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Battery Comments


It has been several years since I wrote the below information about the Optima battery.  Since then, they have moved their operation to Mexico.  It seems the current owner relocated there after buying the Optima company. 

After discussing the performance of Optima batteries with a lot of my friends, and reading hundreds of threads about Optima battery performance, I can no longer recommend the Optima battery.  What other Jeep owners are seeing with their Yellow Top Optima is nothing like what I and many other experienced with our first Optimas some 10 years ago.  Aside from what appears to be basic quality issues, the Optima company appears to believe that any premature failure of their battery is because YOU did something wrong.  Your electrical system is bad, your alternator isn't charging correctly, you have a bad voltage regulator, etc.  In other words....sorry, the warranty on your battery is void because we said you did something wrong.

Optima batteries use AGM (absorbed glass mat) technology which is great for offroad use.  There are LOTS of other companies around that offer quality AGM (Sears for one) type batteries that your Jeep will certainly appreciated.  The info I provide below is still valid....just pretend the Optima name isn't there and use "AGM" in its place. 

With all that being said, here is the original write-up, done more than 10 years ago.



Having been an electronics technician in the US Navy for 8 years and then teaching electronics and RF communications for a college for almost 6 years and having held a ham radio license for over 25 years, I pretty much can work my way through a DC circuit.  As such, I end up fielding a fair share of questions about batteries and electrical hook-ups for vehicles.  As you may or may not know, I run an Optima Yellow Top battery in Lady.  I am probably biased towards the Optima, but I've had no problems with them and I've not ran into any Jeepers with that bright yellow battery hiding under the hood who have had anything bad to say about it.  So hey....why not go with a proven product, right?

I was asked why I chose the Yellow Top instead of some other brand.  This was my response to the person, who was commenting about the CCA rating of some autoparts chain store battery. 


I received an e-mail from a fellow Jeeper who read the above post.  He wrote me about his upcoming battery and winch project with questions concerning what kind of battery (Red or Yellow Top) to get and how many of them.  This was my response to him.


December 3, 2000

I recently spoke with a good friend of mine who recently put a pair of Yellow Tops in his Chevy Blazer.  You would have to understand him to appreciate his vehicle.  Doug is an RF tech that does a lot of mountain top maintenance trips.  He has a ton of radio equipment in his vehicle, 400 watts of off-road lighting, a 1000W power inverter....well, you probably are getting the idea.

He has always ran a dual-battery setup so as to provide ample current for his electrical and electronic equipment.  Not too long ago, Doug had been running the "Black Panther" deep cycle batteries.  He told me that he bought a pair of them about 4 years ago and has had them replaced, under warranty, about every 6 months.  After 6 months of use, they fail to pass a sustained medium current load test.

About a month ago, he got a pair of used Yellow Tops from a friend.  They had been removed from an ambulance that had been totaled in an accident.  The batteries had been in service for approximately 1 year and were virtually flat when Doug got them.  By flat, I mean there was almost no voltage showing on a VOM when you checked them.  It seems that during the accident, one or more devices either shorted out or were turned on and the dual batteries were drained down to nothing.  This condition existed for about 2 weeks before they were removed from the wreck and given to Doug.

Doug put them both on a charger and proceeded to bring them back to life.  Once charged, he put them into his Blazer and started using them in the same manner as he had done with the Panther batteries.  Doug told me that they are working perfectly.  He said they perform just as though they were brand new out of the box.  His power inverter runs about double the time he use to get from it using the Panther batteries.

I've known Doug for almost 10 years now.  He is very meticulous about his work vehicle and if he says these 1 year old used (and abused) Yellow Tops perform like they were brand new....well, that is good enough for me.  I'll take his word any day.  




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