Multimeters are a handy tool around the house and in the garage. They can be used for a large variety of things, and are especially useful when working with cars.
You can use them to test different electrical systems in the car to see if there is a problem, as well as use them to check fuses or even the battery.
Finding the best automotive multimeter can be hard though since there are a lot on the market. We are here to help though. Following is a list of a few of the top automotive multimeters that we recommend.
There are hundreds of different multimeters on the market, and they can range in price, so knowing which is a good one and which isn’t can be hard.
Luckily for you, we are going to take an in-depth look into five of the best automotive multimeters on the market. These are all top multimeters, and after reading farther, you will see why.
Where to Buy
4.5 out of 5
4.6 out of 5
4.6 out of 5
4.7 out of 5
4.7 out of 5
Starting off we have the Innova 3320. This multimeter is average size measuring 2”x10”x5” and weighing 1.25 pounds. This multimeter is UL certified meaning that it is safe for you to use.
It is convenient to use as well because it has auto-ranging scales meaning that you don’t have to change a knob depending on what you are measuring, it can sense this for you.
The 10 MegOhm input is safe for automotive and household uses (i.e., household outlets, fuses, wiring, general-purpose batteries, vehicle battery and charging system, automotive circuits and more).
The LCD screen is bright and easy to read and giving digital readings make it easy to use as well. There are also color-coded LEDs which makes quick battery checks fast (green = good, yellow = weak and red = replace).
The case is made out of strong, durable plastic, that will last awhile and can handle normal wear and tear. The corners also have rubber on them to help with drops.
There is a single switch to change between AC and DC which makes it fast to switch. The probes have a decent length which is nice, but the probes are where the biggest complaint about this unit comes in.
A lot of people have issues with them not being sensitive enough. Sometimes you have to fight with them to make sure they are making good enough contact to get a good reading. This can be annoying at times, but when it works, it works well.
Some other nice things about this unit are that it has customer support that you can call and get help, and it also has built-in auto turn off, so you don’t have to worry about the batteries getting wasted.
Next is the Innova 3340. It measures at 12.5”x4.5”x6.5” and weights 1.12 pounds making it a little smaller than the Innova 3320 version. The Innova 3340 is similar to the 3320 but has more features built in.
The INNOVA 3340 is great for testing alternator diodes, duty cycle, solenoids, breaker points, wiring, switches, and more.
It is still UL certified making it safe for anyone to use and the case is still a durable plastic with rubber corners. The screen is also the same top quality screen, and it provides digital readouts. This model doesn’t have the LEDs for quick battery check, but it does have some other useful features.
The Innova 3340 can be used to find RPM readouts, alternator test, and temperature readouts. This makes it a very versatile tool and allows it to do multiple things with one device which is nice.
The only complaints with this unit again come with the sensitivity of the probes. Some people have been having issues of the lowest readout being in the .4 ohm range meaning that if your item puts out less then that, it won’t read it, or it will give you the wrong reading.
This is annoying, and if you are going to be using it with low sensitivity things a lot, then you might want to consider a more sensitive option.
Next is the Improve AM-510 with NIST certificate. It is normal size and weights 1.4 pounds. The NIST certificate means that it was tested at an outside 3rd party lab to make sure that the unit was calibrated right and gives proper readings.
This model have accurate performance for light commercial and advanced residential applications like rewiring an electrical panel, installing heated floors and light fixtures, troubleshooting and repairing home appliances, electrical sockets, and automotive electrical problems.
The unit is in a hard plastic case and is durable and will last for a long time. The LCD screen is bright and gives easy to read digital readings. It can be used to measure both AC and DC current and is easy to switch between the two.
This multimeter has a CAT III safety rating meaning that it can be used for high voltage things. It can be used for up to 600-volt items. This means any car batteries or household things will be fine.
Outside of reading the normal things of resistance, capacity, etc., it can be used to measure temperatures which are nice.
On top of all this, it has a built-in stand and probe holder to make it easier to measure things. It is like having a third hand.
The last thing that makes this easy to use is the built-in flashlight, so you can see where you are working.
The connector hole where the probes go into can also be hard to push the probes in, but after a few uses, this gets easier. The best solution is if you get a bad set of probes is just to get a different pair that will work with this unit.Outside of the quality issues with the probes, this is a great unit that can do a lot.
Now we are to the Fluke 115 Compact which provides the perfect answer for general purpose electrical and electronic test requirements. This model is also your average size and in a hard protective shell that will handle normal wear and tear. It comes with a soft case which is nice for carrying it around.
It is CAT III safety rated so that it can be used for anything up to 600 volts. This means that you can measure pretty much anything. It can also be used for AC or DC and is easily switched.
The LCD screen is top quality and to make it easier to read it is LED backlit. This multimeter can be used for Resistance, continuity, frequency, and capacitance and had true RMS to give accurate readings.
The ergonomic design of the Fluke 115 compact makes it easy to use one-handed, but it also has a built-in stand to help make it easier to use as well.
It can be used in pretty much any temperature, so even if you live somewhere cold or hot, you won’t have to worry about that affecting the readings.
It is also really simple to use, and most people will be able to use it right out of the box within a few minutes. The probes that it comes with are pretty good, but some people have had issues with them not working right.
Lastly, we have the Fluke T5-1000. This model is top of the line, but still only weighs 1.2 pounds. It comes with a NIST certificate meaning that it is calibrated correctly and going to give you correct readings.
It also can be used for up to 1000 volts and check current up to 100 A- without breaking the circuit, so there is nothing that this thing can’t measure.
It automatically detects between AC and DC making it easy to use. You can make readings with the probes which store away easily or the open jaw current measurer making it simple to use.
On top of all this, the leads and probes accept accessories to make them more useful in certain situations. You can put clamps on them, for example, to make them easier to hook onto something and stay.
On top of being able to measure all the normal things, the T5-1000 can also measure temperature. This means you can eliminate overheating as a problem right away.
This multimeter is also rugged and can handle any conditions you throw at it, so you can use it anywhere and don’t have to worry about it breaking.
So which one should you get? Well, if you are using it every day, then you should get the Fluke T5-1000. That is because it can do pretty much everything and it can do it accurately.
This means that the readings you get can be trusted, and the T5-1000 is reliable. If you are just a hobbyist though, then the Fluke T5-1000 may be more than you need.
If you are only going to be using it around the house, especially for your car, then the Innova 3340 is the best bet. That is because it can still do a lot of different things.
It can measure the normal battery things as well as the alternator and RPMS. It is also a fairly reliable unit and easy to use.
None of the options on this list are bad though, so if you think one of them would work better for you, then it is safe to go with one of the others.
So know that you have read this you know more of what to look for in a multimeter. There is a lot on the market, but this list is a great starting point and will get you on the right track to finding the best automotive multimeter for you.
This list should at least help you be less stressed about the choice that you are making and if you pick one off this list, then you know you will be getting a good reliable multimeter.
Finding the best battery maintainer for battery used in your cars, motorcycles, lawn mowers, boats, trucks, ATVs... can be a hard task. This is because there are a lot of different options on the market and the price can range a lot.
Luckily for you we have looked at a lot of different options on the market and have compiled a list of some of the best battery maintainer available.
Continue reading and you will learn which ones these are as well as what makes them good. We will also help you figure out which one is right for you.
Where to Buy
4.6 out of 5
4.7 out of 5
4.6 out of 5
4.7 out of 5
4.7 out of 5
4.6 out of 5
Read on to find all the different features that each of these have and their specifications.
Starting off the list we will look at is from Battery Tender, and it is model 021-0123 Junior. This model is an excellent 12-volt charger because it is small and compact. It measures 8 inches x 4 inches x 9 inches and weighs only 1.8 pounds.
This means that you can take it anywhere. You can carry it in your glove box and have it for emergencies whenever you need it. It connects to any battery with the clamps and plugs into any standard outlet.
This model has a microprocessor controlled fully automatic charger and maintainer and is designed to extend the life of any lead acid battery commonly used in automobiles, motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercraft, RVs, boats, airplanes, golf carts, back-up generator systems, etc.
It converts the energy from the wall into a low .75 amp charge. This means it can take some time to charge something but is good because it won’t overcharge anything.
Also, to prevent overcharging it has three modes. An initializing mode, bulk charge mode, and float mode. This means it will charge your battery and keep it charged without overcharging. When the battery voltage drops too far under load, output power will begin again bringing you battery back to a fully charged state.
The cord is twelve feet long making it easy to reach anywhere. It also has a two-color LED so you can know what mode of charging it is applying to your battery.
Users love the easiness to use of this charger. They can plug it in, and it will start charging without any worries. It is spark-proof and reverses polarity protected. It even has a five-year warranty to give you peace of mind that it is a top battery maintainers.
The next one is also a product from Battery Tender brand, it is an upgrade to the Battery Tender 021-0123 Junior - the Battery Tender Plus 021-0128. This model is also a small unit at only 2.3 pounds and dimensions of 11 inches x 4 inches x 11 inches. This means that it is easy to take places if you need.
This battery maintainer is designed for 12 volt batteries and has a charging speed of 1.25 amps. The Plus is 50% more power which means a much quicker charge than the Junior. It is also a smart charger and will switch automatically between full charging power and float charge power.
This means that it can be used to charge and then maintain a battery at proper storage voltage which is good because it will not damage the battery it is hooked too.
The way this charger hooks to a battery is thru two wire leads that have alligator clamps. The leads are fairly long making it so you don’t have to remove the battery from a vehicle to charge it in most instances.
The alligator clamps are nice because it helps make sure that the leads will stay connected to the battery and not come off unintended. This battery maintainer is also easy to make sure that it is working.
It has a green and red light indicating that it is on and what kind of charge it is providing. Red is for full charge while green is for float. This is also nice because you can just look at the light to see if your battery is charged all the way.
The 021-0128 is also safe to use. It has reverse-polarity protection to ensure that you don’t shock yourself. This car battery maintainer also has temperature compensation features so it doesn’t get too hot. It does this because it can recognize the ambient temperature.
Also besides the alligator clips it comes with ring clamps too which are nice for things like mower batteries. The only real issue with this is the warranty. It comes with a 10 year warranty, which is great and most people don’t have to use it, but the warranty is a bit deceptive.
If you do have to use it, then you have to pay to ship the unit to them and you have to pay a warranty inspection fee. That generally doesn’t cost a whole lot and most people don’t have problems with their units, but it is something to be aware of.
The next battery maintainer we will look at is the CTEX 56-158. This unit is even smaller than the first making it really easy to travel with or keep in your glove box. It comes in at a really light 1.5 pounds and measures 6.5 inches x 2 inches x 1.5 inches.
Even though it has small size, it still provides a big punch. It is a 12 volt charger and has a special four stage charging system, which we will explain in a second.
First though, the small case is dust and water resistant which means you can use it pretty much anywhere. This is really nice because it comes back to being able to just keep it in your glove box for an emergency.
The cords are well over seven foot long, so being able to plug them in should not be an issue. It comes with a set of alligator clamps and ring hooks, so you have either connection method that will work best for the battery that you are charging.
Now back to the four stage charging system though. The charger scans the battery and sees how much charge it needs, then it sends a charge to the battery, as it chargers it also uses pulsation technology to help desulfer the battery, after all that when it sees that the battery is charged it switches to a float charge.
Having all this is nice and even better since the charger does it on its own. The charger is also safe to use because it won’t start charging till properly connected, and it has reverse-polarity protection.
Users really love this best battery maintainer and it last a long time for most people. For those that it does die on it has a good five year warranty with good customer support. The unit is durable and shock proof though, so most people don’t have any complaints.The one thing to be aware of is even though it is a 12 volt charger it sometimes gets up to 14 volts during its charging cycle. This means you should not turn on whatever you are charging while it is connected because you might blow a fuse or light. Outside of this though, the 56-158 is a good battery maintainers.
Next up we have the Optima Digital 400. It is a battery maintainer at about 2.7 pounds and measurements of 8.2 inches x 3.7 inches x 7.4 inches.
It is a 12 volt charger and has a built in battery health mode so you can see the life of your battery. Like the others this has both type of connector clips and spark free connection to keep you safe.
This charger is nice though because it can revive batteries that are as low as 1.25 volts. This means that some batteries that other chargers can’t charge, this one can. It is also good on all kinds of batteries from cars, to boats, to mowers, and others.
What makes the Optima Digital 400 really unique though is the digital screen. This is nice because you can read the health of the battery, how much charge it has, how much charge that is being sent to the battery, and all kinds of other information on the screen.
This battery maintainer is also very durable and made well. Most users have no issues with theirs not working. If you do have issues it has a good warranty with good customer service, but the warranty does not cover the extra parts.
Also, the screen can become hard to read for some users which is frustrating since that is one of the main features. Outside of these few complaints though the charger does what it is supposed to and is easy to use.This charger can start charging your battery fast. You just plug it in, hook it up, and use the one touch start mood. This mood scans the battery and starts charging it the way it needs too. Then once it is fully charged it switches to a float charge mood so as not to over charge the battery.
Here we have another one from Battery Tender and it is a little lighter
at 1.7 pounds and dimensions of 10.7 inches x 10.7 inches x 6.2 inches.
The 022-0165-DL-WH 12-Volt 2-Bank is also really nice because it is a multi-bank charger (multiple battery maintainer). This means you can charge two batteries at once with it. This is really nice if you have a shop or a lot of batteries that need charged. You can get the 022-0148-DL-WH 12-Volt 4-Bank with 4 banks if you feel two banks are not enough.
It charges all the batteries at 12 volts and 1.25 amps. The charging station comes with leads for each one so you don’t have to worry about having enough. Also it has spark protection and reverse-polarity protection to keep you safe.
This charger has four stage charging as well. It has initialization, bulk charge, absorption mode and float mode. This means that it will keep your battery at a proper charge and increase your batteries life without hurting it by over charging.
The cords are long enough that you don’t have to pull the batteries if you don’t want. This is really nice to use if you have more than one car that you don’t drive in the winter and you want to keep the batteries going. Just have them parked by each other and hook them all up. Then just check it on occasion, but you should be good to go.
Users really love this unit and have had good luck with it. It has a 2 year warranty, but has the same issues like the other battery tender from Battery Tender that you have to pay a warranty inspection fee and shipping charges.
This is only an issue though if you stops working and for most people that won’t happen.
Last we have the NOCO Genius G4, is is both the a normal battery charger and battery maintainer. This is another multiple battery maintainer and has specs of 2.7 pounds and dimensions of 9.3 inches x 9.4 inches x 2.5 inches.
This maintainer is nice though because it can charge at 6 volts or 12 volts. This means that it can be used for even more batteries than the others on this list.
Also, since it is a multi charger with four spirit charging ports it can be used to charge two different types of batteries at once. This unit is 4.4 amps and has no spark features and the features the other ones have.
It can also effectively maintain automotive, marine, RV, powersport, motorcycles, lawn & garden and deep-cycle batteries. It charges 2x faster than ordinary battery chargers, can repair damaged batteries and is designed to use with micro-hybrid start-stop vehicles and CANBUS electrical systems.
So now that you have read about our list of six which one should you get. If you are needing a multi charger, then the Battery Tender 022-0165-DL-WH (or the 022-0148-DL-WH with 4 banks) is your nice option, you can charge two batteries at once with it. Or if you want a multi tender which can charge two different types of batteries at once, you can get a NOCO Genius G4.
If you just need a single charger though, then the four remaining options for that are all good, Battery Tender 021-0123 Junior, Battery Tender Plus 021-0128, CTEK 56-158 and Optima Digital 400 are good depending on what you need, so if you think one of them would work better for you, then it is safe to go with one of the others.
So as you can see there are a lot of different battery maintainer or also call with name battery maintainers for your cars, motorcycles...on the market and they are all slightly different.
Pretty much all the ones here though are good and while some users have had issue with each one, most of these the issues aren’t too common.
After reading this you should be able to comfortable pick out a best battery maintainer that will serve you well.
At least you have a better idea of what to look for now and also what are common things offered. You should be well on your way to finding the best battery maintainer for you.
So you have probably head of a tool called a multimeter and wondered what all in can measure. By the name you probably know that it can be used to measure multiple things, but aren't familiar with what.
Well, after reading this article you will have a better understanding of what all a multimeter can measure and also what a multimeter can be used for.
A multimeter is a small handheld device that is used to measure different things for different purposes. It is normally a device that most people have on their bench because it is really handy and can do a lot of things.
The come in both analog and digital versions. Are in a plastic shell and durable. Nicer ones may even have a rubber case around them to keep them from getting scratched up or protect them if they are dropped.
These are the basics of what a multimeter is physically, so keep reading to find out what a multimeter is on a deeper level.
Before we get into what a multimeter can measure it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of how it works. A multimeter is pretty simple especially depending which one you have.
There are a variety on the market, but they all work in similar ways. Here we will look out how the most common work. The most common multimeters have two ports where you plug the leads into. The leads are wires with a metal prob tip.
Inside the multimeter is a coil which is suspended in a magnetic field. Their are also different resistors. When the probes are applied to an energy source it makes a current and this causes the coil to spin. The spinning coil then gives a reading on what ever you are measuring.
Some multimeters are digital. These work in a similar way, but the movement of the coil is able to be converted to a visible number output with computers.
The advantage to a digital multimeter is that they last longer and don't have interference issues. They also provide more accurate readings.
So now that you know how a multimeter works we can get into what they read. All basic multimeters can read:
More advance multimeters can measure others things as well which we will get to farther in this article.
Is the measure of the flow of electricity through a conductor. For a multimeter the conductor is the wire that connects the diodes and then the coil inside. This is easily calculated with the twisting of the coil or through computer processes.
So first we will look at voltage and explain what it is that is actually being measured. Voltage is the difference in electric charge between two points. The way this is measured is you put the two probes on the diodes and this causes a circuit to be formed.
When the circuit is formed energy flows from one point two the other. It passes through the multimeter and that is able to tell you how much is flowing through. This is because electricity always flow from low to high and it is a never ending cycle.
Inside the multimeter it also uses a resistor so help with the calculation. This is because there is a direct relationship between voltage, resistance, and current. If you know two, then the third is easy to find and we already know that a multimeter can find current.
Lastly all multimeters can measure resistance. Resistance is ability to not have electricity flow through it. To measure resistance the multimeter just has to provide a known amount of voltage and the already knows the current.
Then it calculates the resistance since it is a direct relationship with the other two. This is similar to how it finds voltage, but just changes what part of the equation it provides.
Multimeters do not measure all three things at the same time though. Most multimeters have knobs and you can turn that to tell it what you want it to measure.
So what else can a multimeter measure besides current, voltage, and resistance? Well, the answer is all sorts of things. Some multimeters can be very costly, but these costly ones can measure temperature, humidity, frequency, capacitance, decibels, and even more things. The advanced multimeters are little handheld computers that really have no limit on what they can do.
This question also has pretty much no limit to it. Most normal people just use them around the house to test simple electronics like appliances or batteries, but the potential there is no limit. By the way, if you are looking for an tender for your batteries , you should look in my post about best battery maintainer to pick one.
Electrical engineers use them all the time for common things to advanced things. They don't have to just be used in the construction or engineering field though.
Multimeters are even used in science labs for testing all kinds of things. These advanced elaborateness can measure anything and are made to be very accurate.
Multimeters are basically a bunch of tools in one. They are a voltmeter, ohmmeter, and ampmeter all combined. The advanced ones are even more than this. Multimeters can also be used to measure direct current or ac current.
Some have switches that have to be flipped to change this and others just are able to do it on their own. Some multimeters can even give out readings in multiple units. You can choose the unit that you want the reading to be given out in.
So now you know how multimeters work and also what they are used for. More importantly though you know all the things that they can measure.
Most basic multimeters can measure current, voltage, and resistance. Advanced multimeters though can be used to measure all kind of things from frequency, to temperature, to humidity, and even more.
There are a few different devices to measure different things when it comes to electrical things such as batteries. You have a device called a voltmeter that measures one thing and a multimeter that measures others.
What does each one do exactly though? Well, read on to find out what each device is meant to do and also the differences between the two devices.
We will start out with talking about a voltmeter since it is the more simple of the two. A voltmeter is designed to measure the difference of potential between two nodes in an electric circuit. This is known as voltage.
Voltmeters can be designed to measure both direct current circuits and also alternating current circuits. Some special voltmeters can even be used to measure the voltage of radio waves.
The way a voltmeter works is that it has a fine wire coil that can carry current. This is connected to the power source with leads with metal tips. Some also have clamps. The fine wire is suspended in an external magnetic field.
When a current is applied this causes a magnetic field in the coil which reacts with the other magnetic field. This causes the coil to route and this rotation moves the needle that gives you the reading.
With modern technology though some higher end voltmeters are digital. The digital ones work in a similar way, but with the computer inside it is able to turn the electrical reading into a number that appears on the screen.
The digital ones are more accurate because you don't have to worry about something happening to the coil inside the voltmeter or interference with the magnetic field.
Now we will move on to the more advanced multimeter. Even though it is more advanced it actually works in pretty much the same way as a voltmeter. It still has a coil and magnetic field and when a current is applied it reacts with the magnetic field to give a reading.
The resistors though are a little different and this is where multimeters get their name because they are able to measure multiple things.
Most multimeters can measure voltage, ohms, and ampere. You just use a dial to set it to what you want to measure. With multimeters though there are a lot on the market. (Click to get a best automotive multimeter for your car).
Advanced multimeters can do all kinds of things. The price range can vary, but the advanced ones are nice. They work in a more complex way and are normally digital.
Advanced multimeters can measure all kinds of things from temperature, to humidity, to frequency, and even more. Multimeters are used in all kinds of settings and they even have lab grade ones.
So now you know the basics of a voltmeter and a multimeter. You know how they work on a basic level and what they can do. Here in this section though we will go into even more detail of the differences.
A voltmeter is basically one part of a multimeter. This means that voltmeters are generally cheaper than multimeters. A voltmeter only measures volts where multimeters can measure multiple things.
With this information you can also assume with good reason that voltmeters can be used for less things than multimeters. Voltmeters are good for electrical work, electrical enginering, and household appliences. Multimeters can be used in pretty much any field.
So as you can see both these tools have their purpose. For most people a standard voltmeter will probably get the job down for things around the house, but it doesn't hurt to have a cheaper multimeter around just in case.
If you work in science or labs though, then you may use an advanced multimeter. Voltmeters and multimeters really aren't that different. They both work with coils and magnetic fields, but a voltmeter is just one part of a multimeter.
The best battery tender also popular tool, you need to have one to maintain you battery.
Now you should have a better understanding of when you might use a voltmeter verses a multimeter and have a better understanding of the differences between the two.
When charging a battery, it is important to know how many amps are going into the battery. To do this, you can use the amp meter on the charger.
After reading this article, you will know how to read a battery charger amp meter properly. We will break it down into simple steps, so anyone can read their meter after reading this article.
Before being able to read the amp meter on your battery charger or battery tender, you must be able to connect it. The first step to connecting it is to open the car hood and disconnect the battery from the car.
To do this, you just remove the positive and negative leads from the diode. If you don't know how to disconnect these leads, it isn't that hard.
First, you will need to get a screwdriver for most cars or sometimes a socket. You then just loosen the screw but don't remove it all the way. This loosens the clamp on the end of the lead.
Once the clamp is loose enough, you just take the lead off. You then do the same to the other one. It is best to disconnect the positive first and then the negative. Also, while disconnecting these make sure the car is off, and the key is not in the ignition.
Once you have the leads of the diodes, you just have to connect the battery charger. Depending on the type of battery charger you have might determine how you do this. Most chargers have clamps of some sort though. You also try best battery tender for car , it better than than battery charger, every one should have one.
All you do is take the wires with the clamps on them, they will probably look like jumper cables, and then you hook the clamps to the post. The positive one needs to go to the positive and the negative needs to go to the negative.
If you don't know which is which then just look at the post and the positive will have a plus sign on it. If you can't tell the clamps apart, then they should have a sign on them as well. A general rule of thumb though is that the positive clamp is red and the negative is black.
Now that you have the battery charger connected it is time to read the meter. To read the meter, you will have to plug the battery charger in and then turn it on. When you turn it on the needle on the meter will move.
If you have the charger set to ten amps, then the needle will move to that point. As the battery charges the needle will drop. Once the needle is down to about half of whatever amount the charger is set to, then that means it is fully charged.
Sometimes there may be more than one needle. The needle that moves to the amount you have it set to is the one that is telling you how many amps the charger is putting out. The other needle is telling you how much charge the battery has.
If yours has two needles and they work this way, then you know the battery is fully charged when the needles are on top of each other. Reading the meter on your battery charger is that simple.
One last thing to know is some battery chargers also have two scales on the amp meter if it can output at different amps. For example it is not to uncommon to see a 2amp scale and also a 10amp scale.
They are normally in different color numbers. When looking to see where the needle lines up you need to make sure you are reading the correct number for the output. This way you will get an accurate result. Make sure you have the dial set to what you think you have it set to.
Sometimes the know can get moved or a switch flipped when moving your charger around and that could lead to you charging at a different amp then you though or you reading the wrong scale.
Some newer or more expensive battery chargers may have meters on them that are digital. This is nice because it makes them easy to read, but can be confusing because you might not be reading the right thing.
To read the amp output of your battery with a digital reader you will need to make sure it is on the right setting. To do this you can push the button on the control. This will cycle thru the different read out options that yours has.
Some other ones besides amp might be the volt output. To make sure that it is the amp output that you are reading you can click the button and ccle thru till you see it say amp on the screen with the number.
This will make it so you know you are reading the right thing. If it says volt or something else you will need to click the button and go thru the different numbers till you are at the right one.
Reading a battery charger amp meter isn't all that hard. All you have to do is make sure you are looking at the right scale and when you have it connected you look at the number that the needle is pointing too.
The number is how much charge the charger is putting off to the battery. When the battery gets full it won't be pulling as much charge. This means if charging at 10 amps the needle may only be at 2 amps and if charging at 2 amps the needle may have barely moved.
Reading digital scales is even easier because you just have to read the number displayed and make sure that it is amps being displayed. After reading this you should be able to read your battery charger amp meter and know when your battery is done charging.
Keeping battery charged is important for all kinds of things that use them. No matter if it is your car battery needing to stay charged or a motorcycle, lawn mower, or golf cart, there are a few options of how to do it.
You have trickle chargers, battery maintainers, and battery minders. We already have an article about the difference between a battery maintainer vs trickle charger, so here in this article, we are going to look at the differences between battery minder vs battery maintainer.
Once you have finished reading this, you will know the difference and have a better idea of which one you should use.
First, we will talk about how both best battery maintainers for car storage and battery minders work. They work in similar ways. Both have alligator clips on them that run from the control converter that you hook to the battery.
The positive goes on positive and negative on negative. They are simple to use. Once you have them hooked up properly, you just plug them into a wall.
They convert the AC into the voltage that the battery needs. Some have dials that you have to turn to control the output.
Outside of how they are used, that is not the only similarity between a battery maintainer and a battery minder. Another thing that both have in common is that they provide a float charge.
This means that the charge that they send to the battery fluctuates depending on how charged the battery is. This is important because it keeps the battery from getting overcharged.
If a battery gets overcharged, then it can cause damage to the battery or even worse damage to the car. An overcharged battery could catch on fire, and that would ruin the car and the area where it was being stored.
Since battery maintainer and battery minders have float charge built in, it means that you can leave them hooked up pretty much indefinitely.
This makes them nice to use if you want to keep a battery charged thru the winter or a long period of the device not being used. You just hook it up and forget about it until it is time to use the thing again.
Another nice thing is you don’t even have to pull the battery if you don’t want too. You can hook up battery maintainers and battery minders straight to the battery while it is still in the vehicle.
If battery maintainer and battery minders have so much in common, then what makes the two different? Well, that is a good question. The only real difference between a battery minder and battery maintainers is that a battery minder has a desulfuration feature.
The sulfur build up is what kills batteries. When the cells start getting sulfur in them, then they don’t charge all the way. The way the battery minder beats and prevents this is by sending a pulse into the battery. This destroys the sulfur that is in it and helps your battery last longer.
Built into this desulfuration feature is that most battery minders also have three modes. They have the charge mode, but then they also have a maintenance mode and conditioning mode. These other mods can be used to help keep your battery in top shape.
The maintenance mod can remove the sulfur without having to charge the battery. The conditioning mode can help keep the battery in a stage that it will hold a full charge. It lets the battery run down, so then it can be recharged all the way before running down again.
This is important because to some extent batteries have memory. This means that if a battery doesn’t discharge all the way, the next time you let it run down it will rain faster. Then it also won’t charge back up to full when you charge it. The conditioning feature helps prevent this from happening with your car battery.
So which should you get a battery maintainer and a battery minder? Well, both are good and honestly better than trickle chargers.
When it comes to choosing between a battery minder and a battery maintainer though you have to consider if the extra features of the battery minder are worth it.
For most people that answer will probably be no. It takes awhile for sulfur to build up in a battery, so the desulfur feature of the minders isn’t all that useful unless the battery is going to be sitting on a charger for a long time. I am talking more than just the winter here.
Also, the conditioning features aren’t that helpful. Car and vehicle batteries are used to getting partially drained and then recharged, so they don’t have the same level of memory as say a laptop battery or a cell phone.
This is because those things aren’t made to be plugged in all the time, but a car battery has the alternator charging it whenever you drive, and then you park but might leave the radio on or something that draws the charge and then start driving again, and it gets recharged.
My point is car batteries are constantly being charged, so the conditioning won’t help the battery last longer.
With that said, at times you might want a battery minder over a battery maintainer. Like has been mentioned, if you plan on leaving something to sit for a long time, then the desulfuring of the battery would be nice.
Also, a battery minder would be more desirable if the battery you are keeping charged is expensive. If you have something with an expensive battery, then it is worth it to take the extra effort to keep that battery running and charging properly, so you don’t have to replace it all the time.
So, to recap battery maintainer and battery minders are similar. They both offer float chargers which means you can leave them hooked up as long as you want.
The main difference is battery minders offer battery maintenance where battery maintainer don’t. This means if you want to remove the sulfur from your battery to help it last longer then you need a battery minder.
For most people, though they aren’t leaving their battery hooked up long enough to get the benefit from this, so battery maintainers do the job just fine of keeping the battery charged.
There may be times where you aren’t going to drive your vehicle for awhile, and if that is the case, then the battery might go dead.
For example, if you have a classic car that you don’t drive in the winter, then the battery might die by next spring if you do not keep it charged.
There is another maintenance to do with car that are going to set beside keeping the battery charged, but that is for a different article.
Here we will cover the options you have for keeping a battery charged and which one is better. The two options that will be covered is a battery maintainer vs a trickle charger.
After reading this, you will know the difference and which one you should use.
A battery maintainer hooks to the battery like a pair of jumper cables would. It is a box with a few controls on it and some cables coming out.
You hook the jumper cable like cables to the battery and then plug the box into the wall. The battery maintainer then converts the AC power from the wall into the type of power that your car battery needs.
The good thing is battery maintainer are known as smart. This means that they are programmed to be able to tell how much power is inside of the battery.
When the battery does not meet a specific lowness, then the battery maintainer will not charge it. If the battery falls below the required point while the battery maintainer is still hooked up, then it will start to charge again.
This is nice because you don’t have to worry about overcharging issues which we will talk about later.
Bonus: If you want to have a smart charger for fully charged battery, this is the best battery maintainer for car.
A trickle charger is similar to a battery maintainer . For the most part, they can look a lot alike. A trickle charger still plugs into the wall and converts the AC power into power usable by the battery.
It also hooks to the battery in the same fashion with jumper cable like cords. The trickle charger though is not smart.
It continually applies a small charge to the battery. This means that even once the battery is fully charged it will still keep charging it.
A trickle charger applies its power to the battery at a slower rate than a battery maintainer . This means that it takes them longer to get the battery fully charged.
This can be a good thing if you are just plugging it in overnight, but not useful if you want to use it to keep a battery charged for extended periods.
A trickle charger though is cheaper than a battery maintainer though, and a trickle charger has an excellent alternative use that we will talk about farther.
So why is it essential to not overcharge your car battery? Well, if a car battery gets overcharged a lot of negative things can happen.
First, a fire could occur. This is because if a battery gets overcharged, it will start getting hot and could explode. This is an extreme thing but is a possibility, and if it happens, then you will lose your car, garage, and a lot of other things.
Another thing that happens to a car battery when it gets overcharged is it causes it to not hold a charge as well. The battery becomes dependent on being on a charger.
This means that the battery will die more frequently and you will need to replace it if you don’t want to deal with it needing to be charged all the time.
Lastly, even if the battery does not catch on fire, it can still crack or bust to the point that it leaks chemicals on the surrounding parts if it gets overcharged.
These chemicals are very corrosive and would ruin anything they touch. Also, a battery that bust has to be replaced.
Due to all these reasons, it is a good idea not to overcharge your battery. That is why for the long term you want a smart battery charger.
There, however, is an excellent area where a trickle charger comes in handy, and that is if you have a parasitic drain that you can’t find.
A parasitic drain is when something is drawing power from the battery when it is off and causing it to die. Finding electrical issues can be time-consuming for a car, but if you know you have one, then you can use a trickle charger each night to keep your car charged in the morning.
This is because it will release a slow charge to your battery, that should be enough to counteract the drain that is occurring on it. That way you don’t have to worry about jumping your car every morning.
Another time where trickle chargers may come in handy is if you have an older battery. As a battery gets older, it might start losing power with cold temperatures.
This means if you live in an area that gets cold and you find your battery is dead or low a lot the morning after a cold night, that it is being drained.
To prevent this, you can use a trickle charger on nights that you know it will be cold while your car is parked in the garage.
Then you just have to unhook it in the morning, and you are ready to go about your day without having to jump your car.
Trickle chargers and battery maintainers both have their uses. Trickle chargers are good for if you want to leave your car hooked up overnight or for short periods, but since they don’t monitor how charged, the battery is they can overcharge the battery.
A battery maintainers , on the other hand, is smart and will not overcharge the battery. We have given the reason why overcharging is bad on your battery, so that is why battery maintainers are the way to go if you are going to keep the battery on a charger for a long term.
Also, battery maintainers charge faster, so if you need a quick charge, then they are the way to go as well. Now though you know the difference between a battery maintainers and trickle charger, so you can figure out which one is right for you and your needs.
So there are many ways to charge a car battery and depending on the circumstance you are in one might work better than others. Most people know that once the car is running, the car will charge the battery itself with the alternator, but sometimes you can’t get the car started.
A common solution to this problem is jumping the car, but sometimes this won’t always work. If the battery is too low to jump or you don’t have another car around to use, then you need a different option.
In this article we will cover one of those different options, and that is a battery maintainer. After reading this you will know what is a battery maintainer, the advantages to one, and how to use it.
The simple answer to what a battery maintainer does is it charges your cars battery. The way it does this is by converting an AC charge from a wall outlet, into a charge that your car battery can hold.
A battery maintainer is designed to fully charge and maintain most batteries in ways that avoid the potential damaging effects that can be caused by a trickle charger.
You connect the battery maintainer to the battery and then plug it in. The maintainer converts the charge from the wall and sends it into the battery. It really is that simple.
The advantage to a battery maintaineris that you don’t need to have jumper cables or another battery around to use it. As long as you have a wall outlet, then you can recharge your car battery. This is why it is great to have one at your garage or house.
Another advantage to the battery maintainer is it is programmed so it won’t over charge your battery. This is good because over charging a car battery can cause major damage to it. It can cause it to leak, get hot, and other issues.
The way the maintainer keeps from over charging the battery is it can tell how much charge is in the battery. It is preset to a specific amount and when the battery it is connected to gets to that amount it will stop charging. This means you can leave it hooked up in defiantly.
One use for best battery maintainer then is to hook it up to a car every night to keep the battery charged if you know that the car has a parasitic drain. This way your car won’t be dead and needing jumped every morning.
Also, car batteries loss charge over time just from sitting. This means if you have a car that you don’t drive often, then the battery might die. That isn’t a problem if you have a battery maintainer though.
Instead of having to drive the car once or twice a week that you leave sitting, you can just hook it up to the charger, and that will keep the battery ready to go when you do decide to drive that car.
So, how do you use a battery maintainer? Well, it is really simple to hook one up. Most people can do it in ten minutes or less and the more you do it the better you get. For most vehicles, you don’t even have to remove the battery.
If you do decide to remove the batter though, then be sure to lift the battery out from the bottom and carry it by the bottom because using the top can damage the battery.
To connect it without removing the battery though, you just remove the two terminals from the car battery starting with the negative for safety. Also, you obviously want to have the car off.
Then, clamp the red positive clamp from the battery maintainer to the positive battery terminal. You want to make sure that the clamp is tight and won’t come off unless someone removes it. You then take the negative clamp, and clamp it to the engine block or frame.
This is to prevent damage to the battery. You can clamp it to the negative terminal on the battery, but it is better NOT too. The only thing is you want to make sure you clamp it to metal and not to hoses and things.
Next you can switch the amp switch, if your battery maintainer has one, and then plug it in to the wall. You might have to use an extension cord to get it to reach all the way to the wall.
After this you want to look at the color light. If the light is red, then that means the battery maintainer is working and that it is charging the battery. If it is green, then that means that the battery is already charged up to the threshold on the battery maintainer.
Depending on how dead the battery was, it might take it a little bit to charge up. It is safe to leave it charge and go work on other things or come back in the morning. After a few hours when you come back the charging should be done and the light will be green.
Once the charging is done all you have to do is unplug the battery maintainer from the wall. You then have to disconnect it from the battery. After you have finished that you can reconnect the battery to the car.
The car will now start and is ready to drive. When reconnect the battery you want to make sure to use a wrench and have them tight. If the connection is not tight, it might cause it so the car will still not start.
Now you know what is a battery maintainer is and how to use one. They really are simple to use and can come in handy especially if you don’t drive your vehicle much. Also, you know that they are safe to uses and will not damage your cars battery.
A battery maintaineris a handy way to charge your cars battery and simple to use. All you do is connect it to the battery, plug it into the wall, and leave it till the battery is charged all the way.
When it comes to shopping for an orbital sander, there are a lot of options on the market. Most major tool brands have their version, and a lot of the names have multiple versions in there line up. One of the best orbital sander brands though is Porter Cable.
Here in this article, we are going to look at two models that are fairly similar: Porter Cable 7346SP vs Porter Cable 7424XP. By the time you finish reading this article, you should have an idea which one is right for you between the two.
Click to check price at Amazon:
Now we can look at the Porter Cable 7346SP and see why a lot of users like it. To start with it comes ready to use out of the box, which is nice. It comes with a sanding disc and a polishing pad.
It also comes with a side handle attachment and wrench to change the pads. The side handle is handy because it gives you better control when using the sander and also helps it cause less wear on your body.
This particular orbital sander is nice and compact. Users love that it is only 11.5”x10.5”x6”. This makes it, so it is easy to put in a toolbox or carrying bag if you need to take it on a job. Also, at 6 pounds you won’t get tired using it. The motor that is in the porter cable 7346SP is sturdy and has variable speed ranging from 2500-6800 OPM or Orbits per minute.
Also, the build quality is exceptional. People love how durable it is, and porter stands behind there product offering a full one year warranty with a limited three year one. This means if any issues come about you shouldn’t have any problem getting them resolved. Some people have had issues with the bearings going bad in newer models. People fear that they may be starting to slack in quality, but it might just have been a bad batch.
Another thing about this random orbit sander is it is swirl free and can accept accessories that are 5/16-24 spindle thread. The handle mentioned earlier is also in two positions and offers an excellent counterbalance.
The Porter Cable 7346SP is run off of 4 amp AC at 120 volts meaning that you can use it anywhere. Some people might want a battery powered one so they can take it wherever they want without the hassle of a cord, but the good thing about it running with a cable is it will never be dead on you.
Users love this model for all the things it can do. If you need other pads besides the ones that it comes with they are easy to get. You can get a great result on cars paint according to some users and most also love how well this wet sands.
Now we will look at the Porter Cable 7424XP. It is similar to the porter cable 7346SP. The motor is of the same high quality, and it comes with the same warranty plan. The motor still runs off 120 volts and at a variable speed of 2500-6800 OPM.
It even comes with similar things out of the box such as the wrench, handles, and polishing pad. However, one thing it does not come with is a sanding pad. This means if you want to sand you will have to buy a sanding pad separately.
Like the 7346SP the 7424XP can take any pads and accessories that have a 5/16 – 24 spindle thread meaning that getting other pads isn’t an issue, but it is annoying that you can’t sand right out of the box.
This model is also easy to use and balanced well, especially when using the two position handle attachment. The size of this unit is very similar. It is lighter at 5.75 pounds, but it is longer measuring 14”x6.5”x6”. This extra length has made it harder for some people to stick it in there bag and take it on the go.
This still is a good variable speed orbital sander though. The pads still work just as well an is swirl free. The build quality is also just as good. Many users are happy with how long this model has lasted for them.
It is a workhorse and can do any sanding or polishing you need. The fact that you can use it without the handle attachment is helpful and cuts down some of the size and weight. If you like switching hands for different angles, then you probably won’t want to use the handle.
Also, the speed controls being a wheel makes it very easy to choose the speeds you want. This is handy because you don’t have to guess what rate you have it set too.
Choosing between the two can be hard because they are so similar, but the porter cable 7424XP is the better option for most people.
The fact that it is lighter means that it is easier to control and also easier to take with you. On top of this, it is the more durable option. While the 7346SP is a good sander, it usually doesn’t last as long as the 7424XP. When buying a tool you want one that is top quality and can be a workhorse for you. The 7424XP is just that.
Also, when it comes to speed controls, the 7424XP is more comfortable to set.
Lastly, you are probably going to want to buy new pads anyways, so the fact that the 7424XP doesn’t come with a dedicated sander pad isn’t that big of a deal. The pads out of the box are cheap, and while they can work to get the best results and no swirls or marks left behind, you will want to get some better pads.
However, they will both do the same job, so you can choose the 7346SP because cuttingly it cost less and comes with a sanding pad.
After comparing the sanders though you should probably have a rough idea of the uses for one. Well, you can do all kinds of things with an orbital sander, and sanding is only one of those things.
They are suitable for sanding wood to get a smooth finish before staining or removing the old stain, but you can also use them on other surfaces besides timber. You can use them to sand down paint on your car for example if you want to repaint it or you can even smooth down other metal.
Outside of sanding you can also polish things with an orbital sander. The rapid circular motion with the right pad can brighten up metal services or even painted ones. With an orbital sander, you can get a bright shiny finish fast on things.
No matter if you are polishing or sanding an orbital sander will make the job quicker and also do it evenly where by hand it takes longer and may not end up even.
Now you know what is the difference between porter cable 7346sp vs 7424xp, and have a good idea of what to look for when buying one. Just look at the speeds, the size, and think about what you will use it for. Either of these Porter Cable ones will do excellent work and provide you with a job well done.