Do Trickle Chargers Work for Marine Batteries?

Boat enthusiasts understand that they won’t necessarily use their vessels each day of the week. Weeks or months might go by before another ride on the water is possible.

Because of this irregular use, your boat’s battery may not be fully charged when you pull out the vessel for a day on the water. Consider the use of trickle chargers for your marine battery. These devices are well suited for long-term use.

The Science Behind Trickle Chargers

Trickle chargers are vastly different than standard models. The difference is written right into the item’s name. Regular chargers offer a safe amount of electricity for rapid charging. It might take these chargers several hours to complete the powering process.

In contrast, trickle chargers allow a small amount of electricity to flow into the battery. By reducing the power amount, you’re able to slowly charge a battery over several days.

This slow process is perfect for these applications, including:

  • Winter storage
  • On-and-off days during the summer
  • Transport periods

These situations are usually plagued by dead batteries. You use up the saved charge by running the battery down or not using it at all. Trickle chargers take that frustration out of the equation.

Going Portable

There are trickle chargers that can be permanently attached to your boat. However, they can be difficult to attach in such small quarters. As an alternative, choose portable chargers.

Depending on your power needs, the charger’s size will vary. Remove the battery from your vessel if you’d like to charge it when the boat is docked. The battery can sit on the charger for hours on end, which slowly gives it power while preserving its lifespan.

Keep in mind that portable chargers are vulnerable to theft. Keep an eye on the device or hide it away during the powering process.

Proper Connections

Your trickle charger has the same setup as a standard type. Look for clamp connectors on the trickle charger with black and red tips. Match the black clamp to the negative side of your battery. The red clamp attaches to the positive side.

Most modern chargers have an indicator bar on the housing. You’ll know when the connectors are properly attached when you’re given the green light on the display. If improper connections are made, you might see these notifications, such as:

  • Charge malfunction
  • Battery problem

Every charger has unique wording to their warning statements so keep this fact in mind as you safely charge your battery.

Matching the Amperage Values

If you’re familiar with boat batteries, you already know that each product has a certain amperage value. The amperage is the current available for power draws on the battery.

Most marine batteries are designed with two amps as their maximum value. Your charger should have a corresponding value that’s below this number. You don’t want two amps as your charging power because that amount equates to a fast charge.

Trickle chargers have a much lower, amperage value. It might be around one amp or less. Charging takes longer, but that’s the goal at this point.

The Heat Issue

Trickle chargers definitely work for marine batteries because they don’t generate excess heat. During a standard charge, the battery heats up. It’s certainly safe to touch, but these issues occur within the battery, including:

  • Internal materials slowly break down
  • Charge and operational times fluctuate
  • Shorter lifespan than a new battery

Switch to a trickle charger, and you’ll notice that the battery doesn’t heat up as much as it normally does with a standard charger. The marine battery will last longer as a result.

Solar Alternatives

Most trickle chargers plug into a wall for their power source. Think about solar alternatives. Your battery doesn’t require a large amount of amperage so solar energy is sufficient enough to supply the trickle charger throughout its processes. Stay sustainable with this environmentally friendly choice.

Contact Northeast Battery with any questions about your marine batteries. Our staff can match your vessel to the proper, power sources. A day out on the water shouldn’t be interrupted by a power outage.