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Thread: Assuming a full charge

  1. #1
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    Assuming a full charge

    I am seeking a consensus of opinion of the following:

    Consider that a battery is fully charged with no issues, and that the car it is in has no parasitic drain(s).

    If the car is left unused for 4-5 months, will the battery be dead, or have enough life to crank the car to operation after the aforementioned time span?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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    It won't be dead, but it probably won't have enough poop in it to crank the engine over more than a few times. And the age of a battery is a factor, too. A brand-new one will have a better chance of having some juice left over.

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    For the past several years, I have left the battery in our '47 Champion all winter, with the ground cable unhooked, from November to March or April. In the spring, I put a small amount of gasoline in the carburetor, and it starts without difficulty. Just before putting it in the garage for the final time in the autumn, I put stabilizer in the fuel tank then fill it with non-ethanol gasoline.

    One caution if you do remove the battery --- never store it on a concrete floor. That will kill it beyond recovery.
    Bill Jarvis

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    Guess its time to purchase a "Battery-Tender".
    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Lackie View Post
    It won't be dead, but it probably won't have enough poop in it to crank the engine over more than a few times. And the age of a battery is a factor, too. A brand-new one will have a better chance of having some juice left over.

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    Silver Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    I have no scientific data to back up what I'm about to post, but I have a theory regarding stored energy, and the ability to keep it stored. My theory is that some atmosphere is more "alive" (conductive) than others. For example, in my pole barn, here in the southern blue ridge foothills, much of the year it is damp, drafty, very humid, with tons of particulate floating in the air. Some of that particulate is organic, chemically active, and conductive. Over time, I believe it creates tiny electrical noise (impulses) that will leach away, drain, corrode, and deplete the stored energy from batteries.

    My theory is that a battery sitting dormant in a similarly constructed dry (dead air) building in arid Arizona, will keep its charge much longer than one in a humid, electrically charged atmosphere (live air) full of conductive chemically active organic particulate where I live. In fact, such conductive exchanges require no "stored energy" as we think of in regards to a battery, but can occur solely on conductive exchanges from chemical reactions due to direct contact between reactive materials (dissimilar metals) or mere proximity. I have a barn full of pitted pot metal, corroded chrome, and pieces of aluminum growing lumps of green corrosion (in my opinion) accelerated by our local atmospheric conditions.

    Those of you with air conditioned garages, should experience much better results for storage against deterioration. The dehumidifying effect of air conditioning, not only protects from the whipsaw effect of temperature swings, but filters particulate, and protects the somewhat fragile flexible materials such as rubber, and vinyl from chemically "out-gassing" the elastomers that keep them supple.
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    One of my two 63 Avanti's has been sitting in a garage since the end of the past April. Its EEE battery is about 2 years old. Yesterday I went to start it. I did not add gas to the carburetor and after 5 or 6 engine revolutions of the engine it fired and I drove the car out of the garage. When I placed the car in the garage, I did nothing extra, as I did not expect it to sit that long. I did disconnect the batteries ground wire., No battery tender as I don't believe in them and don't want anything electrically running in the garage when I am not there.. The gas tank was about 1/2 full with 93 Octane Sunoco that has 10% Alcohol. The garage is in upstate NY and is on ground level under a house with a concrete floor.

    I did almost the same thing with a Ford Bronco I use to plow snow. Parked it in the back yard of my shop on blacktop last spring and started it for the second time a few weeks ago. I had previously started it a couple of months ago to see if its battery needed a charge, it did not. I don't know how old its battery is. I did not disconnect the battery's ground terminal. Pretty much finished plowing snow and parked the Bronco. The Bronco does have a computer. Runs on the lowest Octane Sunoco.

    Don't get the wrong idea, I am no friend of Sunoco. The station is across the street from my shop. The nearest station with non alcohol gas is about 6 miles away. Too far to drive without plates.
    Ron

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    President Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawklover View Post
    Guess its time to purchase a "Battery-Tender".
    Don't trust them. If you use one, regularly monitor the level of fluid in each of the cells. Battery tenders tend to do exactly what they say they will not do. They boil the fluid out of the battery and cook the plates into potato chips.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

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    Speedster Member greyben's Avatar
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    Lead acid batteries will always have some internal currents due to manufacturing imperfections. These currents will tend to increase with age until finally individual cells will no longer be capable of holding a charge for any significant period. How long it takes depends on a number of factors the primary one being initial quality. Other contributing factors include heat and setting for long periods in a partially or fully discharged state. The 5 year old battery in my '55 will self discharge in 2 or 3 months. The 13 year old battery in My Dakota is still functional although if not driven regularly it would probably be dead in 2 or 3 months also.

    Of course this may be only a theory. Perhaps there are tiny mites in concrete and other materials that feed on the battery's energy and a really good battery has mite antibodies that inhibit this feeding.
    In the end Ignorance will have conquered all adversaries

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    Quote Originally Posted by RadioRoy View Post
    Don't trust them. If you use one, regularly monitor the level of fluid in each of the cells. Battery tenders tend to do exactly what they say they will not do. They boil the fluid out of the battery and cook the plates into potato chips.
    I thought they go into a "float" stage after the battery is fully charged.........the max they put out is 1 & 1/4 amp.

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    Our lead acid batteries all self-discharge. I imagine it varies somewhat from one to another but most will be nearly dead if left for several months. I'm in the process of charging them all up and then putting a battery float on for the winter. This is just a 500ma charger that off-sets the battery's discharge rate. I've been using the Harbor Freight ones with some trepidation but so far they have worked fine. If you take them out NEVER let them set on concrete; place them on a pad or a board. If just left a battery could discharge to the point of freezing, and then it is useless.

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    I've had good luck with the Battery Tender Plus. I've used them for years, but they are more expensive than the tenders found at Harbor Freight etc and I've never had one boil the electrolyte out of a battery plus they only put out 1.5 amps so it's not likely that there will battery damage. Bud

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    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    I also don't like those battery tenders, or leaving anything connected and unattended. I had one battery explode in the middle of the night, and it was on a one amp charger. I couldn't find any part of the battery big enough to haul in for scrap. I had a 3 amp charger on my 87 Dakota about 15 years ago, and when I went out in the morning, the charger was burned to a crisp. Luckily I had it setting on top of the radiator, so the fire didn't spread beyond the charger. If you leave a charger unattended, I would take it outside, away from any cars or buildings that could be damaged or catch fire.

    My old 6 volt batteries in my Studebakers and Model A start the car fine in the spring, after the 6 to 7 month road salt season. Lately I have put the charger on the battery if I happen to be in the garage for 10 minutes or so, just because I know it's better to do that, but for years I never touched the cars or batteries during the salt season. I always get over 10 years from my 6 volt batteries, and usually get about 13 years before I replace them.

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    Silver Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    I have some battery tenders that I bought from my motorcycle shop. They automatically detect the battery voltage, and deliver a trickle charge for six or twelve volt batteries. Like some others have implied, I don't trust them well enough to connect and forget them for extended periods. I have thought about using them in conjunction with a timer that I could program to charge them intermittently. However, there's a couple of problems with this plan. I'm not sure I would be anymore certain that the timer would be any safer connected continuously than a battery charger.

    The other thing I have noticed with some of my battery chargers...If you leave the charger unplugged, and connect the charging leads to the battery, the clips will spark, indicating that current is flowing even with charger unplugged. That tells me that those battery chargers must be allowing power to flow from the battery. If so, a battery hooked up to those chargers, without the power on, will certainly eventually drain the battery. My conclusion is that, like a lot of things we do, battery charging requires attention and effort. Either maintain them properly or accept the consequences of neglect.
    John Clary
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    Quote Originally Posted by greyben View Post
    Lead acid batteries will always have some internal currents due to manufacturing imperfections. These currents will tend to increase with age until finally individual cells will no longer be capable of holding a charge for any significant period. How long it takes depends on a number of factors the primary one being initial quality. Other contributing factors include heat and setting for long periods in a partially or fully discharged state. The 5 year old battery in my '55 will self discharge in 2 or 3 months. The 13 year old battery in My Dakota is still functional although if not driven regularly it would probably be dead in 2 or 3 months also.

    Of course this may be only a theory. Perhaps there are tiny mites in concrete and other materials that feed on the battery's energy and a really good battery has mite antibodies that inhibit this feeding.
    I like the mite theory. Makes more sense than I lot of the things I see.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bud View Post
    I've had good luck with the Battery Tender Plus. I've used them for years, but they are more expensive than the tenders found at Harbor Freight etc and I've never had one boil the electrolyte out of a battery plus they only put out 1.5 amps so it's not likely that there will battery damage. Bud
    Agree. That's what I use. Just to be safe, I don't leave it connected for long periods, and only charge the batteries up every couple of weeks. I move it from car to car and by doing that, one unit will keep 5 or 6 batteries charged up.

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    President Member 2moredoors's Avatar
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    When I lived north of the arctic circle I stayed there in the summer months. I would store the two vehicles that I was responsible fin late October in our storage shed disconnect the battery (leave them in the vehicles). When I returned in the spring (late April early May) I would reconnect the battery and turn the vehicles over a few times and each spring the vehicles would start. There was electricity in the storage sheds and winter temperatures would go down to minus 40.

    Now I live in Southern Canada I disconnect or remove the batteries and occasionally put a charge on the batteries over the winter. I did put a tender on one battery and left it too long and ruined the battery. No advice here just a couple of anecdotes.

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    President Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawklover View Post
    I thought they go into a "float" stage after the battery is fully charged.........the max they put out is 1 & 1/4 amp.
    That is the theory. I cooked my 6 volt battery by leaving the charger on all winter. Here's my theory on how that happened. Even that low of current is enough to cook the battery dry. Plus, as it begins to dry up, the battery voltage goes down which causes the charging current to go up, cooking it even more.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

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