Battery Chargers & Accessories
All You Need To Know About Portable Battery Chargers
A flat battery is never a good thing, but it can be avoided if you have a battery charger on hand! A battery charger is a relatively inexpensive and worthwhile thing to invest in for your vehicle, and when you have one, you’ll never have to worry about the state of your battery again.
You might have flattened your battery from a period of starting and stopping where the battery is working very hard, or you might have left an interior light on and now the battery is flat.
Whatever the reason for a flat battery, you can get the best possible outcome (a charged battery) in a short amount of time with a car battery charger.
A battery charger is not just for your car, either. You can use an auto battery charger as a 4WD battery charger, a caravan battery charger, or even to charge up a spare battery to ensure that you have portable battery power for camping. Of course, you will need a different type of battery charger depending on the type of battery you’re looking to charge (the size, etc.), so we’re going to look at how to choose the right charger.
How to Choose the Right Auto Battery Charger
First, you need to look at the size of the battery that you need to charge.
All batteries that are sold in Australia are rated in Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) and the Reserve Capacity (RC). If the battery you have doesn’t tell you the Ah (amp hours) rating, then you will need to get an approximate rating by multiplying your RC by 0.6. So if you have an RC of 90, you’ll times it by 0.6 to get 54 Ah.
If you’re wondering where to find this information, you can locate it on the top or on the side of the battery you have.
Next, think about what you need the charger for.
Do you need your battery for recharging a discharged battery? Or perhaps you only need your battery charger for maintaining a charged battery, if you only use your car infrequently, or if you are going away for an extended period and not using your vehicle. There is a range of chargers that we stock for various applications and strengths.
Finally, you need to identify the battery type you have.
You can locate information about the type of battery you have by looking on the top or side of the battery. If you can’t find this information, then you’ll need to get in touch with an automotive expert (or your local mechanic) to help you out!
The average car battery has a capacity of around 48 amp hours which means that when it’s charged up and ready to go, it’s going to put out one amp for 48 hours, two amps for 24 hours, etc.
The basic battery charger will usually charge at around two amps, and thus it’ll need around 24 hours to charge up a flat 48 amp battery fully.
That said, there is a huge range of chargers on the market – we stock a range of them to suit almost every purpose! The higher the charger’s output, the faster it’s going to charge up a battery. That said, fast charging isn’t always ideal because it can buckle the battery plates.
How to Connect Your Battery Charger
If you have a power point handy, your battery can be left in the car as long as you’re charging at around three or four amps. If your car has an alternator, you need to disconnect your battery beforehand – otherwise, alternators (usually older ones) can get damaged.
Clamp the positive and negative chargers (red for positive, black for negative) to the relevant terminals. Plug your charger in and switch it on. Your indicator or ammeter is going to show that your battery is being charged up.
Your charging gauge might show up with a high charging rate at first, but this is going to drop off gradually as the battery charges up. If your battery was very flat, the charge is going to take plenty of time – so make sure you check in periodically with a hydrometer.
In the final stages of charging, the cells of your battery bubble and give off gas. If any of the cells gas or bubble prematurely, the battery is probably defective and needs to be looked at by a mechanic or a battery specialist.
Unplug Your Charger Before you Disconnect
Make sure you switch off the portable car battery charger at the mains and unplug it from the wall before you remove the terminal clips – otherwise it might spark and light the gas that was discharged during charging.