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Old 07-20-2009, 09:29 PM   #1
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Decent, cheap, automatic 2-stage charger

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that the charging portion of my inverter setup has bit the dust. It said it was floating at 12.65v (a bit of a stretch I thought, but 12.65v is the right voltage for a completely charged battery), then let it keep dropping to 12.45v. Pressed random buttons, finally got the charge light to go red, but never raised it above 12.45v. So, I'm looking for a good, cheap, and automatic 2-stage charger. What I mean by automatic is I want one with switches, not buttons. I want to set a switch for voltage, another for max amps, and when I plug it in it'll automatically start bulk charging or floating, depending on the voltage it sees from the batteries. I don't want to have to go out every time there's a power outage or what-not, and repeatedly press buttons to select the options I need. Hope that makes some sense.

Trust me, I've looked for this charger. It only makes sense that one exists. All I can find are really dumb chargers that will start charging as soon as they're plugged up (don't believe it when they say it can be left on all the time, unless you like seeing 14v on the monitor and the associated problems), or really smart ones that you plug in, then press button A three times to select the amps, then button B twice to select the volts, and button C D and E for who knows what). I want a cheap dumb charger that's smart, or a cheap smart charger that's dumb. I briefly considered replacing the inverter/converter, but then I looked at prices.
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:49 PM   #2
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Re: Decent, cheap, automatic 2-stage charger

What you're looking for sounds complicated. What about a deepcycle battery tender like you put on a boat battery. They are small and simple. You plug them in and the trickle charge your batteries and won't overcharge them.
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:37 AM   #3
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Re: Decent, cheap, automatic 2-stage charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by tfdfyrman
What you're looking for sounds complicated. What about a deepcycle battery tender like you put on a boat battery. They are small and simple. You plug them in and the trickle charge your batteries and won't overcharge them.
I'll look into that. It'd need to be able to not only keep the battery at a float charge, but actually charge it up if it somehow got discharged (say, the power goes out while she's at work and the batteries get discharged). Now that I think about it, I wonder if that's why the other charger would often keep the voltage at 14v or more. Maybe it wanted to switch to a floating charge, but was woefully underpowered and stayed at the higher charge voltage for an extended period of time. Make sense? I guess I should go switch it from 2amp to whatever the higher setting is. Maybe that'd let it hit the high voltage it's looking for before dropping to float? I kinda doubt it though, it couldn't be that simple.

Edit: I checked, and the small charger I have says it's a battery maintainer. It also just has one switch, for 6v-12v. Apparently it's set at 1.5amps. If I could get the other charger going, I could get it to the 14.x volts it's looking for, then see if it wants to drop to a float charge.
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