Take a peek in your typical adventure rider garage and you’re likely to see a second motorcycle for a different style of riding, maybe a couple dirt bikes for the kids or perhaps a family ATV. Keeping up with maintenance on all of those vehicles can be a chore though. What’s worse is realizing you have a flat battery the morning of your big ride.
One way to reduce your maintenance task list and ensure your wheels are rolling at the specified meet up time, is to keep those batteries fully charged and healthy with a battery maintainer. The Optimate 2 DUO makes that easier by allowing you to charge and maintain multiple vehicles simultaneously from one device. It works with both Lead-Acid (STD, AGM, GEL) or Lithium (LiFePO4) batteries for motorcycles, boats or cars, and it automatically senses and adapts to give each battery the optimized charge it requires. Better yet, it has built-in safety mechanisms to ensure you can just plug it and forget it, without concerns about damaging your battery over time.
At ADV Pulse, we often have several project bikes in the garage that may sit for long periods of time waiting for parts, maintenance or repairs. If they sit too long, batteries risk becoming degraded or damaged beyond recovery. To help keep our stable healthy, we decided to give the Optimate 2 DUO battery maintainer a try for both quick charging and battery maintenance. The device comes in two different versions, allowing you to charge either two or four bikes simultaneously. For this review we tested the Optimate 2 DUO x 2 (two bank) version.
How It Performed
We often have a mixture of bikes in the garage with either lithium or lead-acid batteries, so it’s nice to just be able to throw any bike on the Optimate 2 DUO without worrying about damage that could be caused by not using a type-specific charger. Each charging bank works independently of each other, so if you plug in a lead-acid and a lithium together, each bank will go through a different charging routine specific to the battery’s needs.
The Optimate 2 Duo starts with an initial detection phase where it determines the type of battery and its state of charge. Initially, if the battery is determined to be defective, all charging is suspended and a red fault light blinks. We threw a couple of known dead batteries on the charger and it either showed no signs of life or detected a fault. In order to be detected by the Optimate, batteries need to have at least 4 volts of charge.
One dead battery we tested, which was still fairly new, was so drained we were concerned it might not be recognized. Upon putting it on the charger, it didn’t register anything. So we connected a second ‘good’ battery to the discharged battery temporarily to bring up the volts, then attached the Optimate charger to the dead battery. This allowed the Optimate to detect the battery and recognize it as deeply discharged, triggering a Low Voltage Charge mode indicated by a flashing yellow light. In this mode, the charger gives the battery a safe amount of low voltage initially to bring it slowly up to charge. How it does this differs for a lithium versus lead-acid battery, but the charger continuously monitors the state of the battery and performs health tests to determine if and when it can safely accept a normal charge.
Once our discharged battery’s voltage was brought to a sufficient level and determined healthy, a solid yellow light indicated a normal charge was now being applied. In the final phase of charging the Optimate 2 Duo ensures all battery cells are brought up to an equal level, then displays a green light once it’s determined the battery is healthy enough to hold a charge. If it’s determined that the battery is unable to hold a charge, a fault light will be triggered.
After bringing our dead battery to full charge, the Optimate Duo 2 entered its long-term maintenance mode. The periodic maintenance charge each battery receives will differ depending on whether it’s a lithium or lead-acid and its current state of health. Lead-acid batteries receive a maintenance charge hourly to ensure the battery is fully charged and sulfation free, while lithium batteries only receive a maintenance charge when needed.
The Optimate 2 Duo X 2’s maintenance mode has proven very useful in the shop, making it easy to keep two bikes at full charge with the use of the included SAE battery tender connectors installed. Just hook them up to your bike’s battery and dangle the cord down in a convenient-to-reach location where they can easily be hooked up anytime the bike is parked in the garage for an extended period of time. The SAE connectors have a weather-proof cap to keep it protected from corrosion and dirt while riding off-road as well.
It’s pretty common for chargers to take a beating from falling off of seats or getting kicked around on the floor, especially in a garage crammed with machines like ours. We liked that the Optimate’s case has a heavy-duty case that protects it well from damage and it can even be used outdoors as well.
If you’re the type that likes to keep everything clean and tidy in the garage, four mounting holes on the Optimate 2 Duo make it easy to attach the device to a work bench or wall where it’s always easily accessible. Each charging bank cord is 6-foot long and the power cord is also 6-feet long, giving you a good amount of range to reach multiple bikes. If needed, you can use an SAE extension cord to increase its reach.
In the past, we’ve always felt a little nervous about leaving batteries on the charger for long periods of time. But the Optimate 2 Duo is smart enough to give optimized maintenance charges for different battery types and each battery is continuously monitored to keep it safely maintained for months on end in an energy-efficient way. In fact, it uses 0.06 kWh per day or less in long-term maintenance mode, which is just pocket change in electricity cost each month.
Who’s It For?
The TecMate Optimate 2 Duo X 2 Bank and X 4 Bank battery maintainers are great for anyone who has multiple toys in the garage, and a range of battery sizes or types.
The TecMate Optimate Duo 2 lets you plug in any type of battery (car, bike, boat, lithium, or lead-acid) knowing that it will automatically detect its specific needs and get it charged quickly. For long-term maintenance, you can leave multiple bikes connected for months on end with the confidence it will safely and energy-efficiently keep batteries healthy and 100% charged for your next trip.
What We Liked
- Plug-it and leave it, no supervision required.
- Safely charges both lithium and lead-acid batteries simultaneously.
- Conveniently mounts to a wall or work bench.
- Energy efficient in long-term maintenance mode.
What Could Be Improved
- Detect deeply discharged batteries with less than 4 volts.
TecMate Optimate 2 DUO Specs
- IDEAL FOR: AGM, GEL & STD 12V batteries from 6 – 96Ah // Lithium (LiFePO4) 12.8/13.2V batteries from 2 – 24Ah.
- CHARGING AMPS: 2A (constant current, per bank).
- CHARGING VOLTS: nominal: 12V & 12.8V range: 4V – 14.4V.
- USE: Indoor / Outdoor (lowest temperature: -40°F / -40°C). Fully sealed case to protect against spillage and light rain.
- OPERATION: Fully automatic. Connect and forget. Save, charge and maintain multiple batteries.
- STYLE: Weatherproof case with wall mounts, with 6ft / 180cm AC supply lead and 2 x 6ft / 180cm charge lead ending in SAE connector.
- SAFETY: No risk of overcharging. Totally safe for vehicle electronics. Sparks suppressed. Safe for long-term battery maintenance. Automatic shut-down if short-circuited or battery disconnected.
- PRICING: 1-Bank: $82.95; 2-Bank: $159.95; 4-Bank: $317.99