Orbital Extreme Duty Battery. Click image to enlarge
By Glen Konoroski
With the ever-increasing demands put on our vehicles’ electrical systems, getting the right battery is essential. One of the new and better technologies to come along in batteries is the spiral cell battery. In most cases, these heavy duty batteries offer twice the normal life span and 30 per cent more cold cranking performance.
To test the qualities of these batteries I tested an Orbital Extreme Duty Battery. Besides the fact that this battery incorporates the spiral cell technology, the “Orbital” is also a deep cycle battery as well. This means that it can be drained to almost no power a multitude of times before the battery will ever every loose its ability to hold a charge.
What makes a spiral cell battery different is that it uses a high purity lead/tin alloy tightly wrapped in a glass fibre. Like a paper towel, this configuration absorbs the acid in the battery allowing for better flow of electricity when charged. As well, the battery is highly resistant to vibration (17 times greater). This technology means the battery never needs water, and in the case of accidental damage, will not leak. This battery will also charge faster, won’t freeze, and doesn’t smell if mounted in the interior of the vehicle.
In my first test, a friend needed a battery for his off road vehicle so the Orbital was put into action. After a few weeks of rough off road jumps, water forging and general horse play, the Orbital was washed and looked and worked as good as new. During the winter the battery was left out in freezing weather, discharged and used as a booster on a dozen or so cars and again it worked and held a charge like the day I received it. When the orbital was run down it accepted a charge faster than my other conventional lead acid battery.
My last test consisted of placing the battery on its side and then driving for several weeks, again it worked just as well on its side. I then stored the battery on its side for several more weeks, again no leaks or problems.
A friend who has a large automotive shop told me he ordered a Spiral Wound battery and forgot about it for a year and a half. When he remembered it in an emergency situation he pulled it out and it started a very cold engine.
All those I know who have used and tested the Orbital were very impressed; we all agreed this truly is one amazing piece of technology.
The Orbital Extreme Duty Battery lists at $200. If you don’t need the deep cycle feature, you can opt for the Motomaster Eliminator Spiral Cell battery starting at just $170.
Update, November, 2007: After I completed the test, one of the test batteries was hit which caused the case to crack. I did a quick repair and over the past six months it is still working. It may be not as good as it once was, but it still works.