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 good battery tender / charger / tester?

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Jack the R
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:05 pm

I'd hate to take that much time away from my comic, or fixing the house. Gotta figure out the spare tire situation first too.

I stuck the CTEK on the Optima a moment ago. I put it on the AGM voltage setting, and it began charging without drama. It's got warning light sequences for things like dead batteries, sulphated batteries, etc. I didn't get those. I'd like to think the battery isn't too far gone and will be good as new in 48 hours, but it doesn't feel like I'm going to get off so easy.

Incidentally, is there an easy test for a bad alternator?
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AA
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:17 pm

The best test I know of is the red batt charge lamp in the dash cluster. If the lamp is on, it's not charging the battery.

Another easy test is to just watch the headlamps before and after starting the car. They should be brighter with the engine on, and brighter yet if you rev the gas. If you don't note a change in brightness, the alternator isn't doing it's thing.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 281k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
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^^^ SOLD ^^^ frown

'05 GTO • 85k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun


'70 Olds Ninety-Eight Holiday Coupe • 116k miles • 455 Rocket V8
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:47 pm

When you use a battery regularly, starting the engine is enough of a shock to the battery plates to desulfate them. Something like a CTEK is only useful for long term storage.
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:21 pm

After a while I got the "your battery is toast" blinkies. Bummer frown
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:14 pm

When you say you charge once a week, how are you doing that charge? Start the car and run it for a few minutes? Trickle charger?

Reason I ask, is that a trickle charger (or regular 10 amp battery charger) will cause sulphation and rui the battery. Starting the car gives the battery plates the shock that desulphates. (or whatever it's called, I keep forgetting, sorry)

If you are not going to use the car for a long period, disconnecting the battery is appropriate.

How do you figure it's the security system discharging the battery? When my car is off the only thing using power is the clock. It's lasted two months parked and started right up. Do you have an aftermarket security system? If you disable it (pull fuse) does the battery still drain as quickly?
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PostSubject: Recommend a battery charger.    Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:27 pm

With Christmas coming up, I would like to get a new battery charger. While Googling for info, I see that most, if not all Schumacher chargers won't charge a stone dead battery. They need some charge to activate the charger's circuitry. Can anyone recommend one that could work on a really dead battery? This won't get used much but would come in handy like the time I left the dome light on for several days then wondered why the battery was dead. This isn't only for the Riv, got a 64 Starfire for summer cruising too. Something in the $40 to $60 range that will do 2 to 10 or 15 amps. Thanks.

Bob
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:03 am

You might get an inexpensive (under $20) "maintainer" that you can connect the car to after a drive.
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:17 am

When putting a charger on our Riv's does it have to be connected directly to the battery or can we use the positive relay in the engine bay?

Thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:41 am

Jelorian wrote:
When putting a charger on our Riv's does it have to be connected directly to the battery or can we use the positive relay in the engine bay?

Thanks!

You can definitely use the positive post under the hood. That's where they intended you to jump start from. Negative you can attach to the engine, or if you look in front of the positive post, close to the radiator, down near the transmission lines you'll see the major ground post for the engine to body cable. I've also used the strut tower bolt for jump starting before.
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:58 am

faxbob64 wrote:
With Christmas coming up, I would like to get a new battery charger. While Googling for info, I see that most, if not all Schumacher chargers won't charge a stone dead battery. They need some charge to activate the charger's circuitry. Can anyone recommend one that could work on a really dead battery? This won't get used much but would come in handy like the time I left the dome light on for several days then wondered why the battery was dead. This isn't only for the Riv, got a 64 Starfire for summer cruising too. Something in the $40 to $60 range that will do 2 to 10 or 15 amps. Thanks.

Bob


Just FYI:
I have a Schumacher trickle charge unit (6amp?) I bought and successfully used it on my Riv that sat for about 10 months in the driveway, untouched, through last winter. No problem.

BTW, I charged directly to the posts. Through the engine compartment tap did not provide a sufficient connection.
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:15 pm

deekster_caddy wrote:
Jelorian wrote:
When putting a charger on our Riv's does it have to be connected directly to the battery or can we use the positive relay in the engine bay?

Thanks!

You can definitely use the positive post under the hood. That's where they intended you to jump start from. Negative you can attach to the engine, or if you look in front of the positive post, close to the radiator, down near the transmission lines you'll see the major ground post for the engine to body cable. I've also used the strut tower bolt for jump starting before.

Thanks for your reply! I bought this off of Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CITK8S/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i01

Looks like it was made for charging and long term trickle charging to keep the battery topped off.

I plan on hooking it up to the positive post in the engine bay and leaving it for a few days, maybe even a week..
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:18 pm

I have one of those, it works well but don't expect it to work miracles!
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Jack the R
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PostSubject: Battery tester?   Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:41 am

Thinking about getting one of these - Solar battery tester.  Any thoughts?
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Fri Sep 12, 2014 8:34 am

Reviews are very positive. If I were a mechanic needing to test batteries of unknown condition, I'd consider it. Since I have good batteries in my cars, and the signs if weakness are pretty obvious, I probably wouldnt buy a tester like this one, but rather invest in a multimeter with more options, like this Fluke 73-3 or a model 111. Just seems like a more useful tool in the long term:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0002SRIXM?cache=388ab46c3df47bee12b9bcfc13354bcc&pi=SY200_QL40&qid=1410525107&sr=8-3#ref=mp_s_a_1_3

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 281k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch

^^^ SOLD ^^^ frown

'05 GTO • 85k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun


'70 Olds Ninety-Eight Holiday Coupe • 116k miles • 455 Rocket V8
Because cool


'95 Celica • 152k miles • 0-60: yes
Because free
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Jack the R
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:19 pm

AA wrote:
Reviews are very positive. If I were a mechanic needing to test batteries of unknown condition, I'd consider it. Since I have good batteries in my cars, and the signs if weakness are pretty obvious, I probably wouldnt buy a tester like this one, but rather invest in a multimeter with more options, like this Fluke 73-3 or a model 111. Just seems like a more useful tool in the long term:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0002SRIXM?cache=388ab46c3df47bee12b9bcfc13354bcc&pi=SY200_QL40&qid=1410525107&sr=8-3#ref=mp_s_a_1_3

What signs of weakness?  I've had two (maybe three now) batteries go bad in the Riv and seen no sign of weakness at all.  It starts great up until the moment when it doesn't start at all.  There's no rur-rur-rur warning stage with this car.  I've been driving it around lately with good strong starts and perfect performance, then yesterday I got in, turned the igntion, NOTHING but a little clicking sound.  2 year old Optima on a tender the whole time (except when a big storm rolled through).  

You might want to take a look at this video - Link

The guy shows a few different types of battery testers, only the Solar tester was able to catch the bad battery.

Sorry if that sounds ranty, but it looks like one way or the other the Riv is going to eat a $200 battery every couple years.
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:53 pm

I've had two batteries in my Riv over an 11 year period, and the first one was likely the original. The 2nd one is still in the car, and I have no plans to replace anytime soon.

When the first one started to go, it gave me several warning signs months in advance:

1) harder cranking in the cooler months.
2) tendency to lose a charge when running accessories with engine off.
3) low voltage at battery terminals (below 12v off).
4) unable to start on very cold winter days.
5) needing a jump when not starting more than once per day.

The failure was gradual and predictable. The replacement battery (Red Top) was $125. The point I'm making - when a battery is close to giving up, it will exhibit one or more of the above mentioned signs. A healthy battery shouldn't do any of these things.

When the Optima gives up the ghost, I don't foresee a special tester will be needed to know it's going bad. Starting will be slower, the battery will run down more quickly, voltage will measure lower, winter will be more difficult, and I won't be able to start the car as easily if not running for days at a time. You could be right the Optima will fail differently - more abruptly. But even if it does, I'd still think it would be obvious what's wrong. When the car won't start, and battery voltage is under ~11.5v, that's a pretty for sure sign the battery is not holding a charge (being sure connections are secure, and charging system is working).

I think that Solar tester is a good unit for the money, just don't see a real need for it unless you are trying to diagnose dead batteries on a regular basis.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 281k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch

^^^ SOLD ^^^ frown

'05 GTO • 85k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun


'70 Olds Ninety-Eight Holiday Coupe • 116k miles • 455 Rocket V8
Because cool


'95 Celica • 152k miles • 0-60: yes
Because free
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http://www.cardomain.com/ride/657082/4
abaucom
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Sat Sep 13, 2014 5:19 pm

Finally replaced my 16 year old factory stock battery last month. My Riv. is parked in winter storage late Nov. to mid April each year.
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Jack the R
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Sun Sep 14, 2014 8:29 am

AA wrote:
I've had two batteries in my Riv over an 11 year period, and the first one was likely the original. The 2nd one is still in the car, and I have no plans to replace anytime soon.

When the first one started to go, it gave me several warning signs months in advance:

1) harder cranking in the cooler months.
2) tendency to lose a charge when running accessories with engine off.
3) low voltage at battery terminals (below 12v off).
4) unable to start on very cold winter days.
5) needing a jump when not starting more than once per day.

The failure was gradual and predictable. The replacement battery (Red Top) was $125. The point I'm making - when a battery is close to giving up, it will exhibit one or more of the above mentioned signs. A healthy battery shouldn't do any of these things.

When the Optima gives up the ghost, I don't foresee a special tester will be needed to know it's going bad. Starting will be slower, the battery will run down more quickly, voltage will measure lower, winter will be more difficult, and I won't be able to start the car as easily if not running for days at a time. You could be right the Optima will fail differently - more abruptly. But even if it does, I'd still think it would be obvious what's wrong. When the car won't start, and battery voltage is under ~11.5v, that's a pretty for sure sign the battery is not holding a charge (being sure connections are secure, and charging system is working).

I think that Solar tester is a good unit for the money, just don't see a real need for it unless you are trying to diagnose dead batteries on a regular basis.

scratch

I get dropped off a cliff. Car starts great, I drive it, turn it off, go to restart - NOTHING, but a little clicking noise which I assume is the starter not able to turn over. Right now I've got enough power to run the interior lights and dash with no dimming. I haven't tried stereo or HVAC.

The need I'm seeing for the Solar tester is to prevent these surprise cliff drops from occuring. One trip on the back of a flat bed will pay for the tester.
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:54 am

I have to think the batteries aren't the problem here. Car batteries, especially Optimas, are pretty reliable for 5 years or so - if charged regularly. Maybe there's a charging issue, or you aren't running the car long enough to charge each time you start the car. You should see close to 14 volts when running. Driving 30 mins once per month should be adequate. If you're not running the car very often, do you disconnect the battery? Take it out of the car and store it in a cool place that doesn't freeze. A battery tender is good if it works correctly, but if you're seeing multiple failures using a tender, I would suspect something's not right with the charger.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 281k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch

^^^ SOLD ^^^ frown

'05 GTO • 85k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun


'70 Olds Ninety-Eight Holiday Coupe • 116k miles • 455 Rocket V8
Because cool


'95 Celica • 152k miles • 0-60: yes
Because free
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http://www.cardomain.com/ride/657082/4
deekster_caddy
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:04 pm

I agree with AA here - there are plenty of warning signs before you can't start if it's a battery going bad. If it's been happening somewhat frequently, I have to think you've got a bad connector somewhere, or a rusty ground point that has too much resistance in it, or something like that.

My Riv only had it's battery replaced twice, got 8 years from the original and the replacement (an AC Delco) just needed replacing this year.

Lots of things to check out. What is the voltage when it won't start? What is the typical charging voltage at the battery terminals?
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:01 am

AA and deekster_caddy score, it wasn't the battery. I pulled the motor over a bit by the belt and it started right up. My neighbor says (if I'm not misquoting him) that the plunger in the starter solenoid got stuck in place.
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:14 am

That's pretty rare, but glad you figured it out. Starters (and solenoid) are extremely reliable on these cars.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 281k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch

^^^ SOLD ^^^ frown

'05 GTO • 85k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun


'70 Olds Ninety-Eight Holiday Coupe • 116k miles • 455 Rocket V8
Because cool


'95 Celica • 152k miles • 0-60: yes
Because free
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http://www.cardomain.com/ride/657082/4
deekster_caddy
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Mon Oct 13, 2014 10:27 am

That's interesting. The starter gear is binding? It might need a starter shim, hopefully that's an easy fix.
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Jack the R
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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:14 am

I can't take credit for figuring it out. My neighbor suggested it. He's one of those guys you can't spend a minute around without learning practical knowledge you needed to know.

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PostSubject: Re: good battery tender / charger / tester?   Tue May 08, 2018 12:53 pm

I'm using Optima's battery tender now. It can spend hours "conditioning" a battery before it will begin charging.

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