Standard chargers deliver charge without checking condition of the battery, the red and green indication lights simply indicate if the charger is delivering charge or has stopped delivering charge. No indication if the battery could retain charge or not. A common situation experienced by many, a neglected battery has become sulphated and cannot hold any charge, but a standard charger will indicate within minutes that battery is fully charged and ready!
OptiMate tests at connection to decide if the battery needs saving first or the battery can immediately receive full current charging.
After bulk & pulsed absorption charging it tests (verifies) to see if it has charged the battery sufficiently.
Finally, before it goes into long term maintenance float program it tests to see how well the battery retains voltage ( charge).
OptiMate indicator lights warn the user of battery problems. Some models also indicate battery condition for 10 seconds before charging starts, so that the user can decide, "Does my battery need charging or not?".
UNIQUE MAINTENANCE PROGRAM
Most standard chargers use a cycling charge when maintaining a battery. They charge the battery to full, switch off and allow the battery voltage to drop to 12.6-12.9V (depending on charger brand), then switch back on and once again re-charges the battery back up to full even if the battery does not need it.
This process causes heat due to overcharging that results in acid stratification (acid concentrates at the bottom of the battery, water at the top) causing the battery to gas easily and lose electrolyte that cannot be replaced in a modern sealed battery.
An obvious conclusion: when a battery is fully charged, the charger should know when to stop and not just keep on charging blindly!
OptiMate does it differently. OptiMate checks the battery every hour and delivers only the charge lost since the last check. Battery remains 100% fully charged, but never over-charged. SAFE LONG TERM MAINTENANCE VIDEO
SAVES 'DEAD' BATTERIES
Standard chargers cannot recover 'dead' batteries. Most cannot detect the low voltage of a deep discharged battery and even if they do, they do not have the program to break up the sulfate preventing charge from reaching the plates.
Desulfating OptiMate models start charging from as low as 1/2 a Volt (OptiMate 3 & 5 start at 2 Volts), then TESTS to determine how much desulfating the battery needs.
OptiMate then applies 'first aid', a higher voltage to get current flowing, following by a pulsing reconditioning charge for up to 2 hours, to recover the battery to a state where it can accept full charge again.
EQUALIZES BATTERY CELLS
When a lead-acid (or lithium) battery has been fully charged with a standard charger, it does not mean each cell retains exactly the same voltage. Once the cell with the lowest voltage is discharged the battery cannot deliver useful power even if there is still power in the other cells.
Standard battery chargers do not have an equalization mode. Some use a simple method of applying a high voltage across the battery for a fixed time or until current draw is low. Continuous high voltage cause gassing in cells that are already fully charged.
OptiMate's unique pulsing final charge (absorption) mode never holds the voltage at the highest level, for a limited period it drives voltage up to maximum, then allows voltage to fall back, then repeats, until all cells are at a similar voltage.
The battery is fully charged and stronger, delivers its rated power.