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Author Topic:   Trickle Charging Vs Full Power Charge
17 bodega posted 05-01-2008 10:57 PM ET (US)   Profile for 17 bodega   Send Email to 17 bodega  
I use a "smart charger" meaning that there are LED's on the unit indicating when the battery is fully charged as well as a VU type meter. I usually opt for the "12 volt deep cycle marine" option when charging. This however is a 12 amp automatic setting. The 2 amp "manual" setting is the only "trickle" charge. Should I be using the 2 amp setting for the marine battery?

Will using the 12 Amp automatic "deep cycle" setting wear out my batteries faster?

I use the costco brand "Kirkland" deep cycle marine batteries. They currently go for $58 plus the %9 disposal fee that you get as a core charge if you buy another one.

They have a 100% replacement warranty until the 36th month in which they prorate the refund. Not bad.

Bella con23 posted 05-02-2008 08:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bella con23  Send Email to Bella con23     
Did you mail order the battery from Costco, or did they have it on the shelves? The Costco near me doesn't carry marine batteries.

I would keep an eye on the battery on charge with a volt meter. The (flooded cell) battery should start charging at 14.2 to 14.5 volts and begin to back off to about 13.2 to 13.8 after a period of time depending on the discharge state.

Try it in both positions of the charger, but watch it once an hour or so and see what happens.

I just killed a one year old Interstate deep cycle battery when my $345 dual battery charger decided that 53vdc would be a good voltage to charge that battery.

It boiled out the electrolyte dry. I tried to restore the battery with distilled water and although it passed the load test at the auto center, it would not hold a charge overnight.

17 bodega posted 05-02-2008 09:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
I bought it off the shelf in Northern California.

I also am mistaken about the warranty. It is 12 months replacement free, and the prorate works by percentage from 13 months and rapidly declines to less than 10% of value. Test your battery often during the first 12 months.

I tested my second battery which I've had since 6/06, which also gets little use, and it still had 58 cold cranking amps.

I wish my charger had an "automatic" setting on 2Amp trickle. I guess I'll trickle charge and watch and test with multimeter often.

Any suggestions?

jimh posted 05-02-2008 11:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have two problems with assertions you have made:

--A "smart charger" is not defined by the LED indicators. I believe that a "smart charger" refers to a charger which has some intelligence built into it in the form of a charging algorithm to follow, rather than being a simple constant voltage source as most "not smart" chargers are.

--a VU meter is a carefully defined dial point type meter in which certain pointer ballistics are specified. The acronym VU is for Volume Unit. It is traditionally used to measure loudness on audio signals, particularly the male voice.

17 bodega posted 05-03-2008 01:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Thanks for setting me straight Jim. The VU was a mistake, a simple analog amperage meter would have been correct for me to say, but I couldn't come up with that at the time.

By smart charger, I mean a charger that "knows" when the battery has fully charged, and stops sending current into the battery to avoid damaging it. My charger has this feature for the 12 amp settings, but does not have it for the 2 amp "trickle" settings. Technically, the only thing that makes my charger "smart" is the auto shut off, the LED indicators (a red and green), and several settings. If others here are spending $350 for a smart charger I'm almost certian that my charger is dumb by comparison.

Chuck Tribolet posted 05-03-2008 10:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
What are the batteries used for? If it's just starting and
the electronics, the motor should keep things charged up while
on the water and all you need is a smart trickle charger to
keep the battery(s) up when weather or fishing seasons or social
life keep you off the water for a few weeks.

If it's for an electric trolling motor, and you sometimes (or
always) have a short run back to the ramp, you need a smart
charger that will charge a sufficient rate to charge
overnight (12A is plenty), then switch to a smart trickle
charge mode. You only need this on the trolling motor


17 bodega posted 05-04-2008 01:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
That's it exactly Chuck.

Battery 1 and 2 are on a Perko (off, 1, 2, all) switch with a common negative battery cable and the negative from my switch panel on the negative terminal on battery 2. I only have the main engine starter, GPS/sonar, VHF, 2 bilge pumps (seperate swithces) and a seperate switches for navigation and stern lights. No trolling motor.

I just replaced the battey I bought when I first got the boat. I think that It may have lasted longer had I used trickle charging rather than the 12 amp auto setting on my charger.

Another problem is I have used the 70 amp "engine start/activate" mode as it outlines in the instrucitons. It sends a spike of voltage to activate the battery. I suspect this shortened the life of my batteries. It does have an automatic 2 amp 12 volt setting that I will use exclusively in the future thanks to my reading here.

Live and learn...

seabob4 posted 05-09-2008 07:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for seabob4  Send Email to seabob4     
What brand battery charger are you using? You should not need to use any type of "boost" to start your engine, unless your battery can't hold a charge, or was severely depleted and you didn't have time to recharge it correctly.

A "Smart" charger starts out with a "bulk" charge". Then it progresses to an "equalization" charge. From there, it goes to a "maintenance" charge. Good chargers, such as ProMariner, Guest, and Charles do this. But none of them have a "boost" switch on them.

The key is to have the proper equipment, maintain that equipment, and spend a little money to save you the aggravation later. After all, a boat is simply,"a hole in the water that you throw money into". Think about it.

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