Most vehicles derive their power from the battery to start the engine and run any other electronics.
Thus, starting the car regularly keeps the battery charged and functional. Battery problems occur when you leave the vehicle in storage for an extended timeframe.
Although most vehicle owners think that starting and idling the car is an excellent way to keep their battery operational, doing this only puts strain on your car’s charging system. That could lead to premature alternator failure. You can avoid the problem by investing in a solar car battery maintainer.
A solar car battery maintainer is designed to maintain a battery’s charge by ensuring that the electricity is at the required levels. Quality battery maintainers also keep the battery healthy, ensuring that you can start up your car without any problems after a long time.
In this article, we cover the differences between a car battery charger and a battery maintainer. We also look at when to use a battery maintainer and some of its pros and cons.
Why Do You Need to Keep Your Batteries Charged?
A car’s battery powers both the starting systems of the vehicle and electronics.
Although regularly used cars can recharge their batteries via the alternator, rarely used cars need another charging and maintenance device to keep the batteries charged and functional.
Self-discharge occurs when lead and electrolytes react. The reaction happens when different components draw power from the battery.
What is a Solar Car Battery Maintainer?
A car battery maintainer keeps the battery charged by putting off a controlled charge. You can dictate the amount required, and the device won’t charge the battery past that. You can tell when the battery needs a charge with a maintainer and see the amount of charge left.
If your battery needs a charge, the maintainer will turn on and supply the required charge. Once the battery is fully charged, it will turn off and stop charging until the battery drops below the set point.
Charger Vs. Maintainer
Ensuring that your car battery is charged helps prevent any damage and extends the life of your battery. However, if you’re looking at the available charging options, you may be confused about whether to get a car battery charger or a maintainer.
Solar battery chargers work by converting energy from the sun into electricity that is then transferred to a battery. The process is done through a photovoltaic solar panel, a technology used in commercial and residential settings.
A battery charger is used when the battery is dead and needs a quick charge. Solar car battery chargers can only put out 1500 Ma. These chargers also send a constant charge to the battery, a process that can take ten hours or more. Most people opt to use the battery charger overnight to avoid overcharging the battery.
You also need to disconnect a battery charger manually after a full charge. Failure to do this may damage the battery.
A car battery maintainer helps to keep the battery charged by making sure its charge levels are at the required levels at all times. It’s meant to charge the battery at a higher rate while regulating the current to prevent overcharging. Maintainers take a few hours to charge your battery and go off once the battery is full.
There are small and large battery maintainers. Small battery maintainers won’t charge a discharged battery but can help maintain a battery while it’s in storage. They are also inexpensive and energy-efficient compared to the bigger ones.
The difference between a battery charger and a maintainer is that the maintainer is designed to send a trickle charge to the battery for some time. The maintainer stops sending any charge once the battery is fully charged. As a result, battery maintainers don’t overcharge the battery. That can extend the life of the battery. On the other hand, a car battery charger sends a constant charge to a battery, damaging the battery due to the excess charge.
Battery maintainers charge the battery faster than most battery chargers. You can leave the battery maintainer connected to a battery and not damage it, but you have to disconnect a charger to prevent overcharging.
When to Use Solar Car Battery Maintainer
The best time to use a solar car battery maintainer is when you’re planning to leave your vehicle in storage for a long time.
You’ll also need a maintainer if you notice that batteries that last for years are now getting overwhelmed with the latest technology like navigation systems, engine control systems. As a result, battery or sound/video systems.
All this can stress the battery and deplete its charge. Connecting the maintainer will charge the battery by the time you get back and start your car. Leaving the maintainer on won’t also overcharge your battery as it disconnects once the battery is full.
How to Use It
There are various ways to connect the maintainer to your car.
You can opt to use battery clips or the 12v cigarette lighter. For example, if you turn the car ignition off and the cigarette lighter sockets remain on, you can use this to plug in the maintainer. Alternatively, use the battery clips to connect the maintainer directly to the terminals on the battery.
However, if the cigarette lighter doesn’t stay on when you turn the ignition off, use an adapter to charge your car through the OBD diagnostic port. The port is near the passenger or driver seat in modern vehicles and can be used as an option for plugging in a battery maintainer.
Once you plug in the maintainer, you can leave It attached overnight. Maintainers don’t overcharge your battery or drain it as they release a small amount of charge at a time. The trickle keeps the battery topped up until the subsequent use.
A battery maintainer works perfectly for caravans where leaving the door open or alarm on might drain the battery.
Remember to disconnect the maintainer before you start the car to avoid damage.
Pros and Cons of Solar Battery Maintainers
Some of the advantages of a solar battery maintainer include:
Keeping the Battery Charged and Extends Its Lifespan
A battery maintainer ensures that your battery is charged throughout. Furthermore, a quality maintainer can extend the life of your batteries by reducing wear and tear, as you won’t need to boost the battery regularly. That means you can enjoy your batteries for more than five years.
Versatile and Simple to Use
Using a car battery maintainer is simple to use. All you need is to place the solar panel near the light and connect the lead to the car. You don’t have to worry about power failure as you can keep your battery charged with solar power. Furthermore, the maintainer also works for motor homes or caravans with leisure batteries.
Solar car battery maintainers generate electricity directly from the solar panel. The energy is then transmitted to maintain your batteries. You don’t have to incur high utility bills with this type of maintainer.
Safe on the Car Battery
Since battery maintainers have controlled amperage, you don’t have to worry about overcharging the battery. Car battery maintainers are designed to provide the right amount of electricity and disconnect once fully charged to prevent any damage.
Another impressive thing about car battery maintainers is that they are automatic. So you don’t have to connect the maintainer manually, which means you can leave it connected for a long time and not worry about the battery running out.
They Don’t Overcharge the Battery.
Battery maintainers don’t overcharge your car, making them ideal for keeping your car batteries functional for an extended time. A quality maintainer also prevents sulfation of your battery due to lack of use.
Gives You the Peace of Mind
Whether you’re planning to park your truck over time or head out for a vacation, you won’t have to worry about losing functionality when you get back. A car battery maintainer keeps the battery working, which means that you can start it with ease e when you need your vehicle.
Some of the drawbacks of a car battery maintainer include:
High Price Tag
A few powerful units are expensive to purchase but make an excellent investment if you need to keep more than one vehicle’s charge maintained.
Some Maintainers Are Not Waterproof
There are certain maintainers that are not waterproof and can easily get damaged by water. You need to place the maintainer inside of the windshield to prevent damage. Nonetheless, these maintainers are functional and will keep your battery levels topped up.
Does It Pay Off to Buy it?
Yes, investing in a quality battery maintainer can help restore your car’s battery and extend its lifespan.
Apart from being safe to use, car battery maintainers ensure that you don’t lose functionality by keeping the battery charged and making sure the vehicle is ready for use.
Newer vehicle models will also benefit from a maintainer as it prevents the computer memory from being wiped out. With proper maintenance, a car battery can last up to five years.
Noel Joseph has been in the world of motor vehicles for a long period. Currently, he is enthusiastic about Electric & Hybrid Motors and is an independent researcher. He advocates for a clean and sustainable future and envisions utilizing his years of experience in mechanical engineering. His new venture here at CompactPower.com is to organize and simplify knowledge on Electric vehicles. He wants to build a space where people can talk about EVs and associated technologies with freedom.