Cheap battery float/trickle charger

Joined
Aug 11, 2005
Messages
7,533
Location
Leamington, ON, CA - between Detroit and Cleveland
I will need a low cost charger to put on my new motorcycle 12V battery while it is laid up for cold weather. I'm heading to Michigan tomorrow morning and will at a Harbor Freight to pick up some stuff. Will this charger do the job to keep the battery topped up while the snow flies here in Canada? http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result?q=float+charger TIA. Papa Bear
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2003
Messages
36,939
Location
ME
Do you have window access in the garage? HF has solar panels for $10-15 meant for charging 12 volt batteries, and getting a couple hours of diffuse sun per day might be the ticket.
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2010
Messages
2,304
Location
california
The HF maintainers voltage varies wildly unit to unit, reports from 12.8 to 15.1 volts. If you get one, be sure the open circuit voltage is not about 13.8v. http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/27974773.cfm If it is an AGM battery, I'd fully charge it and pull the negative cable for the winter and not use a maintainer, especially a HF one. AGM batteries have low self discharge and even lower in lower temperatures, like in Michigan in december
 
Joined
Aug 11, 2011
Messages
4,796
Location
N.C.
I bought a made in China Schumacher battery maintainer at WalMart several years ago. $20 and has worked well for 5 years. It has the pig tail you can leave attached to the battery cables and just plug in the maintainer, if your motorcycle battery is hard to get to...a nice feature.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2009
Messages
2,053
Location
Detroit, MI
I've had bad luck with those little HM float charges. I picked up a few of them while they were on sale and used them on some batteries over the winter in the basement. I've had a couple of batteries ruined by these so I stopped using them. I will not use them again. I had two expensive Optimas toasted and a $140 AGM car battery smoked also. No more. I have had VERY good luck with this little Schumacher one that I picked up at Wal-Mart for about $20. http://www.batterychargers.com/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductName=94026970 I've used it on both my standard and deep cycle batteries, flooded and AGM. Charges and then maintains with its CPU. I called them and they verified that they are acceptable for agm, flooded, deep cycle, and standard batteries. If you want one of those HM ones, I have about 8 in my basement lol I used to have a Deltran Battery Tender which cost about 2.5x as much as this one (before I ran it over with my car...doh! ) and this Schumacher one has been just as good.
 
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Joined
Feb 27, 2013
Messages
442
Location
California
Don't buy that cheap HF charger. It's nothing more than a constant-volt AC/DC transformer with an LED. It doesn't even charge well, as mine only puts out 12.55-12.7v. Batteries need to be charged at 14v then held at 13.1v. The other problem is if there's ever a power outage while the charger is hooked up, it will discharge the battery due to the LED. Battery Tender Jr is $23 if you look around online. There are other good ones in the $20-30 range.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
3,419
Location
Kansas, USA
I use a HF unit permanently installed in the RV. It'll top out at 13.8v after a few hours of being plugged in and will settle down around 12.8 couple hours after that. Verified it few times with a meter. It'll work but with anything cheap you more likely to have duds.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2010
Messages
12,966
Location
Northern Kentucky

Win

Joined
Feb 5, 2003
Messages
4,703
Location
Arkansas
I keep the HF floater on the battery on the Xj8. It's now over ten years old, and tests as new. I keep another HF floater on the Solstice battery. It's five years old and tests as new. Papa Bear, you can always ask TI to send you a sample of a UC3906 and roll your own tender. It's been on my list of projects for a while now.
 
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