How often do you charge your phone? What about your headphones or your computer?  We use numerous devices throughout the day that require charged batteries to function. Vehicles—from cars and trucks to boats and RVs—are no exception.

In many cases, all it takes to keep a vehicle battery charged and functioning is to operate it. Leaving a car or boat to sit idle for months at a time is a recipe for a dead battery. Take the time to regularly keep it juiced up with a Schumacher Electric battery charger.

But, how do you know what kind of battery charger to buy? The answer depends on the type of battery, vehicle, and use case. Some chargers are used for a specific period of time and removed quickly. Others are more forgiving when it comes to battery overcharging. Have questions? You can always refer to your battery’s user manual for more information or contact us if your answer can’t be found in your manual.

Let’s look at some of the common terms related to batteries and battery chargers. Then we’ll talk about options you have for charging your batteries.

Common Terms Related to Batteries and Battery Chargers

Before we talk about the chargers themselves, familiarize yourself with the following terms. Different types of chargers are appropriate for different batteries. Charging speeds can vary based on amperage, voltage, and length of time spent charging:

Battery chargers often have different amperage depending on their purpose. Common charging rates include 2-amp, 10-amp, 12-amp, or 15-amp charge rates. Higher amp ratings will lead to faster charging, but exceeding the recommended rate for your battery could lead to dangerous situations. Always check your battery’s specifications to find the optimal safe charging rate.

Types of Battery Chargers

Schumacher Electric sells many different types of battery chargers. The two most common types we offer are manual battery chargers and automatic battery chargers. These two charger types have key differences in their operation. Follow the instructions to preserve your battery’s life and stay safe.

Manual Battery Chargers

Manual battery chargers charge the battery they’re attached to regardless of the battery’s charge level. They do not cycle or shut down by themselves. Instead, they’ll push current at the selected setting until you disconnect them from the charger.

If you’re using a manual battery charger, keep an eye on the ammeter as you charge. This will ensure you know when full charge is achieved.

You can also use a hydrometer or voltmeter to determine the level of charge. Stop the charging process as soon as the battery is fully charged. Failure to do so could result in battery damage, property damage, and even injury.

Automatic Battery Chargers

Schumacher automatic battery chargers will stop charging and switch to a Maintain Mode (Float-Mode) once the battery is fully charged. Automatic chargers don’t impact battery life or safety as much as manual ones. But they shouldn’t stay connected for indefinite periods of time or as maintenance chargers.

What is maintain mode (float mode) charging?

Maintain mode, also called float mode, charging is a technology used in many Schumacher automatic chargers and maintainers. It keeps batteries charged by delivering small amounts of current to the battery when necessary. If battery voltage drops below a preset level, the charger will begin to charge it once more. It continues to switch between the two modes as necessary. Most Schumacher automatic chargers use microprocessors to help manage the charging process.

How Microprocessor Controlled Charging Works

These differ from chargers with transformers in key ways. Microprocessor controlled chargers use algorithms to monitor the charging process and make adjustments based on the information about the battery’s current voltage and charge.

Fast charging in this way doesn’t negatively affect battery life or performance, and it can even help prolong battery life. The best part about microprocessor controlled chargers is that they can be connected for a longer period of time. For faster, safer, and more efficient charging, use a microprocessor controlled charger.

Trickle Chargers

Another type of maintenance charger can be left attached to a battery for a day or two out of the month. These chargers are called trickle chargers. Unlike float chargers, however, they have no sensor to determine when or if a battery is charged. Like manual chargers, they’ll continue to deliver current until disconnected.

How to Use a Trickle Charger

To use a battery trickle charger, connect it like you would any other battery charger. Use it once per month, and let it run for no longer than a day or two. This will keep your battery adequately charged and maintained without running the risk of boiling the electrolytes out of your battery or damaging its exterior plates through overcharging.

Solar Chargers

Solar chargers draw energy from the sun via solar panels and convert it into usable current to charge your batteries. In many cases, solar chargers may be left installed on vehicles for longer than a day or two.

Despite their ease of use, using a solar charger may result in overcharging. In these cases, a charge controller may be recommended for additional protection from this overcharging process.

Which Battery Charger Should I Buy?

The choice of battery charger depends upon your battery and needs. Buy a trickle charger or manual charger for occasional charging where you’ll be monitoring the battery as it charges. For anything else, an automatic charger gives you powerful flexibility and peace of mind.

Where to Find Battery Chargers

Don’t let a drained battery put a damper on your plans. Use one of the many trusted battery charging products available from Schumacher Electric. Keep the juice flowing to your car, truck, ATV, boat, or other vehicles. Shop our full line of battery charging products today.

Fort Worth, Texas – November 1, 2021 – Schumacher Electric Corporation, the global leader of automotive aftermarket power conversion products, has introduced its new Rugged Lithium Ion Jump Starter series to the United States and European markets. Available in 1000, 1500, 2000 and 2500 peak amps, these jump starters are powerful, portable and compact, and can safely start a dead battery in seconds. The line will be available online and in select retailers.

“Our national lithium jump starter launch times perfectly for winterization preparations as the jump starters feature pre-heating technology to warm batteries in extreme cold,” said Mickey Leech, CEO at Schumacher Electric Corporation. “It’s also the perfect holiday gift for all drivers in your family or simply the person who has it all because of its multi-use design that includes the ability to charge a variety of USB devices. As we move towards our 75th company anniversary in 2022, we will continue to bring new, innovative products to market and set Schumacher apart from its competitors.”

Key features of the Schumacher Rugged Lithium Ion Jump Starter Product Line:

Schumacher 1000 Peak Amp Rugged Lithium Ion Jump Starter

Schumacher 1500 Peak Amp Rugged Lithium Ion Jump Starter

Schumacher 2000 Peak Amp Rugged Lithium Ion Jump Starter

Schumacher 2500 Peak Amp Rugged Lithium Ion Jump Starter

“We are pleased to bring top-of-the-line lithium jump starter products to market that are not only powerful but designed with ease-of-use in mind,” said Dirk Kuyckx, general manager of Schumacher Europe. “We wanted to offer a variety of products with unique features to meet the needs of all consumers and standout in a crowded market. Whether it’s a car, van, SUV, boat or recreational vehicle, our lithium jump starter has a durable rugged design with pre-boost technology for bringing even deeply discharged batteries back to life.”

About Schumacher Electric Corporation

Schumacher Electric Corporation is known for industry-leading innovation, an unwavering commitment to quality, and providing feature-rich products that represent a remarkable value and price. For nearly 75 years, Schumacher has been powering lifestyles with a legacy centered on delivering product excellence and exceptional service to customers with a broad range of needs and experience levels. Put your trust in a Schumacher. 

To learn more visit:

Media Contact

Chelsi Smith

Pierpont Communications

956-358-3300 (C)

Car batteries are powerful. They have to be, after all, to keep starters starting, air conditioners blowing, and all the lights and electronics inside your car energized. We rely on our car batteries for more than just vehicle movement, though. If you’ve ever plugged your mobile phone into the car’s cigarette lighter, you’ve used the car to provide that power.

If you’ve ever wondered about the logistics of plugging in a laptop computer, video game console, or even a small refrigerator, you’re not alone. Did you know that it’s entirely possible to power these items with your vehicle’s battery?

The process is more complicated than simply plugging an item into the lighter and hoping it works, however. Because of differences in the electrical current provided by the battery and used by these items, you need a special tool to make that conversion. That tool, a power inverter, can help make this happen.

Let’s look at how power inverters work, why you need one, and how to safely connect them to keep your electronics or tools powered up and working.

What is a power inverter?

A power inverter changes direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). Your car’s battery uses DC to supply power to your electrical components; many household electronics, by contrast, use AC. The power inverter allows you to operate these devices with power from your vehicle by turning it into current that you can use.

In addition to leveraging automotive batteries for energy, power inverters are often used for “off-grid” living; larger power inverters are hooked up to banks of batteries and solar grids to power basic appliances.

Why do I need a power inverter?

The battery in your car supplies current on one circuit, going in one direction. This is why we call it “direct current.” Alternating current, meanwhile, provides more power than what DC normally provides.

If you plan on using electronics such as DVD players, video game consoles, laptop computers, or other tools or appliances in your car, truck, or RV, a power inverter is required.

What kind of power inverter do I use?

Power inverters are available in a variety of sizes. Common variants include 1,000 watt, 3,000 watt, and 5,000 watt models. Many users choose the 3,000 watt option for the flexibility it offers. This inverter allows you to power standard small appliances. For larger needs, more wattage may be required.

Power converters can be small enough to plug into a cigarette lighter. You can also find devices that are big enough to require dedicated space in the back of your trunk until they’re needed. 

Power inverters are also available in both pure sine wave and modified sine wave options. Pure sine waves can provide better current fidelity than modified ones, but often at a premium price. Modified sine wave inverters have reduced efficiency and are often more affordable, but there are some devices—such as TVs—they may not be able to power.

How do I use a power inverter?

Depending on the model of your inverter and what you intend to run with it, using your power inverter looks different. For electrical loads up to 200 watts, you can probably plug the power inverter into the car’s cigarette lighter. Common devices powered this way include:

For larger energy needs—or for multiple items at once—the power inverter may need to be connected directly to your battery. If you want to power a load greater than 200 watts, the inverter should be wired directly to the battery to ensure safe operation.

Do power inverters drain car batteries?

The short answer: Yes.

The long answer, of course, is more complicated. If we assume that the battery is both fully charged and in good condition, it’s possible that a 400W power inverter can be used without starting the car for around an hour before the battery is fully discharged.

To find out just how long the battery can last with any given power inverter, you need to do a little math:

Take the wattage being used (400W) divided by the voltage of your battery (12V) to see how many amps the inverter draws. 400 watts divided by 12 volts is 33.33 amps. Inverters can only convert power at around 90% efficiency, however. The inverter is really drawing 37 amps.

Typical car batteries have a reserve capacity of about 80 minutes (80 minutes at 25 amps). If you draw 37 amps with the 400W inverter, you’ll completely discharge the battery in about 54 minutes or so: ((80 minutes x 25 amps)/37 amps = 54 minutes.)

For this reason, it’s a good idea when using a power inverter to turn the car’s engine on every 30 minutes to help maintain battery charge.

What features does my inverter need?

What you need for your inverter depends on what you plan on using it for, but some standard features can help make using your devices more convenient. Several models of power inverters are available with multiple 120V AC household outlets, useful for powering multiple devices at a time. 

Another useful feature for power inverters is a USB port. This allows you to charge your mobile phone or other devices with the power inverter.

For heavy-duty needs—such as heavy power tools or multiple pieces of equipment—look for a power converter that allows you to easily connect or clamp to your car’s battery.

Common safety features to consider when shopping for your power inverter include high-speed fans to keep the device cool, thermal protection, and surge protection. Quality-of-life upgrades, such as a low battery alarm or an LED indicator, can also help you safeguard both your battery and your devices.

Where can I find a power inverter?

If you’ve decided that using your vehicle’s battery to run electronic devices, tools, and other appliances on your next camping trip or adventure sounds convenient, the next step is finding a power inverter.
Luckily, Schumacher Electric offers a wide selection of power converting devices to meet your needs; whether you’re a contractor who needs a power inverter to provide some much-needed juice to your tools on an off-grid job site, or you’re a video game enthusiast who wants the ability to play from the passenger seat, we can help. Find the right power converter product for your budget today.

To the layman, a car battery is just a car battery, but the true reality is more complicated than that. Even before wading into the world of electric vehicle batteries, there are a wide variety of car battery types found in internal combustion vehicles, boats, and the like. And while there are definitely best practices for all battery types, battery maintenance does differ somewhat based on what battery type your vehicle has. 

What are the car battery types? And what are the car battery maintenance differences? Schumacher Electric has the answers. Read on for more information. 

Car Battery Types

There are four main types of non-EV battery types: flooded batteries (also called wet cell batteries), AGM batteries, gel cell batteries (also called dry cell batteries), and deep cycle batteries (also called marine batteries). 

What is a Flooded Battery (Wet Cell)?

Flooded, or wet cell, batteries are also sometimes referred to as standard batteries because they are the most common battery type in use today. They are a type of lead-acid battery, which as its name implies features lead plates and an acid solution in order to generate charge. Flooded batteries are not sealed, and electrolyte solution can be added through holes in the top casing of the battery. 

What is a Gel Cell Battery (Dry Cell)?

Like flooded batteries, gel cell, or dry cell, batteries are lead acid batteries that derive a charge from a chemical reaction between lead plates and an acid solution. Unlike flooded batteries, the acid solution in a gel cell battery is a gel. This results in a battery that functions similarly to flooded batteries but without the need for ventilation. Furthermore, gel cell batteries can be installed in a wider variety of positions, as they are completely enclosed and cannot be refilled with electrolyte. 

What is an AGM Battery?

AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries are similar to flooded batteries. Like flooded batteries, AGM batteries use a liquid acid solution. Unlike flooded batteries, AGM batteries store that solution within glass mats rather than allowing it to slosh around. As a result, AGM batteries can discharge more deeply and provide power quicker than standard batteries. 

Though more expensive than flooded batteries, AGM batteries offer a number of clear advantages. Additionally, they are a minimum requirement for many modern vehicles, such as vehicles with stop-start technology as well as hybrid vehicles with regenerative brakes. 

What is a Deep Cycle Battery (Marine)?

Intended for use for marine vehicles, recreational vehicles, golf carts, forklifts, and the like, deep cycle batteries are designed to output a consistent amount of power over a long time. As their name implies, deep cycle batteries can be discharged deeply—generally, up to 80% of total charge. Deep cycle batteries are flooded batteries that have thicker, sturdier plates that can better withstand deep discharges. 

Common Tips for Maintaining Your Battery

No matter what kind of battery you have, there are some common tips that you should follow. In general, the golden rule of battery maintenance is to avoid significant overcharging or discharging. All batteries have a set capacity and a preferred charge range, and exceeding it can damage your battery, sometimes irreparably.  Here are some of the common tips to keep in mind for all batteries:

  • Keep it warm, but not too warm—Batteries rely on chemistry, and extreme cold temperatures interfere with that chemistry. Likewise, overheating your battery will damage interior components and stop it from working properly or at all.
  • Don’t overcharge it—When charging or maintaining your battery’s charge, it is possible to overcharge the battery. Keep a close eye on this, or use an automatic charger with a microprocessor that will shut off when it detects too great a charge.  
  • Don’t leave your car on without the engine—When your car’s engine is running, it continually charges your battery via a device called an alternator. Without the alternator, your car’s battery will discharge quickly if it’s running lights and electronics
  • Check the attachments—If your car seems to be having battery issues, it could simply be due to a weak cable attachment. Check it regularly to ensure that the battery is properly connected.
  • Test your battery—One of the simplest and best ways to maintain your battery is to check its charge. A standard 12V car battery should read somewhere between 12.6V and 12.9V. 

Maintaining a Flooded Battery

Wet cell batteries have been around for the longest and are the most common form of vehicle battery. However, it’s also one that requires the most specific maintenance. Here’s what you’ll want to keep in mind, whether you’re running a standard or deep cycle battery. 

  • Wear the appropriate safety equipment—When handling a battery, wear plastic gloves and safety goggles. The acid within a wet cell battery is extremely corrosive and can be dangerous. 
  • Check fluid level—When charging your battery, you’ll also want to check fluid level. Unscrew the caps to do so, being sure to securely re-screw the caps when you’re finished. 
  • Refill fluid when necessary—Should the fluid be too low, refill the battery with distilled water. Never add sulfuric acid to the battery, as batteries only consume water and adding additional acid will upset the chemistry.
  • Clean your battery terminals—Unplug the clamps from your battery terminals before cleaning with an old toothbrush and a cleaning solution, which you can either buy or make yourself with baking soda and water.

Maintaining Other Batteries

Thanks to the gel in gel batteries and the glass absorbers of AGM batteries, there is no specific maintenance you need to do to those batteries beyond standard battery maintenance. In other words, don’t discharge your battery and check charge levels, and you’ll be set. 

Maintain Your Battery With the Help of Schumacher

It’s easy to overlook your battery until something goes wrong. Thankfully, maintaining a battery is easy if you are consistent and have the right tools to do so. Schumacher Electric has a wide variety of products for battery maintenance, from battery chargers to jump starters and beyond. At Schumacher Electric, we’re here to help with all your battery needs. Explore our FAQ for more information. 


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