Battery Charger and/or Tester Recommendations? (1 Viewer)

PAToyota

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I have an old Century portable charger. It works on standard batteries, but has seen better days - some of the plastic has broken (handle, switches, etc). As it still works, an option would be to tear it apart, replace switches, bolt a handle to it, and call it a day. But I would like a few more options. It does standard batteries and will jump start, but won't do AGM or gel.

A coworker has this one from MAC Tools: Intelligent Battery Charger/Maintainer

PL2320-1.jpg


I've found that it is a rebadged SOLAR - which you can find for about a third of what he paid for the MAC brand - downside is no jump start.: 20/10/2 Amp 6/12V Intelligent Battery Charger / Maintainer - Clore Automotive

He also picked up one of these: 40-1200 CCA 12 Volt Digital Battery & System Tester - Clore Automotive

BA9.jpg


Again, he got the MAC version for about three times the price of the SOLAR at Amazon or elsewhere. Reading the reviews, there are mixed feelings about it. People say that it will tell you to charge the battery and then retest - at which point it will give you a good rating for the battery only to have the battery not start the vehicle a day or two later. Sounds like it doesn't actually load test the battery. Should I stick with an old-school carbon pile load tester?

Between vehicles, equipment, motorcycle, and such, I have quite a few batteries to keep track of. I'd like a tester that will give me a quick read on what state a battery is in so that I can check them every now and then and know whether to charge them or replace them. Similarly, I'd like a charger that I can just put on something and come back later (rather than watch over it) and also something that will jump start the vehicle if I need it now. I'd prefer something fairly portable, but am not opposed to a wheel charger if it is worthwhile.

What are people using?
 

1911

chupacabra
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I have an old Century portable charger. It works on standard batteries, but has seen better days - some of the plastic has broken (handle, switches, etc). As it still works, an option would be to tear it apart, replace switches, bolt a handle to it, and call it a day. But I would like a few more options. It does standard batteries and will jump start, but won't do AGM or gel.

A coworker has this one from MAC Tools: Intelligent Battery Charger/Maintainer

View attachment 2234764

I've found that it is a rebadged SOLAR - which you can find for about a third of what he paid for the MAC brand - downside is no jump start.: 20/10/2 Amp 6/12V Intelligent Battery Charger / Maintainer - Clore Automotive

He also picked up one of these: 40-1200 CCA 12 Volt Digital Battery & System Tester - Clore Automotive

View attachment 2234763

Again, he got the MAC version for about three times the price of the SOLAR at Amazon or elsewhere. Reading the reviews, there are mixed feelings about it. People say that it will tell you to charge the battery and then retest - at which point it will give you a good rating for the battery only to have the battery not start the vehicle a day or two later. Sounds like it doesn't actually load test the battery. Should I stick with an old-school carbon pile load tester?

Between vehicles, equipment, motorcycle, and such, I have quite a few batteries to keep track of. I'd like a tester that will give me a quick read on what state a battery is in so that I can check them every now and then and know whether to charge them or replace them. Similarly, I'd like a charger that I can just put on something and come back later (rather than watch over it) and also something that will jump start the vehicle if I need it now. I'd prefer something fairly portable, but am not opposed to a wheel charger if it is worthwhile.

What are people using?

Would like to know also, since I have not had great results with battery tenders/minders in the past.
 

PAToyota

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Would like to know also, since I have not had great results with battery tenders/minders in the past.

For battery tender/minder-type products, I do have two Deltran units that I've been very pleased with.

For my motorcycle, I have one of these: Battery Tender® Plus 12V, 1.25A Battery Charger
TenderPlus.jpg


I have a lead connected to the battery in the motorcycle so that all I have to do is plug the Tender into the dongle hanging out by the key switch. I just keep it plugged in all winter.

For the Bobcats (skidloader and mini-ex) I have one of these: Battery Tender® 2-Bank 12V, 1.25A Battery Charger
Dual Tender.jpg


Those are easier to just use the alligator clamps on the batteries than a permanent dongle. When I put them in the shop, they just get hooked up.

Those work great for storage, but there are times that one/both of the Bobcats is outside and doesn't get used for awhile and needs a charge - and then there are the autos. Those are more the ones I'm looking for a tester and charger/jump starter for.
 

Blue77FJ40

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I have the load tester shown, but this tester from HF shows the CCAs left in battery as well as overall battery health. The grey half case will disintegrate, but what the hell, the overall yellow unit still works fine after a number of years.

Totally agree on the Battery Tender, I have one on each vehicle.


YMMV
 

PAToyota

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I have the load tester shown, but this tester from HF shows the CCAs left in battery as well as overall battery health. The grey half case will disintegrate, but what the hell, the overall yellow unit still works fine after a number of years.

From this review, it sounds like the HF unit is similar to the SOLAR one I mentioned in the first post:
Screen Shot 2020-03-12 at 06.22.48 AM Mar.12.20.png


I see similar comments about the solar, so it appears that is the nature of the beast for those sorts of testers. Sounds like the carbon pile units give you a better bang for the buck.
 

Blue77FJ40

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I'm not an electrical engineer by any means, but see if this forum's review agrees with you. Tool Review: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer

or you could query on the unit's other reviews to support or disagree with your standpoint. I found a number of them. Some possibly only showing you how to use the unit.
 

PAToyota

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I'm not an electrical engineer by any means, but see if this forum's review agrees with you. Tool Review: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer
or you could query on the unit's other reviews to support or disagree with your standpoint. I found a number of them. Some possibly only showing you how to use the unit.

That does give some good input. I read the first page and will have to go back and read more when I have the time. I guess the main thing I'm looking for is an understanding of its limitations. I always wonder how many of the bad reviews for something are because they are not using it correctly (did they actually read the directions) or are expecting it to do things that it isn't designed for? Some things it's easier to read between the lines on than others - mostly how much experience/knowledge you have yourself.

After using the one at work to test ~50 Optima Blue Tops coming out of one of our testing battery banks I bought one of these:
Not inexpensive, but I like it a lot.

I'm not opposed to spending some coin, but I'm certainly not testing dozens of batteries here and a $50~$75 model would be nicer financially than a $400~$500 if it reasonably meets my needs.
 

ntsqd

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Unfortunately other than a VAT-40 it is the only battery tester that I've ever used. It is spendy, but I've almost used it enough in the last year to justify it.
 

PAToyota

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Still looking at options. This Foxwell unit had favorable reviews and seemed to have a bit more than the SOLAR and HF units posted above, but this review gives a bit more of an understanding of what is going on with testers such as this:

FOXWELL BT705 Review

Reading through a number of the "ten best" automotive battery analyzer articles on the web pretty much keeps showing the same units in various orders. The Schumacher BT-100 carbon pile tester typically shows up in the lists with notes that it can be a more reliable option although there are hazards to such units.

For testing, I think I'm just going to stick with my "old school" carbon pile load tester. The new, digital options don't seem to give any added reliability to the answers and cost more.

So I'm still looking at options for a charger/jump start unit at this point.
 

ntsqd

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FWIW buy an Antigravity XP series LiON jump-start battery for that function and keep in the 4X4. Thru Xmas's and B-days all of mine now have one in them. This happened after my first one got my CTD going when a jump off my running at high idle 4rnnr couldn't, even after it sat there at the high idle for almost an hour. The far-fetched sounding stories that you hear about these batteries sounded exactly that to me. Then I had the above situation and it lit that Cummins off with no effort, even after the air pre-warmer cycle. I'm sold, one of them goes with me on ANY trip.
 

PAToyota

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I've thought about the jump-pack option. There would definitely be advantages. The disadvantage would be making sure it was always charged up and ready when it may be months (or more) between uses.
 

ntsqd

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My first one had been sitting in the CTD for long enough that I'd almost completely forgotten that I had it. Only 3 of the 4 charge status LED's lit up when I turned it on, yet it still had enough to get the CTD going with power to spare. Based on that I don't think it's a worry. That said, I've been thinking that I'd really like to have a logic circuit that plugs into a power port, that the XP's charge cable then plugs into, and it only charges the XP every third or fourth, maybe 8th time the ignition is turned on.

I inherited my grandfather's traditional transformer type battery charger. It came from NAPA, is hand portable & easily fits in a file cabinet drawer, not some bulky thing on wheels. It continues to impress in that it simply does what I need done. Which is a lot more than I can say for the similarly sized Craftsman transformer type that it replaced. Looking at NAPA's page it's no surprise that it's NLA.
I also have a couple smaller Noco's that appear to be winners, but I haven't had them long enough to say for sure. I have one of them maintaining the camper batteries and it appears to be doing a good job.
 

dogdaysindurham

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I have an older Odyssey Charger the OMAX-25 which was made by Schumacher to charge my agm Sears Diehard Platinum AGMs that has been growing strong for 8 years now. I think they made some similar chargers for Sears Diehard brand. Been very happy with it. I got the idea from ih8mud to attach an anderson powerpole sb50 connectors to my battery and charger to make it easier to charge without popping my hood.

I have heard great things about CTEK.

SC1359 15A 6V/12V Fully Automatic Battery Charger is similiar to the version I have but has different modes for various battery chemistries.
 

e9999

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If I were to buy a charger today, I'd want to make sure it has the best protocol for voltage cycles and termination so as not to damage the battery. Then again, most new ones have some form of that nowadays. Older transformer/rectifiers charger types just keep going on and on and could cook your battery if large enough. I do use some still for hands-on odd charging tasks, just not for letting the thing run overnight.
I do have a small BatteryMinder charger that has a desulfating pulse feature but can't tell for sure that it makes a difference. However, having used it regularly on my starter batteries, I was pleased to see that they lasted for an unusually large number of years. Of course, it could just be that I did not let the battery run down as much as other times, just cuz I liked the idea of the charger possibly doing something good and maybe used it more regularly.
 
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Ctech has been my most favorite charger to date, compact and it has a gel cell battery option along with a refurbish mode to bring tired batteries back to life. I have refurbished several batteries, it has its limitations when a battery is flat dead.
 

PAToyota

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On the jump pack option, my Mac Tools guy was showing me this one: Ultracapacitor Jump Starter

Pretty cool idea - a capacitor that will charge up from a weakened battery and give it the jolt it needs to start. If the battery is too weak, you can quickly charge it up from a good battery - although at that point you could just use jumper cables. I suppose it could still come in handy if access was an issue - like having to walk somewhere to charge it up and then walk back to your vehicle off-road or such.

Downside is that I hope it also has an AED mode to get your heart started again after seeing the price! :nurse:
 

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