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No list of must-have auto shop equipment would be complete without mentioning battery chargers. This is a vital component to add to any garage owner’s arsenal of tools and equipment. They are not only needed for charging batteries of disabled vehicles, but also for starting them if necessary.
But what type of Automotive Battery Charger should you get? There are so many different types and styles that a consumer who doesn’t know what he is looking for can be overwhelmed. First course of action is to determine the purposes for your charger. Do you need it just to trickle charge some car batteries, or will you also need it for jump starting cars as well? What type of vehicles will you be using it on? If you’re focusing mainly sports cars, then you probably don’t need a very large or powerful charger. Maybe a bench top charger with a 10 amp maximum charging rate along with a lower 2 amp trickle charging rate when needed will suffice. Then again, if you service a fleet of trucks, you’ll want to make sure that the charger you get has plenty of power and charges at a variety of charging rates, along with a powerful 200 to 300 amp starting rate.
Then there are other features that you may want to consider. Some chargers will have some very useful features that will help you diagnose vehicle charging system problems. Some of these features include a battery load tester to confirm the battery is good. Some chargers can test the alternator to make sure it is supplying voltage to the battery. Some chargers have a timer that will turn it off after a designated time peroid. Others are automatic and will turn off when the battery is fully charged so you don’t have to worry about overcharging the automobile battery. Some chargers are UL approved for outdoor use.
Finally, you’ll want to consider which manufacturer you prefer. There are many fine manufacturers of automotive battery chargers. We carry several that are considered leaders, including Schumacher, Solar, and Christie. Stick with a leader and you can’t go wrong.
Technology when it relates the the automotive service equipment industry is always changing. It’s no different with battery testers. The old carbon pile load battery testers were great in their day, and they can still perform an important task, but the new battery testers are superior in many ways. These new testers function with a conductance system, and have a screen that allow you to perform various tests on the entire electrical system. You can gain a thorough knowledge of the charging and electric system condition with these new system testers more efficiently.
The Solar1855 Carbon Pile Load Tester is made for professionals and the serious DIY crowd.
Ir is a variable load carbon pile tester that offers complete and reliable accuracy when performing battery load tests.
It has an 800 amp load test for 12 volt batteries, alternators, starters and regulators. It tests batteries all the way up to 1600 cold cranking amps, has color coded full size voltmeter and ammeter to clearly monitor testing process, super grip heavy-duty battery clamps and a one year warranty.
For those who want to be on the cutting edge of battery testers, there is the SolarBA327 Digital Battery Tester and System Tester with Integrated Printer. It is a complete testing solution for 6 and 12 Volt batteries and 6, 12 and 24 Volt charging systems. It’s compatible with a wide variety of battery types,
it has easy, intuitive operation with accurate, and speedy assessment of battery condition and starting and charging system performance. Can test up to 2000 cold cranking amps, has an LCD display, 10 foot cables, polarity protection, and an integrated printer. All this in one small 5 lb. package. It is multilingual, is compatible with most battery types, including flooded, AGM and Gel Cell. It has a back lit LCD screen for low light conditions and a case for safe storage. It can even compensate for temperature.
As you can see, when you jump from old technology to the latest, state-of-the-art technology, you can enjoy some valuable benefits. What type of battery / starting system tester does your shop have? Are you happy with it’s features? Are there certain features you need?