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 Post subject: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 4:37 am 
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Posts: 39544
Location: SoCal, 91387
I live alone and have two cars, a 2005 T-Bird V8 and a 2004 Chevy Monte Carlo, V6. I have gotten down to doing very little driving, almost all locally, in the past few years.

Most of the time I drive the T-Bird, once in awhile the Chevy, esp when I buy groceries and a need a larger trunk.

I had bought a new battery for the Chevy in March of 2020, a NAPA Legend Professional with a 75 month warranty. In November it wouldn't start the car, so pulled it out, returned to NAPA for a warranty replacement, and installed the new one. In August of this year, same routine, battery wouldn't start, and measured 7 volts.

From November to August I had only put on 875 miles, or less than 100 miles a month. They again gave me a replacement, and also sold me a trickle charger. I've had the trickle charger on almost continuously, but did do a 20 mile trip yesterday, and haven't connected it back yet.

So the burning question is, if I do at least a 20 mile trip, how many days before I should then connect the trickle charger back on? The cars are always garaged, and here in SoCal, we don't get many nights of freezing temperatures during the winter.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 4:49 am 
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Location: Annapolis, MD
Hmmmmmmm--expired battery normally means that they GIVE you a new one---AND---if they think you need a trickle charger to have THEIR warranty pan out, they would pay for said trickle charger.
All pontification aside, many people put their car on a trickle charger whenever they are not driving it. Even a high-quality battery can lose charge while doing nothing useful

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 4:56 am 
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Joined: Feb Wed 07, 2018 6:52 pm
Posts: 1124
Location: Stone Mountain, GA
Have destroyed batts using a trickle charger. You want a battery maintainer.

My current version is a 12V/1A wall wart (outputs 16V unloaded) that is fed to a $3 switching regulator set to 13.1V.

I remove my batts and take them inside during the winter and connect to maintainer. Add a small light bulb in series with each batt. That will prevent it one batt from shorting and taking out the others. Have used a diode instead and set reg to 13.6V.

My house, automatic start switch generator has a "charger". Over charged batt and it got low on water and blew up (top of batter was gone.). Replaced with 12V/5A switching suupply set to 13.1V and now batt has lasted years.

Lots of maintainers out there for less than $20.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 5:04 am 
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Joined: May Mon 25, 2020 7:37 pm
Posts: 945
Location: Greater Boston, MA
+1 on using a maintainer and not a trickle charger. Does a great job keeping the '69 Camaro ready to go.


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 5:04 am 
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Joined: Jun Sat 15, 2019 7:43 pm
Posts: 1508
Your vehicle will draw 50 to 100 ma when sitting in the garage, add to that the normal self-discharge drain of 5% per month. If it is going to sit for longer than two weeks I would use a good trickle charger/battery maintainer. I use the Battery Minder brand for about $50, I have four of them that I use on the equipment that is not used for a period of time, never had a problem

DM


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 5:38 am 
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Posts: 4985
I take it that your garage is not heated so both of the batteries in those vehicles are subjected sometimes to cold temperatures during the winter. When a vehicle is standing idle for a period of time while subjected to cold temperatures, that will raise hell with the battery as the electrolyte will tend to freeze up. Solution: Find some way of keeping the inside of the garage above 50 degrees F during the winter season.

Check the current draw on the Chevy battery while it's sitting idle, and report back. Actually, I wouldn't expect the battery to draw much more than 20mA.

If the current draw is excessive while the Chevy is standing idle, it could be that you have some vanity lamp that's inadvertently staying on, or perhaps it's the car computer itself that 's drawing abnormally high current. You can check all that by individually pulling out fuses while simultaneously checking the current draw.

NAPA batteries are generally good so the problem is going to revolve around the Chevy.


Last edited by Blustar1 on Sep Sat 11, 2021 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 6:25 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 39544
Location: SoCal, 91387
My mistake on referring to it as a trickle charger, it's just a term I'm used to. In fact it IS a battery maintainer.

So is the consensus that I should always have it connected to the car battery when parked in the garage?

I doubt the temperature in the garage gets below the high 40's in the winter.


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 6:36 am 
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Joined: Aug Tue 24, 2021 9:18 pm
Posts: 303
I'm not a fan of Crapa batteries (or a lot of their other parts). I have seen a number of them fail really early in their lives. We have them in two of our vehicles, but only because they were in them when we bought them. When they fail, they will be replaced with something else.


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 6:40 am 
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Joined: Feb Wed 12, 2014 4:25 pm
Posts: 235
Location: Southeast Kans. - KA0HCP
With my 2011 Buick, I've found it necessary to buy a solar panel trickle charger which sits on the dashboard. The 'black current" draw from the internal computers, radios, etc ate up two batteries.


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 7:53 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1027
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
I have a 2004 GMC Envoy that I found a few weeks back that would not start after sitting parked for a week. The battery was completely discharged, so I put it on a trickle charger for about a day. Then it started, but it bothered me why the battery was totally drained. By disconnecting the battery and using a digital ammeter, I found there was a current draw of 2.87 amps with the ignition switch off. No lamps were coming on. With the battery completely disconnected it held its charge for another week. By pulling the fuses out one at I time I found that the radio circuit accounted for half of that current. Other circuits drain were so much lower I couldn't figure out where the rest of it was going. I am still trying to sort it out, but I did see some sites on the web where other GMC owners were also complaining of unknown current drains.
John


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 11:55 am 
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Joined: Jul Tue 15, 2008 6:13 pm
Posts: 9632
Location: Gretna, Nebraska
A battery maintainer is the right solution for a vehicle that gets driven infrequently.

Do yourself a favor and find a secure location under the hood to mount it, and hard wire it to the battery. Then run the AC cord so a couple inches hangs through the radiator grill where you can plug it in easily to an extension cord when not driving the vehicle.

A word of warning, the battery maintainers I have tried were some of the worst generators of RF noise I have ever heard while they were plugged in.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Oct Sun 15, 2006 12:57 pm
Posts: 7961
Location: Liberty, Missouri
I've been using three of these HF solar chargers for the last ten years or so to "over winter" the batteries in my tractor and two mowers. They have at least tripled the old, one, or maybe two year cycle I used to get from the batteries. Well worth the twenty bucks.

Image

I mounted them on the outside of the mower shed. clip them on at the end of the mowing season and they're ready to go next spring.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 12:44 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 11082
Location: 13 Critchley Avenue, PO Box 36, Monteith Ont, P0K 1P0
Mikeinkcmo wrote:
I've been using three of these HF solar chargers for the last ten years or so to "over winter" the batteries in my tractor and two mowers. They have at least tripled the old, one, or maybe two year cycle I used to get from the batteries. Well worth the twenty bucks.

Same here. I have one clipped to my sawmill battery ALL the time and I disconnect it when I use the mill. I have one on the tractor when it sits during the winter and I have it wired with polarised connectors. I'll be getting one for my new (to me) bulldozer before winter sets in.
These solar panel chargers have meant the difference in years between battery changes.


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Mar Tue 30, 2010 2:24 am
Posts: 9162
Location: Lehighton, PA.
Here's a tid-bit almost no one knows about. Ford added something called a Battery Monitor System (BMS). Too much to explain here so Google it. Basically as your battery ages it is supposed to control how much your accessories use, among other things such as reducing the charge to prevent cooking, in order to prolong the life of the battery. Fair enough. The problem is if you replace the battery there is a specific reset sequence you must employ or it will continue to think you still have the old battery in and it will start going dead within just a few days. People think it's a parasitic draw and it isn't.

Here is the reset sequence for a Ford Focus and I'm not kidding.

Turn the key on with the engine off
Flash the hi-beams 5 times
Press the brake pedal 3 times
Watch for the battery light on the dash to blink 3 times
Do it all within 30 seconds

There is also software called Forscan that can reset it and some newer ODB scanners can do it. However it gets done it is required or you will continually have a dead battery every few days. It took me a while to fix the g-daughter's Focus after she had it towed 4 times and 3 new batteries (She lives 65 miles away). BMS is a perfect example of a solution in search of a problem and creating one instead. Some of these "engineers" have too much time on their hands. :roll:

Larry

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 12:58 pm 
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Posts: 11082
Location: 13 Critchley Avenue, PO Box 36, Monteith Ont, P0K 1P0
rocketeer wrote:
Here is the reset sequence for a Ford Focus and I'm not kidding.

Turn the key on with the engine off
Flash the hi-beams 5 times
Press the brake pedal 3 times
Watch for the battery light on the dash to blink 3 times
Do it all within 30 seconds

There is also software called Forscan that can reset it and some newer ODB scanners can do it. However it gets done it is required or you will continually have a dead battery every few days. It took me a while to fix the g-daughter's Focus after she had it towed 4 times and 3 new batteries (She lives 65 miles away). BMS is a perfect example of a solution in search of a problem and creating one instead. Some of these "engineers" have too much time on their hands. :roll:

Larry


Ford ...... the better idea people ... (insert BIG rolling eyes emoji here) LOL

Seriously though .... other than emissions reducing devices, the level of vehicle interference with the operator these days is mind boggling. Even accessories are guilty. I bought a new dash cam to put into my wife's new Jeep GC. It tells me when I am about cross a solid line (not dotted) or when traffic is starting to move. I find it hilarious (still new to us), so I have yet to turn it all off and keep only the video with GPS tracking.


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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 1:46 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 13473
Location: Fernandina Beach, FL
I have a '65 Corvair that sits in the garage here in Florida. The battery lasted 10 years and it was a NAPA. I have Costco batteries in the Kaiser Jeep M-715 and I disconnect the link between the batteries when it is not being driven (It's 24 volt). Those batteries are 10 years old. But with the '07 Mustang GT, if I don't drive it for over a month, the battery will die. For me, I just need to drive my fleet more. I don't have any battery maintainers.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 1:54 pm 
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Posts: 30055
Location: Annapolis, MD
Don Cavey wrote:
I have a '65 Corvair that sits in the garage here in Florida. The battery lasted 10 years and it was a NAPA. I have Costco batteries in the Kaiser Jeep M-715 and I disconnect the link between the batteries when it is not being driven (It's 24 volt). Those batteries are 10 years old. But with the '07 Mustang GT, if I don't drive it for over a month, the battery will die. For me, I just need to drive my fleet more. I don't have any battery maintainers.

Sure you do.....use the relevant appendages to make sure the fleet gets [u]used[/u]

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 2:05 pm 
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Joined: Mar Tue 30, 2010 2:24 am
Posts: 9162
Location: Lehighton, PA.
I always put one of these on my tractors. Twist the knob and it breaks the battery ground connection.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 3:05 pm 
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Posts: 13473
Location: Fernandina Beach, FL
pixellany wrote:
Don Cavey wrote:
I have a '65 Corvair that sits in the garage here in Florida. The battery lasted 10 years and it was a NAPA. I have Costco batteries in the Kaiser Jeep M-715 and I disconnect the link between the batteries when it is not being driven (It's 24 volt). Those batteries are 10 years old. But with the '07 Mustang GT, if I don't drive it for over a month, the battery will die. For me, I just need to drive my fleet more. I don't have any battery maintainers.

Sure you do.....use the relevant appendages to make sure the fleet gets [u]used[/u]


So true, Mark. The only load on the Corvair is the clock which winds every few minutes. No computers, no radio memory etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping a car battery charged
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 3:16 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 04, 2010 2:52 am
Posts: 4985
Under the proper conditions, a good car battery will maintain its charge for months while the vehicle is standing idle. In fact, that's always the situation with my father's 1995 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale as it can remain parked inside the heated garage (temperature maintained above 50 degrees F) for several months with no danger of the battery discharging appreciably. Actually, we can always count on the car starting after such an extended period. Incidentally, the current draw with that car standing idle is less than 20 mA.

In the OP's case, I really do suggest that he checks the current draw on the battery while the car is standing idle.

In my mother's case with her 1997 Ford Mercury Sable, she generally uses the car just once a week to get her hair done, and the total trip lasts less than 10 minutes tops.

Regarding the battery brands, the worst ones that I ever came across were none other than the Sears Die Hard and the Wolverine batteries in that order. Delco batteries are very good performers, but I always had excellent luck with the NAPA batteries. In fact, that's what I currently have in my 2005 Jaguar XJ8L, and NAPA batteries are in my parents' cars as well.


Last edited by Blustar1 on Sep Sat 11, 2021 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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