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keith1948

Battery chargers

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Help required. Our old Ford Fiesta has only moved once since lockdown and today the battery was unable to start the engine. No problem I thought - just charge it up. That is when the problem started. The battery is a lead acid calcium battery. The charger I have had for years and works fine with standard lead acid batteries. Will it work with a calcium battery or do I need a different type of charger. I put it on the high setting and it seemed to put some charge into the battery - enough to start the car and eventually said "charging complete".

However looking in the Machine Mart catalogue there seems to be different chargers for different types of batteries and some that will charge all types and some that won't. Calcium batteries seem to need 'special' charging.

Anyone able to advise on what I thought would be a simple operation? Which chargers are for which batteries?

Keith

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'Calcium' batteries  don't need special charging Keith but they do need slightly more voltage than a standard lead-acid type for a full charge.  Provided your charger gives more than 14.8 volts it will do the job.

It sounds like a 'smart' charger though so might not be easy to measure that and it will be programmed to turn off when it thinks the battery is full i.e when it has reached a certain voltage. Although that may not be a complete charge it should be enough to start the car as you found and the the car system will finish the charging off if it has a suitable alternator.

Most recent battery conditioners can manage it and should say so in the specification.

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Hello Keith

The good old lead acid battery was the mainstay of the world for several decades. sadly, someone realised that involving calcium in the  equation allowed smaller cheaper batteries to be developed giving enhanced starting characteristics..

However, calcium based batteries need as ROBH said,  more than 14,8 volts to charge effectively which most older version chargers simply don't provide.(typically 13.5 - 14v), Especially when fully discharged,

Some 40 years ago I began my career as a design draughtsman for a battery company. One of the older designers at that time said to me " someone is going to pee on a rock and get 12v out of it..when they do we will all be out of a job.'

To your point,  I've just had to buy smart charger for my BMW,, my charger of 20 years burned out when I tried to use it,

Sometines, technical advancement is not always at the benefit of the consumer.

Nigel H

 

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I wrote to CTEC and asked which one of their chargers was suitable for my 74 amp calcium battery , they came back with MXS 5.0  Hope that helps, it seems to get up to 14.7 volts as already stated.

John

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Hello Rob, Nigel, John

Thanks for your replies. Never thought much about this subject until a couple of days ago.

I have since done some more research on battery chargers. Mine is a Bradex turbo fast 10 which is 10 amp RMS max with microchip control. It was bought for my dad back in the 1980’s from Argos but has worked fine for last 30 years. The Fiesta  battery is 46amp hour. I have read that batteries should be charged at 10% of amp hour rate. So the battery in the Fiesta should charge at 4.6  amp which is what it seemed to be on the 'high' setting. After charging for about 8 hours on the high setting for the afternoon it said charging complete. A 46 amp hour battery charging at about 4 amp should take about 10 hours so not far off. I could then turn it to the 'low' setting to put some more energy into it.  The car turned over and fired up this morning. Whether it will hold the charge time will tell.

I also have a very old charger from the late 1960's early 1970's which has no frills - it just charges. That puts out enough power to do the job on an old calcium battery that I thought was ready for the scrap yard.

Apparently if your car has start/stop technology, you'll have an AGM or EFB battery. A conventional charger isn’t suitable for these types of batteries and you’ll need a 'smart' charger instead.

I often yearn for the days when you could just buy a bog-standard lead/acid battery for the car and put it in and stick it on a charger when it was flat. If you were really flash you could get a 'heavy duty' battery.

I agree with Nigel that new technology is not always to the advantage of the consumer.

Keith

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51 minutes ago, John L said:

I wrote to CTEC and asked which one of their chargers was suitable for my 74 amp calcium battery , they came back with MXS 5.0  Hope that helps, it seems to get up to 14.7 volts as already stated.

John

John

You are correct the Ctec will work out what type of battery is fitted also it will charge a leisure battery up to 13.6 volts. 

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+1 for CTEC.  I have one wired into our campervan to keep the leisure batteries (2 x 120Ahr). It is working 24hrs per day whilst in storage, which can be months at a time. It's now 11 years old. Brilliant piece of kit. Mike.

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I bought a CTEK MXS 10 today to charge the battery on my son's 1994 Corolla. I read a few reports and reviews and this one seemed to stand out.

To be fair the battery was new but I'd left the ignition on for over a week after working on the car (idiot). This one charges a battery from absolutely dead (which it was) and has a few options. It seems to have done the trick!

I'll know in the morning when I try to take it back to him!

Rog

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Keith, the ideal charge rate is 'capacity' divided by 8 so your 10% is not so far off..you should charge at no more that 'capacity' divided by 5..and not for extended periods.

A battery boffin described it to me as 'charge memory'..the rate that gives the deepest charge condition(best density of electrons alignment)..not too fast , not to slow....

Sealed for life was also an interesting development, basically to stop topping up of fluids and hence eventually the battery would die.

Many of the employees at the battery company would flush their car battery annually and refill with acid and had batteries with 10 years + life.

Nigel H

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You devils. You've done it again.

You start a thread about batteries and how to charge or not as the case may be.

Yesterday I got the battery off the TR4 that has sat still since November.  The battery was very flat.

After 12hrs of charge it was only at 9V and felt quite warm.

So I bought a new battery from Halfords.  The battery charger suggested that the new battery was not charge - Odd I thought.

Anyway about lunchtime I put the old one back on charge and with an hour it was ready for use.

 

 

 

Roger

Edited by RogerH

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I suggest you hang on to the new one Roger at least for a while - and keep it topped up. If your old one really has been 'flat' for any length of time it may not be long for this world. Car batteries are not designed for deep discharge cycles. They are supposed to discharge maybe 10% during starting and then be fully recharged immediately. 

The old one may have charged - i.e. reached the correct terminal voltage but its capacity could now be much lower than spec if sulphation has happened. Time will tell.

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Thanks Rob,

 

I'll pop it back in the car tomorrow and see what happens.

 

Roger

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Sorry Roger - I'm not responsible for your flat battery -honest!

I have an old battery in the garage that shows the green spot that says it is ok but it is 7 years old and was replaced by a new one 3 or 4 years ago. I can charge it up and it appears to hold its charge but not confident that it would be reliable in the car. Batteries are usually fine in the warmer summer months but soon show whether they are any good or not when the cold winter weather sets in.

Interesting comment from Nigel about refilling the battery with fresh acid to extend its life. Several videos on the internet claim to rejuvenate batteries with epsom salts and coca cola but wouldn't trust that method. And as for this method??? - just make sure you wear your open toe sandals when you spill the acid!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afwO_MZjRjA

Keith

 

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The last time I tried to add water to a battery (Bosch) I failed to get any access to the cells. sealed for life I guess.

Bob.

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The CTEKs look so impressive with all the blinky lights that I've shown Mrs BN, in case I ever have a cardiac arrest and need defibrillating. She wanted to do a trial run of where to put the terminal clips but I said no, I'm not kinky like that.

Seriously though, the CTEKs are brilliant, I have a couple of them and they seem to do a grand job. I have a couple of 12v sockets fitted in the TR so just plug in the CTEK whenever I garage the car.

Nigel

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53 minutes ago, Lebro said:

The last time I tried to add water to a battery (Bosch) I failed to get any access to the cells. sealed for life I guess.

Bob.

I recently replaced a failing battery that had no visible cell caps, but when I took out from under the retainer clamp noticed that the full length plastic cover had a hinge in it!!

Raised the bit with the hinge and underneath were usual cell lids. All the cells were almost bone dry so I topped them up, but had a few "phew just made it" starts after that, and replaced it.

Nothing printed on the battery indicated that it had cell caps or that it needed to be topped up?? (young players. traps etc.)

Replacement battery is totally sealed, not 'fakely' sealed. (Borrowed that from the 'fake' President.)

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18 hours ago, RobH said:

I suggest you hang on to the new one Roger at least for a while - and keep it topped up. If your old one really has been 'flat' for any length of time it may not be long for this world. Car batteries are not designed for deep discharge cycles. They are supposed to discharge maybe 10% during starting and then be fully recharged immediately. 

The old one may have charged - i.e. reached the correct terminal voltage but its capacity could now be much lower than spec if sulphation has happened. Time will tell.

Hi Rob,

I checked the 'unloaded' battery volts this morning and it is at 8.5V. Yesterday immediately after charge it was apprx 13V.   It has had its day.

Shame really as it has only done about 30 or 40 starts and less than 50 miles. 

 

Roger

 

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Granville used to sell tablets called "Bat-Aid", which could sometimes rejuvenate a failing battery. I think the active ingredient was EDTA or something like that. I've also improved some batteries by deep cycling them - connected an old headlamp bulb across the battery, left until the bulb goes out, then charged. Repeat a couple of times.

Both these will either rejuvenate a battery or kill it completely!

Pete

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Does that work similar to Bat-Anti shark Spray ?..kapow!! :D

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1 hour ago, RogerH said:

Hi Rob,

I checked the 'unloaded' battery volts this morning and it is at 8.5V. Yesterday immediately after charge it was apprx 13V.   It has had its day.

Shame really as it has only done about 30 or 40 starts and less than 50 miles. 

 

Roger

 

Roger

It might not be dead a Ctec will sort it, first it will clean the cells and then charge it, can take up to 48 hrs. Or you could try a drop test.

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