sears marine battery that way for years with no ill effects. The vehicle was run of the side posts and all my accesories including 1500 watts of stereo ran of the top posts.
Bingo.

The Chili does not use the sideposts on either battery anymore, though. I do need to install an insulated connection post to clean things up at the motor end of the cables that run to the batts in the rear though.

Hey Mark, just so's you know, sitting 350 days a year will kill ANY battery! Batteries Plus sells decent battery trickle chargers that will keep your $$$ battery happy, and not set you back much at all. You can wire them up with pigtails that stay on your vehicle, then when sitting in the garage you simply plug it in.

Works for the bikes too.
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Old 04-10-2007, 11:02 AM
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I winched from the sideposts with a warn MX8000 (pretty little) with my exide bat-rey. No problem.

However, I've seen bat-rey's with melted side-post leads. Not cool. Just try not to dead short your winch wires.

Here is what happens: You cleverly route your winch cables so they look great. But then, you bash a ledge and your bumper gets jammed against the body or something and pinches the winch power cables so badly that they short out on the chassis. Then the truck catches on fire before you can get the cables off the bat-rey. Not cool.
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Old 04-10-2007, 11:06 AM
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I guess that means you use the side posts as a fuse!
It's a safety feature, aha!!!
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