There are dozens, maybe even hundreds, of options when looking for a battery maintainer for your car, truck, boat, ATV or other vehicle. It can be confusing to choose among all those options, especially when there are many different approaches to this seemingly simple task. For many reasons, we’d say that PRO-LOGIX battery charger/maintainer products deliver the most beneficial maintenance routines on the market today, and in this month’s article, we are going to lay out the reasons why we feel this way.
The entire point of battery maintenance is to keep your batteries in good shape while they are not being used, so they are ready when you next want to drop the boat in the water or take old Betsy out for a cruise. In addition, the bigger goal is to get longer life from your batteries so you maximize your investment and save money in the long run. Every aspect of the PRO-LOGIX approach to battery maintenance is designed to improve battery health, increase reserve capacity and enable vehicle owners to get more from their battery investment.
We could probably provide 20 plus aspects of the PRO-LOGIX approach that support the above goals, but we are going to focus on six specific aspects that we think are the most important:
- Optimized Charge Routines for Different Battery Types
- Automatic Operation that Responds to Each Battery’s Needs
- Exercise is the Key to Health – Trickle Charging is a Dirty Word
- Temperature Compensation
- Effective Charging of Totally Dead Batteries
- The Ability to Overcome Power Outages
Optimized Charging Routines for Different Battery Types
This is critical when it comes to a battery maintenance option. By definition, a battery maintainer is going to see its most common service in long term charging situations. Your battery is going to be significantly exposed to the maintainer and its charging profile. This makes the maintenance charging profile far more critical than in a standard charger, which might be used once or twice a year on any given vehicle and for just a few hours at a time, rather than days or weeks at a time.
PRO-LOGIX chargers have distinct settings for each battery type serviced and are capable of servicing a wide variety of battery types, including Flooded, AGM, Spiral Wound, Gel Cell, Marine, Deep Cycle and LiFePO4 Lithium batteries (battery types serviced vary by model). This is really important no matter what type of batteries you have, but is especially important if your vehicles utilize batteries other than standard flooded batteries. For instance, if you have several AGM batteries, you need a maintenance option with an AGM-specific charging routine. AGM batteries have specific requirements when it comes to the charge profile and are very sensitive to overvoltage, which can cause deterioration of battery health.
Many maintainers don’t require you to select a battery type. While convenient, the problem with a maintainer that is designed this way is that it usually uses a generic, “safe” routine that won’t harm any lead acid battery type, but is not optimized for any one battery type. This means that it isn’t dialing in its routine and is often short charging batteries in order to avoid overcharging them. Over time, exposure to a sub-optimize charging routine can degrade, rather than improve, your battery’s health and longevity. For instance, you are likely undercharging flooded batteries with such a charger, which can lead to sulfation build-up, which saps a battery’s health and reduces its longevity.
Automatic Operation that Responds to Each Battery’s Needs
PRO-LOGIX battery maintainers utilize an advanced, automatic charging routine that responds to the specific needs of each battery charged to deliver an optimized charge and maintenance every time. Effectively, this means that the charger is going to adjust its operation based on the way the battery under charge is receiving the energy delivered by the maintainer. If the battery shows signs of sulfation, PRO-LOGIX charger/maintainers will automatically shift to battery repair mode and then resume normal charging when the battery accepts the energy in a more normal way. Similarly, if a battery is heavily discharged at the start of the charging cycle, PRO-LOGIX will automatic shift to a soft start mode to safely and beneficially bring the battery’s voltage to a more normal range and then resume standard charging. In the end, the goal is to deliver energy to the battery in the most beneficial way, regardless of size, type, condition or state of charge.
Exercise is the Key to Health – Trickle Charging is a Dirty Word
Let’s start with the second part of the above statement. Trickle charging (float charging) is how it was done for decades: bring the battery to full charge and then hold the voltage (usually around 13.2V). We believe that this approach is flawed on several levels. First, we think it doesn’t do much for battery health over time and, second, we think that it has a tendency to contribute to dried out batteries in extended maintenance situations. There’s a better way.
The PRO-LOGIX enhanced maintenance process has two key stages that, we’d say, are both unique to us and very beneficial for batteries under extended service. The first unique aspect of the PRO-LOGIX approach is that, upon reaching a full, complete charge, we put the battery into a rest phase. We don’t want the battery to be constantly under service. It isn’t necessary and it isn’t beneficial. Instead, we more closely mimic the way a battery is used when the vehicle is in service, with periods of activity and periods of rest. A known good battery will not self-discharge in just a few days, otherwise we’d see hundreds of jump starters in use every time we entered an airport parking lot. This rest phase is what makes PRO-LOGIX far less likely to contribute to drying out batteries in extended charging and contributes to longer battery life. The second unique aspect of the PRO-LOGIX approach is that, when the battery exits the rest phase, it enters an exercising phase before going through the next charge cycle. The exercise phase puts a load on the battery, simulating a starting event, which allows us to get a full, deep charge into the battery in the next charging cycle, which occurs immediately upon completion of the exercising phase. We believe that this rest-exercise-full charge cycle is far more beneficial for all battery types than a basic trickle charge.
In our introduction to this article, we stated that every aspect of the PRO-LOGIX approach to battery maintenance is designed to improve battery health, increase reserve capacity and enable vehicle owners to get more from their battery investment. Temperature compensation is a great example of us walking our talk. It costs more and makes the product more complex, but you really can’t give a battery what it truly wants if you aren’t temperature compensated. Put simply, a colder battery wants more energy and a hotter battery wants less energy. The world isn’t a constant 70˚F and neither are your batteries. To get the most out of your battery maintenance efforts, you need a charger/maintainer that adjusts its charging routine based on battery temperature.
Effective Charging of Totally Dead Batteries
Just as you need a charger that can handle different battery types, different battery conditions and different temperatures, you need a charger/maintainer that can manage the occasionally totally dead battery. It sounds pretty basic, but many smart chargers and maintainers can only manage 12 Volt batteries with a state of charge above a certain threshold voltage, be it 1V, 3V, 5V, etc. The higher the threshold, the more likely you are of running into a situation where your charger cannot charge your battery. That’s a problem, one which we call The Dead Battery Dilemma, as in, “I bought a charger to charge my dead battery, but my battery is so dead that my charger doesn’t work!” But, that’s never a problem with PRO-LOGIX. All PRO-LOGIX chargers and maintainers incorporate a Forced Start routine where, assuming the only issue is that the battery is stone cold dead and all your connections are correct, you can hold down the START/CHARGE button for 3 seconds and force the charger to start charging. This is immensely helpful and time saving.
Ability to Overcome Power Outages
Several PRO-LOGIX charger/maintainer models (PL2140, PL4020, PL4050) incorporate our Recovery Mode (RM) technology to enable the charger to overcome power outages. On models so equipped and set to RM on (varies by model), the charger will remember its last charging mode when power is interrupted and resume charging under those settings when power is restored. This is a really big deal if your baby is charging in the third bay on a cold February day and you are down south living the snowbird lifestyle. With PRO-LOGIX, you can rest assured that, when power resumes, your battery is getting when it needs, without human intervention.
Compare these six aspects of PRO-LOGIX battery maintenance against the competition and you will see that not all charger/maintainers are created equal. PRO-LOGIX is not only better for your battery, but will save money by extending the useful life of your batteries and ensure your vehicles and toys are ready for action when you are.
Many of us are putting away boats, PWC, ATV’s, bikes and our fun vehicles for the winter season. Make sure to not only use a maintainer, but carefully select a maintainer that is best for your battery. With our unique and beneficial approach, many PRO-LOGIX customers report getting additional years of battery life and, most importantly, are not automatically replacing the batteries every spring. Choosing PRO-LOGIX is the smart solution for virtually any battery maintenance need.