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LarryH57

Vehicle Batteries

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Someone once said to me that batteries in a vehicle prefer to be charged by the vehicle alternator rather than a trickle charge in the garage! Do batteries care? Does it make any difference to the battery life?

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Batteries don't mind , providing they receive like for like.  The charge rate is set automatically (correct) by an alternator or dynamo regulator provided the machine is in good order.  Regulation being fixed by the age & condition of the battery + recent loads like starting / lighting.

There are low cost trickle 'maintenance' chargers , They can be better than nothing,  Storage in garage , winter months - the electrolyte will be more concentrated and have a higher S.G.    The chemical reactions are sluggish.

You can't compare the charger of my old man's that I used to power my Hornby DoubleO in the 1950's.   Y2K - I chucked my  1975  circa. Krypton and got a £30 Draper 'Intelligent' charger - but still used a hydrometer and Chloride discharge tester (that can cream-cracker a weak battery - best you know) - that cost me  £40 in  1985 !  However - last year I payed abt. £80 -  Harfords 'trade'  LoL discount. for a  RING charger that is arguably better than a CTEK model.   It has a  COLD setting (for below freezing up to  + 5C)  , REPAIR (desulphate)  setting ,  I can set a charge Amperage if I wish or just press the Auto and let it do its own  7 stage thing, at the end when in 'maintenance' mode it is probably better than any cheapo thing I used from Draper (£5) - they now charge £15 for -  OK but the leads and clips were very tacky.   "Fast Chargers"  - avoid unless you must to get to work on time, there are boosters on the market if you need one.

The best thing is - very accurate voltage check (+ stated as a %  )  + a easy to use  CCA check ,  states the CCA and the % against the theoretical CCA on the label / DIN setting if a DIN battery (not BS) -  yes , my good batteries are at 99% or  100%  CCA  - something I could never do prior, and not so many years ago such a electronic instrument (as used by factors with a counter warranty claim) - could cost you  £££$

 

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Just while we are on the subject...is it advisable to disconnect the negative lead, while a battery on a vehicle is not in use ...or hasn't been in use for some time............

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1 hour ago, Borderlord said:

Just while we are on the subject...is it advisable to disconnect the negative lead, while a battery on a vehicle is not in use ...or hasn't been in use for some time............

I always disconect the battery earth  -/+   depending , because esp. on older vehicles you can get a parasitic drain - pays to do an occasional check on this.  New cars , often the battery size is as small as possible so just running the alarm & keeping engine management sleeping is as good as a parasitic drain. A good battery under such circumstances can get below 12 volt in 7 to 14 days.    I have had some very long service lives out of premium Unipart Samson (Chloride)  ,  Hella , Bosch , Banner (probably the best)  ,  I should have disconnected a Tudor (Continental Exide)  on a Picasso last year , still going strong after 14 years.  But of course - I can do the CCA check that I could not then , so possibly it was down ?     I am of the opinion that a good starting battery if used at least every 2 or 3 days, does a journey sufficient miles to boost fully without / with using lights - then that is the secret of long life.  I doubt if you could bench maintain a battery over such a long time period and it to have the same level of fitness - I suppose that further answers the original question.

Edit.  What I mean is keep it working discharge / re-charge is better than just continuous trickle - trickle does not seem to have the chemical benefits of actually realy working the plates.

Edited by ruxy
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27 minutes ago, LarryH57 said:

And what does CCA stand for as a check?

 

27 minutes ago, LarryH57 said:

And what does CCA stand for as a check?

CCA  =  Cold Cranking Amps,  a measure of ability in cold weather to start a engine ,  for a given battery size (when new)  the larger the CCA - the better the battery.  Due to age deterioration , plate sulphation etc.  - then the CCA drops , if you have a modern charger with the ability to test and give you the actual CCA + the % left compared to when new - that tells most you need to be aware of.  Condition monitoring  -  keep a log of the test results & date tested  LoL

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Best battery charger I've had was £9.99 from Lidil  it is an Ultimate Speed ULG 3.8 A1 12/6 volt charges, with winter setting and motorcycle /car setting works a treat. Sometimes a battery is so low that it won't acept charge. Try connecting another charged battery in parralel for about twenty minutes when you put charger on.Can bring a 'dead' battery back. 

Edited by Tony B
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1 hour ago, Tony B said:

Best battery charger I've had was £9.99 from Lidil  it is an Ultimate Speed ULG 3.8 A1 12/6 volt charges, with winter setting and motorcycle /car setting works a treat. Sometimes a battery is so low that it won't acept charge. Try connecting another charged battery in parralel for about twenty minutes when you put charger on.Can bring a 'dead' battery back. 

The tandem battery charge trick - more or less like doing a periodic "equalizing charge" on a traction battery pack - something has to give because it is quite severe on the plates , what gives - is 'soft' sulphation , I doubt if it would work with a bad case - of 'hard' sulphation. ISRT that CTEK do a dedicated de-sulphator - I may get one some time, I suspect the chargers that incorporate a de-sulphation phase can't  crack the real hard stuff, they seem OK as long as the sulphation is not well established, the RING charger - I registered on-line (no extra £ ) it for the extended warranty - so it is in use all time , abt. 8 + months now - trying to bust it (soak testing), recovered a few but two it just will not raise but the voltages were very low as stood behind shed a few years.

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I've been trying PULSETECH XTREME chargers (well the MOD apparently use them), thinking it might be a solution to my dilemma of a shed full of OPTIMA batteries hanging around for months before being called upon to earn their keep.  I know Antar on here has had very good results with them on Hawker batteries.

I also know some of my batteries are sulphated - but unless badly sulphated they should still take a reasonable charge even if they don't last as long.

I've had some batteries on charge for over 3 months continuous and the red lights flickr about and indicate 'duff battery'.  When tried they are dead.  So it is a bit annoying to then put the same batteries onto a more modest OPTIMATE 4, only to have most of them charge up to decent cranking power.  Some of them do not last as long as a tip top battery might, but quite adequate none the less.

I've then put the same battery back onto the PULSETECH only to find it won't charge - straight back to the annoying row of flashing red lights.

To my mind the PULSETECH would display more intelligence if it had an indicator on it which said "Well mate, your battery is f*&@%d, but I've put as much in as it will take so at least you're out of trouble, but don't blame me if it fails somewhere down the road".

Just to sit there smugly flashing your tiny red LEDs saying "Look - I'm not going to charge any old sh&t batteries OK? Don't bother me until you've bought a new battery" displays a degree of arrogance and an attitude which quite frankly is not helpful in the slightest.

 

I feel so much better having offloaded that - I think I'll cancel today's appointment with my Analyst.  5a8697a730185_Smileybananagif.gif.b61aa34b6ae4ee215440890f439e8082.gif

Edited by N.O.S.
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N.O.S.     your comments go to further my belief that even with all these advanced chargers / desulphators around that were not a few years ago. Much is understandable about this technology (my main complaint about my latest RING charger - is that the print is far too small even using my reading glasses, I intend going to the Library for a x2 photo-copy).  What remains without clarity is the actual electro/chemical side, lots of conflictions.  Son 2 is a nuclear chemist , now titled engineer - no great help , although I notice he has a CTEK in his garage..

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  The one I purchased from Halfords =  RING RSC612/RESC612 Smart Battery Charger with Analyser -  with 5 year warranty Auto Express (the extra 4 years - you must register for on-line)  Editors Choice 2015 + Land Rover Monthly Product Test 2016 Best Buy.

There is a similar but easiliy confused lesser model and the code is almost identical ,  features not so good and when I purchased cost more on eBay than the above.  I suspect dealers closing out on obsolete stock  ??
 

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Typical case.

A son purchased a old diesel Focus off a friends father last July , parked it up as in main it is for work commuting in winter on some 'damaging' roads. Fitted with a Exide Premium  with a CCA of 720 (En)  - now that is some battery , good make & in the tractor class. 

I gave it the odd regular auto charge , the CCA was well down at 48 to 51 %  (abt. 368A).     Start of November 2017 , he taxed it and started to use it every day,  only over X'mas & New Year hols. was I able to get it on the RING  (it had not improved in that 1 month of daily use).  Since January - I have only been able to get my hands on the car at a weekend and keep it on charge for at least 24 hours on a irregular basis.

Sat. 20th Jan - I logged a improvement for first time -  59% with a CCA of  431A.

I left it overnight from when he arrived home last night - to let the float charge from alternator drop a bit,  I checked the CCA at 79%  (570A)  at dusk and put it on the RING charger.

So what does it prove ?    Hard to give solid evidence , I have a logbook of all the batteries now - so gathering data.    However - this seems to b e in alignment with my theory ,  1.  A good make premium battery - you do stand some chance.   2.  You will make better progress if it is starting (discharge) daily - then alternator boost  (a battery has a theoretical number of starts before it is goosed , however IMHO a working battery is better than a shelf maintained starting battery. .   3.   Regular charging 24 to 48 hours per. week on a desulphator trickle , does improve things.  IMHO  -  this is a better results case , so I put the original deterioration down to soft sulphation , rather than hard sulphation.

 

 

 

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