How to Charge your Car Battery

by braniac

Article #2 of "charging your car battery!" Article #1 dealt with jump starting your car battery from another car to get it home. * Now you and your car are safely at home and you have found a battery charger! Autozone will loan you a battery charger overnight for a small deposit. If you have multiple cars and other vehicles, such as motorcycles or anything with a gas engine on it, buy a good used or new battery charger! Keep it for you and your kids or just to help out a friend. Mine looks like it's 30 years old and may be, my Dad passed it on to me. They last forever with little or no maintenance! They can save you a trip to the car dealerships or auto mechanic where things can get expensive quick! Besides, you can do it, save money and have that feeling of independence and know how. When it comes to car repair most of us are at the Mechanic's Mercy! But not with the small stuff like this! Go for it! I'll help you!

Getting the car home is not a problem. Even if you stop briefly it will start again in most cases. But don't tempt your good fortune. Pull the vehicle you jump started up close to the nearest outside electrical outlet or inside the garage where there are many places to plug in the battery charger. Make sure the car is in a place where it doesn't have to be moved for quite awhile as it is charging!

No Clowning around, electrical fixes are serious!

Charging a car battery outdoors is as easy as charging one inside a garage, just less comfortable. The car is in a place where it can stay for a while is all that really matters at this point. Open the hood and secure it if it won't stay put in windy conditions. Take a look at that battery, you just jump started it earlier today right? So be friends with it and clean it up a little. Just wipe off the surface of oil and grime and even wipe off the Posts (Negative and Positive remember)Sometimes there is a coating of Vaseline on the Posts or some kind of protective coating. Just let that be and clean around it! Set the battery charger next to the battery, either on the car somewhere stable or on a table close by. Do not plug in the charger yet! But you do want to stretch out the cables, again Positive and Negative and the cord to reach an electrical outlet. Just look over things after you set the charger up and clean the battery and you can see the logic of where everything is going to go and make sure everything is within reach and on a stable surface area! Smile, but this is not the time to clown around. You are dealing with electricity and I don't want anybody to inadvertently get shocked!

Take a good look at the battery charger it will have a very simple panel on the front of it for you to 'Set' the voltage and amperage for your car. The time or speed of Charging the car can be accomplished in a couple of ways. If there is no time constraints you can charge the car overnight. (this would be the best way to get a complete charge) If you are in need of getting your car charged more quickly than overnight that can be done too. *Remember do not plug the charger on until all cables and cords are selected and attached properly! The Panel on the Charger (there will be a switch here too) will say > 6 volt, 12 volt, 12 volt < across the top! You are charging a car battery, so you do need 12 volts only! But you need to distinguish the amperage you want to use and that is read under the 2- 12 volt choices on the panel you are reading. The choices for 12 volt charging are usually 2 amps and 10 amps. Overnight charging will always use the 2 Amp selection! The battery will be charging for 8 or more hours and using the 10 amps charge might overcharge the battery, causing damage to the battery and a possible electrical fire. So don't be afraid, just use the 2 amp selection switch for overnight. If you are in a hurry you can use the 10 amp position (under the 12 volt heading) and you will only need about 2-4 hours to complete the battery charging! It might not be as thorough as leaving it overnight, but it will definitely charge your battery and start your car! So determine your time frame needed for this charging procedure and meet me in Step #4.

Hooking up the cables from the Charger to the battery is exactly like using jumper cables! Always hook up the "RED" cable to the Positive (+) post on the battery and hook up the "BLACK" cable to the Negative (-) battery post. Have your 12 volt selection on the correct Amp choice as stated in step #3 and now you can plug the electrical supply cable into an outlet in the garage or to an exterior extension cable to supply the Charger with a source of electrical energy! How to read the meter on the charger is very important during the charging procedure. Next step please!

Another look at the Chargers Meter if you save and Zoom it out !

Charging the battery is now in the process. The battery chargers "Meter" will give you information on how well it is taking the charge and if it is working properly. The meter usually reads left to right on a sweeping (second hand looking) needle. When you first plug in the charger it will swing into the middle of the whole area of the meter readings (like at 12 o'clock), that's just fine! Now as the hours go by the Meter needle will start heading to the left or to the "Ok" section of the meter. This can be just like watching a clock at work, the meter needle never moves when your looking at it. So get out of the house or write an article for eHow and forget about it. If you are charging the battery overnight, just sleep on it and do not worry! there is very little, if any chance of anything catching on fire or anything else... Because you have set the Voltage on 12 volts and the Amperage on "2" for overnight charging and that is so little amperage that there is no danger!

Completing the battery charging process after 4 hours (10 amp charge) or sleeping 8-10 hours (2 amp charge)is now just a matter of looking at the meter and seeing that the meter needle is now all the way to the left or in the "OK" section on the left side of the Charger meter! Remove all the cables properly, by first unplugging the battery charger from the extension cord or wall outlet and then removing the cable clamps from the Positive and Negative battery posts and taking the Battery charger off the car or table and closing the hood of the car if you are as confident as I would be... Get in the Car, turn the ignition on just like you would any other day and it will start and run just like it always did before or better! I would however run the car for a few minutes or better yet head out on a half hour trip or more and make sure the alternator is working well also! You did it yourself again! There are a few tips and warnings for your reading pleasure. But after that go for a Sunday drive, the Gas prices have dropped to $3.15 per gallon here in Indy! Not Funny is it! Have a Great week! Bailey

Tips

  • check You can do a 2 step process on charging the battery by using the 10 amp charge for 3 or 4 hours before bedtime and then switch the charger to 2 Amps for overnight! Really Good Charge for Sure!
  • check Don't sweat the meter readings at first they are confusing and sometimes inaccurate. Just Hook up the charger and look about every 2 hours to see if there is any difference showing/
  • check After the full overnight charge you will see the Meter does read "OK" and has gone all the way to the Left or Charged side of the readings
  • check Close your hood as far as you can and even throw a tarp over the car where the battery is during charging and you can do this in any weather!
  • check Remember headlights left on, will drain that Car Battery faster than Martha Stewart can put sprinkles on a cup cake!
  • check this information is for sealed batteries only, older batteries might have individual cells that are filled with water and acid... this information does not apply to those type batteries!
  • check If this charging procedure does not work you may need to try it again and make sure your connections were tight or if they were tight you may have a dead cell in the battery and no amount of charging it will bring it back to working properly!

Warnings

  • close Charging a car battery can be done very safely, but the use of high powered electrical equipment is always a "Proceed with Caution" project.
  • close Use even more caution if it is raining or snowing, again it's electrical!
  • close When you are putting on or taking off the battery charger cables make sure the charger is unplugged and never touch the two (negative and Positive) cables together at any time.
  • close When you are working under the hood of a car be careful sleeves and other clothing does not get caught up in the engine!
  • close If you loan the charger out, explain this information I have given you to the person for the obvious reasons and also so they don't ruin your charger. Also make sure they return it, or you may have to go back and get it from them in the future!

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About the Author

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