Battery Charging?

Discussion in 'General' started by Gord, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. Gord

    Gord Super Moderator Staff Member

    I've noticed a few people mentioning they charge their 12V frequently/every night.
    Is this due to batteries running near end of life or good practive when Fas'ing or P&G'ing a fair bit? I haven't had any trouble with my battery until lately when it took a few turns of starter one morning (which was a bit unusual!).
    My car doesn't give me 12V battery level unfortunately on my Ultra-Gauge so I haven't really got a clue what battey level is.
    My battery is coming up for 6 years old - what do you guys think?
  2. lxmike

    lxmike Well-Known Member

    Gordon according to there website you can have battery volts as a gauge.

    it's a good practice to keep an eye on your 12volt battery when doing fas'ing and P&G a lot.
  3. Gord

    Gord Super Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks Mike. I saw there was the potential for a 12V gauge in the manual for the UG but out of the 35 available for my car, it didn't seem to discover that particular one unfortunately. I'll have to have another look.
  4. some_other_dave

    some_other_dave Well-Known Member

    Mango Bango was too old for an SG or a UG, and did not have a voltmeter. I picked up a voltmeter that plugged into the cigarette lighter from my local big-box auto parts place, and that worked pretty well.

  5. Gord

    Gord Super Moderator Staff Member

    Great idea Dave, I'll have a look for one of those for sure!

    Do you charge your battery?
  6. FXSTi

    FXSTi Well-Known Member

    After much sidetracking, the question still remains unanswered. Is charging nightly beneficial for all or just for those with batteries on the ragged edge?

  7. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Hi, Kirk... it really depends upon what sort of load is being placed on the battery and what condition it is in. If you mostly drive during the day and don't use headlights or turn the engine off, there is no need to charge. If you do lots of FASing during the daytime without headlights, wipers, etc and your battery is in good shape, no worries. If however you are more like me (and several other members) and do lots of FAS with electrical draw (commonly the headlights) and/or in cold temperatures, your battery is going to get a work out with not much alternator charging time. In that case charging nightly is beneficial.

    A marginal battery would also require more assistance, as would one in a vehicle with a defective charging system.

    As for battery age, usage and temperature are huge factors in longevity. My batteries typically last a long time up here in cool MN... especially as I don't run the engine constantly so underhood temps tend to be lower than they might. Gord, I'd recommend getting your battery load tested at an automotive shop to see if it is still performing properly rather than simply thinking it must be old enough to be replaced.
  8. Gord

    Gord Super Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks Sean - I am in a usual period from late October to end February where 9 commutes out of 10 are in the dark so headlights are on, maybe some demisting and perhaps a bit of heat (for my 2 passengers - although I try to wait till engine has warmed up and encourage them to wear a coat and gloves :p) plus I do a bit of FAS but not so much with passengers :) but lots more FAS and P&G when not commuting.
    I will definitely get the battery checked as I'm probably giving it a bit of a workout :D
    Thanks for the advice....
  9. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    a battery that lasts more than 6 years is rare..
  10. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    I think it used to be but in the last few weeks I've been hearing more and more cases of batteries 7-10 years or more...around here anyway. Just last night, my wife's uncle was saying he has never had the battery replaced in his '02 LeSabre with the 3800 V6. A couple of months ago, my wife's boss put just the second battery (after the OEM) in his '97 Dodge truck with a V10. My son has been noticing that the batteries they are replacing at the shop he works for quite often older than 5 years. Has battery life improved or could it just be a regional thing around here.
  11. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    The battery in Kelly's Camry lasted five years. In that time, I NEVER added water , or even inspected the water level. My bad ! It was SO low when it finally failed. Somehow I got the idea that all modern batteries were sealed and didn't need any added water. After my embarassing epiphany , I checked all the family cars' batteries and added water where needed.
  12. Gord

    Gord Super Moderator Staff Member

    Replaced wife's Jazz battery earlier this year - it was just over 6 1/2 years old.
    My FR-V battery is 6 years old in April - watch this space!
  13. some_other_dave

    some_other_dave Well-Known Member

    MB lived outside, on the street. There was no practical way to run an electrical cord to him, so his battery was never charged externally. I did some damage to the battery (at least reduced its capacity) by running around with the engine off and the lights on too many times, so I installed the gauge to keep an eye on the charging system. And I decided that the engine would stay on when the lights were on.

    MB is now with his new owner, and seems quite happy there.

  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    I hook up a CTEK MULTI US 3300 for a charging session, infrequently, say every 2~3 months. Set it on normal automotive charging, let it run till it shows green light for battery status (fully charged).

    It supposedly does a multi-stage charging, can bring borderline batteries back, and so on.
  15. EVuser

    EVuser Well-Known Member

    Pb batteries new, old or in between.

    A flooded lead acid battery (most common and cheapest) will always benefit from being on the "right" charger 24/7.

    An AGM or GEL type lead acid battery will benefit from being on the "right" charger 24/7 if it has any kind of parasite load on it.

    Flooded or wet cell types self discharge at a much higher rate and need regular charging to stay in maximum state of health. Premature aging occurs if allowed to discharge.

    The wrong charger can be equally bad if used frequently.

    If you drive more than 30 minutes on a regular bases and use the car in a normal manner it may not be worth it to plug in.
  16. Gord

    Gord Super Moderator Staff Member

    My regular commute is 45 minutes going to work and 45 - 60 coming home but I'm not sure if I would call my driving 'normal' Mike ;)
  17. 2RR2NV

    2RR2NV Ultimate Newbie

    well, wouldn't ya know it... last night, after loading up the back of the Boss's TnC, i went to start it up to park it back in it's usual location. nothing, nada, zip, no crank. WTF??? checked the battery and sure enough... 6-7 VDC. seriously? i just drove it last week. checked it over and it's the factory lil battery (600 cca) and just hit 4 years. it doesn't get drove much since we have the LRE, but dang, guess the cool temps finally killed it. tried charging it last night before bed and charging meter wouldn't move. i guess it's time to upgrade and get a battery tender. :)
  18. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Sean explained it well. I do it to protect the battery, and to allow more FAS especially in the winter months.

    My case is an extreme example: small battery, LOTS of FAS, an alternator designed to be just enough for normal driving. Even in the summer I would be stressing a battery by keeping its charge level low. In the winter it would last maybe a week before running donw too low to even start the car. Rather than reduce my FASing for more alternator charge, I wall-charge instead. It costs pennies a month compared to dollars I would spend running the engine just for a charge.

    I put a lot of load on my battery even with this boost. With our hot summers and the extra stress I add, my last one only lasted three years. Before grid-charging, I killed two in the span of two years.
  19. EVuser

    EVuser Well-Known Member

    I would recommend Sam's or Costco as I believe both still have their 3 year we don't care you get a new one warranty. Tough to beat that when you are a battery abuser. Optima's are only 2 yrs.

  20. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    That's a good tip. I've got a cheap walmart battery right now and will report how it holds up.

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