How to Read Battery Charger

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How to Read Battery Charger

How to Read Battery Charger

Car battery chargers are available in a variety of forms, shapes and sizes. There are also a lot of options and preferences depending on the model and manufacturer. If you have never used a battery charger before, figuring out the meaning of all those buttons and switches may seem overwhelming, but it’s actually not that hard as the following will show.

While battery charge models and designs vary, the gauges and switches all tell you the same thing: the battery is being charged. The more expensive ones have a lot more options, but generally they are the same as far as features and functionality are concerned. While fancy chargers are nice, a beginner may be satisfied with a basic model as it will get the job done.

How to the Read the Charger

Check the charging gauge on the unit. The information there will tell you how much needs to be charged. The gauge design will vary among models but the data is basically the same. Take a look at the display and you’ll see:

  • How much battery life is left
  • The percentage required by the battery
  • Majority of battery chargers also have a light to indicate that it is on

The light indicates the power is on, and in some cases you’ll also find they have a separate light which indicates the unit is charging or is now fully charged. The lights for charging and fully charged are different so you won’t get confused.

With some battery chargers there may not be a full indicator light; instead, you might have to read a message indicating the percentage that has been completed. Once it reaches 100% you can disconnect the charger.

After you’re done reading the battery charger, disconnect the battery clamps. Do this only after the battery charger has been powered down. Make sure to follow the directions as indicated in the manual because some battery chargers have flammable elements. It is rare, but if there’s a spark when the clamps are disengaged it could explode.

By properly powering down you’ll be able to avoid this complication. You may need to unplug the charger, set the timer to zero or just turn off the power.

Safety Warnings

Your battery charger should come with a manual. Read the instructions and follow them. While the charging process is easy, it’s still best to take precautions to ensure your battery is fully charged and the battery doesn’t get damaged.

How to Operate a Battery Charger

Before you can read a battery charger you need to know how to operate it first. Here are the steps.

Step 1

First off you need to connect the positive red clamp onto the positive battery terminal. Do this without plugging the battery in an outlet. Make sure the power button is not turned on. However, there are some battery chargers that turn on automatically and don’t come with a power button. Check your owner’s manual for more details concerning this.

Step 2

Connect the negative clamp on the negative battery terminal. When they’re hooked up, check the switches and set the options accordingly. The switches for the battery and the amps will vary from model to model so refer to the user manual if necessary. Simple battery chargers have basic features while others have more comprehensive options, so make the appropriate changes.

Step 3

With most car batteries you’ll want to go with a non-deep cycle or conventional battery. Turn the volt setting on. Some of these batteries turn on automatically. Most batteries also have a 12 volt option for charging as that is what most cars utilize.

The amp setting is determined by how quickly or slowly you want to charge. The higher the setting, the faster the charging time will be. The lower the setting, the slower the charge. Some battery chargers also have a start or high option. You can use this feature or its equivalent to quick start the charging process if you’re in a hurry.

Step 4

Set the amp to your chosen level. This will vary depending on what you plan to do. Next, plug the charger in and press the “on” button. With some battery chargers you’ll need to turn a dial after plugging in the unit.

If the battery charger has a timer, configure it for the desired time. After you charge the battery it will automatically shut the charger down when the time is up.

How to Read Battery Charger – Conclusion

The information shows how easy it is to read and use a battery charger. With just a few steps you’ll be ready to use it regardless of experience level. As mentioned earlier, brands use different designs so styles can vary. But the basic process is the same so even a first timer should have no problems with how to read battery charger.

To read our review of Best Battery Chargers, click here.

Steve Brown


Steve is a gadget enthusiast who's always been intrigued by batteries. The founder and editor of Battery Chargers Info, he's assembled a group of like-minded experts to cover every facet of portable power His aim is to help you learn more about your favorite gadgets and their batteries so you can maximize both their performance and their life. Follow him on Twitter: @batterycharge1

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