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1993 6-spd T/A - 1996 C4
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3,134 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tried starting the T/A a couple months ago. Battery was beyond dead. Bought a "smart" battery charger, and it couldn't "see" the battery. Had time again to try jumping the car yesterday and after 30 minutes of fast idle on the jump battery, I barely got clicks out of the T/A's starter. Door chime wasn't happy either, it didn't "ding-ding-ding", it just went diiiiiiinnnnnnnngggggg, and slowly faded in volume over a period of 1 minute. Almost creepy.

Anyway, after trying to jump start, I put the battery charger on the T/A and there was enough voltage for the charger to see it. Behavior was a little different that what I have observed with a "good" battery. As in, the amperage output and charge level did not match what I have been seeing with my other battery. Normal behavior is as the battery charge level increases, charger amperage decreases. Well, when the battery charger initialized and saw the battery, it said 85% charged (false) and was putting out 2 Amps. Should have been at least 6, but I'll take it.

Didn't think too much of it other than "well, that's close to a trickle-charge. Shouldn't be an issue, but its going to take a while, I'll check it in the morning." That was 7PM. At 10PM I went out to check on it, it was still 85% and 2 Amps. Good. It's still charging. Maybe. ...we'll see tomorrow morning.

Went out there at 8:30A to see if the battery was charged. Pop my head out the side door and look at the charger. Cooling fans on the charger are running balls-out and it's showing only 70% charge now with 16 Amps of current when it should have been around 10 or 12, but OK. Good! Things are looking up.

...except I can also just barely hear a little squealing noise. I step onto my porch, walk over to the T/A, glance down at the battery, and I see this:






That wasn't supposed to happen! I even bought a "smart" charger" to avoid this crap. I have a feeling I'm very lucky this thing didn't catch fire while I was asleep, or, since the car has been sitting a while an insect or spider could have easily blocked those vents. Never considered the possibility of that even once in my life, but it's another scenario that wouldn't have ended well. Thankfully though, all IS well. Might have a cooked battery on my hands, but, I'll take it over the alternatives. I'm going to let the battery rest a bit, and I'll assess it then. Expecting it's only a "core" now.

Seems I'm not alone either. Just looked at reviews of this unit. The very first 1-star review (posted after my purchase) says this: "WORTHLESS! DO NOT TRUST IT. In the past 6 months I've went through 3 of these. Brand new out of the box, they boiled over and ruined 3 of my batteries three different times. Thrid strike you're out. Had i not went and checked the batteries the next day it probably would have caught on fire. The amp regulators must be defective in these units. Instead of charging then maintaining the battery the "smart charger" it's advertised to be it was sending 16 amps continuous! I will never use them again, I guess you get what you pay for. Also if a battery is really dead then the charger will not detect an adequate 12volt to turn itself on. Kinda defeats the whole purpose of having a charger. I will never by nor use these chargers again! I can't trust them.".

I think I can agree with that review and assessment. Stay away from these EverStart Maxx units. It has been working just fine on my C4 battery, starting high amperage and slowly decreasing as the battery charges until it gets to 100% and goes into maintenance mode. I almost hated that because it takes longer to charge, but I assume its healthier for the battery. Something about truly dead batteries trips this thing up, but who charges a battery that still starts an engine? We buy chargers to charge dead batteries, not cook them!
 

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87 Posts
A new battery at Electro in St Pete is around $85. Hint, Hint.
 

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Ramblin' Wreck
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5,203 Posts
I have found the cheapo 39 dollar battery charger from HF (now $55) is adequate for everything I need. I do not want my battery charger to be smarter than me ;-) If you really want a smart charger buy one for a boat, more money but better by far.
 

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'70 Esprit TA clone Pontiac 400
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1,275 Posts
Once a traditional battery is dead and it's left without charging for an extended period (months) it eats itself up and can't be saved, even if it was new to start with. You may be able to charge it up enough to start the vehicle but it'll never have anywhere near the same cold cranking amps it had when new. I learned the hard way many years ago when I ruined a brand new Interstate. Then I got schooled by the Interstate Batteries tech guys during a long discussion which was prompted by me questioning about why my couple month old battery needed to be replaced.

I do not leave any type of charger unattended overnight as I've seen too many cases of folks burning up cars and garages/houses. Sure it's a very very small percentage of people who have issues, but why risk it? If you hook up a charger keep an eye on it.

Tricking a modern "smart" charger is risky and should only be done if the battery manufacturer recommends it. I know Optima has a series of videos on you tube about charging AGM batteries which are very educational to watch even if we don't have that type of battery, just so we might save someone else from hurting themselves or causing fires etc.
 

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Funny enough I have the same battery brand and the exact charger. Two months ago I left the interior lights on and forgot about it. Went out and the battery was dead. Tried to jump it, gave it about 20 minutes and got nothing. The smart charger wouldn’t even detect it to charge it. At this point I retired it to Walmart as it wasn’t even 90 days since purchase. Full return no charge. So far so good, but I learned my lesson a long time ago about trying to jump dead batteries as they can be very volatile.
 

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Ramblin' Wreck
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5,203 Posts
Once a traditional battery is dead and it's left without charging for an extended period (months) it eats itself up and can't be saved, even if it was new to start with. You may be able to charge it up enough to start the vehicle but it'll never have anywhere near the same cold cranking amps it had when new. I learned the hard way many years ago when I ruined a brand new Interstate. Then I got schooled by the Interstate Batteries tech guys during a long discussion which was prompted by me questioning about why my couple month old battery needed to be replaced.

I do not leave any type of charger unattended overnight as I've seen too many cases of folks burning up cars and garages/houses. Sure it's a very very small percentage of people who have issues, but why risk it? If you hook up a charger keep an eye on it.

Tricking a modern "smart" charger is risky and should only be done if the battery manufacturer recommends it. I know Optima has a series of videos on you tube about charging AGM batteries which are very educational to watch even if we don't have that type of battery, just so we might save someone else from hurting themselves or causing fires etc.
Yep. No charge for a long time will kill a lead-acid battery. The chemical reaction inside will cause a "suicide". I did that once and never forgot it. Maybe some day soon we will all have Li-Ion batteries and not have that problem. They stay charged forever.
 

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1978 Trans Am - 400 - TH350 - 3.23 - Y82 - WS6
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47 Posts
Well damn... I guess mines going to be dead here upon next startup. Any recommendations on trickle chargers? something to (not leave overnight) leave on while working on other components? I've bee recommended the Battery Tender brand before.
 
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