Red vs Yellow (optima) - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 09-10-2004, 02:39 PM   #1
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Default Red vs Yellow (optima)

What is the main difeference? Is it a cost thing?
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Old 09-10-2004, 02:41 PM   #2
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The red is for normal usage. The yellow is for extreme use, for aftermarket stereos and such.
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Old 09-10-2004, 02:41 PM   #3
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So which one is better? WIll they both do the same job?
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Old 09-10-2004, 02:42 PM   #4
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They are both really strong and reliable batteries. If you aren't constantly drawing major power, then the red is fine.

But I see you have a stereo. If you like to show it off and use it when the car is off, then maybe a yellow would be better insurance.
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Old 09-10-2004, 02:43 PM   #5
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Don't use a yellow top for a primary starting battery. Only use it behind an isolator for extra 'music' storage.

A yellow-top will stress an alternator (just like any deep-cycle will).

Remember that if you have a kickin' system, but your battery is draining, it'* not the battery'* fault. Your alternator isn't keeping up. The battery is simply a storage device.
How often do you run your system with the engine not running? Not often? Then the battery isn't your problem. The alternator is.
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Old 09-10-2004, 02:45 PM   #6
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I basically want to use it as a starting battery, cuz mines a POS. I also want to be able to have interior lights and stuff on when the car is off...
How would a yellow top damage the alternator?
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Old 09-10-2004, 03:35 PM   #7
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Automotive alternators aren't designed to supply the 'demand' of a deep cycle battery. Use a Red Top. They're designed for normal automotive use.

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A car'* battery is designed to provide a very large amount of current for a short period of time. This surge of current is needed to turn the engine over during starting. Once the engine starts, the alternator provides all the power that the car needs, so a car battery may go through its entire life without ever being drained more than 20 percent of its total capacity. Used in this way, a car battery can last a number of years. To achieve a large amount of current, a car battery uses thin plates in order to increase its surface area.

A deep cycle battery is designed to provide a steady amount of current over a long period of time. A deep cycle battery can provide a surge when needed, but nothing like the surge a car battery can. A deep cycle battery is also designed to be deeply discharged over and over again (something that would ruin a car battery very quickly). To accomplish this, a deep cycle battery uses thicker plates.
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Old 09-10-2004, 05:49 PM   #8
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If you use a high out put alternator (180 amp or more) and you have a cap in your car you will have no issues with a yellow top. Red is recommended for every day type normall use. Yellow is more for leaving things on when the car is not. If you are asking haw long you could leave your interior lights on both the red and the yellow would be for over 24hrs. I have alot of amps (olk skool rockford fosgate) in my car and I got to smaller sound events (mainly for funn) so i have a yellow (trunk) and Red under the hood. With a isolator. from what it sounds like you are looking for a regular battery from interstate (the company that makes optima) would be fine, but if you want the look and the added capasity, grab a red top.
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Old 09-10-2004, 06:09 PM   #9
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The cap will do nothing towards protecting your alternator from damage due to yellow top (deep cycle) stresses.

Again, do you run the stereo most of the time with the car running? If so, why are you even looking at the battery in the first place? It'* an alternator issue, and our alternators are prone to stress.

Optima yellow-tops are a gimmick. Good battery? Yes. In the right application like an RV or boat. If you MUST use it in your car, use an isolator, and don't use the Deep Cycle battery for primary starting.

This is a 'trend' the audiophile junkies have started. It'* more like the yellow-top is a status symbol, drawing attention to the fact you have a kickin' system. If you don't care to look at the science behind this, and don't care about your alternator, go for it.
__________________________________________________ ____________________
Let'* look at this from another direction:


You're listening to tunes in your car, and the battery is dying. What'* the problem? Is it the battery? NO! It'* the alternator not keeping up with the demand, and you're running partially off the battery while driving. Or at least not being able to simultaneously charge the battery and run the amps.

So putting in a deep cycle battery will do what for you? Nothing, unless you run your system with the engine off for prolonged periods, in which case you BETTER use it as a backup battery behind an isolator that can limit the charge rate so as to not overload your alternator.

Start your car and start your amps. Disconnect your battery. Does the music still play? Yes. The alternator is providing the power for it.

A battery is a STORAGE device for when you need power for something, at a time when the other source (the Alternator) isn't providing current.
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Old 09-10-2004, 07:39 PM   #10
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I've installed yellow tops in too many cars to remember, some with stock alts and some without. Most with caps and some without. The only cars with alt failure after the battery change were bangers who against my advice decided to skip the high output alt for the battery upgrade. I 100% agree with the fact that an alternator is the #1 upgrade you can and should to to you electrical system. It is also the first upgrade you should do to your electrical system (yes way before a battery for reasons that have been previously stated). As far as deep cycle hurting alternators, I've never seen any proof of that. It has been a discussion just like are drilled /slotted rotors worth it. Two sides and two stories that both make perfect sense. MECP is still putting deep cycle batterys as the only battery and stating that it is ok on there tech notes. along with optima and SVR and stinger. The cap can absorb some of the ac ripple in the electrical system that deep cycle batteries are not used to.
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