Automotive Battery Testers and Chargers
As with any major part of your engine, car batteries require regular checks and maintenance. Battery testers and chargers allow you to safely monitor your car battery for optimal use and reliability, even during tough winter conditions. Portable car battery chargers are a smart tool to have in your vehicle in case of battery issues when traveling.
What are some features of car battery chargers?
Car battery chargers are an essential accessory for those who work or travel on the road with great frequency. They are a winter necessity for those who live in geographic regions that experience severe cold temperatures during the winter. Features to consider when looking for a battery charger include:
- Garage or Portable Unit: Portable units are also known as jump starters. These units are actually portable batteries that can easily travel in your vehicle for use on the road. Car battery chargers that are built for home use derive their power from the electrical system in your home or garage and are not portable.
- Size and Voltage: Battery chargers come in different sizes and voltages with 12 volts being the standard. As many vehicles use car batteries, such as RVs, trucks, farm equipment, and garden tractors, be sure to research which battery charger would work for the majority of your batteries.
- Battery Chemistry: Most car batteries are lead-acid, but within that category, there are variations such as standard, Gel Cel, and Deep Cycle.
- Manual or Automatic: A manual charger will require you to monitor the charging of your batteries to make sure they don't overcharge; automatic chargers will monitor this for you and will switch to a float or maintenance charge when the battery is fully charged to avoid over charging.
What should a fully charged car battery measure?
If your car batteries are fully charged, they should measure at 12.6 volts or higher when the engine is not running. If the engine is running, this measurement increases and can fall in the range of 13.7-14.7 volts. Using a battery tester such as the Foxwell 12 V / 24 V Car Battery System Diagnostic Analyzer can pinpoint the voltage charge of your batteries.
What is the average charge time of a car battery charger?
The average charging time of a car battery charger will vary depending on the unit. Battery chargers can fully charge car batteries anywhere from two to ten hours. Some chargers offer both a slow charge function as well as a speed charge function. Typically, battery chargers that rapidly charge automotive batteries are microprocessor-controlled, smart chargers that will automatically sense when your car battery is fully charged to avoid over charging.
Do you need separate cables for a battery charger?
These are not required for car chargers as these units come with their own set. Care should always be taken when attaching any type of cable to your automotive battery, whether they are jumper or charger cables. Be sure to attach positive to positive, negative to negative, and any grounding cables to solid metal.