If you’ve ever dealt with a dead battery at an inconvenient time, you’ve probably considered getting a trickle charger. You’ve heard about it in the past, but you’ve wondered if it actually makes a difference. Well, it can be a smart investment, especially when you are considering an alternative power source for your vehicle’s battery.
What is a Trickle Charger?
Technically, the term ‘trickle charger’ simply refers to a device that allows you to charge at low amperage. It is worth noting that your alternator constantly charges your car’s battery. That said, you may not necessarily operate your car every day. In this case, you will need a trickle charger.
When you store your vehicle, you can connect the charger and expect a steady stream of power. This way, the energy won’t be drained even if you rarely use the vehicle. Moreover, you won’t have to deal with a dead battery at the most unexpected and inconvenient time.
How to Use a Trickle Charger
Step 1: Prepare the Battery for Charging
Keep in mind that excess hydrogen may become concentrated in an enclosed space, causing an explosion or fire. So, make sure that the vehicle is parked in a covered yet well-ventilated area. Also, turn off the ignition and remove the key.
Step 2: Choose a Suitable Ground Location
The next step is to select a good location for attaching the negative terminal of your trickle charger. Look for a large bolt connected to the engine block or chassis. On the other hand, you can also find a section of the frame that is free of excessive grime, dirt and oil. Keep in mind that you should never use the negative terminal of the battery. Otherwise, you might cause an explosion or fire.
Step 3: Attach the Cables
Now, take the red alligator clip and attach it to the positive terminal of the battery. Once you’ve ensured a secure connection, attach the black, negative wire to your chosen ground location from Step 2. Avoid touching the wires while the charger is connected and turned on. Otherwise, you might suffer from serious shock or injury.
If you want to get an illustrative guide on using a trickle charger, you can watch this video:
Step 4: Switch the Charger On
After connecting the cables, refer to your battery’s manual to know the proper settings for the charger. Now, plug n your charger and switch it on.
Step 5: Check the Display
Finally, you need to check the display to ensure that the device is charging properly. Many battery chargers contain an amp meter that will read lower to 0 on an adequately charged one, and higher on a dead battery. Keep the battery connected until the charging is complete. Here’s a good video showing how to check the trickle charger gauge:
If you are using a conditioning trickle charger, there is no need to disconnect the battery. However, if you should unplug the battery if you are using a full-power charger.
It is important to check the meter to see if the battery is charging properly. If the meter reads low, it is likely that your battery does not need a charge, or that your ground connection is not secure. When this happens, you need to switch off the charger, disconnect it, then plug it back.
If the charger does not begin to charge even after a few minutes, then it means that your battery is dead beyond recovery. To ensure that your trickle charger is working, you can also try using it n a different battery. If there is any movement in the ammeter needle from zero, then it means that the charger is functioning. Consequently, the issue lies on your battery. In this case, you can always learn how to know if your battery is dead.