What is a trickle charger and what should I look for when buying one?
A trickle charger is designed to charge your battery at a low current, which takes a little longer than a fast charger, but will keep your battery good health for longer. A good trickle charger will take care of your battery, keep it topped up and switch off when necessary. They are perfect for rarely used vehicles, boats or motorhomes.
Any battery will drain if left unused for a period of time, more so with electrically complex vehicles such as motorhomes. A good modern ‘smart’ trickle charger will intelligently read the battery status and go through a series of charging stages to optimise battery condition and keep it charged and ready for use. An intelligent trickle charger can be left permanently connected whilst a vehicle is in storage, These are easy to use products that plug into the domestic mains supply and connect to the battery with a clip connection for each of the battery terminals.
Unlike a ‘dumb’ charger that will contiue to push voltage into a fully charged battery, a smart charger such as our B6001 is programmed with multiple automated steps to prepare the battery to accept a full charge. A typical smart charger can have up to 8 or 9 distinct steps to get the best performance from a battery.
They usually start with a ‘desulphation’ step that attempts to counteract the effects of a deeply discharged and neglected battery.
This will be followed by a high current phase that gets most of the charging done, before a ‘bulk’ charging phase optimises voltage but allows the current to drop which brings the battery up to near full charge. Once the battery is fully charged, a maintenance phase periodically monitors the battery condition and tops up the charge as necessary.