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Old 17 July 2007, 11:42   #1
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Country: UK - England
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Your thoughts on battery charging

I have installed a new standard halfords car battery on my searider. Should I use one of those solar trickle chargers to keep it topped up or do they cause more harm than good?

I will be using the power tilt alot this weekend to work on the boat out of the water. This will no doubt completely run the battery down. What's the most efficient way to charge the battery up again. (ie. the method that does the least damage to the battery).
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Old 17 July 2007, 12:58   #2
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Overcharging a battery will b&gger it up just as much as letting it go flat for an extended period.

I've got a little auto battery charger that I run from my garage, made up an extension lead of about 10 metres for the DC side so I can keep the charger in the garage (don't fancy it in the console next to the petrol tank!!). The voltage drop is not significant as I used heavy grade hi fi loudspeaker cable. I stick it on for a couple of hours a month if the boat hasn't been used for a while at this time of year.
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Old 17 July 2007, 13:28   #3
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I do exactly the same as Steven. However, I have the small 4 AMP. charger installed on the boat. Remember; we use 120v so risks are lower. I might think twice about this arrangement if it was 230 V. Most modern battery chargers have internal resistance feedback regulation so if you forget about it for a couple of days or even a week then no damage will occur.
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Old 18 July 2007, 08:20   #4
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Halford do a nifty trickle charger designed to be left connected permanently. Use it on my kit car and is excellent.
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Old 18 July 2007, 08:20   #5
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Oh, and used to use a pair of em on the boat through winter. Flat battery blues gone forever.
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Old 18 July 2007, 12:49   #6
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Mine has a trickle setting on it so it keeps the battery at about 12.85V i.e. fully charged. I don't leave it on though, as 1) I don't like like electricity in the boat all the time and 2) the wander lead to the boat is just asking to be tripped over or tugged by orrible children
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Old 21 July 2007, 13:15   #7
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If you really want to keep the battery in tip-top condition and have easy access to power, a 3 or 4-stage charger is the best option. This will ensure battery reaches 100% charge and prevent sulphanation of the plates. These chargers are not that cheap however and are probably OTT for most applications.

The plug in trickle chargers also work well - I believe you can get some that do a periodic maintenance cycle to de-sulphanate the plates.

There have been various discussions about solar panels (eg the maplin one that seems to be on offer a lot for 20). Depending on the capacity of the battery, some of these can be connected directly without a regulator with no risk of overcharging.

One thing to bear in mind is that lead acid batteries do not like being left in a discharged state so if you are doing something to discharge the battery then it should be charged asap. A few runs of the PT&T should not be a large drain however!

Another general question is how often do you use your RIB? I fitted an isolator switch so can completely disconnect the battery and it only gets charged when engine is running. I've never yet had a problem with even remotely flat battery but I do use the boat all year (worst case only 2 months in winter).
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