1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Following recent events, the Admin Team have a message for all members, which we hope will give some explanation and information.

    We would be grateful if you could take the time to have a read. Thank you.

    Click Here For More Info
    Dismiss Notice

Can you use a regular battery charger on a gel car battery?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by HarryS, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. HarryS

    HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    7,894
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Wigan
    Ratings:
    +13,630
    I was thinking of replacing my now dead 40 year old battery charger. Now most car batteries do not require topping up with distilled water. They are of the AGM gel type.
    Is it better to buy the small trickle ( 4 amp ) charger , as below , rather than the larger 12 amp chargers .
    It would only be used if we ever need to put a bit of charge in a flat battery . A very rare occurrence these days ( touch wood ! )


    index.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • ricky101

      ricky101 Super Gardener

      Joined:
      Jun 15, 2016
      Messages:
      786
      Gender:
      Male
      Location:
      nr Leeds
      Ratings:
      +1,100
      Hi,

      You want to get yourself a copy of the current January edition of the Car Mechanics magazine, its in most main supermarkets and WHS etc.

      Its got a full multipage article on all types of batteries and chargers.

      Think as you will see, with the modern chargers they take care of everything for you and can even be hard wired to the car battery.

      What I always carry in the boot and has saved me and other folk is one of the Jump Starters, mines like the one below, though you can get smaller more modern ones.

      001286.jpg

      001287.jpg
       
      • Like Like x 2
        Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
      • Fat Controller

        Fat Controller Cuddly Scottish Admin! Staff Member

        Joined:
        May 5, 2012
        Messages:
        16,516
        Gender:
        Male
        Occupation:
        Public Transport
        Location:
        At me 'puter, GCHQ Ashford Office, Middlesex
        Ratings:
        +27,504
        I would highly recommend the CTEK range of chargers - they are smart chargers and battery re conditioners all in one. I have one with a convenience lead permanently connected to the battery, so all I have to do is plug in whenever I want.

        Now, here is a thing - I actually have a Ring smart charger that I bought for the Nissan, which is just over 18 months old, used twice, but is simply not big enough for my current car; depending on the load you are putting on it, it may well be perfectly suitable for you - that being the case, it is yours if you want it, free.

        It is suitable for batteries up to around 90CCA (and would most likely do more, but I don't think it a good idea to stress it), so that would be engines up to around 2500cc/3000cc (or thereabouts)

        I would need to find it as it has been put in a cupboard somewhere, but that shouldn't take long. Let me know, and if you want it, I will pop it in the post.
         
      • Fat Controller

        Fat Controller Cuddly Scottish Admin! Staff Member

        Joined:
        May 5, 2012
        Messages:
        16,516
        Gender:
        Male
        Occupation:
        Public Transport
        Location:
        At me 'puter, GCHQ Ashford Office, Middlesex
        Ratings:
        +27,504
        This is it (or maybe the model before it, but it looks the same) - RSC404
         
      • pete

        pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

        Joined:
        Jan 9, 2005
        Messages:
        25,850
        Gender:
        Male
        Occupation:
        joinery
        Location:
        Mid Kent
        Ratings:
        +23,774
        Amazing, I thought battery charging was a thing of the past.
        Remember my old Dad charging up his battery in the 60s hoping it would start the car the next morning.
        Cant say as I've ever needed a charger myself, why do you need one these days.:scratch::smile:
         
        Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
      • WeeTam

        WeeTam Total Gardener

        Joined:
        Mar 9, 2015
        Messages:
        1,800
        Gender:
        Male
        Ratings:
        +3,678
        Charging my ride on mower battery whilst its in the garage over winter keeps it in good nick. Didnt do it one year with a newish battery and it was dead by springtime .
         
        • Informative Informative x 1
        • Fat Controller

          Fat Controller Cuddly Scottish Admin! Staff Member

          Joined:
          May 5, 2012
          Messages:
          16,516
          Gender:
          Male
          Occupation:
          Public Transport
          Location:
          At me 'puter, GCHQ Ashford Office, Middlesex
          Ratings:
          +27,504
          Cars of the past would simply apply a charge current to the battery the whole time that the car was running - if the battery was full, it was full and it made no difference.

          Modern cars have charge control circuitry, especially so those that have stop/start systems fitted; these monitor the charge state of the battery all the time (senses variations in the output voltage from the battery and/or current draw when charging), but like everything computer controlled there is a set 'minimum' threshold for the charge state. On my old Nissan, I believe that was 67%, so when the car was started it would charge at full rate until the battery reached 68% and then it would drop the charge rate to a lower level, almost a trickle charge if you like - this, allegedly, saves fuel (probably about a teaspoon every five years or so!), and thus went some way to appeasing certain groups.

          The trouble thereafter is twofold - firstly, car batteries of any variety do not like to be in a charge state of anything less than about 98% as it shortens the life of the battery; secondly, modern cars are so heavily reliant on electronics that they will do some really odd things if there is a voltage discrepancy, even a tiny one. Now, this does not bother the car industry in the least, as it means they get to sell you a new battery every two or three years instead of the five that they used to last - plus they get the possible benefit of diagnosing your electrical woes, and telling you that you have had a faulty relay, or a dodgy earth point before they reach the diagnosis that you need a new battery.

          For the relatively small amount of money involved, popping your car onto a smart charger (and the beauty of them is that the charging can most often be done with the battery in situ) once in a while helps keep that battery happy, extends its life, makes starting the car that wee bit easier and at this time of the year it also dramatically reduces the chances that you will get to your car in a cold dark car park and find it not wanting to start.
           
          • Informative Informative x 2
          • pete

            pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

            Joined:
            Jan 9, 2005
            Messages:
            25,850
            Gender:
            Male
            Occupation:
            joinery
            Location:
            Mid Kent
            Ratings:
            +23,774
            Sounds slightly like we have gone backwards:scratch::biggrin:
             
            • Agree Agree x 1
            • Fat Controller

              Fat Controller Cuddly Scottish Admin! Staff Member

              Joined:
              May 5, 2012
              Messages:
              16,516
              Gender:
              Male
              Occupation:
              Public Transport
              Location:
              At me 'puter, GCHQ Ashford Office, Middlesex
              Ratings:
              +27,504
              To some degree, I think you are right - it's one of things where something is done for the right reasons, then having unintended consequences
               
              • Informative Informative x 1
              • HarryS

                HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

                Joined:
                Aug 28, 2010
                Messages:
                7,894
                Gender:
                Male
                Occupation:
                Retired
                Location:
                Wigan
                Ratings:
                +13,630
                Thanks for the kind offer FC , its OK I have some Amazon vouchers , so thought I would replace my 45 year old charger ! It's a handy tool to have . If you do get a flat battery due to an inside light being left on etc etc etc . Our cars are on a long drive , front end in first . So it is hard work getting jump leads to them . A little 4 amp trickle charger would be ideal. Hopefully we will never need it.
                Interesting info on car battery charge systems :blue thumb: I still find that the battery will last 7 yearsish on a car. I was hoping that the two year life of batteries and exhausts were long gone.
                 
                Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
              • Fat Controller

                Fat Controller Cuddly Scottish Admin! Staff Member

                Joined:
                May 5, 2012
                Messages:
                16,516
                Gender:
                Male
                Occupation:
                Public Transport
                Location:
                At me 'puter, GCHQ Ashford Office, Middlesex
                Ratings:
                +27,504
                You're welcome @HarryS - maybe just as well, as I don't know where it is at the moment.

                I would suggest taking a look at the CTEK MXS5.0 - should pretty much cover what you need, and more; build quality is excellent, as is their ease of extendability
                 
              • HarryS

                HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

                Joined:
                Aug 28, 2010
                Messages:
                7,894
                Gender:
                Male
                Occupation:
                Retired
                Location:
                Wigan
                Ratings:
                +13,630
                I ordered the Suaoki charger , as they put a flash sale on it yesterday reducing by £11 to £23 .Placed the order at 6pm and it was delivered to a locker at 10am ! It's a lovely little unit , well built , and does a 100 things you will never need. Lets hope I never have to use it !
                71X6sTPdbWL._SL1024_.jpg
                 
                • Like Like x 2
                • Fat Controller

                  Fat Controller Cuddly Scottish Admin! Staff Member

                  Joined:
                  May 5, 2012
                  Messages:
                  16,516
                  Gender:
                  Male
                  Occupation:
                  Public Transport
                  Location:
                  At me 'puter, GCHQ Ashford Office, Middlesex
                  Ratings:
                  +27,504
                  Champion - looks like a cracker of a deal!
                   

                Share This Page