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I've done the search and read the threads about battery maintainers, but I still have a few questions.

This was my first winter with a car I didn't drive for months at a time so I took my chances with no battery tender/minder/maintainer. I now have a dead battery which I plan to replace tomorrow. While I don't plan to let the car sit idle for long periods between now and November, I do want to be ready for using a battery maintainer next winter. Specifically, I need to install the ring terminal cable while I have the battery out.

I understand that a trickle charge is not what's needed but a "smart" maintainer that can sense when the battery needs a charge. I've looked at the Battery Minder Plus ($46, 1.3A), Battery Tender ($49, 1.25A), Battery Tender Jr. ($20, 0.75A), DieHard Battery Charger/Maintainer ($23, 2A), Schumacher Automotive SpeedCharge Battery Maintainer and Charger ($19, 1.5A), and the Schumacher XM1-5 Maintainer, 1.5-Amp ($20). There are probably that many more I haven't found yet, and that's just the under-$50 crowd. Prices are all over the place as are the output currents. Some have fuses inline with the battery connections, some don't. If I'm not intending to charge a dead battery but just want to safely maintain a fully charged battery over the winter, how much current is really necessary? What is the purpose of the fuse when each of these devices claims to monitor the charging process and adjust accordingly? What will cause the fuse to blow? Some of these claim to be chargers as well as maintainers. Does that disqualify them for this purpose?

BatteryMINDer Plus 12 Volt 1.3 Amp Battery Charger: BatteryMart.com

DelTran 12 Volt Battery Tender Plus 1.25 Amp

Battery Tender Junior Charger

DieHard Battery Charger/Maintainer : Exclusively Available at Sears

Schumacher SEM-1562A Battery Maintainer and Charger - Walmart.com

Schumacher XM1-5 1.5 Amp Fully Automatic Power Charger and Maintainer, Microprocessor Controlled Battery Charger, Automotive Battery Charger, Battery Charger Maintainer

Thanks for your help.
 

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I've done the search and read the threads about battery maintainers, but I still have a few questions.

Some have fuses inline with the battery connections, some don't. If I'm not intending to charge a dead battery but just want to safely maintain a fully charged battery over the winter, how much current is really necessary? What is the purpose of the fuse when each of these devices claims to monitor the charging process and adjust accordingly? What will cause the fuse to blow? Some of these claim to be chargers as well as maintainers. Does that disqualify them for this purpose?

Thanks for your help.
Answers to your questions, in order...

1) Typically, all that is required is an amp or less, sometimes only milliamps (thousandths of an amp) when the battery is at or near full charge.

2) The purpose of the fuse is for protection from an unforeseen fault condition.

3) What causes a fuse to blow is it passing a current greater than the value the fuse is rated for during an unforeseen fault condition.

4) A maintainer is also a (trickle) charger but a charger is not necessarily a maintainer.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Answers to your questions, in order...

1) Typically, all that is required is an amp or less, sometimes only milliamps (thousandths of an amp) when the battery is at or near full charge.

2) The purpose of the fuse is for protection from an unforeseen fault condition.

3) What causes a fuse to blow is it passing a current greater than the value the fuse is rated for during an unforeseen fault condition.

4) A maintainer is also a (trickle) charger but a charger is not necessarily a maintainer.
Thanks, Doc. The Battery Tender Junior is a wall wart but if a 750mA charger will do, that's what I'll see if I can find locally.
 

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Zonk - as usual, the members have steered you true. Another side note is that lead acid batteries do not like cold. The "maintainer" will off-set that.
 

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One thing, just because the battery went dead it does not mean is bad.
How old is your current battery?.
Charge it back slowly ( 1 to 2 AMP'S) and then see if is still any good.
 

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DON'T, WHATEVER YOU DO, get a Battery Tender Junior!!!!






(just kidding, I'm sure it'll be fine :))

:devil:
 

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My Sky just came out of five months of winter storage. It was not in a heated garage, but was hooked up to a battery tender purchased from PFYC. Started first crank as if I had just driven it the day before.


Sent from AutoGuide.com App
 

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I use BatteryTenders on 5 motosicles,the riding mower and the Sol thru the winter months. My oldest battery is in the XR650L and will be 11 years old in July.To me they are well worth the cost( I find they are the cheapest on Amazon). Don
 

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I'm in Canada and it gets cold. The car is in "heated storage" this year but hasn't been every year. The reason I said "heated storage" with quotes is because it's only about 45 in there when it's freezing outside.

I have never used a battery tender because you don't need one. A fully charged battery will not freeze until -76°F. Disconnect the ground wire off the battery when you put the car away and forget about it.
 

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Thanks, Doc. The Battery Tender Junior is a wall wart but if a 750mA charger will do, that's what I'll see if I can find locally.
Oooops...we may have a failure to communicate. The regular charger will not do.

As stated previously (but possibly not clearly enough) is that "chargers" and "maintainers" are DIFFERENT.

You WANT a maintainer, also known as an intelligent trickle charger. It will NOT boil your battery dry and it WILL help prevent sulphation of your battery (sulphation is a a bad thing). A regular (and cheaper) trickle charger will NOT perform the two aforementioned functions.

As an electrical engineer -- trust me on this-- get a MAINTAINER although it does cost a few extra bucks. It will be money well spent.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the feedback.

@Latin Venom, I jumped the car off my pickup and it started immediately. I then let the car run for a half hour, shut it off, and it restarted right up. The next day, I got a couple cranks out of it and nothing. The battery is 5 years old so I might be running on borrowed time. I can buy a replacement for $68.

@Radio Doc, my bad. I did refer to the Battery Tender Junior as a 750mA "charger". I probably should have said "device". I think it's sold as a battery maintainer, though. The site I referred to above for that unit describes it as a "compact trickle charger with a brain." It also suggests that it's suitable for motorcycles which is why I asked about the current required for our batteries. Are you recommending against the Battery Tender Junior? I don't have a brand preference. I'm just looking for something that will do the job for the least cost.

@Sly Bob, interesting comment. I'd seen in other threads that some folks use a battery disconnect switch. Another option, I suppose.
 

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@Radio Doc, my bad. I did refer to the Battery Tender Junior as a 750mA "charger". I probably should have said "device". I think it's sold as a battery maintainer, though. The site I referred to above for that unit describes it as a "compact trickle charger with a brain." It also suggests that it's suitable for motorcycles which is why I asked about the current required for our batteries. Are you recommending against the Battery Tender Junior? I don't have a brand preference. I'm just looking for something that will do the job for the least cost.

@Sly Bob, interesting comment. I'd seen in other threads that some folks use a battery disconnect switch. Another option, I suppose.
1) Sorry, I'm not familiar with any particular brand and therefore cannot give a specific recommendation for a specific unit. However, you should be OK with anything that says it is a "maintainer". I understand your question of motorcycle vs car -- but in this case, it is a non-issue. Both devices are "trickle" chargers and therefore by definition low current. What you DO want is an intelligent trickle charger, also known as a maintainer.

2) I would respectfully suggest that Sly Bob is missing the issue. "Freezing" is not the topic under discussion; sulphation is. (Just as an aside, batteries do not freeze at a single fixed temperature. The freezing point is related to and varies with the state of charge.)

Even with the battery totally disconnected, sulphation will occur due to the internal resistance/leakage of the battery and sulphation is a battery killer. A disconnect will remove the small load from the car that is always there, but it just delays the inevitable. That is, even a disconnected battery will still discharge due to its internal resistance.

I realize with today's economy, money is tight -- but you never go wrong buying quality. If I recall, maintainers are typically 25 bucks, plus or minus. Again, IMHO, money well spent.
 

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I put a battery tender on my car in October 2005 and it still starts fine. Well worth the investment. I have a tender on my mower, generator and tiller..I never replace batteries anymore.
 

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The current drawn by the computers is usually about 50-100mA; there is a spec on the maximum limit in the service manual, but I don't recall which chapter. A Tender Junior is easily up to the task of keeping the battery topped off, and minimizing sulphation.
 

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Nothing to add here. Previous responses covered everything :) :thumbs:
 

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I have a 2 year Optima red top in the vette and if I let it sit for a few months it won't have enough juice to crank my insanly advanced 11:1 compression 350 and it takes a couple hours for my charger to charge it enough to start it. This happened to me twice and I'm sure it has lowered the battery life so I bought a cheap tender at harbor freight and now it stays good and ready. Anything is better than nothing if you don't drive all the time. especially for you guys up north. I think it was 11 bucks with a super coupon:)
 
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