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Discussion Starter #1
I bought an Optima Red Top battery this season and found out later that it takes a special charger/tender. The ones the manufacturer sells are pricey and I'm curious if there are alternatives that can be used. My goal is to keep the battery charged over the winter storage months. Any advice is very much appreciated.

Mark
 

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Mark- I have charged many an OptimaRedTop battery through the years on different vehicle collections, and fleets of vehicles, w/ nary a problem using a BatteryTender type charger. I don't think these batteries require any special type charger, just be aware they won't recharge your battery if it is completely discharged to start with. It is, as the name implies, a battery "tender".
I might suggest using the pigtail harness that gets permanently installed onto the battery, as opposed to the alligator clip pigtail also included with an official Battery Tender. You can then route the other end out through the front grille of your car, assuming your battery is under the hood -not the trunk. I zip-tied this pigtail plug end discretely to a grille member so it was always accessible without having to open the hood. This way when you have it connected for long term storage and you decide to take a drive, it won't matter if you forget to unplug the tender, it will disconnect itself as you back out. :laugh: You can imagine this scenario w/ alligator clips- the result can be ugly, or so I've heard...:whistling:
 

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I agree with Capp. Optimas aren't that sensitive; the key is NOT to connect one to a conventional battery charger, and just leave it there. But any well-designed tender should work OK.

The $9.99 Harbor Freight tenders worry me, but I have no hard evidence that they are any worse than the higher-priced tenders or the one marketed under the Optima label. Can anyone comment?
 

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The $9.99 Harbor Freight tenders worry me
I have three of them that keep spare batteries and my wife's lawn mower battery charged. They have worked well for a few years. They sometimes sell for $5 on sale.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all for your responses. What I'm hearing is that I can use a normal trickle charger (Black & Decker) to keep the battery charged. So why does the Optima site caution against this? Or maybe I mis-read what they said and am being paranoid.

Someone on hear suggested using a "Battery Tender Plus". Any views on this? Thanks.

Mark
 

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What I'm hearing is that I can use a normal trickle charger (Black & Decker) to keep the battery charged.
In post #3 I tried to say just the opposite of that. No, you can't leave a trickle charger on any battery for an extended period of time. Those things never shut off, so they will eventually "cook" your battery, regardless of whether it is a conventional, vented battery or an Optima.

A battery tender is more sophisticated than a charger; it senses the battery voltage, and shuts off (or throttles back) when it measures full voltage (probably around 12v).

My question was whether an inexpensive, Harbor Freight tender would do this job as well as the more expensive products, such as the Battery Tender Plus.
 

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I don't use Optima batteries but I had a couple HF tenders and stopped using them as one of them fried a battery, was putting out way too much voltage and I hadn't checked. I ended up going with MUCH more expensive CTEK units (from Sweden of all places) and have been very happy with them.

Kevin
 
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