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Author Topic:   Battery Charger Life Expectancy
6992WHALER posted 02-06-2012 05:25 PM ET (US)   Profile for 6992WHALER   Send Email to 6992WHALER  
I installed a Xantrex Truecharge 20+ Multistage Battery Charger on my boat winter 2005.

The charger has been charging three battery banks almost continuously since its installation. I leave the charger hooked up during winter storage as well as when the boat is on the trailer or at the dock. The charger has basically been turned on for 7 years. Should I plan to replace it soon?

Jefecinco posted 02-06-2012 07:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Why would it fail? My old charger is perhaps thirty years old and works as new.

Admittedly, it is used very little compared to yours and lacks any modern solid state devices. Basically I use it overnight before each outing.

I suspect that most deterioration of electronic devices comes from surges or cycling.

Butch

jimh posted 02-06-2012 08:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The component of a battery charger most likely to fail is its diodes. As long as they remain in working condition, I'd say the life expectancy is nearly infinite.
6992WHALER posted 02-06-2012 08:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
Let's hope you are correct. It just feels like it's been turned on a long time.
jimh posted 02-08-2012 08:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The expected life span of electronic or electrical components is often directly related to the operating temperature and how much above ambient temperature the temperature of the device rises when operating normally. The less rise in temperature above ambient and the lower the ambient temperature, the longer an electrical or electronic device can be expected to operate. In general, heat is a deterrent to long life for electrical or electronic components.

The underlying reason for the tendency of heat to reduce lifespan of electrical or electronic components is the tendency for resistance of most conductors to rise with temperature. As resistance rises, the voltage drop across the component tends to increase, bringing more power dissipation in the device, bringing more temperature rise. If this positive reinforcement cycle progresses, the temperature rise can exceed the working range of the component, causing failure.

6992WHALER posted 02-08-2012 10:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
If not getting hot is the key to a long life, being located in Minnesota, my charger should last a long time. The ambient temperature out side right now is 8 F. My charger spends 3-4 months each year with ambient temps usualy below freezing.
jimh posted 02-08-2012 12:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Many devices work better at lower temperatures. The initial testing of the fusion bomb--the H-Bomb--used cryogenic cooling of the nuclear device. I think some experimental Physics electromagnetic devices (like a cyclotron) use refrigeration to keep the wiring and magnets chilled to decrease their resistance.
kwik_wurk posted 02-09-2012 01:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for kwik_wurk  Send Email to kwik_wurk     
Life span is also dictated by start stop cycles on electronics, which in part also ties together the heat stress endured going from no current/voltage, to an energized state.

Being that you continuously have your Xantrex on charge than I think you are in good shape.

(Short of having abnormal voltage/current surges being supplied to your unit.)

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