Home Product ReviewsElectrical and Ignition [Product Review] EnerSys Odyssey Battery

[Product Review] EnerSys Odyssey Battery

by AvatarHib Halverson
Odyssey Battery

I have Odyssey Batteries in most of my other cars, so, a couple of years ago, when my Wife and I bought a 2012 Corvette Z06, I began to think about an Odyssey for that, but when I looked at the catalog on the Odyssey web site, I read that the Odyssey Battery which fits in the rear battery compartment of a C6 Z06 is not an exact fit and that the “…. vehicle battery restraint(s) may require modification.”

I also noted that the dimensions of the Odyssey Battery (PN PC1200MJ) suggested for use in C6 Z06s were somewhat smaller than the stock battery and that the CCA rating of the Odyssey was slightly less–550 vs 590–than the stock Delco battery. I contacted the folks at EnerSys, the maker of the Odyssey brand, and was told the modification to the battery hold down, if necessary, would be minor. I, also, asked about the vent hose which connects to a stock battery to carry away battery fumes. This prompted a response from Kalyan Jana, Product Manager of AGM Products for EnerSys, the company which manufactures and markets Odyssey batteries. He told me, “Odyssey batteries do not require a venting system and therefore the PC1200MJT does not have a connection for the hose. As long as the battery is not installed in a gastight enclosure no special venting arrangements are necessary for any Odyssey battery.”

Odyssey Battery

One of the reasons I’ve become a fan of Odyssey Batteries is their very high pulse cranking current output. In short, “pulse cranking output” is not the same as “cold cranking amps” (CCA) and is a very high current draw for a short period while the engine is cranked during the starting sequence. Pulse cranking is usually defined as lasting five seconds. The LS7, Gen IV V8 has a very high compression ratio for a production engine and the battery is in the back of the car, at the end of a long cable run. Both those characteristics demand a battery capable of high pulse cranking current output. In that context, I, also, questioned Jana about the difference in CCA ratings and he responded, “The answer lies in how CCA is defined, which is: a 30-second discharge at 0ºF. Unless the user is planning to actually discharge the battery at 0ºF for 30 seconds, the CCA rating of a battery is pretty meaningless. What is of paramount importance in an engine cranking application is the number of amps a battery can deliver for 3-5 seconds (i.e.: pulse cranking amps) to get that engine turning rapidly. In that respect, an Odyssey battery will significantly outperform an OEM battery that is physically much larger.”

As it turns out, ACDelco does not rate it’s batteries for pulse cranking amps but Odyssey does. The pulse hot cranking amps (PHCA) rating of the Odyssey PC1200 MJ is 1200-amps for five seconds. I decided to order a PC1200MJ and test it out.

So, how does the Odyssey PC1200MJ work in the real world? Well, first off, you don’t have to modify anything to install it in a C6 Z06. While the battery is a little shorter in length, its width and height are the same as the stock battery so the stock battery hold-down in a Z06 works fine. No modifications are necessary. Because the battery box in the back of a C6Z is so small, lifting a battery in and out is easier if you have one of those rubber strap battery carriers which attaches to the battery posts but, you can remove and replace the battery by hand if you have a strong grip. Some autoparts stores carry them.

Odysseys are shipped fully charged. I installed the battery, then let the car sit a week before I tried starting it. In spite of not having a charger connected either upon installation or after a week, the cranking speed was, perhaps, 10-20% faster than it was with the original battery. One characteristic which concerned me with the C6 Z06 was the LS7’s somewhat slow cranking speed compared to the LS6 in my 2004. Going to the Odyssey battery solved that problem for sure!

The other reason I like Odyssey batteries is they have a long service life, usually 5-7 years and sometimes as much as ten years. Also, they are more tolerant of “deep cycles” (where you run the battery dead, then fully recharge it) than are most conventional battery designs, such as the OE ACDelcos. The Odyssey PC1200MJT in our Z06 has performed quite well so far, in spite my inadvertently deep cycling the battery three times. There was a period of time where I was doing some ECM recalibration and I had a wideband oxygen sensor installed in the car temporarily. The heater for the wideband sensor is powered though the accessory plug and–silly me–three different times, I left the sensor plugged-in by mistake. After a day or so, that runs the battery down until it’s dead. Each time, I connected my charger and brought it back up to full charge. After doing that three times, the Odyssey seems to have no ill effects.

Update on 1April2020. The Odyssey Extreme Series battery in the C6 Z06 has now been in service for seven years. It’s near the end of its expected service life but is still working quite well. 

There’s a downside to the Odyssey PC 1200 and that’s weight. The Odyssey weighs about 4-lbs. or about 10% more than the stock ACDelco. Hardcore racers might not like that, but for street high-performance and occasional track day use, I’ll gladly trade the extra weight in exchange for the Odyssey’s better performance and durability.

Bottom line: If you want the best battery for a performance application, buy an Odyssey.
Want more info? Visit the Odyssey Battery web site.

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