How Do I Charge a POSITIVE Ground
First, let's differentiate between a negative and positive ground system.
Today, all vehicles have a NEGATIVE ground system.
That means that the vehicle's steel frame or chassis is directly
connected to the negative side of the battery via the negative battery
cable. But prior to
1954, most vehicles had a POSITIVE ground system.
A Positive ground system means
that the cable attached to the positive post of the battery (the big
one) attaches to GROUND (the engine block, and a smaller braided strap
to the chassis/body) on the other end, and the NEGATIVE cable runs from
the negative post on the battery (smaller) goes to the starter solenoid,
where that current is distributed to the starter when the solenoid is
engaged, and the various tap-offs that terminate at the starter soleniod.
When you install the battery you still hook the large terminal to
positive and the small terminal to negative.
Will my battery
charger work on a negative ground vehicle? If so, how do I charge
my negative ground battery?
Will my battery
charger work on a POSTIVE ground vehicle?
Yes it will! All
properly rated battery chargers will work on both positive AND negative
ground vehicles. The best way to think about negative vs. positive
ground systems is to not think about it at all. It can be confusing. So
forget about negative or positive ground. All you have to remember
is to always connect the RED (+)
clamp from the battery charger to the POSITIVE
side of the battery, and connect the BLACK (--) clamp from the
battery charger to the NEGATIVE side of the battery!
BATTERY CHARGING SAFETY
During the battery charging process, a battery may be
boil, cause sparks, splash acid, discharge hydrogen gas, and/or give off a
sulphuric odor. You should take precautions when When connecting a battery
to a charger or when servicing a battery. Always wear skin and eye
protection such as an apron, rubber gloves, face mask or eye shield, and
heavy duty footwear. WHY? Here are some of the personal risks involved:
A. Cotton is eaten by the sulphuric acid in a battery very efficiently,
so jeans and heavy shirts offer little to no protection from battery acid.
Inevitably, clothing worn in a battery charging environment will have holes.
For protection a protective apron works far better.
B. Charging Batteries can get hot, hot acid hurts more than cold acid. So
thick, protective clothing is a better idea than the thin stuff. When hot
acid is boiling, it splashes everywhere.
C. Flooded Batteries make a mess as they bubble and percolate under
charge. This mixes up the acids sure, but it also makes a very good mess.
Without protection for your hands, how are you going to clean it up without
burns? This can be avoided by buying different batteries.
D. Batteries are heavy, and this adds another danger to the table. When a
battery "jumps" off a table, it has enough weight to take off a toe. Do
wear heavy footwear when working with batteries.
What is impervious to acid? Nylon and Glass are two of the best materials
that stand up to acid. When making purchasing decisions regarding protective
materials, do keep this in mind.
Battery Charger Warnings: Always read and follow the
manufacturer's battery charging instructions prior to connecting your
battery, or trying to charge a battery bank. Do not attempt to charge
batteries in a confined environment. Explosive and hazardous gases are an
inherent byproduct of battery charging, do think ahead. Batteries contain
sulphuric acid, and lead, both of which are hazardous material if removed
from the battery, or disposed of improperly, do take care to be
environmentally responsible. Batteries are useful, just be safe.
BATTERY F.A.Qs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Do lead acid batteries discharge when not in
Yes. All batteries, regardless of their chemistry, will self-discharge even
when no load is present. The rate of self-discharge for lead acid batteries
depends on the storage, operating temperature and condition of the battery.
At a temperature of 80 degrees F, a lead acid battery will self-discharge at
a rate of approximately 4% a week. A battery with a 125 amp-hour rating
would self-discharge at a rate of approximately five amps per week. Keeping
this in mind if a 125 AH battery is stored for four months (16 weeks) winter
without being charged, it will loose 80 amps of its 125-amp capacity. As a
result of being undercharged, the battery will also have severe sulfation,
which causes additional loss of capacity.
A rule of thumb is to ALWAYS keep your batteries fully charged while not in
Do lead acid batteries develop a memory?
Lead acid batteries do not develop any type of memory.
Do I need to completely discharge my lead acid battery before recharging
No. In fact you should never discharge your lead acid battery below 80% of
its rated capacity. Discharging a 12 volt battery below this point, or 10.5
volts, can damage it.
Can my batteries freeze?
Yes. If your battery is partially discharged, the electrolyte in a lead acid
battery may freeze. At a 40% state of charge, electrolyte will freeze if the
temperature drops to approximately -16 degrees F. When a battery is fully
charged the electrolyte will not freeze until the temperature drops to
approximately -92 degrees F. Always keep your battery fully charged! Lectric
Limited's battery storage chargers makes this process simple and
When should I add water to my batteries?
How often you use and recharge your batteries will determine the frequency
of watering. Also, using batteries in a hot climate will require more
frequent watering. It is best to check your battery water level frequently
and add distilled water when needed. Never add tap water to your battery.
Tap water contains minerals that will reduce battery capacity and increase
their self-discharge rate.
A brand new battery may have a low electrolyte level. Charge the battery
first and then add water if needed. Adding water to a battery before
charging may result in overflow of the electrolyte.
What is the proper electrolyte level?
Battery electrolyte levels should be just below the bottom of the vent well,
about ½ - ¾ inch above the tops of the separators. Never let the electrolyte
level to drop below the top of the plates.
Do I ever need to add acid to my battery?
Under normal operating conditions, you never need to add acid. Only
distilled or de-ionized water should be added to achieve the recommended
What is battery sulfation and when does it occur?
Sulfation (or Lead Sulfate) is the formation of hard crystals on the plates
of your battery. These unwanted crystals are formed by the lead and sulfuric
acid in your battery.
Initially, the lead sulfate coating is soft, thin and easily reconverted
into lead and sulfuric acid when battery is recharged. It is important to
remember, the longer your battery remains discharged, the more it will begin
to form hard crystals of lead sulfate…RECHARGE YOUR BATTERY AS SOON AS
POSSIBLE! Once these hard crystals form, they are impossible to remove
during a standard fixed voltage charging process, and will lead to battery
failure. This is why it is so important to keep your battery fully charged
at all times!!! Lectric Limited's battery storage chargers makes this
process simple and inexpensive.
What are the most common mistakes made by owners of lead acid batteries?
Undercharging - Generally caused by not allowing the charger to
restore the battery to full charge after use. Continuously operating a
battery in a partial state of charge, or storing the battery in the
discharged state results in the formation of lead sulfate (sulfation) on the
plates. Sulfation reduces the performance of the battery and may cause
premature battery failure.
Overcharging - Continuous-charging causes accelerated corrosion of
the positive plates, excessive water consumption and in some cases, damaging
temperatures within the battery. Lead acid batteries should be charged after
each discharge of more the 50% of its rated capacity and during, or after,
prolonged storage of 30 days or more.
Under-watering - In lead acid batteries water is lost during the
charging process. If the electrolyte level drops below the tops of the
plates, irreparable damage may occur. Check your battery water level
Over-watering - Excessive watering of a battery results in additional
dilution of the electrolyte, resulting in reduced battery performance. Add
water to your battery after it has been fully charged, never when the
battery is partially discharged.
Do I need a Battery
A battery disconnect switch is always recommended as a safety
and security device for vehicles (cars, boats, RVs, etc.) that
are being stored, repaired, or not used for an extended period
of time (one month or more). A battery disconnect switch,
when disengaged, will isolate your battery from your vehicle.
And if there is no power going to your vehicle's wiring
harnesses, cigarette lighter, power plug port, and computer,
there is no chance of a wiring short circuit that can lead to
damage or, in worst case, a fire.
Power is disconnected by
loosening or removing the knob, or turning the key.
Battery power is restored by tightening the knob or turning the
Most disconnects come with a
removable knob or key. This feature allows you to simply
remove the knob to completely disable it for added automobile
Battery disconnects are rated by
peak volts and amperage handling capacity. Make sure that
the disconnect switch you purchase is rated for your type of
Hard to find 8 Volt
Battery Float Chargers