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Technical Anyone Using AGM or Lithium Ion Car Batteries?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Was 196 #'s, May 12, 2020.

  1. Was 196 #'s
    Joined: Dec 18, 2016
    Posts: 63

    Was 196 #'s

    I'd like to hear your experiences and preferences. I've got AGM's in a couple of cars now and am thinking about trying a Lithium Ion to replace one of the AGM's that doesn't want to fully charge anymore. But the size of Lithium Ion I am thinking of is not cheap. What do you have / say?
  2. No personal experience, but a guy on another board I used to be on tried a couple and they caught fire. One right out of the box, the other (an 'improved' version) lasted a bit longer but burned worse. Seems they're sensitive to charging rates. He tried real hard to make it work, following manufacturer recommendations to no avail. Maybe they've improved that, but that's a question you need to ask.
    Ned Ludd and loudbang like this.
  3. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,903


    All of my motorcycle batteries and car batteries are AGM. No issues.

    At work, we have a fleet of 200 electric vehicles, their locomotion and 12V batteries are all Lithium Ion. Aside from one we dropped really hard and cracked, no issues.
  4. G-son
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 711

    from Sweden

    There are several types of lithium batteries, some extremely sensitive to charging conditions, others not so much. Been a while since I read about it, but if I remember correctly LiFePO4 is the kind that is most forgiving when it comes to charging conditions. Li-ion and LiPo needs proper charging control, quite unlike what you have in a car made for lead acid batteries.

    Either way, I have kept away from these batteries. They do have some impressive properties, but they also have the ability to fail quite spectacularly and so far I have not found that risk to compensate for the extra size and weight of good old lead.
    loudbang likes this.

  5. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,228

    Mike VV
    from SoCal

    There are a few AGM batteries on the market. This type, is really nothing new, been on the market for many years. The Optima being one of the main ones. Despite their current bad name, I have two that are providing great service. Both red top, one 6 volt, one 12 volt.

    The Lithium Ion batteries are a little different.
    As has been said, I have one in each of two motorcycles. I know...that a motorcycle isn't a car...but.
    I did have one go bad...BUT, it wasn't exactly the batteries fault. The regulator failed and the battery was receiving a full 18/19 volts for my 50min. drive home from work. It lasted about 3/4 the trip, then burned, shorted and died. That was at about 30,000 miles.
    I put the same brand back into the bike and so far, it has been happy..! My other bike has the same brand and the same model in it, with no long as you keep them charged..!
    I understand that they don't like "cold" starting. It really never gets too cold in the basin of SoCal. Never had a starting problem, even leaving home at 4:30am. in 35° mornings.
    If there is a "cold" problem, turn in the head lights for a couple of minutes, that will warm the battery enough to start the engine (NOT the car or bike !).

    egads likes this.
  6. I should have mentioned I meant Li-Ion batteries above....

    AGM? I never got the big plus some think these have. They have three advantages as far as I can tell; if they're fully sealed (and most are) you can use more mounting positions. Two, you can cram a lot of amps into one for the size. And three, they're very resistant to heavy vibration. If you really need any or all of those qualities, there ya go...

    But as 'just' a battery they tend to be expensive and in my experience don't last any longer than a reasonable-quality 'conventional' lead-acid battery. Add in the fact that many actually have shorter warrantees while costing up to over 100% more than an OEM-type that starts a car just fine, and you have to wonder what the attraction is.

    I've never been impressed with the parts-house or 'private brand' batteries except maybe for Die-hards, but with Sears troubles I'll stay away. My go-to for a number of years has been Interstate if I just need a good battery, they hold up pretty well and Costco sells them for reasonable prices. If I want premium, I've had excellent results with Motorcraft… yep, Ford batteries, from the dealer. I've never gotten less than six years out of one. I had one that was getting close to nine years until somebody stole it out of the car... LOL The one in my current DD is nearly eight years old, hasn't missed a lick. They are a bit expensive, but no more than a AGM from what I've seen. Last one I bought had a 84 month warranty.. that's seven years! They don't make every size, but if they have what you need it's a great battery.
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
    pitman, Ned Ludd and Moriarity like this.
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,422


    I have an optima in my convertible. I started driving the car in 2002 replaced the original optima 4 years ago with another optima. I am very pleased with them
  8. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 20,344

    Staff Member

    I had an agm battery in my 61 impala, it was one of those that looked like an old tar top battery. It was expensive and looked cool but only lasted 2 years. after I changed it I cut it apart and couldn't believe what I found, a tiny battery inside the case maybe the size of a motorcycle battery. As far as those optima batteries I wouldn't use one just for the fact that it would ruin an otherwise vintage looking engine compartment. I hate all that modern stuff.....that is why I am here....
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,422


    I don’t like the look of the optima either, but wanted a battery without acid, need to hook up several grounds and one power directly to the battery, so didn’t need the lead acid battery corrosion problems. On my convertible no one can see the battery anyway
    Moriarity likes this.
  10. V8 Bob
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,737

    V8 Bob

    The AGM batteries are lead/acid, absorbed in glass mat so they won't leak, but will still produce gas if overcharged, so should be vented just like a normal lead/acid battery. I've had really good service with Optimas; 12 years with my first 6V, and over 14 with a 12V red top.
    Optimas can be disguised. Below is a 6V Optima in my '51.
  11. 20190522_060750.jpg I have had this one 2 years now. Daily driver
  12. badvolvo
    Joined: Jul 25, 2011
    Posts: 471


    I have used the Braille, first one lasted 2 years, the second one is currently at 4 years. It fits where others would not on my 36 Chevy truck. Limited space so I tried the Braille. I put a big lead acid battery in my race car, it kicks that 632" over with no issues.
    Tried the Li-Ion on a couple of generator Harley's, jury is still out on that one. Tiny, but we have had a couple failures.
  13. Model A Gomez
    Joined: Aug 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,421

    Model A Gomez

    I've used AGM batteries in my bikes for years with good results and no problems. I also have one in my V8 A, biggest plus to me is they don't leak or outgas unless over charged.
  14. I had an O/T vehicle that I changed from the stock, lead/acid battery to an AGM Braille type for weight and space savings reasons. The vehicle had the usual, modern, electronic engine management with radio presets, clock, theft alarm, etc., which was enough to drain the little battery if the vehicle wasn't driven a couple of weeks. I had to keep a "battery tender" hooked up whenever it wasn't being driven.
    I went through 3 of those Brailles and each one lasted just a year and a half. When the first one died, I contacted the manufacturer and they sent me the second one as a free replacement. When that one also died a year and a half later, I figured I had paid once and received 3 years of use so I paid the second time, for the third one, myself.
    I shaved exactly 25 pounds from the front end. Score, +10. Real-world quality and longevity, -6.
  15. I've used several AGM batteries over the last 10 years. Best service life was 3 years, worst was 6 months. Everything is back to regular batteries now.
    olscrounger and Crazy Steve like this.
  16. Fogger
    Joined: Aug 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,514


    After 3 Optima failures within three years of purchase I have installed Odyssey batteries in two of my cars. The one in my coupe has been in since 2000 and the Roadster has a metal cased 925 in the stock '32 battery mount since 2006. So far no issues.
  17. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,262

    from So Cal

    The latest developments in batteries for heavy trucks are capacitors. The advantages capacitors have over batteries (even lithium ion type) are: almost unlimited charge/discharge cycles, incredibly high amperage per size, and almost instant charging. The biggest disadvantage is they are poor at holding a charge for a long period of time. To deal with that they are usually paired with a small battery that basically keeps the capacitor bank charged up, and provides current for light loads, keeping the capacitor bank mostly for starting.
  18. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,262

    from So Cal

    20 years service life! Can't complain about that.
  19. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,411

    Bandit Billy

    I have AGM PC925 in my roadster and another PC925 under the seat in my truck. They are tiny, light weight, sealed, powerful and I have had no problems with them. I think those are excellent reasons to purchase.
  20. Yet they cost about $70 more than a premium conventional battery and in spite of the claimed life they'll only warrantee them for four years. Their lack of faith in their own product make me skeptical...

    I was talked into AGM batteries for a couple of my motorcycles. 50% higher cost, and neither outlasted the conventional batteries they replaced... by a wide margin. Never again.
  21. I bought my first Odyssey PC925 in 2008 during the build of my roadster. (2003 - 2011) . It stayed on my Battery Tender til I finished the build in 2011. It lasted another 3 yrs ... In 2014 , It died and I replaced it with anothe PC925 . It's still working great , but I'm very careful to connect the Battery Tender when its going to sit for an extended time..
    nunattax likes this.
  22. patterg2003
    Joined: Sep 21, 2014
    Posts: 668


    I am impressed with the Odyssey batteries as well. Two friends and I built a Bearhawk 4 passenger airplane that is 28V. We bought the Concorde battery that is supposed to be long lived but the battery failed. The batteries are about $900 Cdn and it seemed pointless to buy another. Our airplane operates on big tundra tires or skis so the airplane pounds over some rough ground and sits outside into -40F weather. We bought a sophisticated battery charger for the airplane as we wanted to keep the battery healthy. The battery failed and was past its warranty even though we did not have more than 20 hours on the airplane. I know that a lot of aircraft homebuilders use the Odyssey batteries so I investigated Odysseys for our airplane. We bought a pair of 12V Odyssey batteries for $200 each that fit side by side in our battery box wired in series to be 28V. I checked with Odyssey to ensure that there was no problems with the batteries in series. The batteries can be mounted anyway but upside down. The batteries have a 2 year warranty, can be stored for long periods with the batteries half charged with no harm. The batteries still put out high cranking amps even when it is very cold that is good for winter use.
    On the operation side. What a world of difference with the Odysseys compared to the certified aircraft battery. The engine flips over fast and starts immediately even when it is 10F below. There is no worse feeling than being in the middle of nowhere with an engine that cranks over slow and acts like it may not start. It is comforting to know when we are ice fishing an hours flying from home that the engine will jump to life and we have batteries that we can trust.

    I have read that some on the HAMB have used the Odyssey batteries as well.
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
  23. Are you talking electric big rigs?
  24. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,509

    from kansas

    I've seen alot of older mopar batteries lasting along time. In fact last summer I replaced the oem mopar battery in my 2004 ram.
  25. 20200412_193345.jpg I go to the performance racing industry show every year. Last year I made a point of talking to every lithium ion battery manufacturer there.
    Not all of them are the same. The better ones have a computer in them that prevents under charge and over charging. Both issues can harm them. It was stated by each of them to use a charger designed for them. No more than 10 amps.
    I bought a anti gravity 780 amp unit. It's only 7lbs and can be mounted in any fashion. I also bought their charger. They have a cool battery monitor that after downloading their free ap i can see my batteries state of charge from my phone. It also has a start test I can perform through my phone. The battery can be jump started as long as the voltage is above ten amps. A conventional battery charger can be used with caution. No more than a ten amp charge and it must be disconnected when a full charge is reached. I just bought this so I don't have much experience with it. It does start my blown 498 ci hemi with ease. The size of the battery will determine the reserve it has.
    The cheaper batteries wont have the over/ under charge protection. I hope this helps.
  26. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,694

    from Berry, AL

    My parts guy told me there were only two or three battery manufacturers left in the US. The conventional lead acid batteries are all pretty much the same except for the labels. Some of the premium ones may have a few more or thicker plates. He got his info from his distributor. He sells two brands, Exide and Champion, they are the same battery, just different stickers, and the Exide is a few dollars more. I think he told me Exide made the Diehard for Sears, but I may be mistaken on that, been a while since we talked about it.
  27. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,262

    from So Cal

  28. Was 196 #'s
    Joined: Dec 18, 2016
    Posts: 63

    Was 196 #'s

    Over the years with the Odyssey’s I’ve had I’ve noticed that they don’t do well if they’ve been subjected to full discharge by a small parasitic drain, or by an incident or two of leaving the lights on (my kids, not me, welcome to my world).

    They don’t want to come back to full charge ever after that, battery minder / desulfator or not. The one in the car now doesn’t want to go to more than perhaps 12.3 or 12.4V, so ii cranks adequately, but doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies that there is as much reserve there as I’d like. Hence I’m debating what the next battery is going to be. Sealed, not vented, is a must, as it is in a trunk.

    Is a lightweight Braille AGM any better than a possibly heavier Odyssey?
  29. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,411

    Bandit Billy

    I cant argue about the expense. The one I bought for the truck a month ago I got through a buddy at cost. Still shelled out 150 bones for it. Woof.
  30. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 5,654


    Cost vs conience question...

    Choose what and why?

    I/e a DD vs a once a month cruiser vs a every 6 month fire it up.

    Just curious

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