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Broncohauler

Battery Tender for truck

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Hey guys it’s been a while. 
I’m finally giving in and looking for a
“Battery Tender” for our truck. 

I have the ability to plug one in but solar is also an option to not have wires on the ground leading to an outlet. 
1)What  would you recommend?

2)How many amps?

3) solar or none is better 

4) Best pricing 

 

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I use a Progressive Dynamics 9240c converter, the same type (but smaller) as in my TT.  It is a 4-stage charger.  The truck batteries lasted 11 years. 

Also used the converter running off the generator when I lost an alternator in the middle of nowhere.   Ran a total of 9 hours until I could get the alternator replaced.   Could not run lights as the converter would not keep up.  Therefore, I would recommend stepping up to the 9260C. 

Having a built-in high amperage charger just makes good sense.

 

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What type of "battery tender" you choose will depend on what the draw is on your battery bank when the truck is sitting in addition to the number of batteries you have and the temperatures (both extreme heat and/or cold) you expect to encounter.  Speaking in "general terms" for a truck with 4 batteries you would want to allow about 1 amp per battery from a "smart" charger for periodic boost voltage to achieve desulfation and longer term float charging.  Some of the crew here disconnect the EECM fuse or the ground to the entire battery array during storage which lowers the discharge of the batteries considerably, to the expected "sitting" discharge rate of rate of no more than .3 volts per month.  In that case you might be able to get by with a 1 or 2 amp microprocessor tender if you do not expect extremely low or high temperatures (median on a FLA battery is about 80 degrees F - anything over or under reduces battery efficiency).  Keep in mind a "tender" is not designed to recharge a dead battery and any batteries placed on a tender need to be fully charged beforehand.  While Harbor Freight products often get a bad rap on here they do have a microprocessor controlled 4 amp charger that I have found does an excellent job for a relatively small investment.  It is often on sale for as little as $25.  It has consistently done a good job for me on both AGM and FLA batteries .  This is not a product endorsement, only sharing my experiences - I now own six of these that I use on my tractor, mowers, boats and vehicle batteries.  While I do not have Geico insurance I do like saving money on basically equivalent products over a branded name 😀.

On my Volvo with 4-1000CCA batteries I have a RV converter/charger similar to the one NeverEasy referenced built into the truck.  I keep it plugged in whenever possible since I like to keep the the 120 VAC refrigerator cold.  When shore power is not available I depend on a 50 watt solar panel connected to an inexpensive PWM controller (4 stage microprocessor) to keep my battery charge fresh.

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I use a 2 amp battery tender and it keeps the batteries on our 2001Cummins/Volvo charged when in the garage.  It will even bring the batteries back up if I leave it off for a few days.  I use a 35 watt panel when it is outside.  If I leave the charger off for even a few days in the garage the starter doesn't sound as robust.  The truck only has 3 batteries.

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On 2/19/2020 at 4:50 PM, RandyA said:

What type of "battery tender" you choose will depend on what the draw is on your battery bank when the truck is sitting in addition to the number of batteries you have and the temperatures (both extreme heat and/or cold) you expect to encounter.  Speaking in "general terms" for a truck with 4 batteries you would want to allow about 1 amp per battery from a "smart" charger for periodic boost voltage to achieve desulfation and longer term float charging.  Some of the crew here disconnect the EECM fuse or the ground to the entire battery array during storage which lowers the discharge of the batteries considerably, to the expected "sitting" discharge rate of rate of no more than .3 volts per month.  In that case you might be able to get by with a 1 or 2 amp microprocessor tender if you do not expect extremely low or high temperatures (median on a FLA battery is about 80 degrees F - anything over or under reduces battery efficiency).  Keep in mind a "tender" is not designed to recharge a dead battery and any batteries placed on a tender need to be fully charged beforehand.  While Harbor Freight products often get a bad rap on here they do have a microprocessor controlled 4 amp charger that I have found does an excellent job for a relatively small investment.  It is often on sale for as little as $25.  It has consistently done a good job for me on both AGM and FLA batteries .  This is not a product endorsement, only sharing my experiences - I now own six of these that I use on my tractor, mowers, boats and vehicle batteries.  While I do not have Geico insurance I do like saving money on basically equivalent products over a branded name 😀.

On my Volvo with 4-1000CCA batteries I have a RV converter/charger similar to the one NeverEasy referenced built into the truck.  I keep it plugged in whenever possible since I like to keep the the 120 VAC refrigerator cold.  When shore power is not available I depend on a 50 watt solar panel connected to an inexpensive PWM controller (4 stage microprocessor) to keep my battery charge fresh.

Thanks Randy,

The truck is a 97 Peterbilt with a N14 with 3 batteries. 
No draw other then maybe the radio clock memory. I have the same converter charger on my trailer with great results. But don’t need that complex of the system at this time anyway. 


What  do you think of a “battery tender solar charger” or would it be easier and better to set up a harbor freight solar system with their tender. 

 

I parked the truck next to my trailer which is plugged in all the time it really wouldn’t be a big deal to just plug the truck into the trailer. I just don’t like extension cords running on the ground if I can help it. 
 

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I use a wrench and disconnect the batts. 48hrs prior to use I connect a “smart charger” to top the batteries. I have nothing in my truck that needs DC while it is parked. While the engine warms I dig out the manual and try to figure out how to get rid of the swirling stupid color display on the aftermarket sound system display. 
My “ECM” has 6 injector pipes sticking out of it....

N14’s are picky about having good voltages. 

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