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Battery Chargers


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Hi all,

I'm looking for a charger that i can leave connected to batteries indefinately to keep them fully charged. Its for a couple of emergency trailors that we keep in the firestation at work. Ive looked at a few chargers like the optimate range and wondered if anyone had any suggestions or critisism's of optimate chargers or could suggest a better make? They do an eight way version that seems a little over the top as the rest of the appliances already have bespoke charging systems so i was toying with installing 2 optimate III's, 1 per trailor.

Cheers for your help,

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No complaints with my optimate, it's revived my (very dead) battery many a time, used it to charge all sorts from small YUASA sealed batteries to big LR batteries. Have left it connected in "maintain" mode for weeks/months to various batteries with no probs.

Only trouble is I keep putting off buying a new battery 'cos it just keeps reviving the old one... <_<

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I have an Accumate. Very similar to the optimate but twice the output current - means it doesnt take quite as long to re-charge batterys. Again suitable for permanent connection, but its better suited to the large capacity batteries we all seem to run these days.

Jon

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Think it's an optimate I have too, leave it for 6 months at a time without any problem so far.

Anybody have advice on a charger for the deep cycle, paste, type, specifically Exide, tried their website, couldn't make sense of it, emailed them all they told me was the address of the local stockist and they didn't have a clue.

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Think the opti/accumate will charge those, in a car it's only going to get the same old alternator current anyway.

Thanks for the replies lads. As these things never seem to get used i don't think i need to go for the power of an accumate. I think a coulpe of optimate III's will do the job.

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Don't want to put a spanner in the works.....but!

Lead acid batteries do not like being trickle or float charged. It shortens their life somewhat. They are a good idea for things like emergancy lighting, alarms or UPS's where the need to be certain they are fully charged outweighs the shortened life. The batteries need to be changed regularly (for most of the above every 1-2 years) to ensure they will be able to deliver their full capacity.

There are some chargers about which do nothing until the voltage falls below a threshold. They then fully charge the battery and the cycle continues. In general, these will make the batteries last a lot longer.

If the batteries are in good condition and there are no 'problems' with the wiring etc, they should not self-discharge (or only to a tiny degree). A good example of this is when you buy a new battery, it will be in a fully charged state - even if it's been sitting on the shelf for a year or two.

A cheaper solution may just to be to disconnect the batteries when not in use and schedule a charge every month or two.

Si

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I'd say the shops must charge them up every so often; I've got a blue top that I haven't had to connect up as yet, it takes a charge every 3 months, normally 2-4 hours on a charger that'll revive a flat in 16 hours.

look at the motorbike shops. They sell trickle chargers for 12 volt systems for the fair weather motorcyclists

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you're losing me there, smoking that stuff'll kill you slowly, unless it kills you quick :D

I wouldn't need another charger, the optima blue top is for a Land Rover, not a motorcycle; as the idiots round here who can't keep to the correct side of the road would discover to their own cost :D :D B)

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Just a couple of thoughts;

In my opinion, lead acids don't mind being float charged for quite long periods so long as the charging voltage is closely controlled, typically 13.8 Volts, notice we're working to decimals here ;) . Unfortunately most (insert your own favourite diy motorstore name here) chargers don't do this as they have no regulation whatsoever. A quite small charger is enough to just keep a battery topped up, 1/2 an Amp is often enough.

It will shorten the life a bit but that is probably better than letting it going flat and then trying to revive it!

Second bit of info, if you do have a really flat battery, you know, the one that takes no charge whatsoever when you first put it on, wake it up s l o w l y. I always charge these on a bench power supply with variable current limit and keep it down to 1/2 or 1 Amp, no more. It may take a week to come back, but if you try to make it "have it" the paste comes off the plates and you can just put it in the bin.

But what do I know, I'm just an Autoelectrician :D

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Just a couple of thoughts;

In my opinion, lead acids don't mind being float charged for quite long periods so long as the charging voltage is closely controlled, typically 13.8 Volts, notice we're working to decimals here ;) . Unfortunately most (insert your own favourite diy motorstore name here) chargers don't do this as they have no regulation whatsoever. A quite small charger is enough to just keep a battery topped up, 1/2 an Amp is often enough.

It will shorten the life a bit but that is probably better than letting it going flat and then trying to revive it!

Second bit of info, if you do have a really flat battery, you know, the one that takes no charge whatsoever when you first put it on, wake it up s l o w l y. I always charge these on a bench power supply with variable current limit and keep it down to 1/2 or 1 Amp, no more. It may take a week to come back, but if you try to make it "have it" the paste comes off the plates and you can just put it in the bin.

But what do I know, I'm just an Autoelectrician :D

Shaun,

Thanks for your input, as a bloke in the trade would you reccomend any particular charger to float charge the batteries?

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No particular opinion here but I know both the accumate and optimate have a good reputation.

Anything designed as a maintenance or float charger should be ok, remember it does not have to be big as it is not intended to charge the battery it only has to prevent self-discharge.

HTH Shaun.

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Just been to your website, I've got a lightweight too, but I would have to take more than 1 photo as the chassis is standing under a Gazebo, the bodywork is on a trailer and the bulkhead is in the greenhouse!

One day I'll get it finished, in the meantime my Disco will have to do!

Shaun.

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Just been to your website, I've got a lightweight too, but I would have to take more than 1 photo as the chassis is standing under a Gazebo, the bodywork is on a trailer and the bulkhead is in the greenhouse!

One day I'll get it finished, in the meantime my Disco will have to do!

Shaun.

Hi Shaun, i know the feeling - the lightweight has now been off the road 3 years and running. Just given up on it again for the winter, too cold to work and not enough light after shifts. Oh well, maybe next year!

Thanks for your help with the charging info.

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