Car battery drip chargers

I keep a car in a distant location. It gets driven about once a month for a day. The battery often goes dead in between uses. I’ve been looking into drip chargers that keep the battery loaded enough to get the car started after a long break. Does anyone have any experience with/knowledge about those? Mr. Google seems to say there are lots of choices.

I have no suggestions. I do have a comment on that they’re a great idea. My dad used one over the winter for his moto, and summer for the snowmobiles. I couldn’t tell you what model(s) that he used, just that they kept the batteries alive well enough through long periods of unuse.

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Back in the day, Schumacher made a good trickle charger. I used one to keep my motorcycle battery charged. Father in law used one to maintain his deep cycle and regular batteries in his RV.

Today, there might be some trickle chargers available with some smart tech that would prevent overcharging the battery thus screwing it up. Surfing Amazon, looks like the cheap trickle chargers are about $30. The better chargers are around $100. They all seem to have the smart tech in a cursory read.

Hope this helps.

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My father-in-law, who’s fleet I inherited maintenance responsibility for a few years ago, had a collection of trickle chargers, one for each car, that I gave up on after a year or two of non-performance. In fairness, they may have all been several years old, and there may be more reliable technology out there. He was very knowledgeable in this area, but none of his were dependable - I soon gave up on them.

The month you describe in your post, should not cause a “good” battery to drain in reasonable spring/summer/fall weather, in most places in Utah (high elevation/very cool nighttime temperatures aside). Perhaps take the car in to a local shop and have the battery checked - repeated low charges on a battery will cause it to fail sooner that one which sees regular use.

In the winter, in most places in Utah, a month of non-use will cause a “good” battery to drain enough to be questionable.

If your location is high and cold, is there any option to keep the car battery warm?

And finally, if you do get a better referral for something useful, and it works, please post or board mail the details to me :slight_smile:

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I have used them for several years. I have a home in SLC and SoCal and had problems with replacing batteries. Once I got this I’ve never had a problem. I have a “junior” model for my motorcycle. These things are great. What’s good about them is that they shut off once the battery is fully charged, and only comes on to charge back up.

Thank you! That is the situation I am facing. I keep the car in LA for when I go there. Sometimes a month passes, sometimes a little more. The garage where I keep the car occasionally turns it on and lets it run for 10 or 15 minutes, but that hasn’t been enough. I will try this device out. It’s exactly what I was looking for–someone who has experience with a similar situation and has a product they can recommend. Thanks again.

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For what it’s worth, I use a Battery Tender charger connected to a cheap 15W solar panel from Amazon on the windshield of a van I drive infrequently, and it works very well. I just have it plugged into the cigarette lighter socket (good for up to 15 Amps in the van), so that everything is inside. Also, have you tried just disconnecting the battery when you leave it?

I don’t have any experience with these but got one of those battery packs for emergency jumps and that could be a quick solution each time.

Thanks, I was going to try that–it’s the simplest solution–but the car is parked in a very nice lot near I work. There are attendants all around, people coming and going, etc., so I decided to look for a simpler solution.

I also considered that. I decided that I didn’t want to go to the car in the middle of a work day, dressed for work, raise the hood, and stick my hands inside. I almost did because it’s irritating to call AAA in that same situation!

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I personally would just install a master disconnect switch. We do this all the time in construction for equipment that sits somewhere. In fact, I even have an old pickup truck here that i seldom drive. Had the same issue as you; battery always dead when I needed it. So I put one of these in it. I just reach through the grill and flip it on. When I’m done for the day, flip it off. Works great.

Hmmm. That seems too simple! :laughing: Thanks, might be the answer I need. I’ll check it out.

Battery Tender brand has been my go-to to keep motorcycle batteries charged during winter months.
I have also noticed that Lithium batteries do better holding charges. I’ve long periods if inactivity. They are more expensive up front, but have worked well for me.

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One thing to consider when you do things like disconnect the battery from the car for any period over 20-30 minutes is that your computer is going to have to ‘relearn’ how to run your car and how you drive.

That means you may experience rough idling, weird shifting and bad fuel economy.

Most car manufacturers recommend just let the car idle for 20-30 minutes before you drive them after the computer has reset - and then after that keep the speeds down and gentle driving or staying off the freeway for a half hour more.

For that reason, I think a battery tender might be your best bet if your hope is to just jump in the car and drive.

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