Can I Use a 50-Amp "Wheel" Charger To Charge a 12volt, 600 amphour flooded lead acid battery? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

I can get a Schumacher "wheel type" or "roll around" battery charger for about $65 that puts out up to 50 amps at 12 volts. If the lack of compactness doesn't bother me (and it doesn't because I'd only use it for very intermittent charging with a generator) can I use that instead of one of the $350 three-stage fancy electronic jobs. I already have a means of using solar panels and a charge controller for pulse charging the batteries in a maintenance mode.

-- Puddintame (, November 02, 1999


Hi Puddintame,

Yes, you can use one of the battery charger/car starters BUT, you have to watch it constantly. They are okay for bulk charging large batteries, but can't do the other jobs a 3-stage charger can do.

As you've probably read, you should charge your batteries at about 1/20th of their capacity (except for maintenance charging, which the charge controller can do, and equalization charging, which some charge controllers (Trace) can do).

So, set your 50-amp charger at 50-amps for 1/2 hour or so, then switch it to 10-amps (if your car charger is like mine, you can). You must check the battery electrolyte often with this kind of charger.

-- Dean -- from (almost) Duh Moines (, November 03, 1999.

Hi Puddintame: I also am using the Schumacher 50 amp charger. It worked fine when connected to the house outlet using the grid. When I connected it to the generator the charging amp meter went wild, it's a Coleman 7kw, not the best money can buy but it's all I got. Anyway, many people on the Power Generation Forum said to connect a 50mfd 275vac accross the chargers hot and neutral wires. I just got the capacitor today and will try it and report back how it worked. Mike

-- Mike (, November 04, 1999.

Dean and Mike, Thanks for the responses. Let me know how the capacitor works. Where do you buy that? Radio Shack? Electronics supply house?

Another concern I have is balancing the load on the generator while charging. Any ideas?

-- Puddintame (, November 04, 1999.

Puddintame: I just tried the capacitor and it didn't seem to help. I'm still looking for answers. Will report back when I find them. To balence the load I use an Amp-Probe, it's a clamp meter to measure current. Got mine at Radio Shack many years ago. This tells ya how many amps each circuit draws, then divide them up on each side of the panel. Things are on and off so it's hard to get it perfect, but get as colse as ya can. Good luck Mike

-- Mike (, November 04, 1999.

Mike, I don't know if this is related to your problem or not. The charger I have now is a Century portable charger about the size of a shoe box. The other day, I hooked it up to a battery and for a few seconds I had the thing set on the 70 amp setting which is supposed to be used for starting boosts. The amp needle swung wildly until I changed the setting back to the 12 amp automatic charge setting.

Is your charger one of the big wheel types or is it the smaller portable one like I currently have.

(I'm considering getting a Schumacher Wheel type charger from Sam's)

-- Puddintame (, November 04, 1999.

Puddintame: Did you get my email? I used the above address. Mike

-- Mike (, November 05, 1999.

Inexpensive generators skimp on the amount of copper in the armature, which results in poor voltage regulation (ie the resistance is too high which results in more voltage drop as the load is increased).

For example, My Coleman 5000/6250 varies from 140 volts no-load to 115 volts under full load ... When I called them they verified that is normal and added that the frequency is pretty stable between 59 and 61 Hz. A friend put an oscilloscope on and the waveform looked fairly 'clean'.

I think the problem is the high voltage ... You might try the charger with the generator loaded down on the same circuit, perhaps with an electric heater, frying pan, etc. and see what happens then.

-- John (, November 05, 1999.

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