There are four things that you have to consider when choosing your 12 Volt Battery Charger. These things include FIRST AND ALWAYS - Safety, then comes the ability to “plug and play,” and the capacity to combine desulfation with maintenance charging, and the capability to hold a full charge for a reasonable amount of time.
Before you actually start shopping for a 12-Volt Battery Charger, you need to ask yourself some basic questions:
You can find this information on the battery label or in the specs at the manufacturers website. It is usually located on the side or top of the battery. Most 12-volt batteries are lead-acid calcium, lead-acid and now even lithium. So, before you buy your battery charger, make sure to check your charger. It should be suitable for the type of battery you have.
You need to know the Amp-hour (Ah) rating of your battery.(mAH for smaller batteries) These details are usually found on your battery’s label, which is usually placed on the side or top of the battery. If you are unable to find the information, you might want to contact the battery’s manufacturer or check their website.
aH x Voltage = Wattage - Ex. 50aH x 12V = 600W
Do you need to battery for charging? Do you need it for battery maintenance or both? Battery charging is when you need to recharge a dead or flat battery until it is full. Battery maintenance is when you need a battery charger for topping up.
So for instance, you have a motorcycle that you only use a few times a month, but you want to make sure that it’s ready anytime you need it. This means you need a charger for battery maintenance and not battery charging. This is referred to as trickle charging. There are battery chargers that can do both maintenance and charging.
Some people need a charger to keep their car, motorcycle, or aircraft battery charged when not in use. In cases like this, a low current charger would be sufficient for this. Other batteries may need an even faster and more powerful charger. This is what you will need for a wheelchair battery or trolling motor battery.
You may also consider other types of charger specific to your needs. For instance, you might need a multi-voltage battery charger if you’re traveling, a waterproof charger for when you’re outdoors, a charger than works as a power source for RVs, and a multi-bank charger for when you’re planning to charge several batteries all at once.
As a rule of thumb, your charger should be 10% minimum of your battery’s Ah rating. This means a 100Ah battery would need a 10 Amp charger minimum. You can increase the battery charge amp if you need the battery to be charged at a faster timeframe.
Choosing the right battery for your device is only half the story. You also need to choose the right battery charger to charge, maintain, and condition your battery. This is important especially when your battery starts showing signs of aging.
Buying a low-cost charger to save money will only shorten your battery life rather than extending or prolonging it. Make sure to avoid battery chargers without “end-of-charge control” as this creates huge output current, which just ruins your battery.
You might want to avoid “trickle rate” chargers that do not include automatic float mode or current control circuitry. These chargers can end up overcharging your battery. You might want to look into pulse-type chargers instead. These chargers feature end-of-charge controls, which help minimize the buildup and decrease the time necessary to charge the battery fully.
You might also want to check de-sulphating equipped conditioner chargers in the early life of your battery. This will help guarantee optimal battery performance and longer battery life.
To maximize the use and life of your battery charger as well as the battery itself, you should know how to use your battery chargers properly:
To charge your 12-volt battery, you only need to connect your battery to the charger by attaching the BLACK negative cable from the charger to your battery’s negative terminal. Secure the clips to the terminal properly. Connect the charger’s positive cable to the battery’s REDpositive cable. Look for the ‘+” mark to confirm the positive terminal.
Your battery determines the charging time. The more discharged it is, the longer time it will need to charge the battery. It may take up to 12 to 24 hours to charge a 12-volt battery fully, but make sure that the charging heat doesn’t go over 125°F.
The best way to charge a 12-volt battery is to charge it slowly. The rate of charging varies depending on the type of battery that you’re charging. A 12-volt automotive battery, for instance, can take a long time to charge. In fact, slow charging is ideal for automotive batteries.
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