Charge It!


When you are enjoying your classic car, one thing you don’t want to worry about is the battery. I have had all types of batteries in my ’56 Fairlane and other cars. Time to get a new battery so which do I choose? There are plenty of places to go online to find all the technical information you could ever want to know about Lead Acid, AGM, and Gel batteries.

There are a couple of challenges I have with my car that made me decide on an AGM battery from Optima®.

My battery is mounted in the trunk far away from the starter solenoid which is under the hood. This distance is a considerable factor when it comes to getting a charge to my starter. I also chose an AGM battery because the car may sit for a while before using it again. AGM batteries are better at sparking a charge at a lower capacity. The 390 FE motor takes a lot of cranking amps, so I chose the REDTOP with a bit higher Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) than the YELLOWTOP TheYELLOWTOP has a bit more capacity, so if you have a lot of drain with power devices such as windows, seats, stereo, etc., it would be a better choice.

I contacted Optima to get a clear definition of the differences between the red top and yellow top. See that below.

What About Charging

I have heard rumors lately about conventional and trickle chargers and AGM batteries. Conventional chargers at times will not “see” an AGM battery that is discharged down to 4 volts. We needed a battery charger in the garage, so we picked up the Optima® Digital 1200 Charger.

This is my new favorite tool in the shop!

First off what caught my eye is the inventive design. This charger is super light weight, features the Optima® cylindrical design, and has plenty of features. A charger that will sense a low voltage battery to give it new life, it will charge or maintain (trickle charge) your conventional, AGM and Gel type batteries. A back-lit LCD panel shows the current state of your battery. It also has a USB port on the side to charge your devices as well. The back panel is a great hideaway for the cables and cords. Smart design, compact size and versatility make this a great tool for any garage.


Differences between OPTIMA REDTOP and OPTIMA YELLOWTOP Batteries:

The OPTIMA REDTOP Battery is what we consider our starting battery. Fully contained and spill-proof, the REDTOP battery can be mounted at pretty much any angle. The REDTOP battery is also known for having up to 15 times the vibration resistance of a traditional battery while featuring a faster recharge rate. OPTIMA’s REDTOP Batteries are best suited for high-power engine cranking applications like cars with high-compression or big block engines that don’t have a lot of extra accessories that require significant electrical loads, like large audio systems, winches, or high-output exterior lighting. If your alternator has the capacity to meet electrical demands in your vehicle during regular use, the REDTOP Battery is recommended. The key differentiator is the amount of cranking power required.

REDTOP Group 35 details at-a-glance:

Open Circuit Voltage (Fully Charged): ~12.6-12.8V

Capacity: 44 Ah (C/20)

Cold Cranking Amps: 720

Cranking Amps: 910


The OPTIMA YELLOWTOP Battery on the other hand, is a true dual-purpose automotive battery, for both starting and deep-cycle applications. The YELLOWTOP battery is recommended for accessory-heavy vehicles or for vehicles running a lot of battery-draining electronics. It can also be used as a forklift or tractor battery. Much like the REDTOP battery, the YELLOWTOP battery is self-contained and spill-proof, making mounting in virtually any orientation a breeze. Because the YELLOWTOP is designed for deep-cycle use, it can last up to three times as long as a traditional battery in those applications. The battery can also be recovered from deep discharges again and again, with capabilities of up to 300 discharge/recharge cycles. The batteries are designed specifically to handle significant electrical loads when your vehicle’s charging system is unable to meet those demands. Due to its chemistry and internal make up, the YELLOWTOP has more energy storage capacity than an equivalent starting battery. It is also more tolerant of being repeatedly discharged to a lower voltage.

YELLOWTOP Group 35 details at-a-glance:

Open Circuit Voltage (Fully Charged): ~13.0-13.2V

Capacity: 48 Ah (C/20)

Cold Cranking Amps: 620

Cranking Amps: 770