The Best Way of Charging Your ATV Battery

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Whether before or after use, you will need to use the best charging method for the battery. External chargers are the best choice. The manual charger uses a way whose current emission is not effective for regular use.

What is the way of ensuring your battery reaches its maximum charge?

The following article will discuss the best way to ensure your battery chargers are properly. We will also discuss answers to some of your frequent questions on the topic. You are welcome to read on and join the conversation.

How to Charge an ATV Battery – Most Appropriate Methods

External chargers are the perfect way to get your battery running. They are made to ensure your battery not only charges but lasts long. However, you require some equipment and gear to enable your battery to charge fully and retain the charge.

They include a compatible battery, charger(consider selecting one with low amperage for more efficiency), rubber gloves, and eyewear to protect your eyes.

The following steps are essential in the battery charging process.

  1. Park Your Vehicle in a Dry Place with Free Air Flow

You require a dry place with sufficient airflow for charging the battery. A garage provides the best environment for charging the ATV battery. Additionally, it enables the proper circulation of gases that the car emits as it charges. Therefore, it is vital to leave the door open. For example, chemical processes emit hydrogen gas during battery charging, not enclose in a room.

Therefore, charging in a place with insufficient airflow risks the gas sparking and causing an explosion. However, you may not have an ideal charging place. The best solution for you is removing and charging it separately. You can return it once its charging is complete. In addition, you must switch off the vehicle while you charge to avoid igniting a spark. It also ensures you do not inhale the gases.

  1. Find and Visually Evaluate the Battery

Batteries are readily accessible, or they require you to find them by removing a covering. Whichever the case with your ATV battery, find and examine it before you start charging.

Evaluate the battery virtually to check for leaks, defects, or corrosion. You also need to ascertain that its terminals are clean and confirm that its cables are not worn out. Virtual inspection is an essential maintenance schedule. It prevents charging a defective product. Failing to inspect it could result in an explosion causing damage to everything on its way.

  1. What kind of battery does your ATV use?

Before you start to charge, ensure that your charger is compatible with the battery of your vehicle. Some batteries are only compatible with specific chargers. Others require you to use specific guidelines to charge them effectively.

To determine the kind of battery your vehicle has, check the label attached to it for specifications. If that doesn’t help, try checking the part number and google it to get its details.

Therefore, understanding the sort of battery helps you to determine its charger. Let us discuss available battery types and their features.

Video Credit: Rocky Mountain ATV MC

There are five categories of ATV/ UTV batteries. They include

  1. Flooded lead-acid battery(FLA)
  2. Lithium-ion Battery
  3. Sealed lead-acid battery(SLA)/ Valve Regulated Lead Acid Battery (VRLA)
  4. Dry cell battery
  5. AGM Battery
  • Flooded Lead Acid Battery

FLA battery has a semitransparent casing that enables you to view the liquid inside. They lack a seal and are the wet-cell type whose electrolyte consists of lead and acid. They have removal cabs that can either be threaded or have a pull-out style.

Removing the caps and confirming if the leads plates have an electrolyte fluid covering is vital for effective battery charging. The plates have marks indicating the highest and lowest electrolyte levels. Therefore, if the liquid is under the lowest mark, add water until it gets to the highest spot.

  • Lithium-ion Battery

Lithium batteries are way lighter weigh approximately 1/10nth of other batteries. Its weight is its unique feature.      

  • Sealed Lead Acid Battery and Valve Regulated Lead Acid Battery

The two are the same as flooded batteries. However, their seal cannot be opened to add fluid when they overcharge. Their flat tops have no ports for refilling. Opening the seal is dangerous and can cause harm.

  • Dry Cell Battery

Dry cell batteries are filled with electrolytes in the form of a gel. They are not an excellent choice for use in ATVs, but some people prefer them. They cost more compared to the other batteries, and they are sealed. It is similar to the lead-acid battery. However, whereas the seal batteries are filled with liquid, dry cells are filled with gel.

  • AGM Batteries

The Glass Mart battery is permanently sealed with mesh fibers. They are like dry cell batteries, but you will know them from their labels.

  1. Examine Your Charger.

If a charger is not compatible with your battery, it will undercharge or overcharge it.  When this happens, your battery becomes at risk of permanent damage. Select a superior quality charger compatible with your battery for a perfect full charge. It is most likely also to charge other batteries.

Points to note concerning various charges

  • 12V charger charges a 12V battery
  • An excellent charger has low amperage of between 1-3A
  • Lead-acid batteries that are flooded are compatible with various chargers. An automatic charger with the correct voltage and amperage works best in charging your ATV battery.
  • Sealed batteries require close monitoring as they charge to prevent overcharging. Any damage to these batteries is permanent because you cannot refill them. Consider using a high-quality charger to increase how it performs and its duration of service.
  • Gel cell batteries are sensitive and only compliant with a gel-cell charger. It would be best if the charger had a voltage regulator, temperature sensing, and specific gel cell.
  • Lithium-ion batteries are compatible with lithium-ion batteries. Their charging voltage is high. Other chargers may cause it to undercharge, damaging it ultimately.
  1. Consider the Batteries Voltage

For an automatic charger, consider one compatible with your battery. However, you will need to observe the process as it chargers closely if it uses a manual ATV charger. Different batteries get fully charged differently at diverse current levels. Consider using a voltmeter will help you to check your battery’s voltage. You can also consider using a multimeter.

Depending on the charging level, you can determine how long a battery will take to charge. For example:

  • A new battery charges for approximately 14-20 hours
  • The battery that is 75% charges for 3-6 hours to charge completely.
  • A 50% charge will stand for 6-10 hours
  • If it is 25%, you need 10-14 charging hours

The following factors affect the period it takes a battery to charge fully.

  • The charging voltage. A high voltage charges a battery faster than a lower one.
  • Rate of discharge. A high rate of income leads to less charging time, while a low rate takes a more extended time.
  • The batteries age and condition. An old battery charges slowly compared to a new one.
  • The charging equipment efficiency also affects the period it takes to charge.
  1. Clean Your Connections

Using wire brushes is the best way to clean your connections. It ensures an appropriate connection. When cleaning, wear eye protection to protect your eyes. The frame is where the negative plug will connect and attach to the ground. Consider using a plain metal fragment of the structure or engine. In addition, ensure you clean it to have an effective connection.

Reasons for Connecting Negative plug and Frame Ground?

Connecting the two is better than joining the plug and negative terminal. Mostly, overcharging creates a tiny spark during the removal of the lead. The connection on a frame reduces gas build-up that can cause a fire during charging.

Alternatively, you can purchase a modern charger that prevents overcharging. Whichever option you select will ensure your battery’s safety during and after charging.

  1. Connect the Charging Cables.

Your charger comes with a positive and negative lead. Connect the red plug and the positive terminal marked( +),( P), or (POS). The terminal could also be a red plastic or rubber cap.

The negative clamp is black. Connect a negative plug to your battery frame.  The negative plug is symbolized by (-), (N), or (NEG). Take your time and carefully clamp the charger to your battery. Interchanging the clamps could harm it.

  1. Setting the Charge Voltage or Charging Method

Are you using a modern or manual battery charger? The kind of charger you have determines how your battery will charge.

To manually charge with manual chargers, set the charging rate. How would you know the current rate for charging? The secret is dividing its Ah-rating by ten. For example, if it has a 12 Ah, the power output should not exceed 1.2A.

No ATV battery should charge with a current above 3A.

For the modern charger, select the appropriate charging mode for that battery. It prevents undercharging or overcharging destroys it. The following are guidelines for charging the different batteries.

  • For an FSA/ SLA battery, select the lead-acid low amperage mode.
  • When charging the AGM, choose a lead-acid method or the AGM mode.
  • Consider charging the gel-filled battery with only the gel mode.
  • Finally, for the lithium-ion batteries, select the lithium-ion model.
  1. Start Charging

At this point, you can start charging. However, would you mind not removing the charger until the battery attains its full charge? Disconnecting the charger before the battery acquires its complete charge is wrong. It causes sulphation which ultimately destroys your vehicle’s battery.

In addition, do not start your all-terrain vehicle before the charging is complete.

  1. Monitoring your Battery While it Charges

Your battery may overheat. If it does, turning the charger off and leaving it to cool is a great solution. Turning it off allows your battery to dispose of gases before you remove the leads. It would help if you allowed your battery to return to its standard temperature. Afterward, you can continue charging.

Video Credit: Ryan Urlacher

In addition, remember that monitoring the levels of the flooded batteries as it charges is vital. If the fluid falls below the lowest mark, stop charging it immediately. You should then consider removing its caps and add purified water to its maximum level. You can then connect your battery charger then allow it to continue charging.

Manual batteries also need close monitoring. They do not automatically turn themselves off when they get charged. You also need to reduce the current to half when it attains an 80% charge level. It reduces overcharging, allowing your battery to achieve its maximum charge. Store it in its maintenance state for future use.

  1. Switch Off or Remove the Plug from the Power Source.

For manual chargers, turning the charger off when it completes charging is essential. It protects your battery, preventing it from overheating and increases its lifespan.

In addition, after turning the charger off or unplugging it, give it some time to vent before disconnecting your chargers. You can improvise a fan to help the battery vent.

  1. Disconnecting the Charging Plugs

When disconnecting the charging plugs, consider starting with its negative pin. The reason for this is that the negative plug stays in connection with the chassis. Leaving it connected and removing the positive plug causes contact with parts of the chassis. It could result in a dangerous shock.

However, since the charging socket is off, it is no longer harmful, to begin with, the right lead.

  1. Evaluate How Your Battery Holds Charge

After charging, wait for some minutes to test how your battery holds the charge. Using either a voltmeter/ multimeter will indicate whether it holds or drops its power. If its reading is 0 volts, your battery could have experienced a short circuit. A battery voltage reading that does not reach higher than 10.5 indicates a dead cell.

In addition, the charger could indicate that your battery has charged, but the voltage is 12.4 or less. It means sulfation in the battery. Sulfation occurs when a battery discharges. It increases when your battery has not been in use for an extended time. Therefore, it hardens the covering of the plates and removes the chemicals that produce power. It decreases the battery potential to charge and makes it discharge more often than it should.

If this happens, consider using a charger in its desulfation mode. If this does not work, you should discard it and get another one for your vehicle.

Most Asked Questions

The following are the answers to your most asked inquiries.

What Charging Stages Do the Batteries Follow?

A battery charges in there stages to increase its service life and performance. A modern charger automatically switches to all three stages. However, manual chargers lack proper regulation and require your help to reach their full charge.

There are three stages. They are:

  • Bulk stage
  • Absorption stage
  • Float stage

a) The Bulk Stage

The bulk stage is the first stage of battery charging. The charger identifies the battery needs and applies high voltage to start charging. During this stage, your battery charge is at its 70-80% charge capacity. Your charger supplies constant current depending on the voltage. It also depends on the charge mode settings you set. In addition, the voltage increases gradually.

b) Absorption Stage

The absorption stage occurs when your battery charging level is above 80%. During this period, the charger maintains its voltage. However, it will reduce the current flow to enable the battery to attain its maximum charge without overcharging. This stage is also recognized as the cool-down stage.

c) Float Stage

The last stage of charging is also identified as the maintenance or trickle period. During this period, your battery charging level is at 95% or fully charged. The charger keeps charging to give it maintenance power to hold the charge. Modern chargers will automatically reduce their voltage supply.

Why Should You be Charging your ATV/ UTV Batteries More Frequently?

Charging often protects your battery from running out of charge unexpectedly. An ATV draws more power when starting than its charging method can replace when it is running. In addition, accessories like the winch consume so much energy. The high power utilization is what creates the need for frequent charging.

Unless you drive for hours to recharge the battery after starting, you require charging it often. Batteries that stay with low energy are prone to damage.

How Frequently Should Your Battery Charge?

When your battery drops below 12.4-12-6, you require to start charging it. A battery self discharges over time even when not in use. For manual chargers, you should consider charging the battery after every 30 days.

In addition, it would be best if you get a modern charger for the battery. Trickle charging keeps your battery in good condition. For example, when traveling, and will not use it for a while. If you leave it on low energy, it will get spoiled completely. However, trickle charging will maintain the battery charge while preventing an overcharge for months.

Why is it that ATV Chargers Differ in their Charging Modes?

Modern chargers are optimized to charge different sizes and kinds of batteries. They have microprocessors that collect data on the current state and battery charge level. The chargers then adjust their settings to suit the battery. They supply the correct current and voltage to enable it to charge fully.

Batteries require different currents and voltages to reach their full charge. For instance, gel and AGM batteries need different amperages to get fully charged. In addition, while an AGM charges at a high rate, a gel battery requires a low charging rate.

You will get the specific charge mode in the customer manual of your charger.

Should you remove the batteries plugs while the ATV battery charges?

It would be best to avoid disconnecting the battery’s terminal while charging your ATV battery. Ensure the automatic or trickle charger you use is 1.5A or below. It would help if you never considered using a high Amp labor-intensive charger. It causes a spark when charging that could destroy your bike.

If your ATV has a long phantom gulley, charging it is going to be difficult. However, removing negative terminals before charging will help. In addition, troubleshooting will help you to recognize what is causing your battery drainage.

Additionally, it would be best to avoid boosting the battery by attaching it to another vehicle with unprotected jumper cables. Consider using an inbuilt electrical protector to prevent sparking.

Should you remove your battery from your vehicle during charging?

Extra caution is required while charging dead batteries or new ones. Especially those that haven’t been charged ever. Given that your battery has not been in use, it may contain built-up gases. It is also at risk of overheating while charging. Therefore, removing it from your all-terrain vehicle is an excellent idea.

When you remove it, you reduce the chances of it causing harm to your bike if it overheats or explodes.

However, when charging due to low power, you should consider not altering the battery’s position.

Should you be opening the battery caps while charging a lead-acid battery that is flooded?

The lead-acid battery that is flooded has caps for venting when gas builds up when it is charging. They can also help you monitor the electrolyte level to indicate whether the battery has attained full charge. In addition, you can also take out the caps and add purified water when it drops under the lowest mark.

Therefore, unless mud from the trails blocks the vents, you should not take out the caps. It would be best to check your battery’s user manual on whether or not to open the lids.

The formation of bubbles makes many riders open the caps. However, it is an indication that your battery is complete, and further charging will overheat it.

For your safety, wear eye guards and superior gloves when refilling the battery. The liquid is combustible and acidic and could result in an accident.

Final Thoughts

Charging your UTV battery prolongs its service life and enables it to perform efficiently. Select the best charger depending on the kind of battery that your bike uses. I hope this article guides and gives you the information you require for effective charging of your battery.

 

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