Choosing the Right Battery Charger
When you choose to buy rechargeable batteries, you will also need to decide which charger to use. The three types of battery chargers are: an AC charger (which plugs into a wall socket), a solar charger (which operates in the sun), and a 12-volt charger (which plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter or your home’s renewable energy system).
- Solar Chargers
The great benefit of solar battery chargers is that you don’t need an outlet to plug them into, you just need the sun! They can be used just about anywhere.However, these chargers work more slowly than plug-in types, and it may take
several days to charge up a set of batteries. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you buy an extra set of batteries with your solar charger, so you can charge one set while using the other. An advantage of the smaller solar chargers is that you can leave the batteries installed without
worrying about overcharging. Given time and patience (prerequisites for a prudent, sustainable life in any case), solar chargers are definitely the best way to go.
- DC Chargers
The 12-volt charger will recharge your batteries from a car, or from your home’s 12-volt renewable energy system (if you’re so blessed). Our 12-volt
charger is the fastest charger we have found. It also provides a variable charge rate depending on battery size. Most AC chargers put the same amount of power into every battery, regardless of size. Even though the 12-volt charger is a fast charger, it will not drain your car battery, unless you
forget and leave it charging for several days. This charger can overcharge batteries, however, so pay close attention to how long it takes to charge, and don’t leave them in there much longer than necessary. Leaving them in
the 12-volt charger for one-and-a-half times the recommended duration will not harm the batteries.
- AC Chargers
The AC (plug in the wall) chargers are by far the most convenient for the conventional utility-powered house. Most of us are surrounded by AC outlets all day long and all we have to do is plug in the charger and let it go to work.
Excerpted from the Real Goods Solar Living Source Book, edited by Doug Pratt and executive editor John Schaeffer.Copyright (c) 1999, Real Goods. Reprinted by permsision of Chelsea Green Publishing Company and Real Goods.
Excerpted from Real Goods Solar Living Source Book,edited by Doug Pratt and executive editor John Schaeffer.