You may own Corvettes that are parked or stored for long periods. If you do, it's possible you've had a dead battery. Even the best battery, not connected to anything, slowly discharges because of the chemical processes at work inside it. Once hooked to your car's electrical system and when the alternator is not charging, besides that tiny, self-discharge rate, a battery has a small, constant load on it from things like: PCM memory, radio presets, clock, anti-theft devices and, if you open the doors while the car sits, interior lighting.
If a period of non-operation is several weeks, it is possible the battery may discharge to the point of a no-start condition. Then, you either charge the battery or jump-start the car. These full-discharge-then-recharge or “deep cycles” reduce battery life. The durability of typical automotive batteries is significantly reduced if they're subjected to deep cycles on a regular basis. Even premium batteries, such as the Odyssey, which are more tolerant of deep cycles, cannot be subjected to frequent, regular deep discharge/recharge cycles with out eventually having their performance degraded.
The old solution was to leave a “trickle” charger connected to the battery. Most trickle chargers put out between 0.5 to 2 amps. Indeed, that charges the battery, but trickle chargers do as much harm as good. Once the battery is at full charge; a continuing 0.5-2 amp charge eventually overcharges it. That can damage a battery just as much as successive deep cycles. The solution is a “smart” battery charger, such as Auto Meter’s "Battery Extender".
Upon connection, if the battery is partially discharged, a Battery Extender brings a battery up to full charge using a one-amp rate. At that point, a microprocessor senses battery voltage at a nominal level and backs-off the charge rate to between 0 and 250 milliamps, depending on load. This feedback-controlled, reduced-charge rate eliminates overcharging and extends battery life. There is no need to monitor a Battery Extender. Just plug it in, connect it to the car and forget it.
The original Battery Extender was introduced by AutoMeter in 1999. It was upgraded a year later with a battery condition test feature which flashes the unit's charge light if it detects a dead battery cell or if it detects that the battery is sulfated. We have been using Battery Extenders since the product was introduced.
We have four cars in our little shop which are inoperative for long periods. We used to regularly have dead batteries and, occasionally, the inevitable battery failure due to deep cycles. Putting Battery Extenders on each of these cars has eliminated those problems and, in 15 years of use, as saved us a significant amount of money in reduced battery replacements due to deep cycles.
Auto Meter makes two versions of the Extender, a 12-volt unit (p/n 9201) and a 12/16-volt unit (p/n 9202) aimed at racers using 16-volt electrical systems.For more information, visit the Auto Meter web site. www.autometer.com