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Old 05-01-2011, 06:49 PM
 
543 posts, read 3,078,291 times
Reputation: 206

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Right now I'm sitting in my car with it on ACC without idling to save gas while I can listen to music through the car speakers.*
I guess not having the AC on and not having the light on is good enough but I wanted to be able to check how much battery is left. How can I do that?

Also is there some sort of external battery that can be charged as the car is driving and then used for charging my iPhone and computer etc without having to idle the car?
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:21 PM
 
3,465 posts, read 4,842,681 times
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If your car has a voltage gauge, turn the key forward and check the gauge. Otherwise, use a voltmeter to check the battery voltage. If you run a car battery too low it will ruin it and it won't be long until it has to be replaced.

Do not swap car batteries and use the cars electrical system to charge them. You will run the risk of overworking the alternator leading to its failure. Alternators on some vehicles are expensive so its not worth the risk.

You can charge your cell phones using the cigarette lighter car charger without having to start the car. Cell phones hold very little charge as compared to a car battery so it will not hurt to charge it a number of times without ever starting the car. Computers are a different story, the charger for most computers uses around 90 watts so you would need the car running during charging.
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:51 AM
 
23,601 posts, read 70,436,018 times
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Ummm, gotta disagree with dijkstra, but only sorta...

I used my van for stealth camping. To do what I wanted, I had the alternator replaced with one that was wound to provide enough power for those "boom boom" cars. It then charged two marine batteries in addition to the car battery. That alternator has been working fine for over four years.

The average car alternator does have some free overhead, but that needs to be used wisely to keep from damaging it. If Kansoku wanted to get one or two small sealed gel cells, like those used in uninterruptible power supplies, and charge them while driving, I can't see where the alternator would be overloaded. OTOH, two marine batteries would be too much of a draw.

Batteries have an internal resistance that comes into play when they are being charged. A nearly charged battery will only sip at any power being fed to it. Discharge it down to 50% and it can use significantly more for a short time. Small gel cells are well within the capacity of the alternator, and are significantly less of a draw than those Peltier device coolers that plug in to cigarette lighter sockets.
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Old 05-02-2011, 02:18 PM
 
3,465 posts, read 4,842,681 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Ummm, gotta disagree with dijkstra, but only sorta...

I used my van for stealth camping. To do what I wanted, I had the alternator replaced with one that was wound to provide enough power for those "boom boom" cars. It then charged two marine batteries in addition to the car battery. That alternator has been working fine for over four years.
The way I understood the OP's question was if it was possible to "charge an external battery" and then use it until it is discharged and then recharge it again. Alternators in cars are designed and intended for "maintaining the battery" not charging discharged batteries. It is possible if you have a heavy duty alternator installed it would hold up as long as you don't abuse it but the normal every day alternator isn't going to withstand this abuse. I sort of doubt he has any intention of spending $200-$300 on a heavy duty alternator just for this use. The money would be more wisely spent on a generator in my opinion.

Speaking of the "boom boom" cars, I used to be into that. I replaced the stock 135 Amp alternator with a high output 220 Amp, secondary battery with automatic switch and a 1 Farad capacitor. I had enough juice to light up a city block. I still managed to kill a few alternators by running the system without my wall power plugged in or the car running, draining the batteries down too low and then driving it around to allow the alternator to charge the batteries up.
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Old 05-02-2011, 07:22 PM
 
24,488 posts, read 41,150,886 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kansoku View Post

Also is there some sort of external battery that can be charged as the car is driving and then used for charging my iPhone and computer etc without having to idle the car?
Look into these:

Solar Charger, Travel Charger, Solio Charger

They can charge off of solar power, 12v car oulet/cigarette lighter, computer usb, etc. The battery in them can charge a typical phone twice before needing to be recharged. This is the only one that I've heard of.. but do shop around... I'm sure there are many others by other manufacturers.

Last edited by NJBest; 05-02-2011 at 07:37 PM..
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:11 PM
 
23,601 posts, read 70,436,018 times
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Yeah, understand where you are coming from, d. That is why I suggested the gel cells used in UPSs. They really are a minimal draw, and there is no need to worry about outgassing, adding distilled water, and so on. I think both of us are calling for moderation, and that if the need is extreme, spending the bucks on the more powerful alternator or a generator.
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:22 AM
 
1 posts, read 11,209 times
Reputation: 10
I have a 2010 DTS with 20,000 miles on it and I left the cell phone charger plug in over night and when I came out the next morning to start the car, I had no starting of the engine. Zip. I had to call On-Star to give me a jump. I have had that happen 3 times now. I took into a GM dealer and they found nothing wrong. They did mention that some Cell phones chargers can drain a battery when the car is not running. My thought is there is a bad ground connection somewhere.
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:59 AM
 
48,502 posts, read 96,877,697 times
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I know alot of cutom car builders who have alot of electroic accesrories o their cars that foud that they must increase the alrterbator because it can't amitai the charge with the useage of the car. Car batteries are designed to be used then recharge immediately.really.Of course a cellphone charger drains the battery when the engine isn;t running because there is no other source of power.Mnay car have olutlets that are only powered when the ingntion is on for just that reason and why radios require a acessory setting of igniton to play also.
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Murphy, NC
3,223 posts, read 9,632,299 times
Reputation: 1456
There are meters u can get for cheap from autozone or some auto store that u plug into the cigar charger and it shows how much ur battery is charged. Never bough one but I think that's a good way to learn how the battery loses charge or gains charge.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Arizona
1 posts, read 11,144 times
Reputation: 10
Post Using the car battery

By using car battery you can charge the phone or any other instrument or gadgets. But be careful sometime because it can reduce the life span of the battery car.

<a href="http://aeaccessories.com/">Cell phone batteries</a>
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