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bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
8/6/20 2:52 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

Thanks for the advice. It sounds like a Wally World battery is the way to go. 

This battery has been a little moody when the car sat for 3+ weeks at the beginning of the Covid stuff. She's moving from the very hot south to the rather chilly mid west and it's honestly the combination of cold and potential sitting that I'm worried about. I'll clean up the ground at both ends when I get this done. She'll be off with a jump pack and code reader and inflator and AAA. Turned 18 this spring and she's getting properly responsible with this sort of stuff. 

Might I recommend getting the batter from the area where the car is going to be? I say this because batteries are (or used to be it's been a while since my training) built/designed for cold or hot climates. Taking a hot climate battery to the cold will reduce life and have poor cold start capabilities. Taking a cold weather battery south can cook them. 

Just an idea

lrrs
lrrs HalfDork
8/6/20 3:05 p.m.

A fresh one. Walmart seems to have high turn rate, so 99% of the time they are fresh. On occasion, not that I buy a lot of batteries, I have seen ones that had stickers with the month/year being 6 moths ago. Jist pulled it aside and the next was labeled with the current month.

 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
8/6/20 3:17 p.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

That is a good idea and I'll see what I can do to make that happen. 

engiekev
engiekev Reader
8/6/20 3:34 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

Every vehicle I own either has an expensive AGM battery from a brand like Optima or Odyssey (what can I say, we get a deal) or a no-name cheapo from my local commercial battery distributor (Royal Battery, their logo has a battery wearing a crown, it's great...).

Either way, test them every year and you'll never be stranded. The fancy AGM stuff seems to last an extra couple of years. But frequent testing seems to be the magic bullet to happy batteries/not getting stranded.

What do you use for battery testers? A high load shunt unit like this? 

https://www.harborfreight.com/automotive/diagnostic-testing-scanning/battery-testing/100a-612v-battery-load-tester-61747.html

In reply to engiekev :

Seems like a good tool for $20. 

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/6/20 11:02 p.m.

I have one of those. I never thought it would be useful until i bought it to test hybrid battery sticks and then realized it was actually pretty good for judging car batteries. Go figure.. Originally i thought that since you couldn't adjust the load or load past 100a it wouldn't load a car battery high enough to be a reliable indicator of what it would do in the car (although a fit probably doesn't take much over 100a to crank anyway) but it turns out that how it acts under the ~100a load correlates pretty much perfectly with what it does under larger loads.  I use VAT-40 and 45s at work and load test batteries up to 300-400a fairly regularly but ive been really impressed with the reliability of the results from this ~$16 load tester.

 

Anyway, turns out the best battery ever is buy a 13$ 5w solar panel. The health of my fleet of batteries has never been higher. 

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/6/20 11:45 p.m.
Fueled by Caffeine said:

Costco interstate..  The warranty is worth it...  

This!!!  And always $20 or so cheeper than the local advanced auto parts even with a 30% discount code. And it is the exact same battery. With a better warranty. 

chada75
chada75 Reader
8/7/20 12:43 a.m.

Been using NAPA batteries with great success. Always get one with a higher than stock CCAs.

I would like to add one more thing beyond the battery itself. 

Get all your kids and wife one of these to keep in their car. It will jump start any engine in my fleet except for the 6.0 diesel. It will also charge a phone and has a flash light. It will jump 3-4 cars on a charge. Get one for yourself while you are at it. I have given one to every kid and my parents, as well as put one in all my fleet trucks. Ours are 2 years old and still going strong. 

Gooloo Jump Pack 

engiekev
engiekev Reader
8/7/20 7:43 a.m.
Vigo (Forum Supporter) said:

I have one of those. I never thought it would be useful until i bought it to test hybrid battery sticks and then realized it was actually pretty good for judging car batteries. Go figure.. Originally i thought that since you couldn't adjust the load or load past 100a it wouldn't load a car battery high enough to be a reliable indicator of what it would do in the car (although a fit probably doesn't take much over 100a to crank anyway) but it turns out that how it acts under the ~100a load correlates pretty much perfectly with what it does under larger loads.  I use VAT-40 and 45s at work and load test batteries up to 300-400a fairly regularly but ive been really impressed with the reliability of the results from this ~$16 load tester.

 

Anyway, turns out the best battery ever is buy a 13$ 5w solar panel. The health of my fleet of batteries has never been higher. 

I know about those battery testers from doing work at an OEM for engine calibration, we used it as a heavy "hit" on the electrical system to test how the idle control would respond, since its an almost instantaneous 100A hit.  Pretty crude and could've made a more advanced tester but these worked great and were portable!  They do get quite hot and can burn out if you keep them on too long.

The solar panel solution for a battery maintainer is an excellent solution!  I've been using one on a car with an AGM battery that sits for awhile and it's kept it topped off perfectly.  Do you have a link for the $13 unit you're talking about?  I would buy more but it seemed hard to find ones under $20 that came with cables.  Otherwise I'll buy one for every car (and tractor, and jet ski!), far cheaper than replacement batteries.  

Even Battery Tender is getting in on the solar maintainer action, but they're not cheap at $75!

https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tender-021-1163-Maintainer-Controller/dp/B004Q83TGO/ref=sr_1_24?dchild=1&keywords=solar+12v+5w&qid=1596804330&sr=8-24

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
8/7/20 7:59 a.m.

I used to work for JCI and their battery division guys told me to buy the heaviest battery for whatever application ( more lead plates) and then go for price and warranty. The batteries are built to customer price points for any given size. That's for a conventional lead-acid type, not AGMs etc. Walmart, being such a large purchaser should have the heaviest batteries at any particular price just based on the volume discount they would have negotiated.

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
8/7/20 8:21 a.m.

In reply to engiekev :

+1 on solar tender

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand UberDork
8/30/20 8:56 p.m.

I had good luck like 10 years ago with optima.  It's still the battery in my race car.

 

That being said, I bought 2 more from them over the last 3 years....

 

Total and complete piles of garbage that just die.

 

I won't buy another optima.

 

I did buy a lifepo for the racecar and it has been fantastic.  I'm just concerned about its "sensitivities" and don't quite trust it.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
8/30/20 9:44 p.m.

I should have a solar charger on my Miata, since it will sit for weeks at a time. The only problem is, I keep a cover on the car. I don't know what the answer to that is.

Edit: looking for the link to those $13 solar panels.

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/30/20 11:21 p.m.

$13 solar panel

The exact names and the sellers seem to change often but ive got ~8 of these and they are all clearly identical so at this point im shopping by the picture as much as by the name/title. This is the cheapest I've found a solar panel (on amazon..) that meets the 'requirements' of:

  1. being 12v (really more like 18-20v open circuit but when hooked to a battery they cannot overcharge it)
  2. putting out a high enough current to stay ahead of battery self-discharge (there are some panels out there with truly tiny outputs)
  3. already has usable leads attached to it, saving me having to source and crimp/solder them myself

I've had a couple of minor issues with them, such as that the leads are simply hot-glued to prevent cracking at the solder joint from repeated flexing of the leads, but in Texas if you leave such a thing on your windshield the the hot glue will melt and run on your glass! The alligator clips are flimsy and the leads break off of them if they're allowed to move around too much. I've re-soldered or crimped several of mine. And lastly, since i usually clip the leads directly to battery terminals and leave the panel under a windshield wiper (since ive found they have almost no wind resistance and will fly off the car in any strong wind), on some larger cars with longer hoods I've had to get more creative about where to hook up or where to leave the panel. You can easily extend the leads but if you're a weirdo who is going to own 8+ of them you may just try to find some that don't require modifying 8 separate times. 

But still, incredibly happy with them. I find the cars that have the solar panels crank stronger than the cars without them that get used every day! I think it has to do with lead acid car batteries rarely getting a true 'topping charge' in normal vehicle use. I do start a lot of these cars every day, but often I'm just moving my own stuff out of the way to get customer cars into my little shop and don't leave them running long enough to keep the batteries happy if i were to do that many days in a row. I've said before, somewhere, that a $50 1-year warranty battery with a $13 solar panel on it seems to actually hold up better over infrequent use than the $100+ batteries, although i've had great luck with AGMs dealing with sitting. 

I used to have less 'good' batteries than i had running cars and just move them around as needed. At this point i've basically spent one battery worth of money on a bunch of solar panels to drastically reduce the amount of time i spend hucking 40lb objects around the property.

engiekev
engiekev Reader
8/31/20 7:48 a.m.
Vigo (Forum Supporter) said:

$13 solar panel

The exact names and the sellers seem to change often but ive got ~8 of these and they are all clearly identical so at this point im shopping by the picture as much as by the name/title. This is the cheapest I've found a solar panel (on amazon..) that meets the 'requirements' of:

  1. being 12v (really more like 18-20v open circuit but when hooked to a battery they cannot overcharge it)
  2. putting out a high enough current to stay ahead of battery self-discharge (there are some panels out there with truly tiny outputs)
  3. already has usable leads attached to it, saving me having to source and crimp/solder them myself

I've had a couple of minor issues with them, such as that the leads are simply hot-glued to prevent cracking at the solder joint from repeated flexing of the leads, but in Texas if you leave such a thing on your windshield the the hot glue will melt and run on your glass! The alligator clips are flimsy and the leads break off of them if they're allowed to move around too much. I've re-soldered or crimped several of mine. And lastly, since i usually clip the leads directly to battery terminals and leave the panel under a windshield wiper (since ive found they have almost no wind resistance and will fly off the car in any strong wind), on some larger cars with longer hoods I've had to get more creative about where to hook up or where to leave the panel. You can easily extend the leads but if you're a weirdo who is going to own 8+ of them you may just try to find some that don't require modifying 8 separate times. 

But still, incredibly happy with them. I find the cars that have the solar panels crank stronger than the cars without them that get used every day! I think it has to do with lead acid car batteries rarely getting a true 'topping charge' in normal vehicle use. I do start a lot of these cars every day, but often I'm just moving my own stuff out of the way to get customer cars into my little shop and don't leave them running long enough to keep the batteries happy if i were to do that many days in a row. I've said before, somewhere, that a $50 1-year warranty battery with a $13 solar panel on it seems to actually hold up better over infrequent use than the $100+ batteries, although i've had great luck with AGMs dealing with sitting. 

I used to have less 'good' batteries than i had running cars and just move them around as needed. At this point i've basically spent one battery worth of money on a bunch of solar panels to drastically reduce the amount of time i spend hucking 40lb objects around the property.

For $13 it seems definitely worth it!  I will be buying a few right now. Compared to harbor freight's charger it's a better deal, that only outputs 1.5W ( https://www.harborfreight.com/15-watt-solar-battery-charger-62449.html ) for $15.  I wonder if the 5W rated panels actually output 5W.

 

 

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/31/20 8:21 a.m.

After visiting Vigo's place I was convinced on the solar tenders. All of my vehicles have them now lol 

RevRico
RevRico GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/31/20 9:04 a.m.

In reply to engiekev :

I don't know about using them in a car, but when we were without power for 7 months when the power company wanted me to pay a previous tenants bill, the HF solar tender would charge our spare car batteries enough to get 3-4 hours from a portable DVD player every night.

Put a bead of silicone around everything, and it worked great rain or shine. 

As far as actual batteries go, it's my understanding that they're ALL garbage these days, something to do with recycled lead or there only being like 3 companies that actually make the stupid things anymore so QC is nonexistent.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
8/31/20 9:36 a.m.

In reply to Vigo (Forum Supporter) :

You mentioned having the hot glue melt onto the windshield. Are you leaving these on the outside of the car?

Tk8398
Tk8398 Reader
8/31/20 8:32 p.m.

The Autozone platinum batteies are pretty good. 

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/1/20 12:04 a.m.

You mentioned having the hot glue melt onto the windshield. Are you leaving these on the outside of the car?

Yeah. So far I haven't had any actually fail other than having to reattach a few alligator clips and that was mostly from having the wind rip them off of cars that i didn't have them actually secured to. I still leave them under windshield wipers but it's usually possible to prop them up a little so that the hot glue doesn't actually touch the glass.  

 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/1/20 7:26 a.m.

I usually get whatever I need and find it for the best price.

My local chain (battery warehouse) often has blemished batteries for super cheap and there is nothing wrong with them.  As was mentioned, they're all made by one of about 3 companies.  Battery Warehouse has many that they don't want to sell on the retail floor.  I have two batteries right now from them that I use on the farm (random tractors and equipment as needed) that were $29 each.  One had the label come off and the other had a broken handle.  Otherwise, they were fine.  They also offered the full 2 year warranty on them.

Duralast has treated me well in the past.  I don't know who makes them, but the truck has a Duralast Gold in it and (although it's only 2 years old) it hasn't let me down.

+1 for WalMart

Strizzo
Strizzo PowerDork
9/1/20 9:01 a.m.
jwagner (Forum Supporter) said:

Have it tested for cranking amp capacity, it might be OK.

My experience with those little Honda batteries are that they're fine until they're not. I guess since it takes so little to start one, they never really seem bad until there's nothing left. 
 

that said, duralast gold is my go-to

engiekev
engiekev Reader
10/7/20 10:59 a.m.
Vigo (Forum Supporter) said:

$13 solar panel

The exact names and the sellers seem to change often but ive got ~8 of these and they are all clearly identical so at this point im shopping by the picture as much as by the name/title. This is the cheapest I've found a solar panel (on amazon..) that meets the 'requirements' of:

  1. being 12v (really more like 18-20v open circuit but when hooked to a battery they cannot overcharge it)
  2. putting out a high enough current to stay ahead of battery self-discharge (there are some panels out there with truly tiny outputs)
  3. already has usable leads attached to it, saving me having to source and crimp/solder them myself

I've had a couple of minor issues with them, such as that the leads are simply hot-glued to prevent cracking at the solder joint from repeated flexing of the leads, but in Texas if you leave such a thing on your windshield the the hot glue will melt and run on your glass! The alligator clips are flimsy and the leads break off of them if they're allowed to move around too much. I've re-soldered or crimped several of mine. And lastly, since i usually clip the leads directly to battery terminals and leave the panel under a windshield wiper (since ive found they have almost no wind resistance and will fly off the car in any strong wind), on some larger cars with longer hoods I've had to get more creative about where to hook up or where to leave the panel. You can easily extend the leads but if you're a weirdo who is going to own 8+ of them you may just try to find some that don't require modifying 8 separate times. 

But still, incredibly happy with them. I find the cars that have the solar panels crank stronger than the cars without them that get used every day! I think it has to do with lead acid car batteries rarely getting a true 'topping charge' in normal vehicle use. I do start a lot of these cars every day, but often I'm just moving my own stuff out of the way to get customer cars into my little shop and don't leave them running long enough to keep the batteries happy if i were to do that many days in a row. I've said before, somewhere, that a $50 1-year warranty battery with a $13 solar panel on it seems to actually hold up better over infrequent use than the $100+ batteries, although i've had great luck with AGMs dealing with sitting. 

I used to have less 'good' batteries than i had running cars and just move them around as needed. At this point i've basically spent one battery worth of money on a bunch of solar panels to drastically reduce the amount of time i spend hucking 40lb objects around the property.

I ended up getting a couple of these, working great so far. They do put out fairly high voltage, 18-20V if it's really sunny and the angle is right.

Is there any concern with AGM batteries of overcharging with these solar tenders? Particularly with smaller batteries that might be an issue? There is no voltage regulation built into these panels, maybe the more expensive models have that for safety.  However, this  battery tender model is 5W and there is no mention of a regulator:

https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tender-021-1163-Maintainer-Controller/dp/B004Q83TGO

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/20/20 12:10 a.m.

Was just reminded of this thread by it being linked in another, and realized i never directly replied to Engiekev like a jerk, so...

It's my understanding that basically any battery can tolerate very low current 'overcharging' even when it is already full. IF i'm right about that i dont think one of these panels can damage an AGM.  However, i'm not using a solar charger on any AGMs. I have a couple of AGMs but i dont use the solar panels on them because they don't really need it (lower self-discharge and i just don't short-trip those cars as much) and those cars are usually in shade/cover anyway so solar wouldn't work without some silly extension cords. 

I think value for dollar if you want a slightly larger panel and a solar charge controller for some reason, this is the current hotness. I bought one a couple days ago for $20 but haven't gotten to mess with it yet. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08HMMY1W5/ref=twister_B08HMNWPJB?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

I also don't claim to fully understand this but it suggests that a typical car battery sized AGM could accept ~120ma 100% of the time no matter what without damaging it. https://www.cdtechno.com/pdf/ref/41_2128_0212.pdf

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