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Old 06-17-2013, 08:41 AM   #21
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I have several of the Harbor Freight battery tenders, I use them for small batteries over the winter (motorcycle, tractor, gel cells) and they've always worked well to keep them in good shape. When I first got my truck, there was a small draw somewhere, so I put the charger on to keep it topped off until I had time to trace down the leak. Went out the next morning to remove the charger (tied a ribbon on the wheel to remind me ) and this is what I found:



The battery was almost fully charged, and the truck was shut off. Either there was some sudden draw that overheated the transformer, or a defect that caused a short inside the power supply. Glad it didn't burn my truck, and I won't be using these ever again. Warranty is long gone, thought about calling HF but I'm sure they don't care. Have to find a better solution before winter, I keep all the batteries next to my house backups in the basement, don't want to burn my house down.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:05 AM   #22
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Here is an informative site:

What You Should Know About Batteries

I love the opening quote "few batteries die a natural death, most are murdered".

This article talks mostly of charge voltages, not amperage, so may not be as useful in this case.

One thing I got out of this article is that you CAN accurately determine the charge state of a battery using a Digital Volt Meter....but only if you let the battery "rest", neither charging nor discharging. They have a useful chart to refer to. It all even shows up well on my iPhone, where I have it bookmarked as a useful reference.

The part about most "trickle chargers" supplying 13.8 volts, not enough to fully charge but enough to cause sulfate deposit and off gassing, and eventual ruin of the battery, was also an eye-opener. My old 1980's "10 amp" charger is now under my scrutiny....as I presently am using it in an attempt to revive a weak battery on an old truck. I've learned I have to monitor it closely. Might be time (for me) to step into this century and get a decent charger, maybe even one with the fancy "reconditioning charge", using variable frequency pulse charging.
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:11 PM   #23
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I'll argue that you CAN'T check a battery by voltage. I've seen more than a few batteries that will show proper voltage, but as soon as they're load tested, they drop like a rock.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:57 PM   #24
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Jared, me too!

But it is a well written article posted by professions on the Internet, so they gotta be right, don't they? :-)

I guess there are certain conditions that have to be met for the voltage reading to be anywhere near accurate. If you know your batteries are not bad, then this voltage chart on the linked article works pretty well. But I agree, a battery that has partially sulfated plates might show as good but fail miserably under load

Currently finding out that my 30 year old Schaur charger is putting a bit more than 15 volts into my ( removed) truck battery. This is what the article calls "equalization charge". I'm checking it often, it is outside, bubbling gently. I have gloves and googles on. Can't find my specific gravity turkey baste checker, so going to pull the plug soon.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:59 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinPete View Post
...........Went out the next morning to remove the charger (tied a ribbon on the wheel to remind me ) and this is what I found:



....
Nothing that a little electrical tape won't fix.
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