Battery Maintenance

Car Battery Trickle Charger vs Float Charger


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A car battery trickle charger is a device that derives energy from a source and transmits it to a secondary rechargeable battery to energize it. A trickle charger is a simple charger that charges the battery slowly. Both the trickle charger and the float charger are 12 v battery chargers that charge the battery at the same rate that it self-discharges.

Advantages of a Trickle Charger:

1. Continuous Charging of the Battery

Since a battery can discharge even when it’s not used, the trickle charger is very advantageous, as it continues to charge the battery and keeps it fully charged.

2. Trickle Charging

The car battery trickle charger gets its energy from a primary source such as electric power. It then slowly transmits this energy to a secondary rechargeable device such as the car battery. The car battery therefore gets energy slowly and steadily from the trickle charger. Since this energy is transferred to the car battery in a trickle, there is minimum risk of damage to the battery. There is no likelihood of an electric short circuit and the battery can generally withstand the flow of power.

3. Car Battery Trickle Charger Extends Battery Life

Since the trickle charger charges the battery when it’s not in use, it prevents sulphide on the lead plates of the battery. This helps prolong the life of the battery.

Disadvantages of a Trickle Charger:

1. Trickle Charger Needs to be Connected and Disconnected at Regular Intervals

The car battery trickle charger has no circuitry to prevent overcharging. It’s unable to identify whether the battery needs charging or is fully charged. It needs to be connected and disconnected at regular intervals to prevent damage to the plates or removal of electrolytes from the cells.

2. Trickle Charger Can Damage the Battery

The trickle charger is designed to top the battery charge to a 100 percent. Fully charging a battery for prolonged periods can damage the battery irrevocably.

Advantages of a Car Battery Float Charger:

1. Intelligent Circuitry

The float charger has sensors that can sense that the battery is fully charged. This enables the charger to shut off the charge so that there is minimum or no supply of energy to the battery. When the battery self-discharges sufficiently, the float charger starts supplying power.

2. Float Charger Can be Connected Indefinitely to the Car Battery

While you can only use the trickle charger for a day or two on a monthly basis to charge the car battery, the float charger can be indefinitely connected to the battery and cause no damage to it.

3. Float Charger Manages, Not Just Charges a Car Battery

A trickle charger is responsible for charging the battery. A float charger, on the other hand, manages the service life and efficiency of the car battery.

Disadvantages of a Float Charger:

1. Slow Charging

Float chargers are very slow at charging a car battery and they are ineffective in charging a completely dead car battery.  

Car battery chargers are essential for keeping the battery in working condition, and you must choose one that suits your requirements. Trickle chargers that are fitted with a display that informs the car owner the battery is fully charged are a good choice. Similarly, float chargers that automatically modify the supply of power to the battery are beneficial.

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