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Battery Tender, Trickle Charger, or What?

Posted by DrewM 
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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

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

RD2/Electronic Warfare Technician Vietnam 1969-1972

Garfers Avatar
John Vanelli
California, USA   usa
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

the omega man Avatar
phil wilkins
staffordshire, Stafford, UK   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"
1971 MG MGB
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"

RD2/Electronic Warfare Technician Vietnam 1969-1972

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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, UK   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"
1971 MG MGB
Float charger.
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"

RD2/Electronic Warfare Technician Vietnam 1969-1972

Winter snow Shaw Island.jpg    62.1 KB
Winter snow Shaw Island.jpg

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 2013-12-21 09:30 AM 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 2013-12-21 09:36 AM 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.

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