It isn’t difficult to work out how long to charge a car battery for. It’s all about the amps on your charger versus the size of your battery, plus how low the charge is on your battery when you start. The easiest calculation is definitely if your car battery is completely dead. However, with a simple test, you can check your charge level and work out how long to charge a 12v battery for.
Always check your charge level first
Before hooking your car battery up to a charger, it’s essential to know what state it’s in first. A dead or completely drained battery may seem obvious to diagnose, but it’s worth checking just in case the cause of your car not starting isn’t actually the battery. Something like a loose connection preventing your car from starting could lead you to think that your battery is dead. This could lead you further into over-charging your battery, which could do some serious damage.
Rather be safe and use a voltmeter to check the status of your battery at that particular moment. From there, you can calculate how long it will take your charger to get your battery up to full capacity. Before you test the battery, disconnect it from your car to ensure you get an accurate reading and that it’s safe for you to touch with the tester or the charger clips without the risk of sparks.
A standard car battery is 12 volts – made up of six cells with 2.1 volts each. A battery is considered fully charged at 12.6 volts. Once a battery gets down to 12.1 volts, it is considered to have a 50% charge. Anything lower than that and your car battery is considered to be at a dangerous level, which could shorten its lifespan. If you get a reading of 10.5 volts, then your battery is considered completely flat and should definitely be charged immediately to avoid any further damage to it.
How long to charge a car battery at 40 amps?
A car battery charger with anything over 20 amps is considered a fast charger. These are generally best to use in emergency cases when you need a quick fix to get you off the side of the road. It’s essential that you know your battery charge level and the exact amps your charger will supply. This is because it’s fairly easy to overcharge a battery when you use something like a 40-amp charger.
The short answer here is that you shouldn’t charge your car battery for very long with a charger of this strength. On a small to a mid-sized car battery, it can often take less than an hour to go from completely flat to fully charged. This is why it’s so important to get a charger with onboard monitoring features. This way, you can keep a very close eye on your battery’s charge and make sure you disconnect the charger before any damage is done. Additionally, you should never leave the process unattended because a device with the capacity of 40 amps can charge your battery so quickly.
If your reasoning for getting a fast charger is to use it for a quick fix, it might be better to consider getting a good jump starter. You get cables that are connected to a battery pack or can connect to a building’s mains supply, meaning you don’t need another vehicle to jump start your car. This is a far safer way to get your car going on a cold morning when you need to get to work in a hurry. It also has far less potential to damage your car and the battery.
On the other hand, if you’re traveling (especially off the beaten track) a high amp charger is a very useful tool to have in your vehicle. You can get your car up and running again quickly. The more powerful charger should also ensure that you don’t have to waste time with a mechanic or auto electrician while on holiday. You can rather leave those tasks for when you get back home.
Regardless of your reason for getting one of these high-powered chargers, it’s a good idea to consider one of the smart charger types. These are more expensive than a standard charger, but they come with an automatic shut-off function. The charger will monitor the battery level that it’s working on and switch off before it reaches 100%. This prevents overcharging and the damage that can come from that.
How long to charge a car battery at 2 amps?
A charger with only 2 amps will take a long time to get your battery back up to full capacity, but it is a safer and more controlled way of recharging. Your risk of overcharging your car battery is far lower. You also don’t risk heating up your battery too much during the process.
The exact length of time you should charge a 12v battery for will depend on how low the battery’s charge is to start with and what you need to get out of it. For example, you should be able to start your car and drive to wherever you’re going after a couple of hours of charging. However, this is not the best idea as your battery may run down again once you’ve parked if you didn’t get enough charge from driving.
In general, a 2-amp charger will take 24 hours to charge a small to mid-sized car battery from completely flat to full. This is also considered a deep charge, which is very good for a battery and won’t damage it in the process of charging. It’s completely safe to leave a 2-amp charger connected to your car’s battery overnight and unattended. Just remember to make a note to go and check your battery in the morning. It’s not good to overcharge your battery, even with such a low-powered charger.
You can also get smart versions of the lower-powered chargers. These will allow you to leave the charger connected to your battery without the need to go and check on it before you hit the 24-hour mark.
How long does it take to charge a car battery with a trickle charger?
Many people will use a standard 2-amp charger in the same way that a trickle charger is designed to be used. However, this is not always the best idea. Trickle chargers have built-in features that make it completely safe to leave plugged in and connected to a battery for days or weeks at a time.
There are two features that are commonly found on a trickle charger that aren’t always on a standard charger. The most common feature is an automatic switch-off – the same as the smart chargers mentioned above – and many also have the ability to adjust their settings based on the level of charge in the battery.
A trickle charger is usually a low-powered device that runs at around 2 amps. This means that it will take the charger the same 24 hours to get a completely flat battery up to normal operating standards. The difference is, the charger will then switch into maintenance mode and keep the battery at a good, safe level until you disconnect it.
Won’t driving around charge a car battery?
In theory, yes. Your car is designed to recharge the battery using a built-in alternator while you drive. Cars are able to replenish the charge taken to start the vehicle and run the onboard electronics. However, the drive needs to be long enough each time to give your car a chance to fully recharge. On short trips, you are depleting the battery at ignition but not giving it time to recharge. This means that the volts will keep getting lower over time and the alternator won’t be able to keep up.
It’s also important to note that a car’s alternator is designed to work on a healthy battery that has over 12 volts remaining. It was not designed to recharge a battery from completely dead, or even from less than 50% charge. Remember, you are using electricity from the battery all the time while you drive – the radio, the climate control, built-in GPS or Bluetooth, and even the windscreen wipers.
If you need to jumpstart your vehicle to get it going, then it’s essential that you use an external source to charge your battery as soon as you can. Your car’s alternator should be able to keep the car going once you’ve got it started, but it is not likely to give the battery enough charge to get it back to a healthy state.
No more wondering how long to charge a car battery for
The times given above for charging a car battery are estimates based on the amps in the charger and the level of charge left in the battery when you start the process. It’s essential to first know how much is still in your battery, and then make sure you monitor the charging process so that your battery doesn’t end up being overcharged.