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Old 02-06-2017, 02:50 AM   #1
JDA33
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How to place Trickle Charger

After researching the best place to connect a trickle charger, I have come to the conclusion that the best place to locate the charger (with the battery still in the car) is under the hood. I have also attached a small picture collage below for anyone who may be confused how to connect the charger. I personally did not see any while looking around, and can see how someone with a bit less of an understanding of how a battery or circuits work could be confused by small explanations. Here is a quick point I'd like to make regarding why I have personally come to this decision. If my Engineering Degree and working in the petroleum field have taught me anything, it's that I overvalue my personal opinions, and that safety should be a number 1 priority. This post is in no way to tell anyone that their way of doing things is incorrect, but is simply to shed some light on the potential issues when charging batteries. Hopefully it will also influence those with little to no experience on the matter to go about doing it in a safer way.

Why to NOT charge the battery from in the trunk:

The common argument I see on this is mainly people discussing potential harm to the battery memory and so on and so forth. While this may be an issue, my reasoning here is based solely on safety, risk mitigation, and chemical reactions. Most car and heavy machinery batteries are an Acid-Lead type battery. Since this is the case, pretty much all e46 compatible batteries are of this kind. When an Acid-Lead based battery is charging, the chemical reaction that occurs lets out byproducts. The most common byproducts for these specific reactions are Hydrogen (H2); However, certain corroded or old batteries may also produce Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) and Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S). Hydrogen itself is a pretty safe gas, but in small confined spaces, let's say gathering in the closed trunk of a car, can become highly explosive. A highly explosive gas in a confined space combined with oxygen and multiple sources of ignition doesn't really appeal to the sane side of me. Hydrogen Sulfide on the other hand is not so much of a friendly gas, and also happens to be colorless with a smells like rotten eggs. While it may not be a normal byproduct of charging your battery, it can occur under certain circumstances. These circumstances generally include old or dying batteries, or a battery with a heavy amount of corrosion. Posted directly from the OSHA website, "Hydrogen sulfide gas causes a wide range of health effects. Workers are primarily exposed to hydrogen sulfide by breathing it. The effects depend on how much hydrogen sulfide you breathe and for how long. Exposure to very high concentrations can quickly lead to death." So while it is unlikely to occur, as stated before, this post is mainly just about safety and mitigating risk. Sulfur Dioxide is pollution; While not as extreme as Hydrogen Sulfide, it can still have some negative health effects and should be avoided if possible.

While placing the trickle charger in the trunk may seem to be the quickest and easiest option, I personally believe it is worth the little extra time to take the safety precautions here and just attach it under the hood. My reasoning has little to do with the health of the car battery, but more so the health of the car owner.

TL;DR: Charge the battery from the connections under the hood. Positive to positive, ground to the OEM grounding nut.

Of course, the potential explosion from Hydrogen and health related issues with Hydrogen Sulfide or Sulfur Dioxide are extremely unlikely, I'd rather not be that small minority that has it occur. Feel free to add any comments you have related to this. My reasoning here is mainly just based on wanting to help with safety and mitigate risk but, maybe some of you have a better solution or way to charge your batteries.

So since that little explanation is finished, here is the picture of how I personally like to attach the Trickle Charger to my car if need be. The Microfiber towels are placed in spots to not allow the hood to fully close, while getting it fairly close. This little gap allows for some ventilation and also helps me not to squish the cord or knock off the connections. I highlighted the cable with some light blue since the picture is a bit dark. The picture was taken outside, as the weather is pretty decent where I currently live and the chance for rain in coming day or so is extremely low.
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Last edited by JDA33; 02-06-2017 at 02:52 AM.
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Old 02-06-2017, 09:05 AM   #2
BaliDawg
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I attach one side of a two-conductor wire plug to positive and ground under the hood and the other side to my battery tender. The wires are thin enough to run out under the hood without being pinched. The car can be plugged in with the hood fully closed.


An option that jfoj has suggested in the past is to have a small solar panel powered battery tender connected to the cigarette lighter socket inside the car.
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Old 02-06-2017, 09:39 AM   #3
mdlnamemike
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This doesn't make sense to me. How would that be safer? Chemical reaction is still the same. Battery is still the same. You plug in under the hood but you're still charging the battery in the trunk. Why not leave the trunk open? What about the alternator charging the battery while you drive?


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Old 02-06-2017, 09:44 AM   #4
JDA33
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So I guess I wasn't as clear as I should have been but, yes, you are correct. The reaction will take place regardless. The point I was more so making was charging the battery from the trunk, laying the trickle charger and maybe extension cord in the trunk as well with it, and closing the lid. Adding additional unnecessary possible ignition sources. Thus sealing everything in there for however long you plan to leave it there. But yeah if you really wanted to leave your trunk open for that extended period of time then sure, go for it.

Last edited by JDA33; 02-06-2017 at 09:46 AM. Reason: Can't Spell
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:16 AM   #5
BaliDawg
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Originally Posted by JDA33 View Post
While placing the trickle charger in the trunk may seem to be the quickest and easiest option...
Since we're splitting hairs on this, I'd argue that attaching a battery charger to the battery in the trunk is actually more of a pain and takes longer because of having to remove the cover. I hate that stupid thing.
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:34 AM   #6
Jagdtiger
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That cover does suck. I hate it too!
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Old 02-06-2017, 11:15 AM   #7
generalvp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaliDawg View Post
Since we're splitting hairs on this, I'd argue that attaching a battery charger to the battery in the trunk is actually more of a pain and takes longer because of having to remove the cover. I hate that stupid thing.
Same here. I use the engine connections and it works without any issues and way faster than the trunk.
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Old 02-06-2017, 11:43 AM   #8
Mr Podman
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I always put my trickle charger attached under the hood, red to red and black to one of the nuts on the shock tower.

Why? Easiest to access and no risk of sparks at the hydrogen generating battery.


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Old 02-06-2017, 12:30 PM   #9
todd92
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Battery vents outside of the car
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:25 PM   #10
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i charge my batt in the trunk every two weeks in the winter , as i just start it , sits all winter so batt goes dead

i dunno
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:43 PM   #11
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Battery vents outside of the car
When the tube is correctly installed on the battery. And if it is, it's held on by friction.



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