Recharging Motorcycle Batteries - Tips

Hello Chris,c Good informaiton. I hope you are saying, the cell phone battery charger should work? I asked,
- Can I use 8 volt cell phone battery charger to charge the battery? - I can try to get closer to the exact volts for the cell phone charger, I am sort of worried whether there isa negative or a positive side to the cell phone charger, and how to determine. There is very few persons here in Togo with that education or aptitudes to talk with, and then the language is Mina or French. I think the deep cycle could be a problem, as I for sure will completely drain and leave non-charged for days. The batteries appeared to be sealed, I do not have much choice here Chris. I do not think I can buy a regular battery charger unless I go back to Lome, and with a lot of trouble. Note, getting hot, ruining a battery, using the wrong way is for sure what I will do, I can only use what I have to use here and available. Andy in Togo, West Africa April 2007

YOU WROTE As I understand it there are batteries and there are batteries. The best to use are "deep cycle batteries" (not the "starter" batteries used to just turn over an engine). A common type of deep cycle battery being golf cart batteries. They are designed to be deeply discharged running electric motor vehicles. But deep cycling starter batteries will ruin them after a few deep discharges, so they shouldn't be seriously discharged and should be be quickly recharged. Lead-Acid starter batteries should be recharged soon after each discharge to get any length of life. Lead-acid batteries can die from sulfation from several extremely hot days (or cold days) if they are left discharged. Don't refill with tap water as the minerals screw up the electrolyte. Use distilled water only, but the sealed gel type are better.

And there are chargers and there are chargers. Walmart quality chargers aren't the best but are suitable for starter batteries (you just have to keep starter batteries topped off all the time). They're are just designed to be continuously charged by an alternator on a vehicle. Fact of the matter, all lead-acid batteries of all types should be recharged right after discharge. The best chargers are 3-stage chargers rated for a particular voltage battery and aren't commonly found, but are sold by specialty battery firms, mostly on the Internet. Solar trickle chargers are great and keep batteries topped off - some can be selcted to output either 6V or 12V and have clamps for hooking up to a batteries poles.

An interesting thing about AC chargers for voltages like this is that they can be used as power supplies themselves as they output DC current. I know a guy that made a Camper out of a VW Van and he electrically powers the fridge and other 12V appliances directly off a car battery charger -- he rolls up to a campsite with plugins, throws out an extension cord and plugs in the battery charger to directly power his TV, fridge, lights and other stuff. The charger has a select switch for either 6V or 12V output. They don't want you to use it this way, but it works.

Watch out for the battery getting hot if you try that 8V charger - you don't want to boil the electrolyte or burn up the cell phone charger. It'd be nice if it works, but I think you need a rated charger for 6 volts. Tipping a battery like this against yourself carrying it can allow sulpheric acid to leak onto your clothes and eat holes through them and burn your skin. Wash as soon as possible with H20 and change your clothes quick.

Hope any of this helps.

On EBAY I got a small folding 2.2 Watt i-Sun/Batt Pak solar battery charger combo (holding 8 AA's = 12V) running right now and have it parked next to a solar cooker made out of a tire inner tube with a pane of glass and a flat plastic fresnel lens which is reaching 350 degrees F. by 11 AM. Making Chicken Rice. My sun's not as good as yours, but any bright day is great.

- Chris
Hello Chris, I am thinking I am going to buy a 6 volt motorcycle battery. Can I use 8 volt cell phone battery charger to charge the battery? Andy in Togo
Thank you,
Andy 2007-04-21


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