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Battery Tender, Trickle Charger, or What?

Posted by DrewM 
DrewM Avatar
Drew Maddock
74 MGB roadster, Southern California, USA   usa

My car started slowly because my battery was down the other day maybe b/c my brake warning light had been on for a day or two while the car was parked. That got me thinking maybe it would be a good idea to use a battery tender, trickle charger, or some other way to keeping the battery in good shape. Any suggestions as to what I need and which one to buy? Don't want to spend a lot, of course.



Drew Maddock
Pasadena, California
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ohlord Avatar
Rob C
North of Seattle, N.W., USA   usa
1971 MG MGB "Bedouin 2"

Fix the PDWS so its not lit.
Do a load test on the battery to see its health 12.6V
If you use it daily it should not need a charger.
If it does you have a drain to ground,something drawing power,or the battery is going south.
If you only drive it once every few weeks a trickle charger will keep it ready to go.



"You take off the roof and the top is the height of the nearest Star"
Garfers Avatar
John Vanelli
California, USA   usa

Drew;
I purchased a Battery Tender from Amazon. It is the 021-0128 model #.
After driving, I plug it in and it keeps my battery charged without
any problems. Cost was about $50.00. Great investment. BTW I live in
Banning, about 70 miles east of you. Do you know of any good mechanics
in the area?????

John V.
Banning, CA
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Soyokaze 72MGB Avatar
Ryan Foster
Keller, Texas, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB "Bitty"

I am hesitant to have a possible source of ignition next to fuel and oxygen. I used to work on ships that would carry new cars, and these sorts of vessels tend to catch on fire! No matter how safe a charger is, the worst case of a fire is still possible. It would be safer to simply disconnect the battery when the car is not going to be used for more than a week, and address any electrical issues ASAP.
little red rollerskate Avatar
Richard Spurling
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia   aus
2005 MG ZR 160 "Thunder"

I don't know what a Battery Tender is but it's probably the same beast that I have. Years ago, when my MGB was being used irregularly, I used to get regular flat batteries. It was obvious I had a slight leak somewhere - I used to blame the clock but we recently found an issue in the starting circuit so it might have been that.

Anyways, the battery bloke was listening to me complain and sold me a 'Flow charger'. Basically, you plug it in and it keeps a trickle charge going to the battery. From memory, it also cycles the battery to keep it happy. Whatever, I can ignore the car for weeks and she'll still start perfectly. That battery is now 10 years old and still going strong which is pretty impressive for a modern battery.

As stated earlier, if you use your MG every day, you don't any such foolishness but for a car that is used intermittently and suffer flat batteries as a result, they aren't a bad option.



The first rule of MG is never ever ask why - there usually is no good reason, accept it and try and work out how to mend it
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the omega man Avatar
phil wilkins
staffordshire, Stafford, United Kingdom   gbr

I just started using one on my B last week.I purchased an Accumate charger/conditioner.seems to work really well.I don't know how it works but it will not spark at the battery posts and it has a built in protection for if you accidentally connected positive to negative,no harm is done.cost about £35 well worth it.
ohlord Avatar
Rob C
North of Seattle, N.W., USA   usa
1971 MG MGB "Bedouin 2"

Trickle charger Harborfreight tools about $7 on sale
get a $4 multimeter and you can also learn how to track leaks to ground. bad ground,alternator output,battery voltage unloaded and loaded, bulbs,fuses,circuits,etc.



"You take off the roof and the top is the height of the nearest Star"
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forestghost07 Avatar
Marco Sinai
Florida, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB GT "Viajero"
1999 Chevrolet Blazer "Works For Gas"

Hi Drew, this tender I fitted to my GT was pricey (they've come down since), but it's a marine grade one, Coast Guard approved, sealed, waterproof, bla bla. It's a 3 amp "smart" tender by Guest/Marinco Inc., cycles as mentioned above and keeps my B's two 6-volters at 13.4V combined. It works flawlessly and I expect very long life from those two batteries. thumbs up



~ Marco and Viajero ~

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Edd Weninger Avatar
Arizona or SoCal, Overgaard AZ or H. Bch. CA, USA   usa

I have several Battery Tenders on much of the stuff that might get very cold in a detached garage or airplane hangar. I am sometimes away for a month or so. They work well.

Battery Tender is a brand name. About $40. They are intelligent, charging at a reasonable rate, if the battery is low, and tapers off to a maintenance level when the charge is complete.

There are a lot of cheaper copies, if you want to take a risk.

BTs are not "trickle chargers" that put a constant low amperage into the battery.
mgb RIP Avatar
Steve E
Northants, Wellingborough, United Kingdom   gbr

Battery Conditioner/Tender any day over trickle charger.

The good ones have a built in cycle and then a pulse cycle which helps break down the lead dioxide to lead sulfates and back again when on charge cycle.

Trickle chargers do not do this
ohlord Avatar
Rob C
North of Seattle, N.W., USA   usa
1971 MG MGB "Bedouin 2"

Float charger.
http://www.harborfreight.com/automatic-battery-float-charger-42292.html
works great. We keep one on the John Deere during the off season up on the Island.
A trick some people use that have an MGB in a garage along with another car that gets frequent use is to plug a regular charger into the automatic door opener light socket with an outlet. When the door is opened and for the several minutes the light stays on after the door is closed the battery is juiced up several times a week for short periods.



"You take off the roof and the top is the height of the nearest Star"

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NNN
Norman Nalepa
Florida, USA   usa
1979 MG MGB "Chick Mobile"

Get a battery tender and attach the leads to the battery. Set the battery tender in the back space attach wit Velcro and problem solved. I drilled two holes in the battery cover to feed he wires thru. Plug it in when parking the vehicle and your good to go. Now get a brand name tender.
brcree Avatar
Bryne C
Pelzer area, S.C., USA   usa
1974 MG MGB "Miranda"

Drew.....I use one of these volt meters to be able to monitor the batt. health. It will let you know at a glance whats going on. My batt. would drain from time to time and, I found that the trunk (boot) courtesy light would come on from time to time. This drained the batt.. Mind you, my current batt. will need replacing soon. I agree with these guys on a trickle charger if needed.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2013 09:30AM by brcree.

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9146 Avatar
rick dentel
yardley, pa, USA   usa

Battery tender is the way to go, you don't have to remember to check it. The kit also has a lead that you can attach to the battery and just plug it in.
I use a solar charger, just plug it into the cig lighter.I got it at the port in Baltimore, VW uses them on their Diesel cars to maintain the batteries.
I just extended the lead and put it in the garage window.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2013 09:36AM by 9146.
saanich2006 Avatar
Robert Browning
Atlanta, Georgia, USA   usa

I use a Battery Tender Junior and it works great to keep my battery charged all winter long.



"He had delusions of adequacy."

Law of Mechanical Repair - After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.






Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2013 09:49AM by saanich2006.
mooser01 Avatar
George C
Big Sky Country, MT, USA   usa

Drew,
Beltran make an excellent battery tender, with many models to suit your needs and are available through Amazon.
I have two 15 year old deep cycle marine batterys that get used once or twice a year. So far the Beltran keeps them ready to go.
I have used Beltran chargers on both my MGBs for years, which are stored for about four months through the winter. I do keep the battery covers off during storage for safety,
A good battery disconnect switch is a good investment for your MG.
George
dmarsingill Avatar
Donald Marsingill
Dacula, GA, USA   usa

I use a Battery Tender on the vehicles I don't drive much. The Ford battery is still alive.(2003)
The Jeep Optima red top is still good(2005)
The GT has a new battery, so nothing to report.

I did research on batteries. Apparently batteries are only 80% charged when you but them to keep them less volatile during transport. Your car will never charge it above that unless you drive it for 12+hours without stopping.(every time you use the starter, it drops back a good bit) You should charge your battery slowly until it's fully charged before installing it to make it last longer. I have done this on all batteries since I researched this(2000 or so)


Donald
forestghost07 Avatar
Marco Sinai
Florida, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB GT "Viajero"
1999 Chevrolet Blazer "Works For Gas"

In reply to # 2554300 by brcree Drew.....I use one of these volt meters to be able to monitor the batt. health. It will let you know at a glance whats going on. My batt. would drain from time to time and, I found that the trunk (boot) courtesy light would come on from time to time. This drained the batt.. Mind you, my current batt. will need replacing soon. I agree with these guys on a trickle charger if needed.

Hi Byrne, you're not alone hehe. Marvelous little device smiling smiley ... mine lives - in full time. Less than $10 on Ebay.



~ Marco and Viajero ~

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rocannon Avatar
Frank L
Oklahoma, USA   usa
1980 MG MGB "Restored By Photoshop Inc."

Use a cutoff switch.



“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”
Anon

TANSTAAFL !
Emil Wojcik Avatar
Metuchen, NJ, USA   usa

A cut-off switch won't keep a battery from losing charge over time if we're talking about long-term storage for the car. But it will help if you have a power drain someplace in the system, although I'd find and fix the drain if that's the issue. If it's just to protect it from your electric clock, your clock shouldn't drain your battery even if the car sat for a year, unless your battery's bad, in which case you need to start by replacing your battery.

After that, yes, a battery tender is a great idea if the car sits for long periods of time but isn't necessary if it just sits a few days or weeks. Again, if it's draining after sitting a few days, make sure the battery's good and there are no unusual drains.

You don't want a trickle charger, you want a tender. It will charge the battery, then occasionally test the battery for faults and will automatically switch to charge-mode as needed.

Since this is something that you leave hooked up for extended periods, often without checking on it, I'd advise against a cheap tender like the ones Harbor Freight sells--I just don't trust them and you get what you pay for.

The one I use is from Mac Tools, Model MT6340 (part # 141-520-600) but it's not cheap although I don't remember the price. My son picked it up from the Mac Tools truck that comes by his shop. I tried to find it online but have a feeling it's only available from the parts truck. If you can find one, and afford it, I'd recommend it. Mac Tools does have others on their website but I'm not familiar with those. Buying a top notch product is the best way to protect your car/garage/house from fire, although obviously nothing's 100%.

Here's the specs of mine--only thing I could find about this model online:

MT6340
20/10/2 AMP 6/12V
INTELLIGENT BATTERY CHARGER / MAINTAINER
• Combining fully automatic operation and the
ability to properly charge multiple battery
types, the MT6340 is the perfect charger to
meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s
professional technician. Intelligent, beneficial,
safe and versatile – one charger does it all,
from fast charging and battery repair to battery
maintenance and long term storage charging
• Plus, with the ability to properly charge virtually
any lead acid battery type, it is the only charger
you will need
• Flooded, AGM, Gel Cell, Spiral Wound, Marine,
and Deep Cycle batteries all can be charged
right with the MT6340
• 6 and 12 Volt battery charging
• 20/10/2A charge rates
• 20A fast charge rate is ideal for charging
large batteries
• Fully automatic operation
• Advanced multi-phase charging process
• Properly charges all battery types
• Soft Start Mode for severely depleted batteries
• Recondition Mode rejuvenates
distressed batteries
• Enhanced maintenance mode for ideal long
term storage
• Temperature compensation for more
effective charging
• Reverse Polarity Protection and Battery
Fault Detection
• Data rich display provides detailed feedback
during charging

EDIT: My son said he remembers it cost less than $100 but probably more than $80.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2013 04:15PM by Emil Wojcik.
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