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Car Chargers

Do's and Dont's

Ajax -- 25/07/2003 -- From time to time we may be tempted to use equipment that may not be designed for the application  we intend to use it for.  That temptation may come from the idea that it will work just like another product and that the only difference is that it is labeled differently or that it's "close enough" and will "do the job well enough".

Well, let's disparage the myths about Car Chargers.

1) Car batteries typically charge and 15AH and Motorcycle batteries charge at 2AH

2) The voltage regulator in a lot of the cheaper car chargers is biased by the load of the battery being charged. This can result in an over voltage condition in a motorcycle battery which in turn can fry your battery.

3) Most car chargers do not have the intelligence to go into trickle charge mode once the charge level in the battery has reached a certain point. This can result in overheating if unchecked and in turn a fried battery.

If you are looking for a charger that is the be all and end all for you make sure you can adjust the charge rate. I have one that will charge at either 2AH or 15AH. While this is safe for charging I would not leave it unattended as it doesn't have the smarts to stop once the battery is charged.

I made the investment in a charger that is specific to motorcycle batteries. It has circuitry that can sense the charge level and adjust it's mode of charge to suit the state of the battery. While these are not cheap (about $125 CDN) the battery for my bike ($175 CDN) is more expensive.


Some car chargers have a high current boost option. This is a loosely regulated high current source for starting CARS not BIKES. Do NOT under any circumstances use it to start your bike. There is a very significant chance you will not only cook your battery but also your regulator in the bike can suffer damage. If it doesn't burn it out totally it can affect the voltage level which will toast the battery later on.

Car batteries are more tolerant than bike batteries and will recover from abuse and deep cycling more often.

If you want the best life for your battery then treat it with the right equipment.  Make the investment in a good charger there are a couple on the market that are far superior to car chargers:

Battery Tender Pro and the Yuasa Smart Shot. One or the other are most likely available at your local motorcycle store. In fact I have yet to find a bike shop that doesn't carry them

If any battery maintenance device can lengthen the life of your battery these should do it.  I have the Battery Tender product and it works great. They cost more than car chargers but in the long run they are well worth the money.


Andrew Wells



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