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1999-2007 General Questions General questions related to 1999-2007 Super Duty trucks. If it doesn't fit the other categories, post it here. Gas engine discussion that pertains to all models is allowed. Specific gas engine questions should use the Gas Engines forum.

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Old 12-03-2008, 11:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Proper/Best Method to Charge Battery

I party drained my batteries on accident Since this is my first diesel/dual battery truck, what is the correct way to put a battery charger on them. I only have one battery charger that I used for my boat (the kind that takes like 12 hours to charge a deep cycle battery). If I had to guess, I would just put it on a battery one at a time and call it a day, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't supposed to disconnect something first ect. ect. ect.

Thanks...Jeff
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Old 12-04-2008, 08:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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First, be sure you have a charger that will turn itself off when the battery is charged. Those are called automatic chargers. Yes, they cost more than the manual kind. But the manual charger can ruin a battery in a short time if you overcharge the battery.

Then be sure you can turn it down to about 10 to 15 amps charging power - i.e., a "slow" charge. Faster charges will ruin the batteries very soon. It sounds like your marine battery charger is a slow charger only, without enough power to be a fast charger over about 25 amps. But I still wouldn't use it on my expensive batteries unless it was an automatic charger.

Connect to the battery on the driver's side of the pickup. No need to disconnect anything, but be certain you connect the positive (red) cable to the "+" battery terminal first. Then connect the negative (black) cable to the negative terminal. Or the purest will advise you to always connect the negative cable to a good ground away from the battery. But I can never find a "good" ground, so I usually just connect to the negative battery terminal.

Don't worry about the battery on the passenger's side. It will charge at the same rate as the one you connect to, because the two batteries are connected. That's why both batteries can be maintained at full charge as you drive, with only one altenator.

The danger is when you fool with the negative battery cable near the battery, the battery might be making explosive gas and you could get a wake-up call if you cause a spark. So I'm very careful to not cause any sparks.
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Or the purest will advise you to always connect the negative cable to a good ground away from the battery. But I can never find a "good" ground, so I usually just connect to the negative battery terminal.
If you can't find a good ground away from the battery it's because you haven't looked for one. The + battery post is about 2 inches farther from the alternator than it is the - battery post. And on the other side the + post may be closer to the A/C compressor than it is to the - post.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Don't worry about the battery on the passenger's side. It will charge at the same rate as the one you connect to, because the two batteries are connected.
Bad advice.
If you've discharged both batteries, it's highly unlikely they will re-charge at the same rate and capacity (even if they are identical batteries purchased at the same time). Disconnect each battery and charge them seperately.
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Old 12-05-2008, 02:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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charge them seperately.
Along that line I have a question regarding an on-board charger.

I had thought of buying a battery charger that I could wire in with the block heater and would activate anytime I plug in the block heater for the few times I take the truck into frigid climates. The battery chargers I've shopped all warn not to use on vehicles with dual batteries. What's the difference in the battery charger charging one Vs. two batteries as far as the electrical system is concerned?

I don't want to ignore the warning just because I don't understand it.
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sorry, but doesn't the truck's alternator charge both at the same time??? Perhaps if they are deeply discharged it matters how you recharge them? Also, what about the story how starting batteries should be charged at higher amps than running batteries (deep cycle)?
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Just a swag - but if you are going to charge your batteries manually - you should disconnect. Batteries should be charged at certain rates - which is why good chargers start high and then go lower amps as batts get charged. Since 115V chargers only charge at about 10- 20 amps, two big batts would be a pretty good load.

The alternator can put out up to 115Amps - so yes - it can handle the load.

But better to charge one at a time properly and let the charger do it's job.
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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As a side note.......when replacing dual batteries, is there a specific order to change them out. Or does it even matter? I would prefer to be able to change them both out without losing all the stereo presets.......etc.

Thanks.
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Old 12-08-2008, 02:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Bad advice.
If you've discharged both batteries, it's highly unlikely they will re-charge at the same rate and capacity (even if they are identical batteries purchased at the same time). Disconnect each battery and charge them seperately.
Had the opportunity to "test charge" my truck's batteries this weekend. It has been sitting for almost three weeks and the voltage was down to 12.1 volts. I hooked my charger to the driver's side battery. I checked things in two hours and again at 4 hours and the voltage was the same on both batteries. I then let it charge until this morning and the charger had shut off (automatic charger). Voltage was the same. Not a scientific test I know but in my mind it shows that using one charger on one battery will work fine. Have done the same thing in fleet maintenance situations also, without any issues.
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I've been using a Battery tender on my 05 6.0 during the winter for a maintenance charge. According to their operating instructions, as long as the batteries aren't discharged or frozen to begin with, it works fine.

It takes two to three times longer to fully charge but my truck sits for a week at a time now so its not a big deal.

John
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Old 12-09-2008, 06:17 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I've been using a Battery tender on my 05 6.0 during the winter for a maintenance charge. According to their operating instructions, as long as the batteries aren't discharged or frozen to begin with, it works fine.

It takes two to three times longer to fully charge but my truck sits for a week at a time now so its not a big deal.

John
What's the brand? I may want to get that.
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:21 AM   #12 (permalink)
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What's the brand? I may want to get that.
Battery Tender. Another good one is the BatteryMinder.

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Old 12-09-2008, 09:42 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Had the opportunity to "test charge" my truck's batteries this weekend. It has been sitting for almost three weeks and the voltage was down to 12.1 volts. I hooked my charger to the driver's side battery. I checked things in two hours and again at 4 hours and the voltage was the same on both batteries. I then let it charge until this morning and the charger had shut off (automatic charger). Voltage was the same. Not a scientific test I know but in my mind it shows that using one charger on one battery will work fine. Have done the same thing in fleet maintenance situations also, without any issues.
Nope - not a valid test due to sulfation. Read Here
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Old 12-09-2008, 01:09 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Nope - not a valid test due to sulfation. Read Here
The test was to determine whether both batteries would charge back up with one charger hooked to one battery. And they did!! All that info is nice but for the original OP it is too much !!
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Old 12-09-2008, 01:36 PM   #15 (permalink)
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The test was to determine whether both batteries would charge back up with one charger hooked to one battery. And they did!!
Of course both batteries will charge. But since it's virtually impossible for both batteries to charge at the same rate and capacity, the question is which one did you over-charge or under-charge? Again, the best way to charge the drained batteries is independently.

FYI, your vehicle's alternator was never intended to be a battery charger. In fact charging dead batteries with your alternator is a good way to fry it. The alternator is meant to maintain your battery's charge, and to supply demand voltage.
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