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Optima Yellow Top For Winch Battery?

Discussion in 'Winches' started by Stakebed, Sep 26, 2022.

  1. Sep 26, 2022
    Stakebed

    Stakebed Member

    Lake Co....
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    My Yellowjacket has two batteries. One battery is only for the winch. Currently there are two Interstate batteries because the PO was a shop owner and he sold Interstate batteries.

    The winch battery is down to 2 volts. Not a happy battery. Time for battery replacement before I NEED that winch.

    My go to batteries are now Optima. So does anyone have negative experience using an Optima yellow top battery exclusively for your winch?
     
  2. Sep 26, 2022
    SFaulken

    SFaulken Active Member 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Marysville, WA
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    I can't speak to only winch duty, but I've had a yellowtop in my CJ running both the starter and winch for well over a decade. Which is after the Johnson Controls takeover, so I'd probably buy another one, when this one finally dies. That being said, I *not* a heavy winch user, so I don't know how much that figures into your usage.
     
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  3. Sep 26, 2022
    PeteL

    PeteL If it wasn't for physics, and law enforcement... 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Hills of NH
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    Just wondering - what kind of charge system you have. Using the battery hard is one thing, but over- or under- charging will kill a battery. When two batteries are in a vehicle they each need independent charge regulation.
     
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  4. Sep 26, 2022
    duffer

    duffer Rodent Power

    Bozeman, MT
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    So the real question is why you feel a need for the second "winch" battery. If you have a GOOD single battery and a robust charging system, you are only wasting gas hauling that second battery around. I have been using electric winches since I put the Belleview M6000 on my CJ5 back in 1969. I have never come close to running out of juice winching with a single battery, CJ's or JK. If you have a 100+ amp alternator, you can pretty well keep up with most winches. In my experience, if you have a long pull, the time to reset the rigging is about all you need to recharge the battery back close to where you started. A good battery? I'm opinionated but there is only one: Odyssey. Worth every penny. I have never had a bad one of those, more than I can say for Optima.
     
  5. Sep 26, 2022
    Sierra Bum

    Sierra Bum Member

    The High Sierra
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    I've had dual yellow tops in my Jeep for 4-5 years now. One is a starting battery and the other is an auxiliary battery. I've read many many complaints on Optima's over the years, but I don't have any. Mine have been great. I put them in at the same time, so they are the same age. I'm using a PAC-500, 500 amp continuous duty solenoid as a separator...I use these for my Belview winch too. The whole electrical system is a custom set-up and is charged by a 140amp 10si alternator. It works awesome and I like it. For me, I like the idea of having back-up systems in place on a back-county type rig, which my Jeep is. In fact I have a dedicated alternator-based welder that can easily be commissioned as a back-up alternator as well.

    The dual battery system (with isolator/separator) is particularly useful not only for winching, but for running accessories with the engine off (radio, lights, light duty winching, charging stuff, run air compressor, whatever). Starting battery is protected.

    The Odyssey AGM batteries are also a good (perhaps better?) choice. I have a similar dual battery system in my work truck with the Odyssey and I like those too.

    Lastly, my understanding is that its a good idea to have batteries (starting and auxiliary) of the same age and condition. Having a weak battery puts a strain on the good one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
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  6. Sep 26, 2022
    timsresort

    timsresort Member 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor

    South Lake Tahoe CA
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    Optima has a very sketchy reputation-see multiple threads on pirate 4x4 about the performance, once they changed their manufacturing process, about 12 years ago. I personally would not touch another one with a 10 foot pole. This is backed up by my local Interstate dealer, who asked me why so many jeepers are turning in Optima's. For the price, pay another 50 bucks and get an Odyssey. I have run one for 5 years, running a ARB fridge, with solar, and have had zero issues. Also the choice of the racers, which to me is a huge indication of reliability.
     
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  7. Sep 26, 2022
    PeteL

    PeteL If it wasn't for physics, and law enforcement... 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Hills of NH
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    Hence my point about isolated/separate charging regulation.

    One battery will inevitably develop variation from the other. From then on, on a common system, one battery will be undercharged and the other will be getting boiled as the regulator takes the average. IMHO.
     
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  8. Sep 26, 2022
    Sierra Bum

    Sierra Bum Member

    The High Sierra
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    Well Pete, I've never set up dual batteries that way, and I've had no consequences... But yeah, that's certainly one way to look at it. Good point. A good reason to keep an eye on your set-up and practice caution in drawing things down.

    I suppose that's the reason the traditional "isolator" type system drops the charging current into the "house" battery, essentially turning it into a trickle charge system.

    Some years ago now I was setting up a dual battery system for a truck camper. The local battery guy encouraged me to not to bother with an isolator, keep things simple and go ahead and use the high-amperage continuous duty solenoid...full power charging. His insight was that newer deep cycle batteries could handle discharging and surge charging much better than before and they'd last just fine. As long as the system was built properly and usage was monitored (adequate alternator, properly sized cables & wires, battery health, etc) there would be no issue. That's been my experience...no problems. A balanced system is important.
     
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  9. Sep 27, 2022
    Jeepenstein

    Jeepenstein Me like Jeep..

    North Central FL
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    I've not had good experiences with Optima and I fell back to the pedestrian Interstate as a known quantity. They may not be the hardcore best but they have always been consistently reliable in their lifespan.
     
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  10. Sep 27, 2022
    duffer

    duffer Rodent Power

    Bozeman, MT
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    That describes my experience with Odyssey also. I bought the first one to replace the Red Top (that failed within two years) in my 3B. That was someplace around 2010. Four years later, the B was apart in the garage and I needed a battery for the Toolcat 5600. That Odyssey migrated to there and is still turning that diesel over just fine, even at zero degrees. I have Odyssey in everything but my beater 97 GMC now. Odysseys cost more but you more than get that back from the extended service life.
     
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  11. Sep 29, 2022
    Jw60

    Jw60 Airbender and interrupter of the light guard. 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Sedalia MO.
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    Fyi the Odyssey factory is local to me, the batteries are abused around here and the company making them is one of the better employers. I have one on hand for a jumper battery and as an extra for the camper. I'll put it on the camper every now and then but I have confidence it will start anything (or set my jeeps passenger seat on fire) if needed...
    I need to look at the truck but it's origional ford agm is likely made in the same plant.

    Fwiw there are several offbrand names that use the same manufacturer as the odyssey line.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2022
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  12. Sep 29, 2022
    boopiejones

    boopiejones I can’t drive 55

    California east bay
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    I have a single AGM battery in all three of my Jeeps. Each jeep has a different brand of battery and they’ve all been great - odyssey, optima and AC Delco.

    If I’m doing a long winch pull, I’ll bump up the throttle a bit to ensure the alternator is putting out full power. I do this via a programmer that plugs into my obd port in my JK, and via a hand throttle in my CJ.
     
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  13. Sep 29, 2022
    Stakebed

    Stakebed Member

    Lake Co....
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    To everyone, thank you for your opinions.

    Other than my Optimas' intolerance of being drained flat (due to shorts of computer draw in numerous vehicles I own) I have had no negative issues with Optima batteries.

    But, I will look into Odyssey batteries and learn who or where I can buy them from.

    One of you inquired about my charging and isolation system.
    Alternator is a Wrangler 100A unit.
    Isolation is also Wrangler Battery Management System. 20220929_142834.jpg 20220929_142842.jpg
     
  14. Oct 5, 2022
    OnlyOneDR

    OnlyOneDR Member 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    R
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    After three optima batteries; two yellow tops and one red in different vehicles, I will never buy another. They are not worth the money and do not hold up especially if not cycled regularly. I am still a strong advocate of regular maintenance free lead acid. I do use a Northstar AGM in my wheeling rig but keep a maintainer on it. That battery is great.

    For winch use if the battery is dedicated to the winch only you can use a deep cycle, otherwise just use a normal starting battery. Most folks do not run an electric winch long enough to make a big dent in the battery reserve. Any normal alternator will not produce nearly enough amperage to run a winch by itself so the battery is the majority source of power for the winch. Alternators produce peak output at an RPM that is typically well above idle speed so unless you are using a manual throttle to speed up the engine substantially you will not get much useful current from the alternator. Even then it only will offset the drawer in the winch to a fraction of the total demand.
     
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  15. Oct 9, 2022
    duffer

    duffer Rodent Power

    Bozeman, MT
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    What is the definition of "normal"? A winch at stall will likely be pulling 400 to 500 amps. Unless one is running one of those huge semi tractor alternators, you will still be pulling a lot of amps from the battery. But again, the cycle time on most winch pulls is relatively short. I never had a problem even with that 37 amp Motorola and a Sears DieHard powering the Belleview 6000 on the CJ 5 back in the 70's. That alternator was changed out for a 94 amp 12SI when the Motorola died and it is still on there.

    The rpm's don't usually factor into too much either with most alternator output reaching close to max output at engine rpms less than 2000, mainly because the alternator is turning 2 to 3 times faster than the engine speed.
     
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  16. Oct 9, 2022
    Stakebed

    Stakebed Member

    Lake Co....
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    I took my Wrangler/Deco-Remy alternator to Riteway Electric in SF for testing. 100 amps for sure but the owner told me at 3000 rpm. Alternator rpm. So @duffer has a point. The owner did offer me an alternative (no alternator pun intended). A Nippondenso alternator that charges 100 amps at idle and 200 or 250 above 2000 rpm. $500 though. I passed for now.

    Back on subject, as regular readers know, my battery box is super tight. Odyssey did not offer a battery that was a good fit. So, a yellow top was chosen. I'll find out next season if I chose poorly.

    I have yet to even exercise my winch. So many other issues with this CJ since I bought it.
     
  17. Oct 9, 2022
    OnlyOneDR

    OnlyOneDR Member 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    R
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    Your reply is confusing to me because you are essentially saying the same thing that I am. In summary I am saying that the alternator choice does not matter and the battery is the only thing that does for winch use.
     
  18. Oct 9, 2022
    Stakebed

    Stakebed Member

    Lake Co....
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    Pretty much agreed. No way an automotive alternator can keep up with a full load winch Amp draw. Two keys seem to be, how much reserve capacity does your battery have and how fast can your alternator recharge your battery.
     
  19. Nov 22, 2022
    jeepermc

    jeepermc Active Member

    Western WA
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    I've had really good luck with the Odyssey I put in the CJ-6 back in 2013. That thing was abused. Drained completely several times and left to sit at months at a time both charged and discharged. When I got my 69 Highboy back on the road in 2019, I took the Odyssey out of the CJ6 that had been sitting since 2016 and it's still reliable today in the highboy.
     
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