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C4 Battery charger / maintainer / desulfator project

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C4 Battery charger / maintainer / desulfator project

 
Old 11-08-2011, 06:11 PM
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Default C4 Battery charger / maintainer / desulfator project

When I bought my 1992 C4 Coupe, the previous owner told me that even though he had replaced the battery, it often wouldn't crank the car if it had to sit for about 14 days without being run.

When I bought the car, he even gave me his battery charger.



I know another local C3 owner who does the same thing. If he wants to take his collector car for a ride, he needs to charge or jump the battery before hand.

Now, this isn't my first collector car, and I solved this issue long ago by installing an on-board battery charger / maintainer / desulfator by BatteryMINDer on that car.

Since this appears to be a common issue among collector car owners, I decided to document the install of an on-board charger on my C4.

The unit I selected was the BatteryMINDer model 2012 that I purchased at http://www.batteryminders.com/



This is what you get for your $89.95



The first order of business was to decide where to mount the control box.
As you can see, the unit come with a good bit of cord, so the control module could be mounted inside the cabin, or most anywhere in the engine bay.

However, C4 owners know how much 'free space' there is in the engine bay, so I decided to mount the control box directly to the battery using zip ties.
The battery enclosure is fairly well protected, and this is an occasional use, 'sunny day' car that does not see weather.
For that reason, I feel fairly confident this is a good location.

As a side note... I mounted a similar unit in my other collector car using the same method without issue over a year ago.

Here is the area I'm going for...
Its tight, but I believe do-able.





First order of business is to remove the battery access hatch at the base of the front fender.
If you've never done this before, Google "C4 battery removal" and there is a YouTube video on exactly how to remove this panel.



Set the panel out of the way so it doesn't get damaged, and proceed to disconnecting and removing the battery.





Initially, my plan was to zip tie the control module to the back side of the battery as shown. But after re-installing the battery, I discovered getting my hand in there to re-install the battery hold-down was going to be impossible.



The battery was removed, and the control module was re-attached to the front side of the battery.



Better.
Also, in this position, I'll be able to see the indicator lamps on the front of the control module.

The next issue was connecting the charging leads to the battery.
The factory battery cables have a bit of a recess into the side of the battery to make a seal.

In order to allow the battery charger leads to sink into the connection, a small relief was made with a Dremel and a sanding drum to carefully notch the cable end.





Once everything is complete, plug in the BatteryMINDer and check the status lights to make sure all is well.

Once you are good, dress all of the wiring with zip ties to maintain a neat appearance and put the front fender cover back on.



As you can see, I elected to have the 110vac cord end exit the car at the small opening between the hood and the lower fender.
The cord has been zip tied inside, and when the car is prepared for a road trip, the cord end tucks neatly inside and out of sight.

With the hood down, this is what the charger / maintainer /desulfator cord looks like in the garage.



Put the car cover on, and never worry about your battery ever again!
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:16 PM
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Old 11-08-2011, 10:49 PM
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Nice to see this install.
When I picked up my C4 a couple of weeks ago it had just such a device installed much the same as you have shown. I think mine may be a different manufacture, but the results of use should be the same.
The unit I have only shows two lights..one power to the unit, the other is charge. At this point I have not seen the charge light come on, but I guess it will when required.
My first experience with one of these things, but I think it might be a real advantage as you suggest.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:08 AM
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Chuck Tribolet
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Originally Posted by CaledoniaBrian View Post
Nice to see this install.
When I picked up my C4 a couple of weeks ago it had just such a device installed much the same as you have shown. I think mine may be a different manufacture, but the results of use should be the same.
The unit I have only shows two lights..one power to the unit, the other is charge. At this point I have not seen the charge light come on, but I guess it will when required.
My first experience with one of these things, but I think it might be a real advantage as you suggest.
Is it a Schumacher with six sides? If so, the second light comes on when
the charger thinks the battery is fully charged, not when it's charging.
Both my boat and my 'vette live on Schumachers.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:58 AM
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I don't recall the model number of the maintainer that I installed in my other collector, but that one has a single green light.

When she is plugged in and charging, the green light is on.
When she is charged and the unit switches to maintenance mode, the light flashes.

BatteryMINDer and Battery Tender are two brands I have used, though my boat has a Guest charger / maintainer.


Last edited by IAFF alumni; 11-10-2011 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:39 PM
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Looks like you did a very clean installation.

Another option, for those who, like myself, would rather not install one, is to add a cigarette lighter plug to the float charger, and connect it via the lighter socket.

Live well,

SJW
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Old 11-18-2011, 03:20 PM
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my current AC Delco Professional has been on a maintainer for 12 years and is still going strong. Don't have the unit permanently installed...just raise the hood and hook it up. Noticed some corrosion on the positive lug/screw several years ago and initially couldn't break the screw loose. squirted WD 40 on it every couple of days and after 2 weeks it loosened up. Now i just give it a squirt every month or so and test the screw which always turns easily.
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Old 11-18-2011, 03:30 PM
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Something you might like better than WD40 (which is great, by the way) is Corrosion X.
I have it in a squirt bottle and use it a lot on the electrical connections on my boat.
Corrosion X is a must-have in a salt water environment.

http://corrosionxproducts.com/corrosionxpage.htm
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Old 11-18-2011, 04:25 PM
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Thanks for the info. Is it available at auto parts stores?

If its as good as you've found it to be I'll use it in my Searay which is in the salt three seasons a year and is plagued with corrosion. I won't even mention what happens to the trailer!
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Old 11-18-2011, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by mickey5 View Post
Thanks for the info. Is it available at auto parts stores?
Possibly, but around here, True Value Hardware stores carry it.
That is where I buy it.
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Old 11-19-2011, 12:16 PM
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It is a well documented piece on the installation - well thought out and all.

BUT!

Unless you park the car all over the country for months at a time, why go through all the trouble of internalizing the charger? It has to have a tether (power) anyway, so why not simply attach the charger to the wall and run the harness to the battery with a plug on it and avoid all that rigmarole?

A battery that has been allowed to sulphate to the extend it won't start the engine after 14 days being idle, won't be de-sulphated without a serious amount of charge current - preferably rapidly pulsed - which is way beyond the capacity or capability of that little tender to provide. Have the battery tested, and de-sulphated if necessary. If the battery is beyond help, replace it. But, if it is good, then there is another issue at hand (read on).

If you have more than 50mA of draw (35mA or less is typical) when the car's switches are all off, then that charger is treating the symptoms and not the cause; a Band-Aid, of sorts.

If it is weather that you're concerned about, far as the charger goes, Battery Tender makes a waterproof, 800mA unit will be perfect.

I'm just sayin. Y'all do whatcha want.

P.
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Old 11-19-2011, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Workman View Post
Unless you park the car all over the country for months at a time, why go through all the trouble of internalizing the charger? It has to have a tether (power) anyway, so why not simply attach the charger to the wall and run the harness to the battery with a plug on it and avoid all that rigmarole?
The reason it is internal is because the car lives in my garage under cover, and it only comes out on sunny days.
I wanted something I could simply unplug, then go whenever the spirit moved me (and without even lifting the hood).

I had a clip-on style of tender on my other collector car for awhile, but I felt that a set of spring clips on the battery over the winter was a poor choice, when it was so much simpler to just mount everything, and then simply run a cord from the wall of my garage.

So yes... I did do it the way you suggested for awhile. I just think this method is a bit more secure for how I use both cars.

Originally Posted by Paul Workman View Post
A battery that has been allowed to sulphate to the extend it won't start the engine after 14 days being idle, won't be de-sulphated without a serious amount of charge current - preferably rapidly pulsed - which is way beyond the capacity or capability of that little tender to provide.
Actually, what you suggest is within the capabilities of this unit.

Full info can be found here:
http://www.batteryminders.com/batter...i-p-16178.html

Here is the short version...

Plug 'n Run (No Buttons to Push). For All Sizes and Brands of Standard 12 Volt Lead-Acid Batteries including but not limited to flooded: filler cap, maintenance-free, valve regulated lead-acid (VRLA), sealed lead-acid (SLA), starter, deep cycle and hybrid. For aviation batteries please see our aviation line. Working through a series of charging and diagnostics stages, the internal program adjusts its output several times a second based on sensor reading to quickly and correctly charge your battery. When used as a maintainer, the BatteryMINDer is guaranteed to maximize your battery's life and storage capacity. The temperature compensated long-term float (maintenance) stage can add years of service, and patented full-time pulse desulfation is designed to reverse and eliminate battery sulfation, the #1 cause of early battery failure.

Features:
Guaranteed to never overcharge.
Temperature compensation ensures proper charge in hot or cold environments.
Power, polarity reversal, battery weak, load, bad cell, testing, desulfating, temperature compensation, charging stage and charge level indicators.
Maximize battery life and capacity, recondition weak batteries.
Pulse desulfation.
Plug and run operation.
Water resistant (IP65).
Microprocessor controlled.
Maintain up to 6 batteries at a time.
Extremely efficient, low operating costs.
Automatic disconnect and resume if AC power is interrupted.
Short circuit, spark, polarity and thermal runaway protection.
6 AC cord, 6 DC cord with quick connector (SAE).
1 year 100% money back guarantee, 5 year manufacturers warranty.
So as you can see, it is a charger / maintainer / and a desulfator
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Old 11-19-2011, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by IAFF alumni View Post
The reason it is internal is because the car lives in my garage under cover, and it only comes out on sunny days.
I wanted something I could simply unplug, then go whenever the spirit moved me (and without even lifting the hood).

I had a clip-on style of tender on my other collector car for awhile, but I felt that a set of spring clips on the battery over the winter was a poor choice, when it was so much simpler to just mount everything, and then simply run a cord from the wall of my garage.

So yes... I did do it the way you suggested for awhile. I just think this method is a bit more secure for how I use both cars.



Actually, what you suggest is within the capabilities of this unit.

Full info can be found here:
http://www.batteryminders.com/batter...i-p-16178.html

Here is the short version...



So as you can see, it is a charger / maintainer / and a desulfator
I guess I'm not seeing the advantage. Beit AC or DC, you still have a connection to make; either to power the charger or transfer DC to the battery... So!...I guess I'm missing the point as to why I'd want to go through all the effort to move the charger under the hood when a simple DC harness/plug could be routed and not have to go through all that.

I used to maintain large lead-acid battery banks for unmanned microwave relay stations, and my perspective of the process to de-sulphate a battery is biased by heavy-duty processes. Maybe from that my experience could be skewed, I'll admit. However, given enough time the 2012 might be up to the task. I dunno.

Well, PbSO4 (and becoming discharged in 14 days) aside, as for the charger itself, it looks to be a nice one. Amazon has it for $79.95 So, as far as where to "stick it" - on the wall or under the hood, that is makes no difference to me. Personally, I think I'll just reserve that spot for a starter switch relay someday (That's an LT5 thing).



P.
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Old 12-12-2011, 01:38 AM
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Default battery tender

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Old 02-29-2012, 06:20 PM
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Here's a question from the frozen north. Living in Kitchener, On,Canada, it obviously gets cold in the winter in my unheated garage, we could get well below freezing. I have always brought the battery indoors before connecting a similar battery tender for the winter months. Provided the battery tender is left connected, is it necessary to bring it indoors for the winter?
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by hookedonvettes View Post
Provided the battery tender is left connected, is it necessary to bring it indoors for the winter?
My first impression would be no. So long as the battery is being maintained at a full charge, I see no reason to remove it and bring it inside.

The Optima AGM batteries in my boat have never been removed for the winter, and they have been in there for 8 years now.

Of course, our winters in Maryland aren't quite as chilly as yours are in Canada, so YMMV.
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Old 03-09-2012, 01:40 PM
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Battery Minders/Desulfators are certainly worth the investment. I have one that I rotate between our truck and two cars. The truck is a 2007 model bought new in Feb 2007 and the original battery is still going strong!
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Old 03-18-2012, 03:00 AM
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Once a car battery becomes sulphated, replace it, no charger can completely correct sulphation. Replace the battery and stop abusing your car battery by letting it deep discharge. Car batteries are damaged by deep discharging and car batteries self discharge even disconnected.
I know a mechanic for a fleet of trucks and he bought a pulse charger to recover truck batteries that sit and become sulphated. He found that the charger would partly recover sulphated batteries (they recovered to about 1/3 their amphour rating) but he had to charge them for at least a month and if you let a recovered battery sit, they quickly become sulphated again. Buy a new battery and keep it charged with a battery tender. Also, don't believe all the advertising you read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PS There is no Santa Claus!

Last edited by jfb; 03-18-2012 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:33 AM
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I don't understand why your batteries are discharging. You guys may have bigger issues at hand here. As stated, no charger will completely repair a battery that keeps getting depleted. You should figure out where discharge is coming from. And if you're letting your car sit for months at a time during the winter, do what I do, just attach a quick disconnect to the battery. I always install disconnects on my batteries to kill power fast if I ever need to and will always have a charged battery even after sitting for a couple months.
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by SUPERCHARGE View Post
I don't understand why your batteries are discharging. You guys may have bigger issues at hand here. As stated, no charger will completely repair a battery that keeps getting depleted. You should figure out where discharge is coming from. And if you're letting your car sit for months at a time during the winter, do what I do, just attach a quick disconnect to the battery. I always install disconnects on my batteries to kill power fast if I ever need to and will always have a charged battery even after sitting for a couple months.
You might have problem, I leave mind in the garage for weeks, and even over month, and stick in key and go. If it goes dead, you might have short somewhere.
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