Good OLD Battery Chargers ???

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Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:27 am
First and Last Name: George Riley
Location: Poverty Springs KY 2018 Wettest State in the Nation

Good OLD Battery Chargers ???

Post by BearKiller »

I am in need of a good battery charger.

I have been looking at new ones on Amazon and it is evident that such a thing as a good new battery charger must not exist anymore.

I want one that when I probe the business end of the cables with my volt-meter, it will tell me the output and not just say -0-; that way I can tell whether it is working or not.

I figure the only way that I am going to get a good charger is to get one from at least the 1970s and probably older than that.
We had one at the shop that had wheels and you could start a semi truck with it; I can't remember what brand it was.

Does anyone have any recommendations with brand and model-number that I can look for ?

When I was a kid, Schumaker, Shauer, and Lincoln were decent brands; but, like anything else, reviews on the more recent offerings are much less than flattering.

I have an idea to add a set of 2AWG cables to my truck, with a battery box and a big kill switch, and just put whatever battery I need to charge in there and let the big Leece-Neville do it's thing; but then, I have read that maybe it is not so good to put so much amperage so quickly to a battery that actually needs charging.

The Mennonites up the road have a pretty smart no-nonsense set-up.
They have a belt-powered one-wire Chevy alternator with a set of cables that they use to charge batteries.

Thanks for reading and all help is appreciated.

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Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:22 pm
First and Last Name: Joe Motuzick
Location: Torrington Ct

Re: Good OLD Battery Chargers ???

Post by JMotuzick »

I have a few Schumaker charger/maintainers good for 6/12/24v very handy and so far really work! $20 at tsc pre-Christmas sale that just ended.

Grandpa had a old Schumaker too! I used it and it finally died about 5 years ago. At that point I couldn’t find a good one....until I went to a swap meet I found a decent century that is about 10 years old still has a analong gauge and 6/12v start and works good for the faster charges. I found a second one still in the box this summer! I made sure I got the seller to come down some and took it home for $20. I figure I’m good for 40-50 years with these two.

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Re: Good OLD Battery Chargers ???

Post by BigMike »

Not sure what you want to start(you mentioned semi tractors) or how much you want to spend but these are used on heavy equipment as battery chargers even though they are not designed for that use. ... der-m90334

I have a couple of simple transformer/6 & 12 volt/6 amp? battery chargers. One I got for a birthday or Christmas eons ago and one was my Dads. If this is what you mean watch a flea markets, pawn shops, and garage sales.
I also have a 6/12/24 volt, low/med/high charger I bought on clearance at a farm store I use for electrolysis rust removal.

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First and Last Name: George Riley
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Re: Good OLD Battery Chargers ???

Post by BearKiller »

I just want to charge 12-volt batteries that have for whatever reason gotten pretty weak, like 8- or 9-volts weak, without warping plates and boiling them dry.

I have a couple "portable" "smart" "automatic" chargers that never were much account; and, once I finally figured out how to test their true output, neither were putting out over 11-volts; you can't put 13-volts in a battery when the charger won't do but 11- or so.

I had one of them on a Group-31s for days and checked progress about three times each day; it got to about 11-volts and just never would get any higher; that is when I got serious about finding out how to determine what the charger was doing.

I do have a five-gallon bucket full of those $5 Harbor Freight float/maintainer chargers and I highly recommend them for keeping a battery alive; I have mower batteries that are fifteen or more years old that will whirl the starter like a new one.

However, I fear that bringing a big Group-31 back from the grave might be more than one of those little guys can handle.

I had considered putting five or six of them on a battery at the same time and see how that fared.

I had considered looking for a good older charger on EBay, but they are so heavy that shipping would eat up any bargain deal I might find; and, if I get one here and it is just a boat anchor, return shipping being so high, it would just be a lesson in economics that I would get to eat.

I guess I need to hit the swap meets again, but all of the swap meets within reasonable (and even in unreasonable) driving distance have gone the way of good truck stops and are no more.

If I knew the actual model numbers of some of the good older units, then I would know what to look for on EBay; otherwise, I might end up with an old-looking modern piece of junk.

On EDIT: >>> I found this: ... rk:39:pf:0

He says "Vintage" ; I wonder just what vintage it might be; if that thing is 1978 or older, I might start getting interested.

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First and Last Name: Dave Kamp
Location: LeClaire, Ia

Re: Good OLD Battery Chargers ???

Post by DaveKamp »

Hi Bear!

What you want, Bear, is an old battery charger that doesn't work. Get a replacement cord, and a replacement set of cables, and a 1000v / 20A bridge rectifier, open it up, disconnect the original diodes, mount and connect the new bridge, add new cables, put it back together, and put it to work.

A non-automatic charger is controlled by the stuff between your ears... I use a mechanical timer to make sure mine don't go too far.

Nintey times out of ten, the failure of an old-school charger, is the rectifier... the diodes... really old ones have selenium rectifier stacks (looks like a rod with square plates, like some kind of bread-slicer). Most of the rest use silicon diodes that're like little hockey pucks under spring tabs. When diodes fail, they either burn open (no output, no current) or shorted (no voltage, lots'a current, usually smoke). The other problems include regulator circuit (bypass it, go manual) or the voltage/range switch.

The modern electronic chargers are frequently not very robust... an electrical storm will zap them dead easily. They also will frequently 'refuse to charge' a battery that has been totally run down... because it has 'polarity protection circuitry'. When this happens, you hafta connect the charger to the battery, then touch some other battery voltage (with matched polarity) to the terminals to 'fool' the charger into thinking that it's actually seeing the battery's polarity. A 9v battery and a pair of alligator clip test leads works great.
Yes, I'm a Mad Scientist... but I'm usually happy, even when things ain't goin right.

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