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General Articles - Product Reviews

Exide Select Orbital Deep Cycle & Starting

Article written by Moab Man

Date Added: 05/24/2008

A stock battery is great for a stock vehicle. Add some off-road lights, winch, maybe a kicking stereo system, and it doesn?t take long before you?re exceeding the capabilities of your stock battery.

In the past we have always upgraded to Optima batteries. But when the time came to upgrade the batteries on a couple of our project Jeeps, we decided to use this opportunity to test out the competition.

Enter the Exide Orbital. This battery uses a gel material instead of glass mat like the Optima. And like the Optima, this battery can be installed on its side with no leakage due to the sealed case.
We started off by reading all the information provided with the battery so that we could properly evaluate it and use it. One interesting point is that you can not fast-charge them. Doing so will split the gel leading to eventual failure. Other than that one caution, install the battery and forget about it.
We forgot about both for six months until one of the two batteries stranded a vehicle. This caused us to scratch our heads and wonder what the heck we did, or left on, to have drained the battery.
At about the ten month point both batteries seemed to not quite have the punch they once did. However, both vehicles always started (with that one exception) and seemed to be okay.

The slow starting continued right up until the 17 and 18 month point. Both batteries failed and would quickly discharge in a day or two. Just for grins we slow-charged one of the batteries, and then promptly removed it from the vehicle. Sitting on the bench-top we continued to check the voltage over the course of a week. Every 24 hours we were losing .75 to 1 volt per day with nothing connected to it to draw power. Room temperature was a constant 70°.

Final Thoughts

If we had purchased these batteries from the same store, we could understand it was possible there was a bad batch of batteries. These batteries were purchased from two different states about three weeks apart.

The batteries do have a 48 month replacement warranty, and we could have had both batteries warranted, but was it worth it? Sure we dropped $360 in total for these batteries and would definitely prefer a free warranty replacement to buying new batteries. Unfortunately we rely too much on our vehicles and decided to cut our losses.

A couple years back, one of our readers had a similar experience with the Exide Orbital batteries, but we figured his was a fluke. I guess now we know better?

MOABJEEPER Magazine tried to contact Exide for comment but had no luck getting through the corporate defenses.

Put $15-20 of your money back in your pocket and buy the Optima. The Yellow Top in one of our TJs is on its second Jeep and still going strong after almost four years.

Our Thank You's!

Thank you for reading MOABJEEPER Magazine.

MOABJEEPER Magazine did NOT actually dispose of the battery in the trash. Always return batteries to auto parts stores that accept them for proper recycling.


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