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Old 03-20-2013, 11:32 AM   #1
949
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Default optima battery chargers: digital 400 or digital 1200

hey guys i recently found out that they came out with another charger. the digital 400. they already had the digital 1200 model but they decided to make a smaller version.

since i have a few optima and i dont have a car battery charger i plan on getting one soon. i dont know too much about chargers so i hope i can spark up a discussion on these to enlighten me on what i should look for in a charger.

what i do know is that the 400 model is smaller and uses only 4amps. the 1200 model uses 12amps. im not too sure why i would need or not need the higher amps.

the 1200 can also charge up to 3 batteries of the same type and same volts. i was told they can do this in parralel. the 400 can not do this. again i dont know if i would need to do this or not in the future.

the 1200 also has usb connections on the side. i cant really see myself use this feature but if someone has please tell us your story and why you needed it.

the price is $200 vs. $100.

the size is also different.
model 1200
10” x 7.5” x 6.5”
model 400
7.1” x 3.9” x 2.7”

model 1200
specs:
AC Input: 100 to 120 VAC, 60 Hz, 3.5 Amps
DC Output: Up to 14.9 VDC Digitally & Temperature Controlled
Charge Mode: Up to 12 Amps (Clamps), Up to 4 Amps (Aux.)
Maintain Mode: Up to 4 Amp (Clamps & Aux.)
DC USB Output: 5.0 VDC, Up to 1 Amp
Battery Types: AGM and Flooded (Lead Acid) Batteries
- 12V Auto / Marine
- 12V Motorcycle / Power Sports
12V OPTIMA and High Performance AGM Batteries
- Starting AGMs include OPTIMA RedTop & BlueTop
- Dual Purpose AGMs include OPTIMA YellowTop & BlueTop

model 400
specs:
AC Input: 100 to 120 VAC, 60 Hz, 0.75 Amps
DC Output: Up to 14.9 VDC Digitally & Temperature Controlled
Charge Mode: Up to 4 Amps (Large Batteries), Up to 3 Amps (Small Batteries)
Battery Types: AGM and Flooded (Lead Acid) Batteries
- 12V Auto / Marine
- 12V Motorcycle / Power Sports
12V OPTIMA and High Performance AGM Batteries
- Starting AGMs include OPTIMA REDTOP & BLUETOP
- Dual Purpose AGMs include OPTIMA YELLOWTOP & BLUETOP


i hope you guys have help educate me on which one i should get.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:41 AM   #2
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Before anyone can answer your question, need to explain why you think you need a charger. Do you want one to charge a dead battery so you can get to work? Or do you just want a charger for when the car sits for a long time.

I think this company might make the chargers for Optima. They have similar features.

http://batteryminders.com/store.php?v=12&&spawner=volt

I got this one.

http://batteryminders.com/details.php?prod=12248
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:06 AM   #3
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I'll be the first to say it ,but I don't think this is in the correct forum. It should probably be in Electrical & Lighting...??

You need to tell us what your needs are in terms of charger use.

-out of car charging a dead battery
-out of car tending/trickle charging of stored unused battery's
-quick jump charging of a dead battery in a car
-assisting the battery in a car for engine start
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalvinT View Post
Before anyone can answer your question, need to explain why you think you need a charger. Do you want one to charge a dead battery so you can get to work? Or do you just want a charger for when the car sits for a long time.

I think this company might make the chargers for Optima. They have similar features.

http://batteryminders.com/store.php?v=12&&spawner=volt

I got this one.

http://batteryminders.com/details.php?prod=12248
i specifically need to stay with optima as i have a few optima batteries.
before someone tells me other batteries are better, i have tried a few other batteries and am willing to try more but in the mean time my experience with optima has been positive. plus my current investments are in optima. they have been in the car for over 5 years and still running strong in each of my cars.

my current need is because i have a dead optima. it was working when i took it out of the car but now its been sitting in the garage. as it sits we all know thats no good. as it sits longer with no charge its making the battery worse. these batteries are an pretty expensive investment so i wanted to get it conditioned back up for now. it will eventually be used in something.

optima can be brought back to life if i do it soon. in their instructions and online video, i need a specific battery charger. i dont have the time to try different ones but as for now i know for sure their battery charger will work for a fully discharged optima. i believe one of their requirements to do this would be it needs to be a minimum of a 10amp charger. to test this, i have tried with a friends 4 amp and 6amp charger. it didnt work, so a higher amp charger may actually be required. their avertisement says their little one should be able to do it, even though its only 4 amps. but im still pessimistic about that.

so in a long winded explaination as you guys wanted, i need it tender and recharge a dead battery for now and possibly recharge others for later. im just not sure which on of these.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dangerousatom View Post
I'll be the first to say it ,but I don't think this is in the correct forum. It should probably be in Electrical & Lighting...??

incorrect, this is considered a tool.
im not asking how to wire up, install, or do anything electrical concerning the car itself.

thanks guys for your input.
i may lean towards the higher amp to be on the safe side tho. plus the bigger one has gone down in price a little.
the reviews does have its ups and downs so its neither here nor there with that.

Last edited by 949; 03-22-2013 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 03-23-2013, 03:24 AM   #5
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First of all, I've been using Optima batteries for over 20 years and have been very happy with them.

The Optima is an AGM battery. They just have spiral wound cells instead of flat plates. The chemistry is all that matters. The charger I suggested will work with AGM batteries plus other types. Their documentation specifically mentions they will work with Optima batteries.

http://www.batterystuff.com/kb/artic...n-go-away.html

I thought about an Optima charger but I decided to get the BatteryMINDER 12248 instead. I wanted their pulse charging feature. Also the Digital 1200 wasn't available and I wanted more than 4 amps. I also wanted the flexibility to use it with any lead acid battery including gel cells. The Optima charger won't work with gel cells.

Your Optima is probably sulfated. I bought the BatteryMINDER to try and restore some sulfated AGM batteries. Unfortunately they were too far gone. Some say you need a pulse charger to recover a heavily sulfated battery. But then there are those who say that pulse charging really doesn't help that much.

Any charger you get will probably outlast any cars you own. You might want to keep that in mind and buy the best you can afford. It seems to me the Optima Digital 1200 will do everything the 400 will. I too am pessimistic about their Digital 400 being able to recover your battery. How's your budget?

The BatteryMINDER could use a better user interface and setup could be easier. But it will charge type of lead acid battery including the Optima. It can also charge several batteries at one time and has a battery maintenance mode. It also comes with a temperature sensor. It tried to charge a 12V battery that measured only 7 volts but after a day I could tell the battery was too far gone.

And you've learned that lead-acid batteries don't like to be left alone.

I just checked. After talking it up, the BatteryMINDER 12248 is backordered until May.

Last edited by CalvinT; 03-23-2013 at 03:36 AM.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:21 AM   #6
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thanks for the post guys, this has helped me look into more details that i needed, while searching for my charger.

for those who want to know what you should be looking for:
how many amps?
battery types it can charge?
trickle charge?
time to charge?
cost?
does it have multiple modes?
is it automatic sensing or manual switching?
does it have all the accessories or do you need to buy more for your application?
warrenty, if any?


to answer your questions.

budget: im ok with spending a little bit more if they last longer than my car, as you say. i am willing to buy the $200 digital 1200 optima if it is the best. to maintain this battery and future batteries. plus i am willing to go a bit higher in price range if there is one that will do it all.

it does state that it can charge multiple batteries at the same time, which is a plus. but it does not charge all types such as gel which makes me feel that it is not the top level yet and for that price i was hoping it was. in the mean time, optima batteries is my goal.

the 4amp is a bit low for me as i am researching more about the chargers.
even with the 1200 model i am gambling that it will recharge the dead battery. i would hate to see that battery go. it was perfectly fine when i took it out of a running sti i sold.

hate to say it but my dead battery is at 7 volts now.

i did a search on your tender charger and noticed it is at 8amps. is that correct?

Last edited by 949; 03-25-2013 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:47 AM   #7
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That's correct, 8 amps. I hate to say it, but your Optima may be too sulfated to save. How long did you let it sit? And was it fully charged when you removed it? You might want to read the BatteryMINDER manual for more insight.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:51 AM   #8
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it was fully charged when removed.
i dont remember how long its been. i guess i should have swapped out the battery with my other running car every other month or so.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:14 PM   #9
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Hello, I noticed your conversation about our products and wanted to offer some assistance. CalvinT's speculation about BatteryMinders/VDC manufacturing our chargers is incorrect. Our Digital 400 and Digital 1200 can both charge as many batteries as you want to connect to them in theory, although they are both designed for use with a single battery (or single application with multiple batteries, like diesel trucks, etc...).

If you are trying to recover a deeply-discharged battery, that may have sulfated, the higher rate of the Digital 1200 may do a better job of breaking up that sulfation. However, any 10-amp lead acid battery charger can be used to recover a deeply-discharged Optima, although it may need to be wired in parallel to a second, fully-charged battery during charging. Ten amps is not a minimum, but the maximum rate we recommend for charging our batteries.

If you are storing a good battery and won't have it connected to a battery maintenance device, it is a good idea to make sure it is fully-charged (about 12.6-12.8 volts for RedTops) when you store it. Rather than swapping it into vehicles periodically, just hit it with a maintenance charge every few months instead.

CalvinT & 949, in what applications are you currently using gel cell batteries? We do not recommend using any “gel” or “AGM/gel” charger settings on our batteries, as gel batteries have very specific charging parameters that may not fully-charge non-gel batteries and could damage them over time. If you have questions about our products, I'll do my best to answer them.

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:33 PM   #10
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wow. the MAN himself!

well, im not using any Gel cells at the moment. im only using optima batteries in all my cars. i am impressed with the quality of the product. i have used red, yellow, and currently blue top in all my cars. the current dead battery is a blue as well. it has the extra posts which i find very usefull.


i guess ill be buying a digital 1200 charger. if it restores my dead battery ill be super impressed. i assume since its blue top i might have better luck? as advertised these are deep cycle batteries.

i can take pics of the process if enough people post here and wants to see it. if not i wont take the time to document it.

i just checked my other cars and the date on them are 2007 build dates. they are still running strong on all my daily driven cars.
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OptimaJim View Post
CalvinT & 949, in what applications are you currently using gel cell batteries? We do not recommend using any “gel” or “AGM/gel” charger settings on our batteries, as gel batteries have very specific charging parameters that may not fully-charge non-gel batteries and could damage them over time. If you have questions about our products, I'll do my best to answer them.

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
I'm not using gel batteries. I think they're too temperamental and fragile for my uses. I just mentioned them because the BatteryMINDER will charge them and the Optima batteries properly. Most battery chargers will not. All my batteries are AGM. I use an Optima Red Top in my WRX and Concord Sun-Xtender AGM for solar (Optima didn't make the size I needed).

Nice to see you posting on here Jim. The information is very welcome.
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:46 PM   #12
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It's a big internet Al Gore created, but I'm happy to help out where I can. 949, our BlueTops are designed for both starting and deep-cycle use, except for our 34M BlueTop, which is the marine version of our Group 34 RedTop starting battery and is identified by it's dark-gray case. I hope the Digital 1200 works out well for you and recovers your battery.

CalvinT, I can't confirm whether the charger you mentioned will charge our batteries properly, although as I mentioned before, if it has a “gel” or “gel/AGM” setting, we would recommend avoiding those settings. I asked about the gel batteries, because I occasionally hear folks mentioning them, but I have yet to come across anyone who actually uses one for anything. I was kind of hoping one of you guys might be the first!

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:12 PM   #13
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oh, im not clear on what the advantages are with using a gel cell in cars?
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 949 View Post
oh, im not clear on what the advantages are with using a gel cell in cars?
agm batteries are NOT 'gel cell' batteries

this is a common misconception.....and forget gel cell batteriers...really...just forget them

Last edited by Uncle Scotty; 03-27-2013 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:00 AM   #15
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and this thread really is in the wrong forum
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:14 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OptimaJim View Post

CalvinT, I can't confirm whether the charger you mentioned will charge our batteries properly, although as I mentioned before, if it has a “gel” or “gel/AGM” setting, we would recommend avoiding those settings. I asked about the gel batteries, because I occasionally hear folks mentioning them, but I have yet to come across anyone who actually uses one for anything. I was kind of hoping one of you guys might be the first!

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
The BatteryMINDER has three modes, flooded, AGM and gel. The manufacturer specifically states the OPTIMA battery should be charged with the AGM setting in their Q&A section. They also explain that gel batteries need different charge voltages than AGM batteries and that it's important to realize what type of sealed battery is being charged.

I do have one question. In their manual, in the section on battery testing, they state the OPTIMA Yellow Top deep cycle batteries have a fully charged "resting" voltage of 13.1 OCV (open circuit no load voltage). Can you confirm this? Is this different than the OPTIMA Red Top?

A comment about gel batteries. You'll usually see them in burglar alarms, small computer UPSs or other low current deep cycle setups that use a small sealed valve lead-acid battery. I don't think they lend themselves to heavy current draws, but I could be wrong. They're not good for vehicular use. They're no longer being recommended for use with solar. AGM is much more reliable and robust.

For those who are wondering... According to my research the optimum charge voltage for an AGM battery at room temperature (70-80F) is 14.3V with a 13.4 float or maintenance voltage. For a gel battery the voltages are 13.7V and 13.4V. Float voltages are only important for stationary use in communications, burglar alarms, UPSs, etc. where the battery is left on a charger 24/7.

Last edited by CalvinT; 03-27-2013 at 02:23 AM.
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:25 AM   #17
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why do gel batteries keep coming up in this thread???

nobody is talking about any gel batteries here
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:15 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Scotty View Post
agm batteries are NOT 'gel cell' batteries

this is a common misconception.....and forget gel cell batteriers...really...just forget them
i understand the optima is not a gel cell. i never said that optima is a gel cell anywhere on here.
and yes i will forget about them because i think they are expensive and i dont know much about them in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Scotty View Post
and this thread really is in the wrong forum
this originally started as a question about the chargers themselves. so it is correct. as for the new added info, it has skewed the thread a bit, but still informative and helpful for those who needed to know which charger is proper for them. this way people dont hook up a gel cell to this charger, thinking all batteries are the same. not everyone has the same knowledge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Scotty View Post
why do gel batteries keep coming up in this thread???

nobody is talking about any gel batteries here
i believe we are just trying to understand the differences between a gel and non gel cell is all.
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:04 PM   #19
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so yea.. gel batteries are the ****, everybody should have one in their suby
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:29 PM   #20
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I would agree with Uncle Scotty in regards to gel batteries, although it is important that folks know not to use "gel" or "gel/AGM" charger settings on non-gel batteries. CalvinT, we recommend a full state of charge for YellowTops to be about 13.0-13.2 volts, so their estimate of 13.1 is consistent with that. We usually try to avoid specific numbers, because there can be some variance between batteries and we don't want someone with a YellowTop thinking they have a bad battery, if it rests at 12.9 volts. RedTops will have a slightly lower state of charge, of about 12.6-12.8 volts.

Jim McIlvaine
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www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:14 AM   #21
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The OP was asking about which battery charger. I mentioned the BatteryMINDER could charge gel batteries in case he needed that capability. This was posted in a tool forum, and some tools use 12V sealed valve gel batteries. My lawn mower for example. Also some riding toys use them.

No sense in buying two chargers if one will do the job. I don't have two sets of wrenches for shop and car.

As Uncle Scotty and others have stated, it is not a good idea to use gel batteries in a car.

Thanks for the info Jim. I'm going to add that to my charger manual.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:49 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vision.dynamix View Post
I have an Optima Red Top 34R, purchased in August 2008. The battery has been discharged to the point of not starting the car a few times, but has come back every time.

However, my car sat at a body shop, outside, for 20 days, which have dipped below freezing almost daily. The battery was dead when I picked up the car.

They gave me a jump pack and the car BARELY started, however, I was only able to drive the car for a few minutes since I was trailering it home. When I got home, it was dead.

I tried to jump start it with my truck and got nothing. Not even any lights on the cluster would light up while the jumper cables were hooked up.

I bought a Schumacher 15A charger, which has a AGM setting, but since the battery is at 6.1V, the charger thinks its charging a 6V battery.

Ive currently got it hooked it up to another battery and the charger in Standard Battery, 10A mode.

Hopefully, it comes back.

This is what I did. Worked out well.
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:49 AM   #23
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What's with the wood underneath the batteries?

Jim McIlvaine
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www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:53 AM   #24
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how long will a discharged and then charged again optima battery sit again till it dips below the 11volt mark?

11 volt i heard is the lowest it should go before it needs a charge. right?
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:19 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OptimaJim View Post
What's with the wood underneath the batteries?
www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
He was probably told to store batteries on wood. I was too, about 45 years ago.

Back then batteries had hard rubber cases and would self-discharge faster if kept on a concrete floor. Polypropylene cases changed all that. You don't need to keep batteries on wood any more. During the transition to polypropylene cases I remember reading an ad that even pointed that out.

Last edited by CalvinT; 03-31-2013 at 12:05 AM.
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