You need a 24v battery charger and you’re not sure how to choose one. You have come to the right place. This article is about how to choose a 24v battery charger.
Choosing a 24v battery charger is a matter of knowing the important feature and specifications so that you can match them up with a charger that satisfies your requirements. Having good information is also important to make sure you don’t buy features you don’t need and spend more money than you have to.
24v Battery Charger Specifications
So let’s take a look at the features and specification so you will be properly armed to make your selection:
One Battery or Two:
Many implementations use multiple 12 volt batteries as opposed to one 24 volt battery. With this in mind, you need to know your implementation so that you can select the right battery charger. This boils down to outputs. A 24 volt battery charger designed to charge two 12 volt batteries will have at least two outputs with the capability to charge and maintain two batteries. In some cases if might be more cost-effective to choose a battery charger with multiple banks or outputs than a charger with a single output. Also, a multiple output battery charger can compensate for differences in the age or capacity of multiple batteries which is not possible with a single-output charger. This is an important consideration when considering how to choose a 24v battery charger.
Moisture and Dust Protection:
Battery chargers can come “fully-potted.” That means that they are sealed against the elements and are waterproof and dust-proof. Consider what environment your battery charger will be subjected to and make sure your choice of battery charger can handle that environment.
Vibration and Shock:
Mobile, marine, or other heavy-duty applications can subject a battery charger to higher vibration and shock than other less demanding environments. Getting a battery charger that is “fully potted” will protect the charger from any vibrations or shock by preventing movement of any of the external parts.
Take a look at the power source for your 24v battery charger. Chargers are available in 110 volt and 220 volt configurations. Make sure of your power requirements prior to choosing a charger.
24v Battery Charger – Battery Type:
Battery chargers vary in the battery types that they support. Battery chargers often designed for lead-acid as they are the most common type. Lead-acid batteries come in a variety of chemistries including AGM (absorbed glass mat separators), deep cycle, and Gel cel. Know your battery type and chemistry requirements when choosing a 24v battery charger. Battery type and chemistry are an important consideration when choosing a 24v battery charger.
Chargers come in a variety of amperages depending on how fast you want to charge the battery and if it is a battery maintainer as well as a charger. Charge amperage directly affects charge time. The higher the amperage, the less time it takes to charge the battery. On the other hand, it’s not all about amperage. Higher amperages can damage batteries if not controlled properly even though it is charging the battery faster. In general a slower charge at lower amps is better for a battery than a fast charge at high amps. That being said, it’s really about what your requirements are for the charger. If you are just planning to use it to charge a battery quickly so you can get back to work, then a higher 16 amp charger may be the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re planning to trickle charge the battery or don’t need the battery quickly, a lower 2 amp current could suffice.
Peak amperes is an often-quoted specification of battery chargers. Peak amperes is the measurement of the highest peak of current draw over one millisecond or over one 1/1000 of a second. Quality chargers can draw higher peak amperes without damage.
Average Charge Time:
Common charge times range between two and ten hours. If you have an application where you need faster charge times, then this will be an important specification to check for. Keep in mind that a faster charge time will usually equate to a more expensive charger and more electricity usage.
If the charger will sit in your garage or be mounted permanently on a boat or RV then portability is not a major consideration for you. Otherwise, if the charger travels with you or you just need to easily be able to move it from place to place, consider a lighter, more-compact, and more portable unit.
Ease of use:
If you will be using the charger often in a business or professional role, then you may not need as many features designed for users who are novices. If you’re a novice or fall somewhere in between novice and professional, possibly using the device one per quarter or even less, the easier to use the better! For instance, does it come with an instruction manual, even if it is in a PDF format or does it just have a set of specifications and features and leaves its use to the imagination? Does it monitor the battery and shutoff automatically when the battery is charged and then goes into trickle mode to maintain the battery or is it more manual and you have to monitor it yourself? Does it come with status monitoring and mode lights and easy-to-use controls? Does the charger have a place to store the charging cables? Depending on your needs, ease-of-use may be an important consideration on how to choose a 24v battery charger.
Power Cord Length:
Another important consideration when choosing a 24v charger is the power cord length. It may seem like a small thing but it is not usually recommended to use extension cords with battery chargers and so the longer the cable, the more flexibility you have in placing the charger. If you don’t have outlets near the batteries it becomes even more important.
Chargers come with positive and negative cables that you hook to the terminals of the battery using alligator clamps or eyelet connectors. The length of the cables is very important to the placement of the charger. Longer cables give you the flexibility to place the charger in the most convenient location rather than next to the battery.
Car Battery Charger Common Features:
Many newer chargers will come with this feature. Charging time is not consistent and level with temperature. It actually varies with temperature and if you don’t have a charger that can adjust to various temperatures, you can under-charge or over-charge your battery even when you’re doing everything else right.
Reverse Polarity Warning:
A reverse polarity warning will alert you when you have the cables connected incorrectly (reversed). Connecting the cables incorrectly can damage a battery or even the electrical system of the vehicle.
Vehicle type may dictate charger compatibility requirements. Not all batteries are 12 volt negative ground. Some older vehicles (classics) or motorcycles may have 6 volt systems. They may even be positive ground. Motorcycle, lawn tractor, and ATV batteries are smaller and may not need the performance of some of the more powerful chargers. Be certain that the battery charger you choose is based on the requirements of your vehicle’s battery.
Fast and Slow Charge Rate:
Some chargers come with multiple or variable charge
rates such as slow, medium, and fast. Since it’s better to charge a battery with a slower charge rate, make sure your charger has a slow rate of approximately 2 amps available. This is the rate you will probably need the most but, it’s also nice to have the choice of a higher charge rate incase of an emergency.
Some modern chargers can actually sense the state of a battery or at least know what percentage of charge is left in the battery. They can indicate the state of the battery by either the mode they are in or with an actual light or meter indicator. In the case of a problem, some chargers can sense the problem and tell you if the problem is with the charging or with the battery.
Chargers come in automatic and manual modes. Newer chargers are mostly automatic and you should choose an automatic charger if possible. Manual chargers force the user to monitor the charge process and stop the process when the battery is charged. Fully automatic chargers will stop charging and switch to a battery tender mode once charging is complete automatically. If you’re the type that wants to switch on and forget, then a fully automatic charger is for you and for most of us. It’s also safer as it prevents overcharging and it also protects the battery and electrical system from damage. Choose a fully automatic battery charger.
Battery chargers now use insulated clamps to reduce the possibility of accidental electrical shock. If you find a charger without insulated clamps, steer clear and choose one that has insulated clamps.
Spark Resistant Clamps:
Spark resistant clamps are a safety feature of some 24v battery chargers. This can be handled in a variety of ways such as shutting down the power from the charger if a clamp is dislodged from a terminal. This will prevent electrical arcing between the clamp and the terminal and reduce the risk of explosion of flammable gasses. An off/on switch will let you control when the charging begins so that you can make sure that you have the clamps attached properly prior to charging and reduce the risk of sparks.
Look for a warranty that is longer than one year. Many 24v battery chargers comewith 2 year warranties or longer from the bigger manufacturers. With all other features and specifications being equal, the warranty may tip the balance in favor of one 24v charger over another.
How to Choose a 24V Battery Charger
For a comparison of popular battery chargers, please see our article 24 Volt Battery Chargers Best Chargers.
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I hope this article has provided you with helpful information that shows you how to choose a 24v battery charger.