OPTIMA® Tech Tips: Proper Battery Charging



What’s the best charger for an Optima SpiralCell AGM battery? What’s the best method for recharging a battery? Find out in this informative video from Optima Batteries.

You’ve learned that with minor adjustments, you can keep your vehicle running smoothly. A tweak here, a new tip there, and you’ll be able to get a little more from your ride.

Here are a few tips for keeping your lead acid battery performing at its peak. There are also a couple of things to keep in mind when maintaining your Absorbent Glass-Mat (AGM) battery, including OPTIMA batteries.

Newer chargers keeping up with battery technology. Many newer battery chargers, or Smart Chargers, have microprocessors that collect information from the battery and adjust the current and voltage accordingly. Some have different settings for charging wet cell (flooded), gel and AGM batteries.
Battery performance limiter: sulfation. All lead acid batteries can experience sulfation—the formation of lead sulfate crystals upon discharge. Look for a charger with a de-sulfation mode to help condition your battery and keep it performing at its best.
Low and slow is best. A low amp charger (1 to 10 amps) is always the best choice for charging any lead acid battery. It’s quicker to charge at higher amperage, but it also generates a lot of heat, which reduces the life of a battery, just like the raging heat of summer.
Alternators are NOT chargers. Don’t rely on your alternator to do the work of a charger.
An alternator is meant to maintain a battery, not charge it.

Batteries eventually die. Batteries are a consumable product. No battery will last forever. The goal is to consistently maintain your battery to get the most life out of it. Charging Considerations for AGM Batteries
Different chargers. Different capabilities. Although under normal conditions, most 12-volt automatic battery chargers will work on an AGM battery, the battery will only be charged to about 80 percent of its full capacity. Many newer battery chargers have settings specifically for AGM batteries; some even have separate settings for OPTIMA RedTop® and YellowTop® batteries.
AGM and gel technology differ. Remember that the technology of an AGM battery is not the same as a gel battery, which has its own charging requirements. If your charger offers different modes, select the correct one for your battery. If you use the gel setting to charge an AGM battery it won’t fully charge and, over time, it will actually damage your AGM battery.
No problem charging an AGM at 10.5 volts or greater. Under normal starting conditions, an OPTIMA battery should never experience “at-rest” voltages below 12 volts. Most 12-volt chargers and alternators have no problem recharging an OPTIMA if it has an “at-rest” voltage of 10.5 volts or greater.
The magic threshold 10.5 volts. The charging scenario for a deeply discharged AGM battery, one that’s dipped below 10.5 volts, is slightly different. Tips for recovering a deeply discharged AGM battery can be found in OPTIMA’s tech tip, How to Resuscitate a Deeply Discharged AGM Battery.
Chargers we like. OPTIMA hasn’t tested every battery charger on the market, but there are a few battery chargers/maintainers that we’ve tried and like. Some of these units have the additional capability of doubling as a battery “maintainer” for stored vehicles. Some come with additional wiring to permanently attach leads from your battery to an accessible location on your vehicle for easier hook up. You can contact OPTIMA Batteries Customer Service at
888-8-OPTIMA (888-867-8462) or via email at info@optimabatteries.com for charger recommendations based on different applications.


Post time: Dec-12-2017
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