Chevrolet Nova Forum banner

Be careful how you charge your battery

2219 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  straightaxlenova
I decided to get the Nova out for the 1st time the other day. I decided to trickle charge the battery since it had been sitting so long. I have a red top Optima. I set my charger to 2 amp trickle and let it go overnight. the charger is supposed to shut off when done. I came out in the morning and decided not to take it to work because severe storms were forcasted. I went in the garage to unplug the charger and I hear this hissing sound. Turns out Optima batteries have specific charging instructions IE: <1 amp trickle.

The hissing was the water boiling inside the battery and venting. I ruined a $130 battery because I didn't read the instructions. It's just charging a battery how hard is that??

I decided to try and have it warrantied and it turns out I bought it 3 years ago today, last day for full replacement. I left the lights and radio on all morning to drain it down. I took it in and they tested it. It failed. I got a new one no charge. This isn't the most ethical thing I know but I have been having problems with it since last fall.

Since I saved the money from the battery I will now be buying the right charger for the Optimas. I have a few to choose from ranging from $50 to $130.

Read the instructions even if you have done it 100 times before. I got lucky nothing got damaged besides the battery.

See less See more
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Optima's do not have water in them. The cell contains a paste substance. Was it low on charge? I have never had a good one discharge from sitting, even as long as a year. As you found out there is a specific procedure to charge them.
I assumed it was water since Optimas web site says that water cannot be replaced in sealed batteries that have been overcharged. Learn something new everyday, never would have figured it's a paste in there.

I haven't had a problem until last fall. If I let it sit long periods of time I would have to put it on the charger. Nothing was changed on the car in the time it started having problems. I have been using this charger since last year so I may have done the initial damage then. This was the final straw for it though.
Lewis, check this out. I guess it isn't a true paste but not thin like normal electrolyte either.
These are great batteries. The first one I installed was in the late 80's and I had doubts to all the claims. We sold that truck 8 years later with the same red top battery in it. Since then I have gotten no less than 7 years service from the ones I have had. I had one that was used for 2 years and then sat for 18 months. I put it in my truck when the factory battery died and it fired the motor without having to be charged first. My RV had a yellow top and a blue top has been running the winch on my car trailer since 99.
Ive been told that they have a JELL substance for electrolyte.?? Any way I have presently one Red Top 12 years old that finally went soft this past year,and 3 other fairly new Yellow tops. The yellow tops are deep cycle,but using one in my 55 Belair that sits stored all year,one in my car hauler for the winch,and one in my 62 ChevyII race car. Ive charged them every way poss,with no ill effects. Any way,really good batterys. Just my 2cents.
The only battery charger I have is 30 years old and designed for deep cycle batteries and has a max charge rate of 10 amps, although I have never seen it go higher than 7 amps. I don't know for sure if the charge profile is different than a conventional car charger/booster type, but I imagine it is. I use it on the blue top to keep it topped off for its winch duties.
How do you train the alternator in the car to properly charge an Optima battery? I realize it sound like a smartassed question, but the fact remains that the alternator in the car will charge the battery exactly the same, no matter what the battery type is.

Randy (is there an obedience class for charging devices??):confused:
Randy that is a fair question. The amp output from the alternator is very low. It is only keeping the battery up as opposed to having to return it to a full charge from a discharged state. It is not good to use the alternator to charge a completely dead battery, it will actually put out its maximum capability and can overheat/damage alternator.
Basically form what I understand I went wrong with the charge rate for a long period of time. I trickled it at 2 amps for over 12 hours. My charger is supposed to cycle on and off as needed. I may have a problem in the charger, don't know. Anyways, I overcharged it which also overheated it causing the jell to boil. Optima says 1 amp regulated for indefinate time. I plan on buying the correct charger which meets Optimas recomendations. They have these requirements for a reason even if I don't understand it enough to explain it. Just to be safe, follow the recomendations.
Are the instructions pictures?? If not, how do they expect men to "read" them??

Randy (Geez!!! Must be ran by women trying to get men to read!):rolleyes:
FWIW, I have 2 red top Optimas wired in parallel, and use either a 2 amp trickle charge, or an occasional 12 amp charge and have had no problems with the batteries for over 4 years.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.