battery

When it comes to what is referred to as a “trickle charger,” many people are not aware of what that means.

Many automobile chargers are capable of putting out a variety of different amperages to charge a battery slowly or quickly as the need arises, and some are designed to be left connected long-term without overcharging. A trickle charger will technically charge at a much lower amperage of normally between one to three amps, compared to a car battery charger ranging anywhere from about six to more than 50 amps.

A trickle charger has a mechanism to automatically switch off and back on according to the charge level of the battery. To an everyday person like myself, that is above my intelligence level, but there are situations where a trickle charger is a better choice.

Over the course of my career as an outdoors enthusiast, I have owned different makes and models of trickle chargers, but I found what I consider to be the best trickle charger made. I shopped around and compared not only price but also how long will it last and the reputation of the product. I made the decision to purchase what is called the "Battery Tender Junior" made by Deltran. This trickle charger is recommended for ATVs, UTVs, ski jets, motorcycles, riding lawnmowers, and garden tractors.

The Battery Tender Junior is 12-volt, 800mA and works on lead acid (standard batteries), AGM, and gel batteries, and it is referred to as an automatic battery charger and maintainer. It is 50 percent lighter-weight and very compact.

In the package, you will find the charger and two hookup wiring options that will give you the choice of having a red (positive) alligator clip and a black (negative) alligator clip that will attach to the positive and negative battery posts, or you can opt for the red-black “ring” type connectors that will attach to the positive and negative posts (hardwired).

All you do is plug in the charger to a power outlet and plug the connector to the hook-up connector leading to the battery. This unit is also waterproof. I use Battery Tender Junior units for my ATV and zero-turn riding mower, and during the winter storage period, I don't have to worry about a battery losing its charge and freezing up and bursting. I can leave my units plugged in, and they will regulate the charge level, shut off automatically, and if/when the battery discharges to a certain level, the trickle charger will re-start and build the battery back up to proper levels.

You can contact the Battery Tender company at Deltran USA LLC, 801 International Speedway Blvd., Deland, Fla. 32724, call 386-736-7900, or visit www.batterytender.com. They also have a Facebook page, so check them out. They are also available at many auto parts stores, Walmart, and other places.

You normally can find the Battery Tender Junior for less than $30, and it comes with a seven-year warranty. That is a bargain and much cheaper than shelling out a bunch of money for replacement batteries that suffered damage from being charged and maintained improperly. Trust me, folks; this is an investment you will never regret. It is a simple device to use and can be stored any place.

RETIRED FROM CHRYSLER CORPORATION QUALITY CONTROL-CURRENTLY OUTDOOR COLUMNIST FOR KOKOMO PERSPECTIVE.