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Charge Battery: Where Do I Put The Negative Clamp?


irmichel
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Hi all,

I've just bought a trickle charger (Ctek 3600) due to the fact that I don't use my LS 430 that often. Sometimes the battery dies when I'm waiting in the parking lot, listening to some music while the misses is picking up some groceries. I have to shut down the car (take the key out) and wait for 10 minutes for the battery to regain it selve.

To prevent that, and to give the battery a longer life, I'm told by a battery salesman I should charge it occasionally to keep up its condition. So I bought a charger and the manual states that the red clamp should go on the positive pole of the battery but the negative should be attached to the chassis of the car (ground/mass).

Where do I put the negative crocodile clamp? (The manual states it should be away far as possible from the battery it selve)

Input (with pictures ;) ) is very welcome.

Michel

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First off... You should buy a new battery...

Secondly... The battery only recharges when the vehicle is running. (Charged by the alternator)

You put the negative clamp on a ground source, like the engine block, or chassis.

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I know the basics about batteries and alternators but mine is 6 months old, so i'm going to take a try recharging it first before buying a new battery again ;)

It starts fine but runs out in 20/30 minutes standby use.

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what group size did u buy? ill bet some idiot sold u a group 35, i would take the battery back and have it checked out, on occasions u will get a faulty battery even if its brand new

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without going outside (it's 10 pm and dark overhere) i think it's a 70Amp with 570 number on it (peak amps for starting?) and it's an original Toyota part so I guess it's up to par for my car ?

Tell your wife to take less time shopping.. And if you live thru that. you can clamp the negative charge cable to almost any metal part of the car frame, except of course an electrical wire. I usually will use a fender bolt on my other cars, but have not done anything with the lexus yet. Some trickle chargers will work with simple plug in to the cig lighter.

Batt should not discharge that fast.. I would think,, Something else is draining your system or bad batt..

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Couple of questions...

The headlights are off, right?

Your foot is not inadvertently resting on the brake pedal?

How many miles do you typically drive the car per week and do you frequently take short trips (<10 miles).

The charger is the answer if you simply are not driving enough to keep her charged via the alt.

I would also test your charge voltage when running. Should be around 14.5 vdc

As for where to connect the neg. clamp...any where on the chassis is fine but I definitely see your dilemma.

With so much plastic around its hard to find where to connect. It looks like the power steering pump has some

nice aluminum showing.

But if this is going to be a frequent occurrence, personally, I would go to a hardware store and get a chunk of metal braid

or a metal clip and affix it under a bolt on the chassis(maybe near the horns). That way you have a good solid connection and you wont be buggering up

your nice car parts with the clamp. If it is truly just a trickle charge that you need, the cigarette lighter plug is probably your cleanest solution(as Budhah

pointed out).

And finally, the reason they dont want you to connect the neg. clamp to the battery is for sparking reasons. If there is enough concentration of hydrogen gas

(byproduct of charging) then a spark could make the battery explode and that is more excitement than you probably need. Therefore, the order of connection is very

important. Positive on battery first, then neg. clamp on chassis to keep that spark as far away from the battery as possible. Removal is the reverse.. take the neg.

clamp off first. Sorry for the length of this response. You may already know this stuff.

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Unless you have a VERY big aftermarket stereo amplifier, there is no way one half hour of radio/CD playing should discharge the battery. Something else is wrong, like very short trip driving, or a bad battery. Have the battery load tested. Age at this point is no indicator.

And a trickle charger is just that, 1 or 2 amps which would mean perhaps 48 hours to put a good charge in a nearly flat battery.

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Where do I put the negative crocodile clamp? (The manual states it should be away far as possible from the battery it selve)

Is there some obvious reason you can't simply put the negative clamp on the negative pole of the battery? This is assuming you unplug the charger before you disconnect the clamps from the battery to prevent any exposure to the hydrogen that might build up during charging. Most of us have been charging batteries with the alligator clamps connected directly to the battery posts for years both in and out of a vehicle (in my case well over 50). And I'd check the terminal connections. Poor connections, corrosion, etc can make a battery behave in the manner you describe.

I would also return the battery for an exchange. Or at least get a second opinion as to its condition from another source. Most auto parts stores will check (and charge, if necessary) a batterey free. Ditto the car's alternator which could also be the culprit.

You might consider returning the trickle charger for one which has the capacity for charging at 2 amps and at a higher setting. The price difference isn't that much and the ability to have at least a 10 -12 amp charging setting as well as the alternative 1-2 amp trickle charger setting is well worth it.

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Couple of questions...

The headlights are off, right?

Your foot is not inadvertently resting on the brake pedal?

How many miles do you typically drive the car per week and do you frequently take short trips (<10 miles).

The charger is the answer if you simply are not driving enough to keep her charged via the alt.

I would also test your charge voltage when running. Should be around 14.5 vdc

As for where to connect the neg. clamp...any where on the chassis is fine but I definitely see your dilemma.

With so much plastic around its hard to find where to connect. It looks like the power steering pump has some

nice aluminum showing.

But if this is going to be a frequent occurrence, personally, I would go to a hardware store and get a chunk of metal braid

or a metal clip and affix it under a bolt on the chassis(maybe near the horns). That way you have a good solid connection and you wont be buggering up

your nice car parts with the clamp. If it is truly just a trickle charge that you need, the cigarette lighter plug is probably your cleanest solution(as Budhah

pointed out).

And finally, the reason they dont want you to connect the neg. clamp to the battery is for sparking reasons. If there is enough concentration of hydrogen gas

(byproduct of charging) then a spark could make the battery explode and that is more excitement than you probably need. Therefore, the order of connection is very

important. Positive on battery first, then neg. clamp on chassis to keep that spark as far away from the battery as possible. Removal is the reverse.. take the neg.

clamp off first. Sorry for the length of this response. You may already know this stuff.

Good reply, but I don't quite agree about using a ground rather than the negative battery post or anode for a battery charger. What you have described is the procedure for jumping a battery from another vehicle. I always connect to both poles when using a charger. You will not have any spark at all if the charger is turned off as it should be before making the connections. I have a Battery Tender for use on my Harley as well as the ATV. Whenever they are not in use they are being charged. It is a floating type system so once it reaches full charge it simply floats or rests until a charge is again called for. The battery on my 98 Grand Cherokee will run down in about a month if left sitting due to the security system and other minimal draws. Once I installed the Battery Tender I never had a problem again. Now regarding the battery running down so quickly, something is seriously wrong and I'm thinking a dead cell in the battery. Take it to any battery shop or mechanic and they can put a tester on it while in the car and be able to tell you immeidately if it needs to be replaced. If you have a good alternator and a bad battery, the volt meter will still indicate normal output. Check that battery and while you're there check for good connections on the poles/posts/anodes and also the end of the negative cable where it attaches to the block. Please let us know what you find out.
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Couple of questions...

The headlights are off, right?

Your foot is not inadvertently resting on the brake pedal?

How many miles do you typically drive the car per week and do you frequently take short trips (<10 miles).

The charger is the answer if you simply are not driving enough to keep her charged via the alt.

I would also test your charge voltage when running. Should be around 14.5 vdc

As for where to connect the neg. clamp...any where on the chassis is fine but I definitely see your dilemma.

With so much plastic around its hard to find where to connect. It looks like the power steering pump has some

nice aluminum showing.

But if this is going to be a frequent occurrence, personally, I would go to a hardware store and get a chunk of metal braid

or a metal clip and affix it under a bolt on the chassis(maybe near the horns). That way you have a good solid connection and you wont be buggering up

your nice car parts with the clamp. If it is truly just a trickle charge that you need, the cigarette lighter plug is probably your cleanest solution(as Budhah

pointed out).

And finally, the reason they dont want you to connect the neg. clamp to the battery is for sparking reasons. If there is enough concentration of hydrogen gas

(byproduct of charging) then a spark could make the battery explode and that is more excitement than you probably need. Therefore, the order of connection is very

important. Positive on battery first, then neg. clamp on chassis to keep that spark as far away from the battery as possible. Removal is the reverse.. take the neg.

clamp off first. Sorry for the length of this response. You may already know this stuff.

Like you already guessed I don't use the car that much. So therefore (after the third time it occurred) I went to a battery specialist which measured everything and found it all to be OK except for the battery being low on charge. He even refused to sell me a new battery (small town, small business with service and honesty) because it's in my usage of the car. I drive it not that much (office @ home) so he suggested I would charge it monthly to keep the battery's health up. If the problem will persist he will measure the power etc etc in the car for leaking currents, bad battery or whatever but he didn't want to charge me for something that probably can be fixed with an occasional overnight trickle charge. He mentioned a gell battery but found them very expensive and gave me some homework to do first.

Thankt for the tips, you confirm everything the charger's manual states so some extra peace of mind there. The charger is a 'big one' in a small package. It will charge a 80 Amp battery in 14-16 hrs and then goes into trickle mode, sorry if I put you guys off on that one. English isn't my native language. It's this charger: Ctek 3600 euro model

@Brett in AK: I kinda agree on attachting direct to the +/- poles because there is a permanent lead with a cable that has 'eye's' at one end to permanently attach a charging cable to the battery. At the other end there is a female connector (the alligator leads have a similair female connector) for attaching it to the male end of the cable coming out of the charger. I found a site (in Dutch but the pictures are self explaining) : Pictures It's picture nr 3 and wire B. In picture 7 and 8 you can see it connected. That's the permanent lead cable I'm referring to.

So therefore I started wondering since the manual states that I shouldn't attach the black alligatorclamps to the battery itselve but I can when using the other lead which only differs at the end (eyes instead of clamps) ??

by the way: the second time my headlights were on for the first 15 minutes, so my own fault I guess.... :huh:

I'll keep you guys posted on this one.

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One more thingL

Since I have had one car (now given to my son) which everyone was allowed to drive in emergencies, the battery stopped holding a charge. Until one evening someone noticed that the courtesy light was switched on. After turning that off, problem solved. Suggest you check the car after dark and make sure something's not still on.

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Brett in ak has it right for charging the batt. In addition to the other good advice, I think your prob is due to the short driving distances you describe. The alt isn't given enough time to recharge the drain on the batt at startup. Trickle charge is a good solution. Just make sure it has an auto cutoff.

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irmichel, Although the charging issue is an immediate concern, if you are indeed not driving enough to keep the battery charged, you may have more serious

problems to contend with in the future. Driving short distances can be hard on the engine and exhaust system especially in colder climates.

As concerns connecting directly to the battery... the technically correct way is to connect to the chassis away from the battery. But as others have pointed out and denounced as

overkill, is most likely just that. With the hood open and plenty of air circulating the probability of igniting the hydrogen gas is close to nil. Nevertheless, the danger does exist.

Your choice.

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One of the more obvious solutions would be to take your car out for a nice highway drive. Not only will this charge the battery, but will give all the fluids time to get hot and circulate as well as get any residual water our of your exhaust system. Short distance around town driving can ruin a car. Put your favourite music on the stereo and enjoy a nice drive.

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Couple of questions...

The headlights are off, right?

Your foot is not inadvertently resting on the brake pedal?

How many miles do you typically drive the car per week and do you frequently take short trips (<10 miles).

The charger is the answer if you simply are not driving enough to keep her charged via the alt.

I would also test your charge voltage when running. Should be around 14.5 vdc

As for where to connect the neg. clamp...any where on the chassis is fine but I definitely see your dilemma.

With so much plastic around its hard to find where to connect. It looks like the power steering pump has some

nice aluminum showing.

But if this is going to be a frequent occurrence, personally, I would go to a hardware store and get a chunk of metal braid

or a metal clip and affix it under a bolt on the chassis(maybe near the horns). That way you have a good solid connection and you wont be buggering up

your nice car parts with the clamp. If it is truly just a trickle charge that you need, the cigarette lighter plug is probably your cleanest solution(as Budhah

pointed out).

And finally, the reason they dont want you to connect the neg. clamp to the battery is for sparking reasons. If there is enough concentration of hydrogen gas

(byproduct of charging) then a spark could make the battery explode and that is more excitement than you probably need. Therefore, the order of connection is very

important. Positive on battery first, then neg. clamp on chassis to keep that spark as far away from the battery as possible. Removal is the reverse.. take the neg.

clamp off first. Sorry for the length of this response. You may already know this stuff.

Like you already guessed I don't use the car that much. So therefore (after the third time it occurred) I went to a battery specialist which measured everything and found it all to be OK except for the battery being low on charge. He even refused to sell me a new battery (small town, small business with service and honesty) because it's in my usage of the car. I drive it not that much (office @ home) so he suggested I would charge it monthly to keep the battery's health up. If the problem will persist he will measure the power etc etc in the car for leaking currents, bad battery or whatever but he didn't want to charge me for something that probably can be fixed with an occasional overnight trickle charge. He mentioned a gell battery but found them very expensive and gave me some homework to do first.

Thankt for the tips, you confirm everything the charger's manual states so some extra peace of mind there. The charger is a 'big one' in a small package. It will charge a 80 Amp battery in 14-16 hrs and then goes into trickle mode, sorry if I put you guys off on that one. English isn't my native language. It's this charger: Ctek 3600 euro model

@Brett in AK: I kinda agree on attachting direct to the +/- poles because there is a permanent lead with a cable that has 'eye's' at one end to permanently attach a charging cable to the battery. At the other end there is a female connector (the alligator leads have a similair female connector) for attaching it to the male end of the cable coming out of the charger. I found a site (in Dutch but the pictures are self explaining) : Pictures It's picture nr 3 and wire B. In picture 7 and 8 you can see it connected. That's the permanent lead cable I'm referring to.

So therefore I started wondering since the manual states that I shouldn't attach the black alligatorclamps to the battery itselve but I can when using the other lead which only differs at the end (eyes instead of clamps) ??

by the way: the second time my headlights were on for the first 15 minutes, so my own fault I guess.... :huh:

I'll keep you guys posted on this one.

Took a quick look at the pictures and immediately saw your problem. You've got the charger hooked up to an Alfa Romeo instead of your Lexus! :D Actually if you look at the pictures they have the permanent pigtails mounted to the battery poles with a connector on the other end. Simply plug that connector into the lead from the battery charger and plug it in. You don't even use the clamps. I cannot read Dutch, but I would bet that charger you have purchased is what we would refer to as a floating battery charger. By that I mean that it only charges when necessary and simply goes into a standby phase when the battery has a full charge. Best of luck.

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The charging is in progress now. Connected it an hour or so in the way the manual stated: red on red and black to the chassis. It's bright and sunny so no problems with rain and stuff. There was some mountinghole with a 1" latch just above/behind the right light housing which I overlooked the first time I took a glance at the engine compartment. The charger states that the battery needs charging so.. it's charging now B)

In regard to driving short distances: I know it's not that good for the car but it's just temporary (nov-april). There are periods when we drive 2.500 mls/ month and there also times when we don't hit the 200 mile marker in a month. Mostly shopping runs and a occasional long trip. This charging is just for the months in which we drive not that much. Business is taking off so I presume my wife (she's our 'frontoffice') will do some serious miles after april to give our Lexie the threatment it needs :)

Thanx for the input, I guess I was just a little nervous connecting a charger the first time since I'm not a mechanic but a tax-consultant.

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Took a quick look at the pictures and immediately saw your problem. You've got the charger hooked up to an Alfa Romeo instead of your Lexus! :D Actually if you look at the pictures they have the permanent pigtails mounted to the battery poles with a connector on the other end. Simply plug that connector into the lead from the battery charger and plug it in. You don't even use the clamps. I cannot read Dutch, but I would bet that charger you have purchased is what we would refer to as a floating battery charger. By that I mean that it only charges when necessary and simply goes into a standby phase when the battery has a full charge. Best of luck.

Yeah that's right. Well it's hooked up now, I'll check it during lunchtime. I put a builders helmet under the hood to keep it a bit open for ventilation. Got quite a concerning look from my neighbour though when he saw me putting it under the hood followed by a satisfying look of me being content with my solution.... :lol:

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Update !

After about 10 hrs of charging the charger went into trickle mode. Since the charger has an output of 3,6A/hr the 70A battery must have been half empty (or half full if you're an optimist ;))

After disconnecting I had to move the car so our second car would fit in the driveway and on starting the Lex it immediatly turned over more powerfull then before and in two instead of 3-4 turns the enige came to life.

Yob well done I would say.

Now let's see how the battery keeps up.

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