Can my Charger be used with lead acid and gel batteries?
Possibly. Some chargers can be adjusted manually to recharge either conventional Lead acid or sealed Gel batteries. This is usually done by means of an output adjustment screw or toggle switches. If your charger is not suitable the batteries will fail prematurely. If you are in any doubt you should contact the charger manufacturers or your retailer.
Can a standard automotive charger be used with my batteries?
If you are recharging a car or van the answer is yes. If you want to recharge large commercial batteries you must ensure the charger output is sufficiently high enough before charging commences. If you are charging deep cycle or traction batteries the answer is no. Deep cycle and traction wet lead acid batteries require a higher charging voltage and charge current than the average automotive charger can produce.
How long will it take my batteries to fully recharge?
The amount of time it takes a battery to charge depends on the type of battery and charger and on how long it took to discharge (slow or fast). As a rule of thumb you can divide the battery capacity by the maximum charge capacity and add four hours. The four hours is for the so-called after-charging time, where the battery determines how much more current it needs to get back to a fully charged state. For example, an empty 200 Ah battery connected to a 40A battery charger would take about 200 divided by 40 = 5 + 4 hours to charge, 9 hours in total. If the battery had been only 50% discharged the calculation would be: 100 divided by 40 = 2 + 4 hours, 6 hours in total.
When do I need to perform an equalization charge (Completely discharge batteries)?
This should not really be necessary depending on the type of batteries you have, and is more likley to be used on Wet type batteries.
Some chargers may have this function inbuilt into them, and will be used when necessary.
What type of charger should I buy?
An automatic charger offers the greatest convenience. Just plug the battery into the charger and the charger does the rest. Manual chargers, although equally effective at charging batteries, require a greater level of attention.
What size charger should I buy?
A properly sized charger takes into account battery capacity and the time interval between charges. In applications where cycling is infrequent, such as weekend users, or infrequent or seasonal usage, a charger with an output current rating between 10 and 13% of the battery's rated 20-hour capacity will suffice. In applications where battery recharge must be accomplished within 8 to 10 hours, a three stage, automatic charger, rated at 20% of the battery capacity, may be required.