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Old 12-14-2008, 02:26 PM   #1
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Battery choices

Hey, folks, I had some questions regarding batteries. (I did do a search, but found only snippets of info here and there, with no detailed discussion of the pros/cons of different brands.) The one that’s dying on me (it came with the car--- a 2001 S---when bought in ’06) is an Interstate “MegaTron Plus”. I considered switching to one of the lighter weight batteries, like Braille (see http://www.tirerack.com/accessories/brand.jsp?brand=Braille), but I started to wonder what the trade-offs would be in dropping a few pounds. It looks like one is warranty: most “standard” batteries are warranted for several years (pro rated after the first 2-3), but Braille’s is only fully warranted for a year, pro rated up to 2 years. Generally speaking, how long do they actually last? Has anyone gone with a Deka (see http://www.remybattery.com/Products/AGM-European-Performance-Battery__9AGM48.aspx) ? What did you think of it? I live in NE Ohio where it gets pretty cold (but not super cold), and I do drive some in the winter. I’m thinkin’ the super-light batteries aren’t going to be a good choice for me. They have one that’s 11.5 lbs that seems like might work well (see http://www.tirerack.com/accessories/detail.jsp?ID=28&cat=Batteries).

If I decide not to worry about the weight, is there much of an advantage to brands like Optima or Odyssey over an AutoZone Duralast or another Interstate? (For example, do they appreciably handle weeks/months of disuse better?)

I guess I’d just like to get input as to what people have used as replacement batteries (specific model where possible) and what were the pros/cons (price, reliability/longevity, ease of installation, weight, etc.)

(BTW, Brucelee---your preference for Costco batteries @ $60 is duly noted. )

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Old 12-14-2008, 03:55 PM   #2
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http://mike.focke.googlepages.com/batteries

Optima all the way.
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Old 12-14-2008, 05:25 PM   #3
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I replaced mine this summer with a Duralast Gold from AutoZone. Reason? Price, about a hundred bucks and warranty. If ever something happens I have the peace of mind that help is an AutoZone away. BTW, the replacement battery is huge!
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Old 12-14-2008, 06:18 PM   #4
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In OH I think you'll end up DOA more often than running w/ a Braile especially during the colder months. The OEM Moll IIRC is only 360 CCA so you have lots of options but in colder climates I think the Braille will leave you stranded...

Use Mike Focke's link above as he nicely compiled a lot of options
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Old 12-14-2008, 09:34 PM   #5
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I wouldn't touch another OEM battery. They weigh a ton and cost twice as much $ as one from Sam's Club.

If you want to go performance check out Deka batteries,they are the ones that make the Braille batteries,but then you have to buy/build a custom mount.
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Old 12-15-2008, 03:27 AM   #6
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I started with a 11 lb Braille battery, which worked fine for starting the car year-round. But I was also using it to power two outboard amps for the cars stereo and it did not quite have the current when the subwoofer was really booming. I called up the folks at Braille and told them about it and they said no problem, send the battery back and we will send you their 15 lb battery for just the difference in price of the batteries. I was very impressed by their customer service.

The 15 lb Braille works fine both starting the car and driving the outboard amps. The coldest starts I have had have been in the low 20's and it pops right over. I would think if you got their 17 lb battery, which they rate for winter use, you would do fine and save a few lbs. If you are interested in saving weight for your car, it is one of the very cheapest ways to go.

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Old 12-15-2008, 05:10 AM   #7
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Before I bought my 98 Boxster, the previous owner installed an AutoZone battery. Its big with lots of cranking AMPs. Your in Ohio, It gets cold..... don't skimp on the size.

And I have AutoZone batteries in all my cars, and they start when its zero or below (this is from someone who owns an ice scrapper and a snow blower).
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Old 12-15-2008, 06:15 AM   #8
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I replaced my original battery with the big a$$ OEM Moll three years ago...next time I'll do something different. I have an Optima Red Top in my 911, which has been flawless for the last five years.
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:09 AM   #9
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Quote:

"Optima all the way." Posted by ekam.

Question: Did you have to pick up one of the mounting plates to install? The one in the mike.focke battery discussion site was through an outfit called Yellow Dog Motorsports. It's aluminum and runs $50. I believe I read somewhere that there's a hard plastic one for cheaper, but I haven't been able to locate it yet.



Quote:

"The 15 lb Braille works fine both starting the car and driving the outboard amps. The coldest starts I have had have been in the low 20's and it pops right over. I would think if you got their 17 lb battery, which they rate for winter use, you would do fine and save a few lbs. If you are interested in saving weight for your car, it is one of the very cheapest ways to go."

Posted by edevlin.

Question: Sounds tempting, Ed, but with the shorter warranty, do you think you'll be replacing yours every 2-3 years or so? Was installation simple, requiring any adapter? Where'd you get yours?
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:44 PM   #10
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"Question: Sounds tempting, Ed, but with the shorter warranty, do you think you'll be replacing yours every 2-3 years or so? Was installation simple, requiring any adapter? Where'd you get yours?"

I got mine directly from Braille. I have only had the car for 2.5 years and have not had to worry about replacement yet. I got mine a couple of years ago and the mounting options were not what they are now. There a number of good inexpensive mounting solutions at the Braille website.

Mine was a bother to mount back when, because those mounting options were not available. I am using parts from a Porsche Turbo in my Boxster, that is the exhaust bracket from a Turbo was modded to hold my battery in place (see photo).

Ed

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Old 12-17-2008, 07:10 PM   #11
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I bought the same brand but a little upgrade from the stock MOLL.
MOLL M3PLUS 830-85.

Replacing battery in boxster was such as pain especially when I have all the amps in the front trunk, not to mention lack of muscle to lift the battery from the side! I ended up placing the bulk of soft car cover on the top the amps and slowly climbed over with the heavy battery on both hands.
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Old 12-17-2008, 07:31 PM   #12
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put an AutoZone Duralast in mine this evening.
seemed lighter than OEM one and had no troubles with install.

cost me 89$
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:25 PM   #13
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The small batteries are nice if your racing and looking for quicker times. But is the trade off worth it? Can you quantify the benefits? Our cars didn't come the size battery it has for no reason.

Think of your battery as a bucket of water and the alternator as a small facet. Now all of electrical components all take some "water" out of that bucket and the facet tries to keep it full. I don't know about your car but I have heated seats, Bose amp, electric windows/mirrors and seats, deployable spoiler, all the electronic hardware (ECU, ABS, PSM, fuel pump) and the convertible top. I'm sure I missed a few things but thats allot of drain on a battery. It's all about electrical capacity. Don't forget your putting a strain on the alternator trying to keep up...if you have a small battery.

I feel if you want to save some weight in your Boxster, go on a diet. Don't sacrifice you car.
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Old 12-18-2008, 12:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxonalden
The small batteries are nice if your racing and looking for quicker times. But is the trade off worth it? Can you quantify the benefits? Our cars didn't come the size battery it has for no reason.

Think of your battery as a bucket of water and the alternator as a small facet. Now all of electrical components all take some "water" out of that bucket and the facet tries to keep it full. I don't know about your car but I have heated seats, Bose amp, electric windows/mirrors and seats, deployable spoiler, all the electronic hardware (ECU, ABS, PSM, fuel pump) and the convertible top. I'm sure I missed a few things but thats allot of drain on a battery. It's all about electrical capacity. Don't forget your putting a strain on the alternator trying to keep up...if you have a small battery.

I feel if you want to save some weight in your Boxster, go on a diet. Don't sacrifice you car.
No need to go on diet...I bought midtronics PBT-300 to test the battery just to avoid having to go through a diet. That way you'll know for sure how much electricity that your system eats and how much power that the battery has.

Porsche Tequipment charger also seem to do its job everytime I leave the car in the garage for more than 3 days. It gives me a peace of mind and I don't think I can live without it!
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Old 12-18-2008, 03:50 AM   #15
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Amazing! People want to install a light weight battery, then they install 200 pounds of stereo upgrades: amps, speakers, head units. Probably drive with the golf clubs in the trunk too.

Hey, go ultra light weight and Sears will sell you a lawn mower battery. It will start the car, but will be fried in 6 months... but you'll save weight.
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Old 12-18-2008, 05:55 AM   #16
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I agree, you'll never notice the weight difference. I didn't notice any change in lap times in my Formula Ford racer after losing 10 pounds. This car only weighs 1100# with driver, so that's equivilent to a 25# change on a Boxster. (And yes, I run competitive lap times, so it's not because I'm slow!)
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Old 12-18-2008, 06:37 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxonalden
Think of your battery as a bucket of water and the alternator as a small facet. Now all of electrical components all take some "water" out of that bucket and the facet tries to keep it full. I don't know about your car but I have heated seats, Bose amp, electric windows/mirrors and seats, deployable spoiler, all the electronic hardware (ECU, ABS, PSM, fuel pump) and the convertible top. I'm sure I missed a few things but thats allot of drain on a battery. It's all about electrical capacity. Don't forget your putting a strain on the alternator trying to keep up...if you have a small battery.
A small correction... the battery is used to start the car. Once running, the alternator supplies *all* the current to run the car, and it also recharges the battery. The battery is simply a storage device used for starting and for supplying power when the alternator isn't spooled up.

Having a smaller battery will not put a bigger strain on the alternator. After all, it still takes the same amount of energy to start the car, so the alternator has to replace the same amount of energy back in the battery after the start. And it's already sized to handle all those electrical items you listed.

If you add big amps for your stereo, and you run them at loud, thumping levels all the time, you may exceed the alternator's output capability. The fix there is to upgrade the alternator. A bigger battery is a patch at best. If you're exceeding the alternator's output capability on a nearly constant basis, the battery will eventually be drained, but that's an extreme case.
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:09 AM   #18
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"Amazing! People want to install a light weight battery, then they install 200 pounds of stereo upgrades: amps, speakers, head units. Probably drive with the golf clubs in the trunk too."


To each his own. I like my stereo and a light car. My outboard amps, subwoofer, head unit and lightweight battery weigh less than the factory battery. That way I save a few lbs and still have the audio rig I want.

Saving weight does make our cars quicker and more responsive, but how much weight is necessary to lose, and what are each of us willing to go through to save it? I dont know, seems like I can notice 40-50 lbs weight savings on how the car handles, and I can easily feel 100 lbs. Try putting a 50 lb bag of dogfood in the passengers seat a see if you can notice a difference in performance.

If someone is autocrossing and has an older car, to put a lightweight battery in and if they lose their spare tire, thats about 50 lbs savings that most could feel. Is it worth the bother and expense, depends on the owner. Owning these cars is a hobby/passion for many of us, and messing around with them is part of the game.

Is it cost effective to try to increase performance by losing weight? Mostly it is not, a battery is probably the cheapest way to lose a fair amount of weight. Most of the ways available to save weight are quite expensive and would not make sense to many:

Lose spare-if you have one 0K 25 lbs

Light weight flywheel 1K l5 lbs

Full exhaust system 4K 25 lbs

Lightweight seats 2.5K 48 lbs

Lightweight battery <0.2k 20+ lbs


Looks like you could pretty much put a larger engine in the car for the cost of all of those mods. But hey, if thats what floats your boat, so be it.....


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Old 12-18-2008, 10:31 AM   #19
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If I was ever to race / autocross, I would make the car loose weight:

As small of a battery I could install - yes, a lawnmower battery
Remove the easily pulled carpet - including engine covers carpet (no tools req'd)
No spare or tools
1/4 tank of fuel - max
Only a drivers license and insurance card
One key
Pull the wind deflectors (un-clip)
Nothing in the pockets, doors or trunks
Remove the radio display

And I feel like wrenching: no Pass seat (4 bolts, need a star socket set)

The battery would take the most time to set up, everything else could be stripped in an hour. When you race, weight is everything.... if you don't race, set the car up to be comfortable. You have decide on which side of the track you want to live.
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Old 12-18-2008, 11:16 AM   #20
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True, as part of a greater weight loss program it would make sense. 50-100# is worthwile.

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