Automotive

Car Batteries - FAQ, General Information, Tips & Tricks

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Feb 11, 2007
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CocoJambo wrote:
Nov 15th, 2018 3:53 pm
I think somewhere on this thread it was mentioned that it is important to charge your battery time to time using a charger because car's electric system is not able to charge the batter 100%.
I am getting opposite results... I have a NOCO G7200 . I put it to task early in the year , once in Feb and once in April.. then skipped entire spring, summer and fall .. I just put it to battery yesterday... Within a minutes it was showing that the battery is 100% charged.. The battery was bought new in Jan 2018...
What car do you have and what is your drive like?
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Mar 16, 2015
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engineered wrote:
Nov 15th, 2018 4:43 pm
What car do you have and what is your drive like?
Accord ( its 7th Gen) with V6 Battery... I drive mix of city and highway driving
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Aug 22, 2011
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CocoJambo wrote:
Nov 15th, 2018 3:53 pm
I think somewhere on this thread it was mentioned that it is important to charge your battery time to time using a charger because car's electric system is not able to charge the batter 100%.
I am getting opposite results... I have a NOCO G7200 . I put it to task early in the year , once in Feb and once in April.. then skipped entire spring, summer and fall .. I just put it to battery yesterday... Within a minutes it was showing that the battery is 100% charged.. The battery was bought new in Jan 2018...
I've never heard of this nor practiced this on my daily drivers.
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Jan 27, 2006
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DentDude wrote:
Nov 10th, 2018 10:34 am
To the car battery gurus on here, what do you think of the claims made by this reviewer on amazon.com.uk about the Noco 3500 vs the CTEK chargers especially in relationship to what he calls the inferior charging algorithm of the Noco and the superior and proper charging algorithm of the CTEK's. You can find the review and statements here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-re ... B00E907PWS
hightech wrote:
Nov 10th, 2018 4:07 pm
DentDude,

I think that there could be differences in the charging algorithm and every brand has slight variations. For example, the Battery Minder which is another higher end device has a different charging approach than the Ctek, Noco, Battery Tender, etc. Sometimes these companies have patients for the charging profiles (that other brands can't use), and sometimes they have found one charging approach to be better than another.

Personally, I find that all of these devices do a decent enough job and the slight differences really matter mostly for the Engineering/Gear Head types who are fastidious about the specs. Most auto manufacturers tend to recommend the Battery Tender models. If you are in doubt, visit the parts counter of your vehicle manufacturer and ask what chargers they sell and recommend. You can buy that charger from them knowing that it is suitable for your car. Another option is to contact East Penn (the guys that make the batteries) and ask what charger they recommend. You can then purchase that charger, disconnect the battery from your car and charge the battery knowing that the guys who engineered the battery recommended it.

Perhaps Craftsman can chime in here as he has a lot of knowledge on this subject.

I hope this helps to answer your question.
The battery charging world has changed in the past 10 years... The CTEKs have been around for much longer and has always commanded a much higher price and deservedly so as they are much better than the transformer based linear chargers. Only recently, much cheaper products have been introduced to compete with the CTEKs and probably the most notable ones are the NOCOs. I haven't sat down and compared the two so I have to take much of the data that the review presented at face value (I always said that the person who brings the statistics to the meeting typically win the argument as typically no one else does!). However, we need to look at the whole thing for a few different angles -

1. NOCO has really taken the North American market by storm and has displaced CTEK from a number of retailers (ie. CT and now KMS Tools). It may be the NOCOs produce a very similar result to the CTEKs OR the NOCOs are a heck of lot more profitable... I have a tendency to think profitability is the reason over function as I doubt that the retailers will test and compare themselves.
2. NOCO has an excellent marketing machine while CTEK barely has any in North America which is typical for many European firms. This may also help the retailers cause.
3. There's my personal theory that 'good enough' is the enemy of 'great'/'perfect' - ie how many times have you said 'ahhh, that's good enough' when it would only take a bit more effort to get to 'great' or 'perfect'? I know I've said it many times over the course of my life. NOCO may be an example of 'good enough' especially considering CT typically puts them on sale regularly in the Winter time.
4. And if you compare any charging to no charging at all, you'll be ahead.

I'm sure at the end of the day each charging philosophy has it's benefits and weaknesses as each charging philosophy was initially created to address a set of conditions presented to the engineers (ie which failure modes to be addressed, what's the best way of addressing it, and how to fit all that into a box...). Then that charging philosophy was brought to the marketing and bean counting department where other features were added or removed due to marketability and cost to have the products we have today. As a result, you see people comparing these types of chargers all over the internet where some will say X didn't charge/recover the battery at all, while Y just did its job and the battery was good in the morning.

For most people, I always say it's best to keep things simple-

A. A battery charged is better than a battery not charged. (ie own a charger and use it)
B. There are better and more capable chargers at higher price points BUT (A) above is what really matters.
C. If you use a charger regularly, the chances of you needing a higher price charger is low (ie. you kept the battery in great condition so you really don't need to recover it if you don't want to).
D. If you don't use a charger regularly, then the chances of you needing a higher priced charger is higher (ie. you need to put more charge into the battery or the battery dies or you should use the recovery/recondition/fix modes).

Now, for those of us who really want to get into it (yes, I'm one of them), then a higher end more full featured charger which will tell you exactly what's it's doing and you have manual overrides makes sense for them.

In other words, if you think it's good enough, go for it as it's better than not doing it at all. However, if you like perfect, go for it as well as it will make you happy.
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Jan 27, 2006
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CocoJambo wrote:
Nov 15th, 2018 3:53 pm
I think somewhere on this thread it was mentioned that it is important to charge your battery time to time using a charger because car's electric system is not able to charge the batter 100%.
I am getting opposite results... I have a NOCO G7200 . I put it to task early in the year , once in Feb and once in April.. then skipped entire spring, summer and fall .. I just put it to battery yesterday... Within a minutes it was showing that the battery is 100% charged.. The battery was bought new in Jan 2018...
It really depends on when you put the charger on AND what the charger's standard for 100% is.

What the )(^*%^ do I mean?

Most chargers use a simple test to see if that battery is charged to 100% - they measure the voltage coming out and if it's over 12.6/7 VDC, they proclaim that the battery is FULL almost immediately - pretty simple stuff. Unfortunately, I can do that with almost ANY battery by just driving the car for a few minutes to develop a surface charge on the battery and then connecting the charger immediately after I turn off the ignition as the surface charge will allow the battery to show 12.6/7+ VDC for several hours after the ignition is off. You need to let the battery sit overnight and test it in the morning to have a true indication of the state of charge of the battery.

As I mentioned above, most charger simply measure voltage to see if the battery is FULL or charged or in excellent health. But that's not going to do you much good if it can't actually store the energy or provide enough CCA or CA when you need it. The measured voltage output of the battery won't tell you anything of those things so a '100% charged' battery may not actually start your car if the only test they do is voltage. Ideally, you get the battery tested using a conductance battery tester which will give you a much more complete indication of battery health - ie a report of CA or CCA output, Internal resistance as well as voltage. Unfortunately, if the battery charger still thinks the battery is fine, you really can't do anything more with that charger.
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Mar 16, 2015
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craftsman wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 2:27 am
It really depends on when you put the charger on AND what the charger's standard for 100% is.

What the )(^*%^ do I mean?

Most chargers use a simple test to see if that battery is charged to 100% - they measure the voltage coming out and if it's over 12.6/7 VDC, they proclaim that the battery is FULL almost immediately - pretty simple stuff. Unfortunately, I can do that with almost ANY battery by just driving the car for a few minutes to develop a surface charge on the battery and then connecting the charger immediately after I turn off the ignition as the surface charge will allow the battery to show 12.6/7+ VDC for several hours after the ignition is off. You need to let the battery sit overnight and test it in the morning to have a true indication of the state of charge of the battery.

As I mentioned above, most charger simply measure voltage to see if the battery is FULL or charged or in excellent health. But that's not going to do you much good if it can't actually store the energy or provide enough CCA or CA when you need it. The measured voltage output of the battery won't tell you anything of those things so a '100% charged' battery may not actually start your car if the only test they do is voltage. Ideally, you get the battery tested using a conductance battery tester which will give you a much more complete indication of battery health - ie a report of CA or CCA output, Internal resistance as well as voltage. Unfortunately, if the battery charger still thinks the battery is fine, you really can't do anything more with that charger.
I see..
Very informative
I live in a condo and have no electric outlet near my car so I have no other option but to start the car and park in the visitor parking where I can put the charger .. another option is to park in front of the only outlet inside the garage but that outlet is in the driveway of the garage and lady who parks in front of that lot is bit crazy.

So whenever I checked it using Noco 7200, car was always driven and then the charger was put on..

I can do two things, I can start the car and it will take me hardly a minute to reach to the outside visitor parking( or the inside one) and then attach the charger. Do you think this much time is sufficient for the battery to get the surface charge reach 12.6v to bluff the charger?

Else I would need to buy a 40 or so feet extension cord to bring the power to the car.. have to look for cheap option...

On your other point about the chargers, can you please read something on NOCO 7200 and tell if this is a good charger or it only measures surface voltage.. On top of the charger there are several fancy LEDs so I thought it would be a good charger

https://no.co/g7200

https://web.bootman.nl/manuals/28-g7200_manual.pdf

I really want to get to the bottom of it
[OP]
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Dec 23, 2003
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Toronto
You can get the battery tested via a conductance tester FOR FREE at Kal Tire, Parts Source and Mr Lube.

That being said, I picked up this unit for about $35 so that I can test my car batteries at home to determine the overall health and if a charge is needed: https://www.amazon.ca/eOUTIL-Digital-Ba ... HAV40R0KT0

There are far better units available that also test for a bad cell, as well as the starter/alternator. This is just a baseline tester which I feel is more meaningful than using a voltmeter. I recently changed my car battery and compared the readings of this unit to a $500+ Midtronics battery tester that Mr. Lube has and the readings were pretty much the same.
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Mar 16, 2015
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hightech wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 11:51 am
You can get the battery tested via a conductance tester FOR FREE at Kal Tire, Parts Source and Mr Lube.

That being said, I picked up this unit for about $35 so that I can test my car batteries at home to determine the overall health and if a charge is needed: https://www.amazon.ca/eOUTIL-Digital-Ba ... HAV40R0KT0

There are far better units available that also test for a bad cell, as well as the starter/alternator. This is just a baseline tester which I feel is more meaningful than using a voltmeter. I recently changed my car battery and compared the readings of this unit to a $500+ Midtronics battery tester that Mr. Lube has and the readings were pretty much the same.
But even if I have the kind of tester you mentioned what will be use if I can't force charge my battery with a charger which will force charge. Chargers like NOCO G7200 are so called smart chargers and they will charge or not charge depending upon what they analyze about the battery. Let me dig a bit to see if NOCO G7200 can force charge

Regarding how this charger determines if battery needs charging is as follows ( copy paste from the manual)
Step 1 & 2: Analyze & Diagnose
Checks the battery’s initial condition, including voltage,
state-of-charge and health, to determine if the battery is
stable before charging.
Step 3: Recovery
Initializes the Recovery desulfation process (if needed)
for deeply discharged or sulfated batteries by pulsing
small amounts of current.
Sr. Member
May 3, 2008
625 posts
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Markham
My experience with a Noco and a baby tender junior. Battery is dead so use Noco to charge it until light is green. Car will start but battery dead again on subsequent start (30mins after first start). Plug in the Noco to try to charge again a second time and the light turns green within 10mins.
In other words, the charger is not able to tell my battery is unable to hold the charge and have enough CCA. Ended up replacing the battery.

Guess these sub $100 charger are good to maintain a working battery, but can not diagnose properly whether a battery is still good or not.
[OP]
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Dec 23, 2003
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CocoJambo wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 12:22 pm
But even if I have the kind of tester you mentioned what will be use if I can't force charge my battery with a charger which will force charge. Chargers like NOCO G7200 are so called smart chargers and they will charge or not charge depending upon what they analyze about the battery. Let me dig a bit to see if NOCO G7200 can force charge

Regarding how this charger determines if battery needs charging is as follows ( copy paste from the manual)
Step 1 & 2: Analyze & Diagnose
Checks the battery’s initial condition, including voltage,
state-of-charge and health, to determine if the battery is
stable before charging.
Step 3: Recovery
Initializes the Recovery desulfation process (if needed)
for deeply discharged or sulfated batteries by pulsing
small amounts of current.
Those chargers are great if the battery is in good condition. As Craftsman has mentioned, those chargers only measure the battery voltage not the overall health. The tester I suggested will give you battery health and CCA count. Keep in mind that a NEW battery will rank as being higher than the stated CCA. I just purchased a EverStart MAXX-24F battery from Walmart (Made by East Penn Deka) that is listed as 725 CCA. As you can see by the pics, the CCA is far more than that.

Once the CCA starts dropping below the stated value and the battery health gets lower, this is when you should start shopping for a new battery.
IMG_20181109_125408.jpg
IMG_20181109_125413.jpg
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Jan 27, 2006
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CocoJambo wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 11:31 am
I see..
Very informative
I live in a condo and have no electric outlet near my car so I have no other option but to start the car and park in the visitor parking where I can put the charger .. another option is to park in front of the only outlet inside the garage but that outlet is in the driveway of the garage and lady who parks in front of that lot is bit crazy.

So whenever I checked it using Noco 7200, car was always driven and then the charger was put on..

I can do two things, I can start the car and it will take me hardly a minute to reach to the outside visitor parking( or the inside one) and then attach the charger. Do you think this much time is sufficient for the battery to get the surface charge reach 12.6v to bluff the charger?

Else I would need to buy a 40 or so feet extension cord to bring the power to the car.. have to look for cheap option...

On your other point about the chargers, can you please read something on NOCO 7200 and tell if this is a good charger or it only measures surface voltage.. On top of the charger there are several fancy LEDs so I thought it would be a good charger

https://no.co/g7200

https://web.bootman.nl/manuals/28-g7200_manual.pdf

I really want to get to the bottom of it
A surface charge will happen immediately once charging starts as the surface charge is the first stage of charging (ie. charge goes into the battery and the first thing it hits is the surface of the plates). Luckily, the opposite is true as well - when discharging happens, the charge is first removed from the surface of the plates hence high CCA batteries typically have a lot of surface area on the plates! One thing you can do is to burn off the surface charge before you connect the charger by turning on the headlights or any other high drain device for 5 to 7 minutes with the engine off and then connecting the charger for testing. Now, this is a very ROUGH way of burning off the charge so the results are very approximate since we don't know exactly how much charge is there in the first place.

As for the NOCO itself, the manufacturers, in general, won't release a lot of information on how the charger works or test batteries. They will release enough so that the marketing folks at the company can create fancy and slick packaging, however. So, it's nearly impossible to know how NOCO chargers determine what it knows and how it knows it. I did have a look at the manual and they state that they check voltage and state of charge as part of their diagnosis which sounds great until you realize that most people use the battery's voltage to determine the state of charge - ie over 12.7V is full while 12.2 is 50% - so it really tells you nothing.
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hightech wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 11:51 am
You can get the battery tested via a conductance tester FOR FREE at Kal Tire, Parts Source and Mr Lube.

That being said, I picked up this unit for about $35 so that I can test my car batteries at home to determine the overall health and if a charge is needed: https://www.amazon.ca/eOUTIL-Digital-Ba ... HAV40R0KT0

There are far better units available that also test for a bad cell, as well as the starter/alternator. This is just a baseline tester which I feel is more meaningful than using a voltmeter. I recently changed my car battery and compared the readings of this unit to a $500+ Midtronics battery tester that Mr. Lube has and the readings were pretty much the same.
Something like that is something I recommend anyone who can lift the hood and press a few buttons get (along with at least a basic charger) as they are simple DIY things people can do to keep them from being stranded in the middle of Winter.
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Jan 27, 2006
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savemoresaveoften wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 1:13 pm
My experience with a Noco and a baby tender junior. Battery is dead so use Noco to charge it until light is green. Car will start but battery dead again on subsequent start (30mins after first start). Plug in the Noco to try to charge again a second time and the light turns green within 10mins.
In other words, the charger is not able to tell my battery is unable to hold the charge and have enough CCA. Ended up replacing the battery.

Guess these sub $100 charger are good to maintain a working battery, but can not diagnose properly whether a battery is still good or not.
Thanks for your input! Most 'automatic' systems will do exactly what you found, great for standard conditions, not so great for conditions like what you found.

What model of NOCO do you have?
[OP]
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Dec 23, 2003
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savemoresaveoften wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 1:13 pm
My experience with a Noco and a baby tender junior. Battery is dead so use Noco to charge it until light is green. Car will start but battery dead again on subsequent start (30mins after first start). Plug in the Noco to try to charge again a second time and the light turns green within 10mins.
In other words, the charger is not able to tell my battery is unable to hold the charge and have enough CCA. Ended up replacing the battery.

Guess these sub $100 charger are good to maintain a working battery, but can not diagnose properly whether a battery is still good or not.
This is where capacitance testing comes into play. It checks the voltage, the CCA, overall health of the battery and the state of charge. Advanced models also check for bad cells, etc. It is a good idea to clean the battery terminals once a year and get free in car battery test at Parts Source. I find that once the health of the battery goes to around 60%, you will experience a battery failure quite soon. A friend of mine had her car tested back in July and the battery health was 60%. She figured she would be OK even though the tester said to replace the battery as the CCA had dropped lower than the stated voltage. Fast forward 3 weeks, and I get a call from her saying her car won't start and we called CAA to install a new battery for her.
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Jan 27, 2006
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CocoJambo wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 12:22 pm
But even if I have the kind of tester you mentioned what will be use if I can't force charge my battery with a charger which will force charge. Chargers like NOCO G7200 are so called smart chargers and they will charge or not charge depending upon what they analyze about the battery. Let me dig a bit to see if NOCO G7200 can force charge

Regarding how this charger determines if battery needs charging is as follows ( copy paste from the manual)
Step 1 & 2: Analyze & Diagnose
Checks the battery’s initial condition, including voltage,
state-of-charge and health, to determine if the battery is
stable before charging.
Step 3: Recovery
Initializes the Recovery desulfation process (if needed)
for deeply discharged or sulfated batteries by pulsing
small amounts of current.
With your charger, you might be able to 'trick' it by forcing the charger into 'recovery desulfation' - once engaged, the charger will try to desulfate the battery whether it needs it or not which means that it will try to charge the battery using a different charging algorithm of higher voltage to address any sulfation and stratification. Personally, I feel that most chargers with this function do a poor job at it (they don't run for anywhere long enough to make a big difference and they don' detect it early enough so that the time they propose will do enough good) but by engaging this feature, you will put more charge into the battery. Will it be enough, in theory, the charger should test it again AFTER the recovery process is completed so you might get a truer indication on what's going on.

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