In the past, cars depended on human effort to crank the engine. Well, today, the tedious task is history. Cars nowadays rely on a battery to start. As a result, the cell of a car remains a crucial component. Every driver’s wish is to see it not experience any faults.
Unfortunately, some issues, such as the battery going flat, are unavoidable. It’s for this that you’re always advised to have a battery charger with you.
So, how does this car charger perform its duty? The car charger performs the same task as what an alternator does, adding charge into the battery. It converts power from electricity into direct current needed by the cell.
You will, therefore, need to understand how the charger is connected. But, before doing so, I will start by telling you why your car battery may be running empty often.
3 Reasons Why a Car Battery Goes Flat or, Dies
1. Sign of old-age. Every product, the battery included, has a lifespan. Most batteries can serve for about three years, and five years, at most. The lifespan is dependent on the brand, among many other factors. Waking up to a flat battery may be a sign that your battery is old.
Whenever you notice your battery going flat unexpectedly, you should take into consideration the time it has served you. If you find the time to be close to the battery’s lifespan, consider investing in a new one.
2. Faulty alternator. What is the work of an alternator? It’s the component behind the engine. It provides the power needed to cruise your car. The alternator also charges the battery while you’re on the road. Therefore, if you notice that your battery is going flat unexpectedly, you ought to consider asking the mechanic to check the alternator.
But, if you’re a short-trip kind of a guy, the fault is yours. It means you don’t give your alternator enough time to top up the battery.
3. The car is left unused for months. Ever had of something called self-discharge? Yes, a battery loses charge when left unused. If you happen to be using your car seasonally, it might be the reason why you’re experiencing flat batteries. Such instances are common with RVs, boats, and golf carts, among other vehicles.
If you happen to leave your car idle for long, you should invest in battery maintainer. It’s a device that helps maintain the charge levels in your battery without causing any harm.
How Can You Top Up Your Flat Battery?
With a flat battery, it means that you can’t awaken your beast, the car. Therefore, the alternator isn’t in a position to help add some juice to the battery. It’s at this point that a charger comes in handy to do some magic. A charger puts energy into your cell. In other words, it drives electricity charges into your car’s battery.
The amount of current that you drive into your battery is dependent on the size and model of your battery. You must be careful with battery chargers because most car batteries can’t cope with the excessive charging. Some cells can survive when the charger remains connected while the charger is still attached.
In the case of overcharge, most batteries may overheat or even explode. Such instances can see the life of your expensive battery cut short. If you happen to own such a battery, it’s recommended that you choose a charger with a timer to track of the charging process. These chargers usually have microprocessors and circuits that can sense the temperature to tell the state of charge and adjust accordingly.
Regardless of the charger you chose, they all work under the same principle. What differs are the ratings and the speed at which they fill your battery. They all siphon 120 volts from your electricity and convert it into 12 volts direct current. Standard car batteries are usually rated 48 amp hours, and that means that they can deliver 1 amp to the engine within 48 hours. Or, it can provide 6 amps for 8 hours.
Most battery chargers are two amps. Such chargers can top up your car’s battery (48 amps) within 24 hours. Luckily, today, chargers can be adjusted. Some chargers are rated ten amps. However, it’s not recommended to use the fast charge mode as this can bring more damages to your battery. Fast charging can lead to overcharging and hence, the explosions.
How to Attach the Charger
1. Open the hood and locate your battery to uncover it’s top part
2. Check the level of the contents. If you realize that the standards are low, add some more
3. Scrub the cell’s terminals
4. Unplug the battery cables as the old alternators can get damaged during the charging
5. If you are using a high charging rate, remember to leave the trough cover on, and open the cell’s caps
6. Attach the positive clip of your charger, the positive terminal of your battery. Attach the other end as well, the negative terminals.
7. Connect the charger and press the on button on the power mains. The ammeter will instantly start showing that some power is being driven into the battery
8. When full, start by switching off the power supply and then unplug the charger before disconnecting the charger clips. Starting with the charger clips can cause sparks which can ignite the gas produced during the charging process
• When almost full, the cells may bubble and produce gas. If one of the cells starts to gas before the others, and violently, it means something is wrong with the battery.
• When reconnecting the battery cables, remember to switch off all the electrical components and circuits to prevent shorting.
Learn more about how to use a portable car battery charger.
Currently, there are different battery chargers. Every class of charger comes with a unique rating. For instance, there are big chargers like those found in repair shops and gas stations.
These chargers can fill your battery in the shortest time possible. They can charge your battery within an hour or two. For personal use, you can go for a 2 amp charger as they are safe to use at home.