It’s possible that you’ve heard the phrase “a 3 stage charger is necessary.” The most optimal charger for your battery is a 3 stage charger, also known as a “smart charger” or a “microprocessor controlled charger.” In essence, these smart chargers are secure, user-friendly, and won’t overcharge your battery. The majority of the smart chargers we offer are 3 stage chargers.
Undoubtedly, 3 stage chargers are effective and efficient. However, the crucial question is: What exactly are the 3 stages that make these chargers so distinctive and proficient? Is it truly worth the investment? To explore the answers, let’s examine each stage in detail.
The main objective of a car battery charger is to replenish a battery’s charge. During the first stage, the charger typically employs the maximum voltage and amperage it can handle. This charge level is referred to as the battery’s natural absorption rate, which should not exceed the battery’s capacity to avoid overheating. For example, a standard 12 volt AGM battery can handle a charging voltage of 14.6-14.8 volts, while flooded batteries can withstand even higher levels. In contrast, gel batteries should not be charged with more than 14.2-14.3 volts.
Suppose a smart charger has a 10-amp capacity, and the battery’s resistance permits it. In that case, the charger will deliver the full 10 amps during this stage. This stage is suitable for recharging batteries that have been significantly drained. As the battery hasn’t yet reached its full charge, there is no danger of overcharging it during this stage.
Smart chargers can measure a battery’s voltage and resistance before initiating the charging process. Based on this information, the charger will select the appropriate stage for charging. After the battery has attained an 80%* state of charge, the smart charger will proceed to the absorption stage. During this stage, the charger will typically maintain a consistent voltage level, while the amperage will decrease. This lower current helps to safely and gradually increase the battery’s charge level without the risk of overheating.
The absorption stage requires more time to complete. The final 20% of the battery takes considerably longer to charge than the first 20% during the bulk stage. As this stage progresses, the current gradually diminishes until the battery is nearly full.
Certain chargers may enter float mode when the battery has reached 85% state of charge, while others may not enter float mode until closer to 95%. Regardless of when it enters float mode, this stage ensures that the battery reaches a full 100% state of charge and maintains it. During this stage, the voltage will gradually decrease and stabilize at a maximum of 13.2-13.4 volts, which is the highest voltage that a 12-volt battery can hold. The current will also decrease to a point where it is considered a trickle, hence the term “trickle charger.”
Trickle charging is a continuation of the float stage where the battery receives a constant low-level charge to maintain a full state of charge without overcharging. Although the smartest chargers do not shut off at this point, it is entirely safe to leave a battery in float mode for extended periods, ranging from months to even years. Maintaining a battery at 100% state of charge is the most optimal way to keep it healthy.
As we have previously stated, the optimal type of charger to use for a battery is a 3 stage smart charger. These chargers are straightforward to use and provide a stress-free experience. You can leave the charger on the battery for extended periods even overnight without any concerns about overcharging. In fact, leaving the charger connected is recommended, as a battery that is not at full charge may develop sulfate crystals on its plates, resulting in a loss of power.
To ensure that your battery is ready to go whenever you need it, it is advisable to connect it to a 3 stage smart charger if you plan to store your powersports equipment during off-season or vacations. This will help maintain the battery’s optimal charge level and prevent it from losing power over time.
Please use the following links to browse our smart changers: