How to & Guides

Battery Tender Vs Trickle Charger

An automobile requires regular charging for its battery to function optimally. While most vehicle owners understand this, they may need assistance in deciding between a trickle charger and a battery tender. Understanding the differences is crucial for choosing the best charger for their needs. In this article, we’ll explore the disparities between these two popular rechargeable devices.

Battery Tender

What Is A Battery Tender?

A battery tender helps keep your car’s battery fully charged by continuously monitoring the voltage and adjusting the frequency of charging. It delivers less power but charges more frequently, preventing battery depletion during long periods of inactivity or in cold temperatures. The battery tender also prevents overcharging, ensuring the battery remains fully charged without draining when the car is not in use.

How To Use A Battery Tender?

Using a battery tender is simple. If you have a manual gauge, set the voltage level to your preference, usually 13.8V or 14.4V for some car batteries. Digital battery tenders have automatic gauges and settings for different types of car batteries.

Newer models include indicators that alert you if the voltage consistently falls below your set value (indicating a worn-out battery) or if it’s overcharged (which can also damage the battery). Here are the steps to charge a battery inside a car using a battery tender:

  1. Set the voltage to 13.8V (for automatic battery tender) or use a digital readout.
  2. Identify the positive (+) and negative (-) battery posts.
  3. Connect the charger clips based on the car’s grounding.
    • For a negatively grounded car, attach the positive (red) clip to the ungrounded positive post and the negative (black) clip away from the battery.
    • For a positively grounded car, attach the negative (black) clip to the ungrounded positive post and the positive (red) clip away from the battery.
  4. Plug the charger into a wall outlet and ensure it starts working. You can set your desired charge rate or use the “trickle” mode based on the ambient temperature.
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The status indicator lights are as follows:

  • Red light flashing: Processor functioning correctly, power connected, check clip connections or lower battery voltage.
  • Red light on steady: Charging in progress, turns green when charging is complete.
  • Green light flashing: Battery over 80% charged, keep charging until green light is steady.
  • Green light on steady: Charging complete, disconnect clips or terminals and turn off the charger.

It’s important to refer to your user manual, especially if you have a digital battery tender with indicators.

How To Maintain The Battery Tender While In Storage?

If you want to store your battery tender, it’s best to unplug it. However, if you plan to keep it on the shelf, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the battery type and make sure it’s compatible with the battery tender (works for AGM/sealed and flooded batteries).
  2. Determine the battery capacity and charger output to ensure compatibility.
  3. Check if the charger is working and properly wired.
  4. Plug it into an electrical outlet (IMPORTANT) and leave it connected.

How To Connect A Battery Tender?

Connecting a battery tender is straightforward:

  1. Connect the battery charger clips to the car’s posts, with the red clip on the positive post and the black clip on any metal part of the car.
  2. Attach the alligator clips or ring terminals to the battery posts like connecting an extension cord to a socket.
  3. Ensure the clips or terminals don’t touch each other or anything else.

How Do I Charge A Car Battery Using A Battery Tender?

Charging a car battery with a battery tender is easy. Ensure the charger clips are correctly attached to the battery posts and that the red lights are on. If there is no output, check for power at the electrical circuit or adjust your connections. Once everything is set, charging can begin by pressing a button on the charger or connecting the clips or terminals directly to the battery posts. The charger’s red light should stay on, and the green light should turn steady when charging is complete. Leave the battery on the charger until it’s ready for use.

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Trickle Charger

What Is A Trickle Charger?

A trickle charger slowly recharges batteries without wasting energy, ensuring they don’t lose power. It provides a constant current or voltage, which is especially necessary for lithium-ion batteries. Trickle chargers are commonly used to prevent RV or lawnmower batteries from losing charge and to extend the battery’s lifespan by avoiding overcharging.

How To Use A Trickle Charger?

Trickle chargers work by delivering a constant current to recharge the battery. They vary in voltage and are suitable for different battery sizes. To use a trickle charger, connect it to your car battery and plug it into a standard electrical outlet. However, it’s advisable to consult your car’s manufacturer before using a trickle charger. Contrary to popular belief, trickle charging does not harm the battery.

Why Is Trickle Charging The Better Option?

Trickle charging is a safer method than connecting the battery to an extension cord or other electrical devices. It protects the battery from overcharging and overheating, which can damage the battery and reduce its ability to hold a charge. Using a trickle charger is particularly important for lithium-ion batteries, as charging them with an extension cord is not suitable. Trickle chargers typically deliver around 1.25 amps or less, making them suitable for most 12-volt batteries. They are simple to use, as they don’t require an integrated circuit for protection.

How Long Does A Trickle Charger Take To Fully Charge A Car Battery?

A trickle charger delivering 1.5 or 2 amps will recharge a car battery at a rate of 1.5 or 2 amps per hour, although the actual figure may be slightly lower due to various factors. On average, it takes about 20 to 24 hours to fully charge a car battery using a 2-amp charger.

Who Needs A Trickle Charger?

Trickle chargers are beneficial for car owners who rarely use their vehicles or live in regions with high temperatures. They are also useful for those who drive short distances and leave their cars parked for extended periods. Trickle chargers help prevent battery drainage and ensure the battery remains in good condition, especially if it’s drained more than 50%. They are a reliable solution to avoid dead battery issues and can be used to maintain the health of your car battery.

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Pros And Cons Of Trickle Charging

The pros of using a trickle charger include its safety, ease of use, maintenance of battery health, and good value for money. However, leaving your battery connected to a trickle charger constantly may damage it. Additionally, while trickle charging boosts the battery, it may not fully charge it.

Comparison Between the Battery Tender and Trickle Charger

There have been online debates regarding the differences between battery tenders and trickle chargers. Understanding these disparities can be challenging due to conflicting opinions. Trickle chargers are advantageous as they maintain the battery in a chemically controlled state, ensuring the battery holds power well. On the other hand, if you live in regions with extreme temperatures, it is advisable to use a battery tender to protect your battery. While both devices may seem similar, they have distinct functionality.

What Is The Best Product By Comparing Battery Tender And Trickle Charger?

The best product for your car depends on your specific requirements as a driver and car owner. Consider your vehicle’s needs and how the charger will be used. If your car is exposed to extreme temperatures, a battery tender is recommended. Trickle chargers are suitable for cars parked for long periods without frequent use. Choose the charger that best suits your needs to ensure effective charging and battery maintenance. Both the battery tender and trickle charger are excellent options for recharging your car battery. Proper management of your charger is key.

OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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