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Batteries & Electrical

Everything you need to know about battery chargers

The differences between battery chargers and what you need


How does a vehicle charge a battery?

To start off, your vehicles battery is designed to start the engine and run accessories. To do this, it uses energy from the battery that needs to be replaced. A vehicle alternator is designed to replace the energy used to start the engine - and keep electrical systems on while it's running.

But if you like to power accessories while the engine is off, or have the misfortune jump-starting a flat battery; your vehicle would need a long drive to replenish that energy. Even if your car sits unused for a few weeks – your battery will slowly self-discharge when a battery is connected to the system.

Alternator on an engine

What is the best battery charger?

If you need to charge a flat battery, these are cases where a mains power battery charger is invaluable – but there’s a bit of a process to choosing the right one for you.

First - look at voltage. Most of the time, you’ll choose a 12 volt charger. Though if you have a truck or import four wheel drive – you might be looking at a 24 volt system. If you’ve got a vintage vehicle or smaller rechargeable machines around the home – you may even need to charge 6 volt.

What does Supercheap Auto Stock?

  • Battery Range - We stock a huge range of automotive batteries to suit most bikes, cars and large 4x4s that are charged and ready to go.
  • Battery Charger Range - If you're after a high quality battery charger, check out our large range of battery chargers from the simple 3 stage chargers to smart chargers, we'll have something for you.
  • Battery Accessories - Need new battery leads, terminals or a base plate and hold downs? We have those too!
Battery chargers
7 Stage Battery Charger

What’s in a multi-stage charging system?

Well, older chargers had a single stage whereby you switch it on; and switch it off manually before it overcharges your battery. Every battery charger sold at Supercheap Auto today has at least three stages. Boost, absorption and float. The first stage pumps maximum power into your battery until it’s nearly full. The absorption stage slows the charge down to prevent damage. And the float stage turns the charger down to a trickle; just enough to keep the battery at 100%.

A 7 stage charging system adds charging profiles for different battery chemistries. It includes an analysis stage, and a desulfation stage. Desulfation can sometimes revive a battery which may be considered dead. This 7 stage charging system is featured in a large number of battery chargers carried by Supercheap Auto.

Multi Volt Battery Chagrer

How many amps do I need to charge a battery?

The amp rating is all about how quickly a charger will finish the job. Less than 2 amps is great for a motorcycle or lawnmower battery; but will also provide a maintenance charge to keep an already healthy battery topped up. From around 2 to 8 amps will deliver a perfect charge rate for small to medium car batteries – while ten amps and above pumps awesome power for big four wheel drive, truck, and deep cycle batteries.

With these modern smart chargers comes ease of use. Prepare the battery by loosening the caps on each cell – if present. This allows the gases released during charging to eSCNpe easily.

3 Stage Battery Carger

The single voltage, 3 stage chargers are a matter of clipping on the alligator clips, matching positive to negative – and then turning on the power. If you're charging a maintenance-free battery, don't leave it trickling to extended periods of time before use as this may cause issues with the battery if it cannot vent properly.

For a multi-voltage charger, double-check you’re on the correct voltage setting before you power it up – although many of these detect the voltage automatically. And don’t forget to set the battery type too, if your charger doesn’t feature automatic chemistry detection.

Now that you’ve got a grip on today's battery charging technology; pop into supercheap auto and check out our extensive range – or become a 12-volt power expert with our Supercheap Auto Battery Fundamentals video series!