Battery Charging Essentials
Keeping a car battery charged is part of a good maintenance plan; you want to be sure you car starts when you need it most. Most people have had experience jump starting a car at one time or another, hooking the battery of a running car to your drained battery, but in this article, we’re discussing keeping your healthy battery fully charged, or putting a charge on a dead or nearly dead battery in your home.
There are several steps to assure you get a solid charge, and maintain a safe environment while charging to avoid the possibility of any injury.
For equipment, you should consider owning a trickle charger. This is a device that plugs into your wall outlet and has jumper cables attached to it. A trickle (slow) charge provides a charge to your battery on a ‘non-urgent’ basis, and batteries seem to hold charges that have been delivered by a trickle charger for a longer period of time.
In order to prepare your car and battery for charging, you’ll need to follow a few steps:
1) Clean the battery terminals if needed. If they have a white powder like substance on them, this is dried sulfuric acide and can burn your fingers, so use caution. Clean the terminals with dry sandpaper, or a clean cloth with baking soda.
2) Remove the cell caps, the series of small caps on top of the battery. Gases build up during charging and removing the caps allows the gas to escape safely.
3) Attach the jumper cables, matching the appropriate colors, or the POS and NEG indicators. Do not let the jumper cables touch each other.
4) Turn on the charger, and let it run overnight. Check the meter in the morning and if reads less than an ampere, the task is complete and you can unplug the charger, and remove the jumper cables.
5) Test. See if you can start the car easily, without effort. If you can, your charge was successful; if you can’t, you probably need a new battery.
You can check your battery’s charge from time to time with a tool called a hydrometer If your battery has good days and bad days, you can tell if you need to ‘top off’ a charge from the hydrometer reading. Come and visit us at General Power Batters, where are always happy test and service your battery for you.