Car Mechanics (UK)

Bat­tery charger

- J Mitchell

Can you rec­om­mend a bat­tery charger with a jump-start func­tion for use on my 2012 VW Polo 1.4 petrol or any ve­hi­cle fit­ted with an ECU. Hav­ing owned var­i­ous jump­starters and power packs, all of which had is­sues such as lack of power and heavy short leads, I was look­ing to get a mains bat­tery charger.

The units I have been con­sid­er­ing are the Ring RCB320 or RECB320. My worry is that the jump-start func­tion might not be safe on the elec­tron­ics. Do these mod­els have spike and short pro­tec­tion? Also, do they have to be at­tached to the bat­tery’s pos­i­tive ter­mi­nal and the body of the ve­hi­cle, and does the bat­tery have to be charged a little be­fore using the jump-start? Re­gard­ing the bat­tery charger func­tion, are they safe to at­tach to the bat­tery with­out re­mov­ing the bat­tery con­nec­tions to charge the bat­tery? Hal­fords says the Ring RCB320 is not suit­able for AGM bat­ter­ies, but I have no idea if I have one fit­ted as the bat­tery is still the orig­i­nal. Would this ad­vice also ap­ply to the jump-start func­tion?

Mod­ern bat­tery charg­ers are de­signed to jump-start mod­ern ve­hi­cles and should be safe to use. The two Ring charg­ers you men­tioned can sense the bat­tery and will pro­tect it from over­charg­ing, as well as pre­vent­ing any power spikes that may cause dam­age. The at­tach­ment in­struc­tions in the man­ual state that the red lead should be at­tached to the pos­i­tive ter­mi­nal, while the black neg­a­tive lead clips to the ve­hi­cle’s chas­sis.

AGM stands for ab­sorbent glass mat and these bat­ter­ies are usu­ally found in mo­tor­cy­cles, be­cause they do not leak, or high-end ve­hi­cles with a large elec­tri­cal de­mand. They are now also be­ing used on ve­hi­cles fit­ted with stop-start tech­nol­ogy. It would not be suit­able to use the charger’s jump-start func­tion on a AGM bat­tery. How­ever, from the data I have, your VW Polo is not fit­ted with an AGM bat­tery.

The 80-amp jump-start func­tion is prob­a­bly not high enough to start a ve­hi­cle with a com­pletely de­pleted bat­tery. If your bat­tery was in this con­di­tion I would ex­pect it to need to un­dergo a slow charge be­fore the jump-start would work. A pro­fes­sional jump-start would de­liver at least 280 amps on the start func­tion.

 ??  ?? The Ring RCB320 bat­tery charger with the jump-start func­tion.
The Ring RCB320 bat­tery charger with the jump-start func­tion.
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