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Battery Chargers - 3 stage or 4 stage?

2394 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  hollywood
In all my readings during my "curiousity about batteries thread" I learned a bit more about battery charging. Since that thread turned out to be more about my clutch switch than batteries, I'll start a new thread here regarding battery chargers.

The three stage charger that most people use (Battery Tender) offers the three stages of bulk charging, absorption, and float. But I learned of a 4th stage - equalizing - and it is offered by the "battery doctor." Curious if one is better than the other in theory and/or in practice.

Here's the article I read:
Here's the battery doctor:
The battery tender:
For the curious, my original thread (it's not really relevant to this question):
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I know this doesn't help much, but what you are going to find out is that battery science is incredibly complex. I work in a field where batteries are critical, and there is so much disagreement and new information all of the time, in addition to myriads of existing requirements, that not many people really understand what is going on.

What you are going to find is that an equalize charge is defined different for different companies. An equalize is a higher voltage than your maintenance voltage. For our critical batteries that are NEVER really used, they are put on equalize once a month or less. This is essentially to knock crap (I think sulfides) off of the lead plates and stir up the electrolyte a little. What battery tender is calling an equalize charge looks like it helps charge from 95% to 100% faster, that is all.

The key here is that you are putting a true equalize charge on your battery everytime you run your bike. So you don't need more than a simple battery tender. I do believe that a battery tender that has a higher voltage in the first charging is better than just a trickle charger. But you also want the voltage to have a maintenance voltage so that you don't boil the battery or ruin it in some other way.

Bottom line is that the 4-stage is not very useful to you unless you need your battery charged in a hurry (high voltage at beginning of charge) or you leave your bike sitting for months (equalize charges spread out weekly or monthly). In the latter case, you would be better off buying a tender and unplugging and replugging it in to your battery so that you get that higher voltage every few weeks. This is what I do with my standby battery that I use for jump starts.

Does that answer your question? I know it doesn't.
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Sure it does. Sorta. But that's okay. I'm just interested in what people have to say about this, so thanks for your thoughts!
I'm kinda interested in the charger question too. I'm currently using a generic charger that you can set for 2 or 6 amps...naturally I set it to 2. The instructions that came with it indicate that it will overcharge the battery if left on too long, so I only leave it on for about 5 hours max. The battery seems to be at a full charge after that, but I'm still looking into getting another charger which can be left on without battery damage...like the Battery Tender models. Another one which looks interesting is a new one from YUASA, which claims to be a 4 or 5 stage. It comes in a 0.8 amp version and a higher amp version( maybe 1.5 ). The 0.8 amp version is around $28 in the Competition Accessories catalogue. Anyone know anything about YUASA chargers?
My battery tender always worked great so I don't find a need to pay for something more fancy.
Actually, it seems they are about the same price, if I remember correctly.
To be honest, i've never charged my batteries over winter. just before i put it away for the winter, i ride for about an hour in the country (trying to get that last hurah before i get any more depressed about it), put it in the barn, remove the battery, cover it up and the battery follows me to the garage, or the basement, or in the house. Yuasa has a good TB on their sealed VRLA batteries. if the battery is 100% charged when you remove it, and you store it in ~32*F conditions, it will loose about 10% charge over a 6 Month period. 10%!!! when stored indoors, it looses 30% (still plenty to crank the bike over) in the same time period. i don't see a need to charge it all the time, i really don't.

just my 2 pennies...
I tend to agree with you, Knightslugger. I'm keeping the charger I bought during my prior "curiosity about batteries post" anyway though - EVENTUALLY I'll have to charge a battery. Might as well be equipped with the right charger instead of trying to kill my battery using the 10a one meant for the car! But I don't plan on using it routinely. And of course, no need for me to winterize here in Tucson. (Yay! tee hee)
operaflute said:
And of course, no need for me to winterize here in Tucson. (Yay! tee hee)
I need to go take some uppers now... coffee just aint doin' it for me anymore.

Age of your bike makes a difference in electrical power loss, btw I've never heard of a four stage
battery charger, wierd...
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