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Wheeling in the Valley of the Ferns

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Optima's Spiralcell Battery Tech

Useful Optima Battery Links:

Optima Performance Batteries
Truck Battery Selector
Optima 4x4 Battery
Optima D34/78 Deep Cycle Starting Battery


SpiralCell Lead Plate Technology


What is a battery and how does it work?
Read about the details on how a battery works.

Just about every 4x4, just about every vehicle for that matter has a battery or more specifically a Lead Acid Battery.  The battery is an integral part of of your electrical system.  Without it, you're practically dead in the water, or dead on the trail miles from civilization and help.  

As a matter of preparation and a basic maintenance program, it's important to have a good understanding of your battery how to prolong it's expected service life and reliability.  Equally important is buying the right battery for your applicationThe rigors of offroad are not typical when you consider what an average car battery has to deal with.  4x4's can be particularly demanding on a lead acid battery.  Offroad lights, winching, low RPM driving for hours on end, frequent restarting of the engine all can be part of 4 wheeling and can contribute to high stress and demand on your battery.  The extremes of offroad go beyond the electrical demand. Extreme vibration, constant varying degrees of off camber angles, even the occasional roll-over; all of these conditions by default are not good for the typical lead acid battery.  Choosing the right battery for offroad can be essential to "bulletproofing" your 4x4 and if you ask anyone who has been around 4x4's long enough, your going to hear about the Optima battery. 

It's pretty common knowledge that Optima makes a good battery.  But it may not be so clear why the Optima battery is the right choice for the demands of offroad and other motor sports where intense demands on the electrical systems are seen. 


The Spiralcell Optima® battery is like no other lead acid battery found in today's market. Optima's unique Spiralcell design offers the greatest technology in providing a strong and clean power source that far surpasses any of today's filled lead/acid batteries. With OPTIMA under your hood, you can count on a longer lasting battery life under starting and deep cycle applications. Today's power demand from cars, trucks, and SUVs are greater than ever.

Over the course of the century we have upgraded and customized our vehicles in such a way never imagined by early engineers. There continue to be more lights, LCD screens, gaming systems, stereos, laptops, and cell phones going into cars, all demanding a greater power source. OPTIMA can provide all the power needed to run these power pulling vehicles. OPTIMA batteries always has safety in mind, with its spill-proof case it helps to ensure the safety of the environment, your family and you. Powerful, 2x longer-life, safety, spill-proof, vibration resistance, multi-position installation whether you're working, driving cross country or for just play, let OPTIMA help you maintain the power demands you require.



What is a battery and how does it work?

The standard automotive battery in today's vehicles is 12 volts. Each battery has six cells with 2.1 volts. A car battery is considered fully charged at 12.6 volts.

When a battery drops voltage, even a small amount, it makes a big difference. For instance, when a battery drops from 12.6 to 12.0 volts, its power drops from 100% to 25%.  At 12.4 volts, a car battery is 75% charged. At 12.2 volts, it's 50% charged.*

A car battery is considered charged at 12.4 volts or higher.  It is considered discharged when it's at 12.39 volts or less.   A fully charged specific gravity of 1.265 corrected to 80°F is assumed.

An electrochemical battery that uses lead and lead oxide for electrodes and sulfuric acid for the electrolyte. Lead-acid batteries are the most commonly used in photovoltaic (PV) and other alternative energy systems because their initial cost is lower and because they are readily available nearly everywhere in the world. There are many different sizes and designs of lead-acid batteries, but the most important designation is whether they are deep cycle batteries or shallow cycle batteries.

Shallow cycle batteries, like the type used as starting batteries in automobiles, are designed to supply a large amount of current for a short time and stand mild overcharge without losing electrolyte. Unfortunately, they cannot tolerate being deeply discharged. If they are repeatedly discharged more than 20 percent, their life will be very short. These batteries are not a good choice for a PV system.

Deep cycle batteries are designed to be repeatedly discharged by as much as 80 percent of their capacity so they are a good choice for power systems. Even though they are designed to withstand deep cycling, these batteries will have a longer life if the cycles are shallower. All lead-acid batteries will fail prematurely if they are not recharged completely after each cycle. Letting a lead-acid battery stay in a discharged condition for many days at a time will cause sulfation of the positive plate and a permanent loss of capacity.

Sealed deep-cycle lead-acid batteries are maintenance free. They never need watering or an equalization charge. They cannot freeze or spill, so they can be mounted in any position. Sealed batteries require very accurate regulation to prevent overcharge and over discharge. Either of these conditions will drastically shorten their lives. Sealed batteries are well-suited for remote, unattended power systems.


SpiralCell Lead Plate Technology

SpiralCell Technology has some real advantages over conventional batteries.

  • 1.5 - 2 times longer life than traditional batteries
  • Optimal power for starting regardless of temperature
  • Extreme vibration resistance
  • Long Storage times without damage or discharge
  • Non spill able - even upside down
  • Can be fitted and used in any position
  • Maintenance free
  • More starting power in a smaller package than conventional batteries
  • Less deterioration due to deep discharge than conventional batteries
  • More "cycles" before aging than conventional batteries
  • Can be used in extreme temperatures
  • Faster charging is possible compared with conventional batteries

In an Spiralcell battery, the lead plates and separator are wound and tightly compressed into a cell tube so they can't move, shed, or break, even in severe shock and vibration applications. In independent SAE tests, the Spiralcell OPTIMA battery kept working after being subjected to vibrations up to 5G for 12 hours. As in all AGM TECHNOLOGY BATTERIES, there is no "free acid" that can leak out or spill and the OPTIMA can be operated effectively in any position -- even upside down -- without any risk of leaking and because it is sealed, no corrosion can form on the posts, connectors, or cables.

OPTIMA's SpiralCell RedTop™ batteries are designed for short term high current applications such as starting engines, and short high amp uses of a winch motor.  They do not like to be "deep cycled" (like ALL automotive starter batteries) however the Red Top battery with its SpiralCell Lead Plate Technology, will suffer much less from the occasional deep discharge such as leaving your lights on or winching until the battery dies.  Because of the fact that SpiralCell technology can store more energy for a given sized battery these types of battery are ideal for use in offroad vehicles where reduced weight is important because a much larger "conventional" battery would need to be used in place of an OPTIMA to give the same starting current capability.

They are excellent at delivering very high starting currents in the most extreme of conditions. They suffer less damage from deep discharge, long term storage, and vibration than any conventional battery. They are not specifically designed as "deep-cycle" batteries, for constant deep discharge/recharge cycles you will need to look at the YellowTop Optima batteries.

More about the Optima RedTop Battery



OPTIMA YellowTop™ Batteries are designed as DEEP-CYCLE batteries and have many uses. Everything from Recreational vehicles, golf carts, electric wheelchairs, alarm systems, emergency lighting, backup power systems, orbiting satellite communication systems, emergency vehicles etc can use these batteries. Anything that uses batteries in a cyclic manor, benefits greatly from these batteries. Unusually for DEEP-CYCLE batteries, they are happy to produce large currents and so can also double as starter batteries. This allows the use of a single (deep-cycle) battery in a boat/car/generator/race vehicle, or one with auxiliary systems or equipment that runs when the engine is stopped.  Also suitable for heavy winching situations where the battery is drained due to constant winching.  This kind of treatment would mean very short battery life in the case of a "conventional" style battery.


Some typical deep cycle, and Dual uses:

  • Recreational Vehicles, camping power supplies
  • Alarm systems, emergency lighting
  • Backup power systems
  • Orbiting satellite communication systems
  • Emergency vehicles outfitted with lots of electrical equipment and need to start engines
  • Electric Vehicles and multi fuel vehicles
  • Trains
  • Buoys, standby generators
  • Industrial cranes, diggers, and road maintenance equipment.
  • Boats
  • Golf carts, Electric wheelchairs
  • Cars with powerful sound Systems or entertainment Systems.
  • Anything in fact that needs a Deep-Cycle operation or/and a starter battery

Optima YellowTop is made to install and forget. No matter the conditions, be it dampness, heat, dirt or exposure to extremes in vibration or discharge, it is guaranteed to deliver uninterrupted power throughout the entire discharge cycle. The ability to hold a high charge throughout the discharge cycle makes it possible to utilize more of the stored power in the OPTIMA, compared to ordinary batteries. All of these benefits are due to OPTIMA's SpiralCell Technology®, which combines the advantages of a starting battery (High current capability) with those of a deep cycle battery (no damage due to repeated deep discharge cycles). It handles discharges as well as recharges without losing significant capacity and is ideal for seasonal use because it has a very low self discharge rate.

More about the Optima YellowTop Battery


Deep Cycle Batteries and their capacity

Lead acid batteries vary in capacity according to how quickly they are discharged. You often see a specification like C20, C100 etc. This relates to their capacity in amp hours at the 20 and 100 hour discharge rates.

Parallel Connection of Deep Cycle Batteries

1. BATTERIES IN PARALLEL: Smaller capacity batteries are sometimes cheaper (per Ampere) than larger batteries. This may be because the smaller batteries are more ‘mass produced’. This cheaper cost sometimes leads customers to place several in parallel to achieve the desired higher capacity rather than purchasing larger capacity batteries.

In many cases of system failure, there were batteries in parallel. While this may not be the core reason for the failure, it is an indication of poor practice. It has been noted with parallel batteries, even when wired correctly, is don’t try … even when they are identical type, age and capacity …’.

The biggest problem with parallel batteries is that they will tend to charge/discharge unevenly, which can lead to sulphation and stratification of the electrolyte.

If you must place batteries in parallel, you should limit this to two parallel strings. Great care needs to be taken to ensure that there are equal current routes through both strings. The positive lead should come off one string and the negative through the other. The cable size must be identical, as should the crimped terminations.


Battery Links:


Kilby Dual Battery Tray
The Kilby Dual Battery Tray allows for secure installation of two 34 and 34/78 series Optima Batteries to provide more power

Optima RedTop Battery - Optima YellowTop
Spiracell Technology Batteries for Demanding systems.



Jeep Project CJ-7

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Jeep Dana 300 TeraLow - 4:1 Gearset for the Dana 300 Transfer Case

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Black Diamond Suspension Lift install for CJ-7


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Ultra-Cool Hand Throttle for Free!

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