Virtually every household in this day and age has battery chargers. If you have a car and battery-operated gadgets like digital camera, laptop, mobile phone and iPod, you know that none of them will keep functioning without battery chargers. The quality of battery chargers is crucial to the performance of the batteries. Inferior battery chargers can decrease your batteries’ life span and possibly damage them.
There are several types of battery chargers with different methods of charging. Timer based battery chargers are for batteries charged frequently and discharged after use. Smart battery chargers have the capacity to monitor voltage and temperature, then terminate charging when it detects that the battery is completely charged. Quick chargers use the control circuitry to quickly charge batteries without damaging the elements of the batteries. Other types are pulse chargers, inductive, shunt regulators, buck regulators, switch mode regulators and series or linear regulators. All of these chargers have one basic function, and that is to charge a battery. In order to maximize the performance of your battery and that of your charger, it is important to take note of some suggestions prior to using your battery chargers.
- Type. Check what types of battery your charger is capable of charging. Some units are designed for all types of batteries and are capable of diagnosing if you have inserted the wrong batteries. Not all chargers are furnished with this technology, thus it is best to ensure which works for your batteries.
- Power. Know how to turn the power on correctly. Usually both the charger and the unit you are charging have indicators or light displays confirming that power is present.
- Charge. Once your batteries are placed into the charger, the indicator should constantly light up to indicate that normal charge is taking place. Normal charge lasts until your unit detects complete charging.
- Discharge. Check your unit’s manual to ensure if it is safe to discharge at any moment during normal or pulse charge. This is usually okay with multi-chargers used for a laptop or notebook battery and digital camera batteries. It is also recommended to check the ideal charging time. A good charger detects when the battery is fully charged, but not all battery chargers have this kind of capability.
- Understand the display. It is important to be able to distinguish the light indicators and functions of your battery chargers. This is helpful in order to identify whether your battery is charging normally, exceeding normal charge or already completely charged. Some battery chargers are equipped with advanced charging technology that protects the batteries from overheating and overcharging. One example is the Vector battery charger. It monitors temperature and determines correct charge rate of the batteries.
To check the aptitude of your rechargeable batteries, especially your vehicle or car battery, it is recommended to use a battery tester. Certain battery testers are built with analyzer features and can test different kinds of batteries including lithium ion, nickel metal hydrate or alkaline battery packs. Battery testers can be purchased from stores where you can buy battery chargers as well. If you are purchasing a battery charger and tester, check with the leading manufacturers of batteries and chargers such as Energizer, Guest or Vector. You can search on the net and do product comparison as well as purchase online.