Home Battery chargers How to use a trickle charger

Summer trips can be breathtaking and unpredictable. Are you going to use a long-garaged car, a boat or a motorcycle? Get ready to hit the road or water. Getting stranded on a highway or a mountain trail would be horrible. Therefore, safe battery charging is essential. The best trickle charger keeps it fresh during storage. Let’s check why these smart tools are preferable and how to avoid any incidents during their attaching and use.

What is a trickle battery charger

Float or natural charging is beneficial in many cases. This technology is:

  • safe
  • intuitive to use
  • handy

The term “trickle charging” originally implies keeping the battery fully charged. The speed is similar to self-discharging rate. Low amperage is used. Quite naturally, the process is slow. However, the device is left on a battery for a long time. Staying idle, it’s not depleted. It can be necessary in winter, if your vehicle is stored. When you need it, it’s ready for use. It may be an unexpected situation or an emergency.

Why prefer slow charging

All vehicle batteries self-discharge. Being parked or stored in a garage, they get power slowly decreased. At room temperature, the rate is about 1% per day. During a cold season, when it’s only 10° C in your unheated garage, it’s much slower. However, in summer, when the temperature is rising up to 30° C, it can be as fast as 1.5% every day.

Therefore, a flooded car batter may have only 50% of its capacity in several months of storage. Its complete depletion is to be prevented. If it’s kept dead, the lead-acid battery is affected by sulfation in about a month.

On the other hand, the chemical reaction should not be too fast. Otherwise, the solution would become too strong. It is based on sulfuric acid. Too high amperage speeds up the process. It releases a good deal of heat and, therefore, toxic H2S (hydrogen sulfide) and other hazardous gases.

Connections and precautions

Using a trickle charge seems to be easy as pie. It looks like a box with a cable and 2 alligator clips. Attaching them solidly, plugging the charger in and turning it on seems to be simple. However, safety precautions are to be taken.

  1. The garage is to be well-ventilated and roofed
  2. Turn the vehicle’s ignition off, remove the key
  3. Check the buttons and voltage before plugging the device in
  4. Prepare a reliable ground location

The red clip is solidly attached to the terminal of the car battery. Which one? Quite naturally, to the positive one. The black alligator clip is never connected to the battery! It’s fire-hazardous! Attach it to a large bolt. It is to be clean (free of oil and grime) and grounded (connected to the chassis).

Don’t touch the cables during the charger operation! Have you checked the tool settings? Turn the best trickle charger on and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

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