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Charging Season - Basic Charging Information

 Charing Season Image

Wow! You guys sure list lots of different chargers on your website. How do I know which one I need?" As fall passes, and ‘charger’ season(as we call it) is here, we sure get that question often. It would be an easy answer if all chargers were the same, and all charging needs were equal. Unfortunately, that is not the case, but we are here to help, and think that with good information we can get you pointed in the right direction. Following are a few questions you should ask yourself when getting ready to purchase a charger, along with information to help answer those questions.

  1. What size battery do you want to charge?

    1. A charger should charge at a rate of about C/10-25. That is, the charge rate should be equal to between 10 and 25% of the batteries capacity. So a 10 AH battery would be best charged between 1 and 2.5 amps.
  1. Do you expect to use the charger for only one battery, or perhaps move it around the garage for different applications?

    1. If you are charging multiple batteries, you can get a charger that is programmable for different current outputs, different voltage outputs (6, 12, 24v, etc), and even different battery types.
  1. Are you just wanting to maintain a battery that is already charged?

    1. If you are just parking something for the winter and want to make sure the battery is ready to go next spring, you can go with a charger that is on the lower end of the output current. For instance, if you are maintaining a boat battery that might be 75AH, you can go as small as a .8 amp charger because you will not be asking the charger to work hard to replace bulk charge. You simply need it to maintain what is already there.
  1. How many batteries do you need to charge?

    1. Often called multi-bank, or multi-output, Battery chargers that can independently charge more than one battery at a time could be exactly what you are looking for. Unless the batteries are in series for higher voltage applications, we always recommend charging the batteries as individual units. This protects the batteries should one fail.
  1. What is your charge environment?

    1. Are you charging indoors, outdoors, in a humid or hot environment? Some chargers are rated for full submersion (IP64), which includes most Marine Chargers. However some are higher output and fan cooled which would not be suitable for any water contact. Know where you want to use your charger, and it will last longer.
  1. What if I need to power a load while charging, like a sump pump system?

    1. Your charger selection will need to be on that can work as a power supply, AND have enough amps to cover whatever load you are dispensing. Worst thing you can do here is ‘cheap out’ and get a charger that covers neither of those points. What you will end up with is dead batteries, a broken charger and be generally unhappy with your purchase.
  1. What about Golf cart battery maintenance?

    1. If you are leaving your golf cart or similar type battery for long periods, the best thing you can do is to remove the negative terminal connection from the ground, and then connect a good maintenance charger. Because of the size of the batteries in question, we NEVER recommend going smaller than a few amps (unless the maintainer is meant for golf carts such as these maintainers for 24v, 36v, 48v Golf Carts), and most often we like to see a charger in the 15-30 amp range (see smart chargers for 24v, 36v, 48v, 72v Golf Carts). Chargers have come so far in the last few years that you can use one charger that will both bulk charge your batteries during your use season, and properly maintain the batteries in the off season.

This is just a sprinkling of questions and information that will get you started down the correct path. We have plenty more information stashed away in our Tutorial True Knowledge Base, feel free to browse it for tips!

Choose Your Battery Charger

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