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Old 08-01-2007, 12:34 PM   #1
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Braille Batteries - Customer Service

I have been using a Braille lightweight battery for about 6 months now. I got it as part of the weight loss program for my base 2000 Boxster. Loose the spare tire, about 30 lbs saved, replace stock-type battery with the lightweight 15 lb Braille save another 30 lbs or so, depending on the brand of battery your boxster is sporting. That 60 lbs is weight that is easy to feel.

If you want to see what it is like, go to walmart and get a 60 lb bag of dog food (a regular activity around our house), place it in the front trunk and do some spirited driving on some local twisties. Then take the bag of dog food out and drive the same course, I was pretty impressed by what the weight savings does for the car.

Anyway, I have added some audio amps to my Boxster and when the music is VERY LOUD and the headlights are on, I noticed a little dimming of the lights to the music. I put my Optima red-top battery back in my Boxster and the dimming was gone. I suspected that the lightweight Braille battery did not quite have the current for the extra audio gear and lights. That being said, the Braille had plenty of juice to crank the car in very cold winter weather and for most normal uses a battery gets.

I called up Braille and explained what was happening and I was amazed at how helpful and responsive they were. They first said that even their 15 lb battery should be able to work in my application without dimming the lights and they would be pleased to send me a new battery for free. I would just have to return the original battery when the new one landed.

I then asked if I could get their larger 21 lb (550 cold cranking amps) battery instead of the one I had. They said no problem, it would just cost me 10.00 (the difference between the retail cost of my original 15 lb battery and the higher amperage 21 lb battery). Not only that, but they took care of the whole transaction in one day and included the fedex tracking number to show that my new, larger battery was already in transet.

I think that was the best customer service I have ever received on a product. I dont know if you are in the market for a lightweight battery to make your Boxster a little more responsive, but if you are, based on my experience with their product and customer service, I can sure recommend Braille batteries (http://www.brailleauto.com/productcart/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=17),

Ed

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Old 08-01-2007, 12:55 PM   #2
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What's the reserve capacity of the new battery you are getting? I preffer the Optima.
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Old 08-01-2007, 12:59 PM   #3
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Here are the specs:

Weight: 21 lbs
Length: 6.6
Width: 5.2
Height: 6.8
Pulse Cranking Amps: 1380
Cranking Amps: 742
Cold Cranking Amps: 550
Amp Hour Rating: 31


More can be found at this link: http://www.brailleauto.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=17&idproduct=7

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Old 08-01-2007, 01:04 PM   #4
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Thanks for posting. It's so rare to hear good customer service stories anymore.
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Old 03-11-2008, 07:33 AM   #5
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This was the worst case I found when searching on Braille batteries, and the customer support only adds confidence.

The Red Top Optima in my 914 is dead, and I'm about to pull the trigger on Brailles for both my Pcars.

Here's Tire Rack's listings for those who might want it.

http://www.tirerack.com/accessories/brands/braille.jsp

Suncoast also sells them, and I have not cost compared yet.

For 986s - any reversing issues as like the Optima 94R?

Last chance to give me any reason not to go Braille.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:30 AM   #6
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Good write-up!

Couple of questions -

Does this switch require any modification to the existing, or replacement of, the Battery Tray?

Do you need to install longer Battery Cables as with some other type of Batteries?

Did you happen to ask them if there are any charging issues for these batteries with the standard 120-Amp Bosch Alternator?

I ask because some Deep Cycle AGM batteries can overwork an alternator, sometimes leading to early alternator failure. Also, what is the optimum charging voltage? The Bosch is generally around 14.5 volts (though you can alter this with an internal voltage regulator swap), but some batteries prefer more/less voltage (true Gel batteries prefer much less).
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Old 03-11-2008, 01:28 PM   #7
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"Does this switch require any modification to the existing, or replacement of, the Battery Tray?"

Yes, I started with a temp solution using foam blocks and a home-made strap to keep the battery in place. I eventually got a strap from a 911 Turbo exhaust system and had a strap made as a permanent solution, you can see a pic of it on my webpage.

"Do you need to install longer Battery Cables as with some other type of Batteries?"

No, but its close, there is a little slack with cables, but not much.

"Did you happen to ask them if there are any charging issues for these batteries with the standard 120-Amp Bosch Alternator?"

No, but I have been using their batteries for over a year to good effect.

Ed

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Old 03-11-2008, 03:03 PM   #8
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Braille batteries are the same as Deka. Just repackaged. It seems Braille Cust Serv is very good, so the higher price (about 2x as expensive) may be worth it. I have the 11 lb battery in my track car. Supposedly it optimally charges at 12.5 volts or so, so I may be overstressing the battery. However, it isn't my daily driver so it may be fine. If not, the Deka replacement is a lot cheaper.

I've been using a "modified" hold down from Pep Boys as an interim solution. I just ordered a great looking hold down made specifically for Braille/Deka batteries from spturbo.com last weekend. It should be a simple matter of drilling 2 holes into the battery tray and I'm good to go.

I did have to get a longer + battery cable, but that is very easy to do. It's a simple 2 bolt affair using a $7 cable from Pep Boys. One terminal on the firewall and the other on the battery.
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Old 03-11-2008, 05:31 PM   #9
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I suspect this won't fix your light dimming problem though, but it's good to hear about the great customer service. I've been kicking around the idea of a light weight battery...

If you crank your stereo system and it's drawing a lot of juice even the best battery may cause light dimming problems. Have you considered a capacitor? Maybe I'm old school or something, but in '96 and '99 when I competed in car stereo we always used a 1 farad or 2 farad capacitor to eliminate this problem. I've still got a 1 farad cap I'll probably use in my next system.
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Old 03-11-2008, 05:32 PM   #10
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@heyjae,

Do you have pics of your Deka battery installed? What model # is it? How much was it?
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Old 03-11-2008, 06:32 PM   #11
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@edevlin - Thanks for the info, it's a big help.

@heyjae - Thanks. I read that Braille batteries are just repackaged Dekas too - the VW guys swear by them. I read that using many of these batteries without changing the alternator's voltage regulator will constantly overcharge them. Swapping the voltage regulator on the Bosch alternator is easy - it's just a snap-in modular unit.

@Kirk - I agree. But, I have read that the use of a Cap is unecessary and actually further increases the draw on the Battery/Alternator.

Essentially, the article said, that the Cap discharges some energy to meet the demands of the amplifier, but then recharges itself immediately, adding to the strain already placed on the battery to begin with. The guy who produced the 1st Car Audio Caps is now advising against their use for that reason.

Most high-end Audiophiles now use additional batteries and/or custom alternators with increased capacity. There are also devices for sale which allow two batteries to be used, but cut one battery out if the draw becomes too great in order to protect it for car starting, accessory power demands and such.

Space in the Boxster is limited, so I think a custom higher capacity alternator has more appeal and practicality than either additional batteries or Caps.

But, I better be careful here or I may incur the wrath of Jack G... j/k Jack
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Old 03-11-2008, 07:18 PM   #12
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@ Lil Bastard - thanks for the tip. I'll look into changing the voltage regulator.

@ Blinkwatt - I don't have any pictures right now. Once I install the new hold down, I'll take a pic. I actually got the Braille battery. I only learned recently that it is the same as the Deka. The Braille was $160. I think the Deka is less than half that. This thread has a lot of good info: http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=2353060
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Old 03-11-2008, 08:41 PM   #13
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One member on the VW forum post;

They can get the terminal adapters as well, you just have to ask.

Does this mean that anyone using the lightweight motorcycle batteries has to buy some sort of terminal adapters?

If so does anyone know which exactly we are supposed to buy?
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Old 03-12-2008, 01:14 AM   #14
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"Most high-end Audiophiles now use additional batteries and/or custom alternators with increased capacity. There are also devices for sale which allow two batteries to be used, but cut one battery out if the draw becomes too great in order to protect it for car starting, accessory power demands and such.

Space in the Boxster is limited, so I think a custom higher capacity alternator has more appeal and practicality than either additional batteries or Caps. "

For what its worth, I am using the larger size of the Barille battery and have had no problem using it to drive two large outboard amps for the speakers and subwoofer to unnecessarily loud levels. No lights dimming on heavy bass lines, so I am pretty pleased by their performance for audio applications.

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Old 03-12-2008, 05:22 PM   #15
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Does anyone know where I can buy a custom battery tray to match the Deka battery?
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Old 03-15-2008, 01:57 PM   #16
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Does using these batteries require longer battery cables?
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Old 03-15-2008, 02:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edevlin
I have been using a Braille lightweight battery for about 6 months now. I got it as part of the weight loss program for my base 2000 Boxster. Loose the spare tire, about 30 lbs saved, replace stock-type battery with the lightweight 15 lb Braille save another 30 lbs or so, depending on the brand of battery your boxster is sporting. That 60 lbs is weight that is easy to feel.

If you want to see what it is like, go to walmart and get a 60 lb bag of dog food (a regular activity around our house), place it in the front trunk and do some spirited driving on some local twisties. Then take the bag of dog food out and drive the same course, I was pretty impressed by what the weight savings does for the car.

Anyway, I have added some audio amps to my Boxster and when the music is VERY LOUD and the headlights are on, I noticed a little dimming of the lights to the music. I put my Optima red-top battery back in my Boxster and the dimming was gone. I suspected that the lightweight Braille battery did not quite have the current for the extra audio gear and lights. That being said, the Braille had plenty of juice to crank the car in very cold winter weather and for most normal uses a battery gets.

I called up Braille and explained what was happening and I was amazed at how helpful and responsive they were. They first said that even their 15 lb battery should be able to work in my application without dimming the lights and they would be pleased to send me a new battery for free. I would just have to return the original battery when the new one landed.

I then asked if I could get their larger 21 lb (550 cold cranking amps) battery instead of the one I had. They said no problem, it would just cost me 10.00 (the difference between the retail cost of my original 15 lb battery and the higher amperage 21 lb battery). Not only that, but they took care of the whole transaction in one day and included the fedex tracking number to show that my new, larger battery was already in transet.

I think that was the best customer service I have ever received on a product. I dont know if you are in the market for a lightweight battery to make your Boxster a little more responsive, but if you are, based on my experience with their product and customer service, I can sure recommend Braille batteries (http://www.brailleauto.com/productcart/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=17),

Ed

How do you feel the 1.5-2% reduction in weight?
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Old 03-15-2008, 03:55 PM   #18
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"How do you feel the 1.5-2% reduction in weight?"

I can feel the difference in how the car handles. As I said in the previous post, put a 50 lb bag of dog food in the front boot and see how the car feels when cornering agressively. I am not sure what the total weight savings is that I am running these days, something like:

20 lbs cat-back exhaust system

15 lbs lightweight flywheel

25 lbs battery

30 lbs spare tire

Thats about 90 lbs which is over a 3% weight reduction for my base boxster. Especially in the 2.5 and 2.7L cars, I suspect most folks would find a reduction in weight of that sort translates into improved performance when driving in a spirited fashion. I know my car feels noticably less responsive with a passenger in the car with me. Now, if I could only spring for some lightweight seats, I could save another 40 lbs or so.....

Ed

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Old 03-15-2008, 08:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edevlin
"How do you feel the 1.5-2% reduction in weight?"

I can feel the difference in how the car handles. As I said in the previous post, put a 50 lb bag of dog food in the front boot and see how the car feels when cornering agressively. I am not sure what the total weight savings is that I am running these days, something like:

20 lbs cat-back exhaust system

15 lbs lightweight flywheel

25 lbs battery

30 lbs spare tire

Thats about 90 lbs which is over a 3% weight reduction for my base boxster. Especially in the 2.5 and 2.7L cars, I suspect most folks would find a reduction in weight of that sort translates into improved performance when driving in a spirited fashion. I know my car feels noticably less responsive with a passenger in the car with me. Now, if I could only spring for some lightweight seats, I could save another 40 lbs or so.....

Ed

I don't disagree at all with your philosophy, but I'm not sure you've drawn the correct analogy.

The OEM battery weighs 50lbs., the Braille/Deka 15 or 21 lbs. So you're looking at a difference of 35/29lbs., not 50lbs.

Adding the 50lb. pet food bag (with an OEM battery) would equal OEM Curb Weight + 50, the car and it's suspension was not designed for this, so an adverse effect on handling would not be surprising. And, not at all the same as Curb Weight (-) 35 or 29lbs.

The only way for this to be valid is to already have the lightweight battery and add an additional 35 or 29lbs. and note any difference in handling. Plus, you have to be sure and add this weight on the centerline, just as the battery does. so you're not weight biasing one side or the other.

With a weight distribution of near 50/50, you have to be careful to balance the weight savings between the front and rear axles in terms of handling so you maintain the same weight distribution. Also, if you subtract many lbs. overall, you need to look at your tire pressures because you've changed the maximum load. If you don't address this, you're driving on over inflated tires.
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:31 AM   #20
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"I don't disagree at all with your philosophy, but I'm not sure you've drawn the correct analogy. The OEM battery weighs 50lbs., the Braille/Deka 15 or 21 lbs. So you're looking at a difference of 35/29lbs., not 50lbs."

Sorry, I was unclear on the 50 lb thing. The spare tire weighs about 29 lbs, so removing it and replacing the battery is where I came up with that number.

"Adding the 50lb. pet food bag (with an OEM battery) would equal OEM Curb Weight + 50, the car and it's suspension was not designed for this, so an adverse effect on handling would not be surprising. And, not at all the same as Curb Weight (-) 35 or 29lbs."

I was also concerned about the difference in weight in the front of the car. But I also lost 30-40 lbs in the rear with the flywheel and exhaust. I also had the car's suspension dialed into the new weight as best as possible when I installed Bilstein coilovers. All I noticed is the car is quite responsive and seems to have good balance.

"Also, if you subtract many lbs. overall, you eed to look at your tire pressures because you've changed the maximum load. If you don't address this, you're driving on over inflated tires."

Good point, I continue to play with tire pressures. I tend to run higher pressures when I am using the wheelset with Michellins on them. I have been running those higher pressures with my winter Falken tires (to try to get rid of sidewall flex) and am seeing more wear in the center of the tire.

Ed

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