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What To Consider When Buying A Car Battery Charger
When the time comes and we find ourselves in the market for a new battery charger for our cars, we are not short of options. There are plenty of manufacturers putting out great models that will suit the needs of many vehicle owners. However, battery chargers do come with different features and a mix of good and bad points, which you’ll need to weigh up when making your choice. In this article, we’ll look at some of the recommended aspects of battery chargers, which will hopefully help you reach a decision.
Functions of a Battery Charger
OK, so let us now look at the different functions of a car battery charger. Not all battery chargers have the same functions, so it is important to make sure you are selecting one that meets your actual needs based on how you will be charging your car. With this in mind, chargers have three main functions.
First up, there is Maintenance charging. You may sometimes find Maintenance charging described as ‘trickle’ charging, as it sends just a small amount of electricity to the battery to keep it healthy, a good solution if your car is being stored for long periods of time.
Conventional charging is another function found on battery chargers. How this method works, is that it sends power to your battery to charge it up from just using a low amount of power. On average it will take 6-24 hours to complete this cycle, and this will usually result in around a 10 hour wait to charge from empty to full.
After Conventional charging, there is the Engine Start function, or as it is often name the Jump Start. This kind of charge will be able to automatically get your vehicle powered up for use. However, this method will require a lot more power behind it to work, so therefore this is a function more likely to be found on a more heavy duty charger.
The Size of a Battery Charger
OK, so you know what functions you require your battery charger to have. You need to also consider the size of your car battery charger (as in how many amp hours your battery stores, not physical size). This is because the bigger the size of your engine, the bigger the battery, so, therefore, the bigger the charger! Before buying that charger, do make sure it is suitable for the size of your vehicle’s engine.
You also need to choose your charger based on the battery your car uses. If you have a lead acid battery then that should work with all kinds of battery chargers as long as they’re suitable overall. If, however, your car has start/stop technology then you’ll have an AGM or EB battery and you will need a smart charger (see below). A conventional charger is not suitable for these battery types.
For not usually too much more money then a standard charger we have the Smart charger option. These chargers can be used for both charging your battery and long-term connection for maintenance charging. What is handy is that they are able to automatically detect the fastest charging mode and then switch to the trickle mode mentioned above when the battery is full. This takes away the risk of over-charging and indeed damaging your battery.
Here are a couple more things to throw your way when researching the best charger for your purposes. You can purchase a Multi-Voltage Input charger, which are for use when you visit a foreign country. For example, some people may need a charger which they are able to operate on both American 115 volts AC as well as the European 220 volts AC, and there is a whole range of Multi-Voltage Input chargers available to offer this.
If you expect to be facing the elements, then you may like to select a waterproof charger, which again is readily available from many stockists.
You may also consider Multi-bank chargers, which would allow you to charge multiple batteries simultaneously, and finally, there are also chargers to look out for which can double as power supplies for RV use.