Car battery chargers

jzmtl

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 4, 2006
Messages
3,123
Location
Montreal, Canada
You know the type, that you plug into AC and clamp onto your car battery to charge it.

I was looking at them yesterday, which basically falls into two types. The traditional automatic and the new processor controlled. For two units that produce similar charge current (~10A), the traditional type is about 40% bigger and quite a bit heavier. I'm wondering does the processor really save that much weight/size, or is it the case of "don't build them like they used to"?

Any experience with them?
 

Diesel_Bomber

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 19, 2006
Messages
1,772
I'm no electronics guru, but different ways of power processing have definitely changed the amount of mass necessary to get the same result. I have a welder that weighs 80lbs and is the size of a suitcase. It has more capacity than the old monster I picked up used at a garage sale when I was just learning, yet the old monster is the size of a kitchen stove and took three big guys to load into the truck.

I like the newer electronic battery chargers because of the automatic shutoff feature. Just plug it in and walk away, your battery won't be over charged. As long as it's a solid name brand, I wouldn't expect any trouble.

:buddies:
 

MarNav1

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 27, 2006
Messages
3,192
Location
Nebraska
I have an old Schauer charger, 10 amp from probably 1960 or so. 6/12 volt trickle charger. I also have a 10 year old NAPA charger, 10 amp trickle w 50 amp boost, 12v only. Neither one is over 3 or 4 pounds and both work very well. The old one has a Metal case and meter and it also has better clamps on the end. But both have worked fine for me. I prefer the metal case myself but to each his own. Look for a charger that has good clamps and as flexible leads as you can get. I do not know who makes the NAPA charger, it was $50 or so new. Oh I also prefer the meter on the front rather than lights, not critical just personal preference. An example: http://usabatterychargers.com/1262.htm You get what you pay for as usual. http://www.napaonline.com/Search/Detail.aspx?R=NBC857512_0006389653
 
Last edited:

Vinniec5

Enlightened
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
506
Location
New Jersey
jzmtl , One thing to be aware of is most Automatic automotive battery chargers will NOT charge a Dead battery, they require voltage for the circuit to sense the battery and begin charging. An old fashioned reg battery charger doesn't but you have to watch it. Most battery tenders are the same and I have the same one that RA40 has on my cars, they do work well too
Just something for you to be aware of if you don't have a portable jump-start battery kit or neighbors close to you incase you find yourself with a dead battery
 

benchmade_boy

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
1,239
Location
not far enough away
I use the John Deere battery charger, no complaints. The timer is really nice, and it has a boost for really dead batterys while your trying to start a truck in the shop. Dont remember the model, TY somthing. Its about twice the size of a toaster. Cost $138.00 At my local John Deere dealership.
 

Julian Holtz

Enlightened
Joined
Nov 4, 2005
Messages
343
Location
Germany
No fancy chargers are required for lead acid batterys.
Simply get a 12V meanwell power supply from eBay with the current you want to charge with. I prefer the ebay store "sureelctronics".
The large 30A version, which is really high power, sells for $50 or so.
Connect AC, and adjust the DC voltage to 13.8v with the little adjustment poti.
Then just hook to the battery. Leave on as long as you wish, 13.8v is the best level for float charge.
 

ANDREAS FERRARI

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 24, 2008
Messages
1,045
Location
The Great White North
I like the newer electronic battery chargers because of the automatic shutoff feature. Just plug it in and walk away, your battery won't be over charged....

I have an old charger that works well-but I need to upgrade to one that monitors the condition of the battery and turns off when it senses that the battery is full.
 

jzmtl

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 4, 2006
Messages
3,123
Location
Montreal, Canada
That's the thing, I've seen the older style chargers that's 30 or 40 years old, beat up, and still work like when it's new, would the new chargers do the same when they are that old?

jzmtl , One thing to be aware of is most Automatic automotive battery chargers will NOT charge a Dead battery, they require voltage for the circuit to sense the battery and begin charging. An old fashioned reg battery charger doesn't but you have to watch it. Most battery tenders are the same and I have the same one that RA40 has on my cars, they do work well too
Just something for you to be aware of if you don't have a portable jump-start battery kit or neighbors close to you incase you find yourself with a dead battery

The automatic one I picked up claim to have a function that will repair sulfated battery, attempt to charge it and see if it'll take a charge. Not sure if it'll actually work on totally dead battery thou. But I've never had to deal with a totally dead one so I think I'm good.

I have an old charger that works well-but I need to upgrade to one that monitors the condition of the battery and turns off when it senses that the battery is full.

CT has the 12/8/2 eliminator smart charger half price this week.
 

RA40

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Messages
1,419
Location
So. Cal
Since I only needed a maintenance charge and long term storage for 12v car batteries, that was my reason for getting the Jr. version. I rotate the unit between two cars and it charges over the weekend. The cars get the charger about every 2-3 weeks.

One of the cars, the charger almost immediately went into one of the flashing modes which I knew was not right for that battery since it would not even crank or get the headlights on. AAA confirmed the battery had died. The charger sensed it and ceased applying a charge. :)
 

sledhead

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
1,900
Location
N.J.
Check out Pacificbattery.com's homepage. They have the battery tender line and the Schauer Chargemaster series. They are chargers and maintainers. They have pulse technology that is supposed to reverse the sulphation process and rejuvenate so-so batteries.
I purchased the Schauer for charging car batteries and several 12Volt 26Ahr SLA's. Been very happy with it.
 

TedTheLed

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Messages
2,021
Location
Ventura, CA.
so how do you start the car with a dead battery?

I find the chargers with the "crank engine" setting (about 50 amps) very useful.
 

tomnevins

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 14, 2010
Messages
1
I use the battery tender charger. I have like three of them. You can find it on amazon for like $40 but it's well worth it (there;s also a cheaper version called 'junior')

The new one I just bought is attached to a 1967 Ford truck that can be quite a drain on the battery at times, especially during the colder months. I purchased it before this winter, and never once had an issue with the battery being too low or too cold, despite some pretty frigid temps. I set this on a shelf just in front of and above my truck, and leave the lead to the charger hanging. I then wired the battery end to my battery and channeled it so the plug end can be pulled through the grill. It's nearly invisible when it's not in use, but is very quick and easy to plug up. I've gotten used to just plugging up the truck every time I'm done with it, and this little puppy brings it up to full charge fairly quickly.

Anyway here's the link to the one I have

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00068XCQU/?tag=cpf0b6-20
 

HarryN

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 22, 2004
Messages
3,977
Location
Pleasanton (Bay Area), CA, USA
I have experienced the new chargers that will not charge a "really dead" battery - not that fun and took it back. The cure for this is to get one that can "start your car".

The main advantage of the newer setups is the pulsing charge approach, which seems to be better at charging and fixing the plates. I use the word "appears", but my understanding is that this was developed a long time ago for navy subs for their battery banks.
 

TPA

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
468
Location
Florida
I'm sure there's cheaper alternatives, but I use a Ctek MXS 5.0 battery charger/maintainer for one of my cars. The newer models actually come with one of these from the factory with an external attachment under the trunk lip. If it's good enough for the manufacturer to ship each car with it, it's good enough for me to use.
 

sajohnson

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
48
Location
MIDDLETOWN, MD
I use the battery tender charger. I have like three of them. You can find it on amazon for like $40 but it's well worth it (there;s also a cheaper version called 'junior')

The new one I just bought is attached to a 1967 Ford truck that can be quite a drain on the battery at times, especially during the colder months. I purchased it before this winter, and never once had an issue with the battery being too low or too cold, despite some pretty frigid temps. I set this on a shelf just in front of and above my truck, and leave the lead to the charger hanging. I then wired the battery end to my battery and channeled it so the plug end can be pulled through the grill. It's nearly invisible when it's not in use, but is very quick and easy to plug up. I've gotten used to just plugging up the truck every time I'm done with it, and this little puppy brings it up to full charge fairly quickly.

Anyway here's the link to the one I have

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00068XCQU/?tag=cpf0b6-20
I also have several Battery Tenders. They have gone up in price, but still pay for themselves with extended battery life.

Here are all of their models:

Edit: After posting this I saw that BT is claiming 4x longer battery life. There may be some situations where that's true, but I'd say 2x is more realistic, and still very good.
 
Top