By: Jon Row
The latest Optimate 3 charger-tender marketed by Honda and others, replaces Optimate’s 3+, yes you read that right, and offers an upgrade from previous models in the series. The new Optimate 3 is now a “global” 100-240v capable device with multiple functions that can revive deteriorated 12 volt (only) AGM, Gel and refillable lead acid batteries. Its pulse, desulfation and charging functions can reportedly bring neglected batteries from as low as 2 volts back to life depending on the extent of damage. A sophisticated floating charge & monitoring system performs hourly checks and timed charge intervals to help get your batteries through severe winters or extended storage periods.
This Honda branded Optimate 3’s circuitry uses a 7-step sequence of diagnostic/ charge programs to detect and deter sulfates. It promises to “automatically recover, monitor and maintain all types of 3.5 to 32 amp-hour Power Sports batteries and breathe new life into most neglected batteries.” The unit features lighted indicators to tell you the stage it’s in and what it’s doing but essentially it’s “plug and play”. To restore really badly deteriorated batteries the unit can charge at up to 20 volts. To do that it requires you disconnect the battery from your vehicle. The boost system protectively will not activate if it senses any small current draw from a clock, computer or other sensitive electronics on the machine. The advanced design has subtle niceties like mounting holes to help discourage placement on a seat or other heat sensitive areas and moron-resistant reverse polarity protection. The charger is not weather proof and should only be used indoors or in protected environments. It’s also not for NiCd, NiMH or Lithium Ion batteries.
We’ve used an older Tecmate Optimate for several years and have been happy with how it kept our bike batts up. We also use an older, simpler Yuasa tender on a trailer battery that typically goes ten months a year with no use. After three years the battery was still functional but could not reach full charge “float” status on the Yuasa’s indicator. Even after a month of charging with our older Optimate it was still giving a “weak” reading. We subsequently hooked it up to the Optimate 3 and after one 24-hour cycle had a “good condition” reading restored. Reverting back to the two older chargers now shows “good” readings as well. Nice! Owner reviews on the web echo our experience. Other powersports OEMs also endorse Optimate’s products for battery care so the level of confidence is obviously good.
Packaging includes a pair of insulated battery clips and fused eyelet cables with convenient protective cap. Both connect via standard SAE type plugs to the charger output cable. Optional extended output cables, adaptors and a variety of useful accessories can be seen at: www.optimate1.com.
SRP: $59.95 at Honda Powersports dealers.
Warranty: Three years
Store locator and more at: prohondaoils.com/merchandise/battery-chargers