What battery charger do I use ?
There are so many different brands and types of battery chargers on the market that it can be a little bit of a minefield trying to find out what is right for your use and your battery.
1. Ensure the charger is right for your battery chemistry.
Different battery types will require different charge profiles and final charge voltages. Not using the correct type of battery will lead to a shorter lifespan.
So, check the specifications of the charger to ensure that it is right for your battery i.e. GEL, AGM or Wet Lead Acid etc.
2. Ensure it is of the appropriate size.
Many chargers will now list which size battery it can be used for. The normal rule of thumb has always been 10% of your batteries AH capacity, so for a 110Ah battery you would use a charger of around 10A, but this can vary from as little as 3A to as much as 20A. Many modern smart chargers have great charging profiles that allow a 7A charger to recharge a battery quicker and better than an older 10A/12A charger
However this depends on how flat your battery gets and how quick you require the recharge. If you use your battery heavily or deep discharge it when being used you may want to go for a charger with more output to be able to charge the battery in a reasonable time. So you may opt for a 12 to 15A charger.
Or if you rarely use your battery and are always on EHU and need a charger just to top up and maintain the battery in the off season you could use a smart 3A or 4A charger for a 110Ah battery.
We would still follow the 10% rule but be flexible with it depending on how you will use the charger.
3. Deep Discharge Recharging
To recharge a deep discharged battery normally requires a slightly different charging profile and also a charger that will start at lower voltages. This would be something like a "Soft Start" feature that pulses the battery gently until the voltage rises to a level that a normal charge process can begin.
Battery Chargers with recondition functions are also usefull for deep discharged wet batteries, as it allows a higher charge voltage for a set period of time to help breakdown light sulphation and provide a light equalisation process (important in industrial batteries).
4. Maintenance/Trickle Charging
It is important that the charger switches to a maintenance/trickle charge at the end of the process so as not to damage your battery but also keep it in optimum condition for when you want to use.
There is a difference in this feature with different chargers. The most basic would be a drop in voltage to around 13.5V to 13.8V and a drop in current to around 0.5A and this would be kept constant on the battery. The more advanced chargers will monitor the voltage drop and provide a pulse charge to bring it back up to the correct voltage (this is preffered for very long time period of not being used)
In short, you should now always go for a modern smart charger and size it for your use. Leave your battery connected and the charger on when not being used and let the charger do the work. We offer a number of market leading smart chargers from Ctek & Ring and if you need help in choosing the right one, send us information on your battery and usage patterns inour contact form and we would be happy to recommend the perfect charger for you.