The tyranny of too many op­tions

Dave Barker finds that too much choice means too much ef­fort to make a sen­si­ble de­ci­sion about a bat­tery for his SI

Land Rover Monthly - - Writers’ Rovers - DAVE BARKER CON­TRIB­U­TOR

Iknow, it’s en­tirely my own fault. I have ne­glected my Se­ries I for well over a year now. It’s not been driven any dis­tance; in fact, I sus­pect it’s a year since I started it. But on the plus side, dur­ing that year look­ing at prices of other Se­ries Is that have come up for sale, even non-road­go­ing tri­als cars, mine has in­creased in value just sat there. But with the re­cent rush of nos­tal­gia for older Land Rovers, from Face­book sites such as the Old Tri­als Mo­tor Group, and the planned Patina Na­tion­als RTV Trial in Septem­ber, I felt I needed to get mine run­ning and be out driv­ing it again.

Not un­sur­pris­ingly, the bat­tery was flat. I do have a spare bat­tery and once con­nected quickly got the V8 turn­ing over and, af­ter a minute, once the fuel pump had pumped enough fresh petrol into the carbs, it fired up and was run­ning with the fa­mil­iar V8 bur­ble. I tried to charge up the old bat­tery, an Odyssey, but af­ter test­ing it it was still show­ing up as faulty and needed to be re­placed. I was a bit

dis­ap­pointed as nor­mally Odyssey bat­ter­ies are su­perb and sur­vive not be­ing used. Maybe I let it run down for too long this time. Or maybe the bat­tery was get­ting a bit old; it will be over eight years now, so a new bat­tery was re­quired

Af­ter check­ing the price of a re­place­ment Odyssey PC1500 I thought it was maybe a bit ex­pen­sive for what I needed, so I took a look at al­ter­na­tives. Now the in­ter­net should make look­ing for things eas­ier, open­ing up the world of sup­pli­ers, but what it’s done, is make it even more com­pli­cated with far too many op­tions. With so many bat­ter­ies of the same size or sim­i­lar size, some with big­ger ca­pac­ity or a few ex­tra crank­ing amps, I was left won­der­ing which one to go for?

For a bit of fun I checked out a web­site which only seems to let you look at bat­ter­ies if you put your num­ber plate in first. Bizarrely, it didn’t rec­om­mend any bat­tery, it just said that the ve­hi­cle is not listed. So, in­stead, af­ter de­cid­ing what phys­i­cal size of bat­tery I needed and its type part num­ber, I looked at the var­i­ous op­tions avail­able, which was around 30 dif­fer­ent types, sizes, makes and prices.

The one thing the in­ter­net did do how­ever, was show up the mas­sive dif­fer­ence in prices for the same bat­tery from the var­i­ous sup­pli­ers. For an Odyssey PC1500 the dif­fer­ence is not great, around £40, but on more nor­mal bat­ter­ies it could be far more.

With a Bosch bat­tery, the same as I have in my De­fender, if I col­lected it from my lo­cal branch of a na­tional aut­o­fac­tor it was listed at £185.99. I did man­age to find a dis­count code for them of­fer­ing 33 per cent off, but even then it was more ex­pen­sive than a mail or­der com­pany which was £97.02, in­clud­ing postage.

Then a sim­i­lar bat­tery with the same out­put and crank­ing amps and war­ranty from a less well-known brand could be had for £76.16.

So, I’m now left won­der­ing what I should do. I sus­pect I will go with the mail or­der com­pany, but I might wait, I have a car bat­tery that will do for now and I will shop around at the next 4x4 show for a good deal on a gel deep-cy­cle bat­tery. Un­til then I sus­pect the bat­tery charger will be do­ing its job keep­ing the Se­ries I’s bat­tery go­ing.

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