DynoPower – Your supplier of OPTIMA batteries in the UK

20 Westlands Avenue, Grimsby, N.E. Lincolnshire, DN34 4SP UK

Quick Battery Tutorial!

Much of the following info will be a generalization of all types of “lead acid” batteries, and may or may not also apply to OPTIMA.

The general principle of lead acid batteries has stayed the same for a very long time! Much is really known, but much more is misunderstood by the vast majority…

Many years ago when cars were simple, all a “starter” battery had to do was stay charged for a week or so until you wanted to go, then provide a BIG current to start the engine once in a while (engines require hundreds of AMPS to start up! ) and it was then topped right back up straight away by the cars charging system.  There was no gradual discharging going on. Good job too! Old style flat plate starter batteries HATE being deeply discharged. It rapidly kills them dead!  

But now in 2003 your modern car has changed! Look at all the electrics that must be supplied. And some of them require power ALL of the time! Even when the engine is NOT running. Things like Central Locking that works from your cars key, needs a working “receiver” to know when you press the button. Then there are burglar alarms, and radio/CD/Cassette memories on modern car audio systems, clocks, and anti theft immobilisers, even the cars computerised fuel injection all take power all of the time!

So even a REALLY good battery that does not go flat just sat on it’s own will still be discharged gradually by the car itself! (Most healthy conventional batteries will lose between 2 and 7 percent of their charge every day! An OPTIMA will start your car after being sat for a over a year guaranteed! provided it is disconnected from the car)

To KEEP your new batteries fully charged and in top shape!

Solar Battery Charger! Around £20.00 – Everyone would benefit from one of these! So I have 2!!! You can just leave them sat on the parcel shelf/dashboard and plugged into the Cigarette lighter socket permanently… And I don’t sell these (yet!)

(Dealers? Contact me!)

12V Solar Battery Charger works to keep your car battery fully charged!  The charger converts solar energy to 12 volt DC current, to compensate for small steady battery drains caused by clocks, lights,

radios, and other accessories. No installation necessary, simply plug the Solar Battery Charger into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket and mount on the dashboard. Great for cars, trucks, SUVs, boats, RVs and more! Note: The Solar Battery Charger is not intended to recharge a battery that has been completely discharged. One of these Sun powered battery maintainers plugged into your cigarette lighter will help stop your battery getting discharged if you don’t use your vehicle regularly! Available from lots of places on line or from electronics stores like “Maplins” etc...

Now this does not matter too much if you drive your car daily, but starts to matter if you leave it at the airport or only drive it once a week. It may well still start as required (most of the time), but now you are Deep-Cycling your battery! As we said, normal batteries HATE being deeply discharged, or Deep Cycled! It KILLS them dead in very short order!

Conventional batteries, die quickly if deep cycled… So why not just use Deep-Cycle batteries (since they are readily available!) in your car? That would be an excellent solution! Problem is, that Conventional Deep-Cycle batteries cannot deliver anything like enough current in short bursts to start an engine! They may look the same, and may even have bigger “capacity” (in Ah or Amp Hours) but they simply cannot deliver the needed current and your car will not start… (Unless you use an OPTIMA! Their deep cycle batteries can be used for engine starting AND Deep Cycle use!!! Now you are starting to get it!)

This starting current is measured in a complex way but the figure you need to look at is called the CCA or Cold Cranking Amps. This is a measure of a batteries ability to start an engine. Regardless of the batteries size the CCA is the important figure, and really the only figure that matters.

Cold cranking amps (CCA) is a measurement of the number of amps a battery can deliver at 0 degrees F for 30 seconds and not drop below 7.2 volts. So a high CCA battery rating is good especially in cold weather.


Basically there are two types of batteries; starting (cranking), and deep cycle (marine/wheelchair/backup systems etc). Or OPTIMA’S YellowTop batteries that can do BOTH!

The starting battery is designed to deliver quick bursts of energy (such as starting engines) and have a greater plate count. The plates will also be thinner and have somewhat different material composition.

The deep cycle battery has less instant energy but greater long-term energy delivery. Deep cycle batteries have thicker plates and can survive a number of discharge cycles. Starting batteries should not be used for deep cycle applications as they will be quickly destroyed. The so-called Dual Purpose Battery is only a compromise between the 2 types of batteries except in the case of OPTIMA’S Yellow Top batteries with really can do both due to massive plate area!

A Gel or Gelled Acid battery is just a “non spill” version of the normal Sulphuric Acid battery. Silica Gel crystals are added or dissolved into the Acid to form a paste or Gel to stop the Acid being a liquid. There are Starter, and Deep cycle Gelled Acid batteries. These are gradually being superseded by AGM batteries…

AGM batteries which still use Acid, but in this case it can’t spill because it is Absorbed (A) into Glass (G) Mat (M). These offer more cycles, greater performance whether Deep cycle or Starter types. So this is a superior technology to Gelled Acid.

OPTIMA spiral core batteries are AGM. This battery is a patented AGM battery where the lead plates are wrapped around the glass mat in a circle rather than using the traditional stacked plate design. This allows thinner pure lead plates to be used giving a superior performance to normal flat plate batteries. This means that the REDTOP OPTIMAS can give a greater starting current, for a given size of battery. Or a DEEP cycle YELLOW TOP OPTIMA can give enough power to also start an engine so you get the best of both worlds!

CCA, AH ratings. Explanation…

Cold cranking amps (CCA) is a measurement of the number of amps a battery can deliver at 0 degrees F for 30 seconds and not drop below 7.2 volts. So a high CCA battery rating is good generally, especially so in cold weather. This determines if a battery has the power to start a given engine!

Amp hours (AH) is a rating usually found on deep cycle batteries. If a battery is rated at 100 amp hours it should deliver 5 amps for 20 hours, 20 amps for 5 hours, etc. The size of the “electric fuel tank”

  1. Battery Testing To measure voltage, use a digital D.C. Voltmeter.

You must first have the battery fully charged. The surface charge must be removed before testing. If the battery has been sitting at least several hours (at least 12 hours) you may begin testing. Alternatively to remove surface charge the battery must experience a load of 15 amps for 2 minutes. Turning on the headlights should do the trick. After turning off the lights you are ready to test the battery. This is a general table, different battery types vary slightly.

State of ChargeVoltage
75% – And as low as you want to go!
50% – Deep Cycle only!
25% – Your battery WILL suffer damage…
less than 5% – Discharged

Sulfation of Batteries starts when voltage measures less than 12.4 Sulfation hardens the battery plates reducing and eventually destroying the ability of the battery to generate power. Selecting a Battery – When buying a new battery I suggest you purchase a battery with a CCA greater than your stock battery. After this, the greatest reserve capacity or amp hour rating possible. Of course the physical size and availability, and practicalities of installation are also an issue. You may want to consider Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) rather than a Wet Cell if the application is in a harsher environment or the battery is not going to receive regular maintenance and charging.

Be sure to purchase the correct type of battery for the job it must do. Remember an engine starting battery and deep cycle batteries are different. An OPTIMA Yellow Top though CAN do both! Freshness of a new battery is also very important. The longer a battery sits and is not re-charged the more damaging sulfation build up there may be on the plates. OPTIMA’S win again here due to the very low self discharge rates.

Battery life and performance – Average battery life has become shorter as energy requirements have increased.

  • Batteries sit too long between charges. As little as 24 hours in hot weather and several days in cooler weather.
  • Battery are stored without some type of energy input.
  • “Deep cycling” an engine starting battery. Remember these batteries can’t stand deep discharge.
  • Undercharging of a battery, to charge a battery (let’s say) to 90% of capacity will allow sulfation of the battery using the 10% of battery chemistry not reactivated by the incomplete charging cycle.
  • Heat of 100 plus F., increases internal discharge. As temperatures increase so does internal discharge. A new fully charged battery left sitting 24 hours a day at 110 degrees F for 30 days would most likely not start an engine.
  • Low electrolyte level –  battery plates exposed to air will immediately sulphate.
  • Incorrect charging levels and settings. Most cheap battery chargers can do more harm than good. See the section on battery charging.
  • MOST of the above applies LESS to OPTIMA’S than other batteries because they have VERY LOW self discharge rates, and are sealed!

There are ways to greatly increase battery life and performance.

Seasonally used things with batteries, like Motorcycles, ATVs, Lawn Mowers, Boats, etc are lucky to to get 18 months from a battery due to self discharge, drain from the vehicle, allowing the batteries to sulphate. A small trickle charger like a Solar Cell one, can keep the batteries in top shape and fully charged for many years, with no penalty in running costs.

9. Battery Charging – Remember you must put back the energy you use immediately. If you don’t the battery sulphates and that affects performance and longevity. The alternator is a battery charger. It works well if the battery is not deeply discharged. The alternator tends to overcharge batteries that are very low and the overcharge can damage batteries. In fact an engine starting battery on average has only about 10 deep cycles available when recharged by an alternator.Batteries like to be charged in a certain way, especially when they have been deeply discharged. This type of charging is called 3 step regulated charging. Please note that only special microprocessor controlled chargers using computer technology can perform 3 step charging techniques. You don’t find these types of chargers in parts stores!. The first step is bulk charging where up to 80% of the battery energy capacity is replaced by the charger at the maximum voltage and current amp rating of the charger. When the battery voltage reaches 14.4 volts this begins the absorption charge step. This is where the voltage is held at a constant 14.4 volts and the current (amps) declines until the battery is 98% charged. Next comes the Float Step. This is a regulated voltage of not more than 13.4 volts and usually less than 1 amp of current. This in time will bring the battery to 100% charged or close to it. The float charge will not boil or heat batteries but will maintain the batteries at 100% readiness and prevent cycling during long term inactivity. Some gel cell and AGM batteries may require special settings or chargers. See the CHARGING page!