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Old 03-25-2013, 07:09 AM   #1
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Trickle charger for starter battery

I would like to install a trickle charger to keep my starter battery fresh during those periods when I may drive my SMB less frequently. I would appreciate any advice on what type of trickle charger to buy as well as installation specifics. My SMB is a 2003 Ford 4x4.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:48 AM   #2
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Re: Trickle charger for starter battery

I bought a small solar panel, I think it might be a good solution for trickle in that you don't need other power sources- but admittedly I haven't used it, nor do I intend to on the SMB, so I can't really say "this is what you need!"
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:16 AM   #3
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Re: Trickle charger for starter battery

I have one of those small, dashboard-sized solar panel chargers that Jage mentions. My SMB sits in my driveway most of the time, and so far, so good with it keeping the starting battery charged (I have a 5.4, so only one battery). I think it basically just replaces the very minimal draw of the stereo memory and other "vampire" circuits.

For my three house batteries, I use a "BatteryMinder" maintainer designed for AGM batteries.

http://www.amazon.com/BatteryMINDer-Cha ... B005EKY20K

Sure, I could just keep the big cable plugged into the 30A van outlet and let the inverter/charger charge the batteries, but I figured having a small dedicated maintainer was better for long-term charging over the winter, as all I need to run to the van is a regular extension cord, which is a lot easier to run under my garage door than a thick 30A cord. Plus, I assume it will extend the life of my inverter/charger since it's not on all winter.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:16 PM   #4
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Re: Trickle charger for starter battery

At home the van is always plugged into an extension cord from the garage.
That keeps the house battery charged and the 110 outlets powered.
Then I plug in a 1.5A float charger into the 110 with the output going the the cig lighter on the dash.

I figured all this out after I killed a set of starting batteries by letting them sit for 2 months with the vampire drain from the alarm system.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:32 PM   #5
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Re: Trickle charger for starter battery

I use one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tender-02 ... ery+tender

I have quick connects on the the underhood battery as well as the aux battery (the one mounted on the frame rail). Since I can't drive all my cars at once I typically have this thing charging one battery or another. There are other (probably better) solutions out there but this seems to work for me.

Hope this helps™,
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:00 PM   #6
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Re: Trickle charger for starter battery

I have this being delivered in a few days. After repeated battery problems I figure my multi-day non operations isn't helping matters. (15W solar Battery Minder)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000JS ... UTF8&psc=1

I chose solar because sometimes I have extended parking at trail heads.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:37 PM   #7
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Re: Trickle charger for starter battery

OK, so on topic for a change: can you put the 1.5A solar-into-cigarette style in an SMB with:
A) isolator?
B) separator?
C) while on shore power?*
D) while house batteries are on solar?*
E) while driving?

Or is it just plug and forget?

*meaning the house are up and the separator has closed to charge the starting batteries.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:44 PM   #8
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Re: Trickle charger for starter battery

I would think 1.5A is small enough that you could have it connected fulltime.

FWIW, my 125W solar panel is connected fulltime, even when connected to shore power.

Mike
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:56 PM   #9
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Re: Trickle charger for starter battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
OK, so on topic for a change: can you put the 1.5A solar-into-cigarette style in an SMB with:
A) isolator?
B) separator?
C) while on shore power?*
D) while house batteries are on solar?*
E) while driving?

Or is it just plug and forget?

*meaning the house are up and the separator has closed to charge the starting batteries.
No solar.
Shore power does not charge my starting batteries. Learned that by killing a set.
Isolator or Separator? I should know the difference, but don't. I've got the one that only connects one way - alternator to house.

When parked on shore power, the charger plugs into the house side 110 with 12v going into the dash cig lighter hole.
On the road, it just rides in a box with other stuff while the alternator charges the house side.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:04 AM   #10
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Re: Trickle charger for starter battery

Solar is out of the question for me since I keep my SMB garaged when not in use. Ray's solution might be best for me and I took a look at the Battery Tender on line. So Ray, do I buy the Battery Tender with an extra harness and connect one harness to each battery? And will the tender charge both the under-carriage battery and under-hood battery simultaneously or do I alternate them? Thanks again.
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