Car battery chargers, as the name suggests, are used to charge rechargeable batteries such as those in cars. Some of the newer models are also suitable for both cars and motorcycles. Charging is the process of returning a dead battery to a state where it can be reused. There are several methods commonly used to recharge batteries: constant current, constant potential (or voltage), float, pulse, ripple, taper and trickle.
There are some important issues to keep in mind when using a charger. First, a low battery should be recharged as soon as possible. The longer a battery is discharged, the greater the chance that the battery will sulfate. This will affect performance and longevity. If left to stand for too long, the battery can be irreversibly damaged and must be replaced.
Secondly, it is important to observe correct polarity when charging the battery. If the battery, or the battery bank, are connected backwards, they risk being damaged or, even worse, exploding.
Third, always check each individual battery before charging, to make sure it has not been damaged during operation. Damaged batteries are susceptible to release of hydrogen or acid gas during charging. In such cases, the resulting damage can be disastrous for personnel and equipment.
The most common chargers are for lead, lead calcium, Nicad or lithium batteries. These are simply plugged into an AC wall outlet or other AC outlet, and the power is fed back into the batteries.
What kind of car battery charger should I use?
The size of the charger chosen depends on the charging current required to restore the full charge of the battery. Battery capacity “C” is expressed in Amp Hours and is used to calculate the battery life between charges. Battery current is described in units of C. For example, a 100 Ah battery has a “C” value of 100 Amps. Therefore, it will take 10 nominal hours to fully charge a 12V 100Ah battery using a 12V/10A charger, if the battery is completely discharged.
In practice, we recommend that the battery be regularly charged and never fully discharge.
How to choose the right type of battery charger
Often buying a low-cost charger with limited charging capabilities will shorten the life of the batteries rather than extend them. All chargers we have selected are professional grade equipment, guaranteed to extend battery life.
Avoid chargers that do not have an “end of charge control”: excessive output current can ruin a battery in a few hours.
Here are some basic tips:
– Never leave an unregulated or so-called “automatic” charger connected to the battery overnight, unless it turns off completely.
– Avoid using “low speed” chargers that do not have an automatic float mode or current control circuitry to ensure that the battery is not overcharged.
– Avoid charging the battery in too short a period of time, unless it is really necessary to put the battery back into service in a short time.
– If a battery is charged slower, it lasts longer.
– Pulse chargers with end-of-charge controls minimize overheating during charging, reducing the time it takes to fully charge the battery.
– Minimizing the formation of sulphation of the plate by keeping the battery always fully charged, can extend its life up to 300%.
– Using charger-conditioners equipped with de-sulfation at the beginning of the battery’s life will ensure maximum performance, as well as a longer life.
Below the 10 best chargers on Amazon… in practice the 10 best on the market.