Car Battery Charger Problems
Modern automotive batteries are generally low maintenance items and require only periodic checks and cleanings to ensure their reliable operation. Occasionally electrical components fail or vehicle owners leave accessories switched on for extended periods, resulting in the battery being completely drained of its electrical energy.
Automotive batteries have two posts which the battery cables are connected to. Each post has a specific polarity, positive or negative. In order to properly replace the battery’s charge, the positive connector on the charger must be connected to the positive battery terminal, and the negative connector to the negative terminal. Improperly connecting the charger will fail to replace the battery’s charge and can result in explosion.
There are two main types of battery chargers; automatic and manual. Automatic chargers will sense when the battery is fully charged and stop supplying electrical energy. This keeps the battery from being damaged by overcharging. Manual chargers must be monitored by the user and shut off or disconnected when the battery becomes fully charged. Manual chargers do not monitor the battery’s charged state, so if not disconnected properly one can overcharge the battery and cause permanent damage.
Some battery chargers can be set to different voltages. The voltage the charger is set to must match the rated voltage of the battery to be charged. If the proper voltage is not selected, excessively long charging times or overcharging may occur.
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When connected to a completely discharged battery, a battery charger will show little or no reading on its voltage meter. If after 15 to 20 minutes no rise in voltage occurs, the battery charger may not be supplying any current to the battery and all connections must be checked. If the charger is properly connected and has good contact with the terminals, the battery may have a dead cell or be damaged beyond use and should be tested to determine its condition.