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CORVAIRWILD
Pit Crew

Trickle Chargers And Fires-Is There Really A Risk?

I keep several trickle chargers running on my 25 or so car collection. Is the fire story a bad luck story? Or are we all looking for trouble?

8 REPLIES 8
CORVAIRWILD
Pit Crew

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Sajeev
Community Manager

I'm in the same position as you and I am not worried about this, no problems for like 10 years now. I think this is a "you get what you pay for" type of deal.  Buy the higher quality chargers that are in a heavy duty case and have some sort of computer inside that regulates how much charge they give to ensure safe operation.   

Greg_I
Advanced Driver

I have zero concerns about automatic trickle chargers. I prefer the "Battery Tender" brand and have used one on my car and my wife's scooter for a few years. The idea of a fire risk, to me at least comes down to either user error, freak failure on a quality product, or failure of a cheap product.

jonZ
Instructor

I agree. I've used them for years and no problems. However nothing is perfect and bad s--- does happen. I only have four to tend to, so It aint very much trouble to give em a charge every week or so and put the charger back on the shelf. Of course the best way to keep em charged is to take them out for a good run. Also a good way to test and check out your charging system. 

Rob1
Instructor

I do the same the Vette and any other thing I have that is  computerized I disconnect the battery and if the battery is in top shape it will not lose much charge over the winter and once a month toss the tenders and or batt charger on till they are at the top and disconnect put the chargers away fortunately all that I own have a building on site with power.R  

JimR
Instructor

 @Rob1  In my experience a battery maintainer is typically not a charger or at least not a very fast one. A maintainer can be left connected practically indefinitely as they bring the battery up to capacity but don’t overcharge. So no need to disconnect. You may not perceive it but your batteries probably do lose some charge over the winter. I used to do the same thing but found batteries seemed to last longer if I left the maintainers hooked up.
A nice bonus is you don’t have to reprogram radios and it’s less hassle when I want to throw doors open and move them around. 
And to the OP...Sajeev is spot on, just buy a good one. I’ve never had trouble.  Price and cost are two different things. 

Rob1
Instructor

@JimR Gotcha Jim I do have a proliferation of Battery tender brand units,my concern is probably out there a bit but two guys that I know have lost their garage home car and or shop to a short related fire in the car being parked and stored at least that's what the fire inspector and insurance adjuster believed started the fire since the Misses and I spend time between two homes I tend to not want battery's connected that are in my shop or storage just in case smoke detectors and alarms I have but not much good to me 200 miles away just being overly cautious I guess and as far as setting the clocks and presets its great exercise for my brain to stave Alzy off a bit longer LOL.Cheers R

hyperv6
Gearhead

This is an over blown story. 

Has it happened someplace. Yes but generally not anyone you know or the friend telling you knows. 

Use good quality chargers and cords. Make sure the outlets and breakers are good. Make sure you are charging a good battery. 

Also if you can do not place the charger on anything plastic or cloth. 

It is just good common sense and good maintenance that makes this a non factor. 

More fires are due to poor torch and welder use and poor gas storage. Or a combination of the two.