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Generac 15KW Stand-by generator. Need help


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03-04-09, 03:01 PM   #1  
Generac 15KW Stand-by generator. Need help

Greetings all,

We purchased a Generac 15KW for our home in 2006, LP fueled from a 210gal underground tank. The unit has been running fine but recently I noticed I hadn't heard it run (pre-set exercise time), so I went and had a look. When I opened the unit casing I noticed all four red lights blinking (this indicates the timer hasn't been set). I asked myself if I could have forgotten to reset it (I charge the battery every 2 months). Well, when I went to reset the exercise timer, it will not crank. By this I mean it does a simple and quick turn (or what I think it is) then does nothing. Battery is fine, and I have no idea why this is happening.

Can anyone help?

Regards,
Dave

 
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03-04-09, 04:17 PM   #2  
Do you have the operators manual?? I'm not familliar with the standby systems. Did you load test the battery?? Sometimes batteries will show 12 volts, but won't have enough CCA available to start an engine. Check it out, The battery is sneaking on 3 or 4 years old??? Roger

 
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03-04-09, 05:48 PM   #3  
The control board may have failed.

 
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03-05-09, 03:18 AM   #4  
double check the battery. the unit has a battery charger of it's own either in the transfer switch or the generator housing. three years life on a battery is not unusuall.

 
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03-06-09, 06:38 PM   #5  
Hi Guys...

Actually this battery is just over two years old. I had it replaced twice because the other two were the $39.99 units and I "thought" maybe a good battery (purchased a cell type battery) would service us better. However, I have always charged this battery every two months (on a charger for 6-8 hrs). So far, where the other batteries would only last 6-7 months, this one has been working fine (until now) for just over two years. Could it be the battery even if the charger shows a "full charge" on the meter?

When I place the battery on the charger, it goes to the full-charge state so I imagined it's good. Maybe I should try another battery? Gosh, if that's the problem I'll consider myself blessed because this has us quite concerned because hurricane season will sooon be upon us (Florida) so we need this unit up and running again. Also, it hasn't exercised in almost 3 weeks and now I'm worried this will cause the seals and gaskets to get hard and leak. :-(

Regards,
Dave

 
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03-06-09, 06:57 PM   #6  
Can you have the battery load tested locally? It may take a charge but will it hold.

 
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03-06-09, 08:50 PM   #7  
I agree with CanuckRoy on this one. You have to put an acutal operating load on a battery to see how it works under operating conditions. If the battery is bad, the meter on a charger only shows the currant draw to put a surface charge in the battery. Load testing is the only way to tell if it's any good. Don't worry about any seals, etc drying out over 3 or 4 weeks, Lotsa people leave snowblowers, lawnmowers & stuff longer & have no trouble. (Propane helps too). Try it & let us know the results... Roger

 
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03-07-09, 03:24 AM   #8  
OK, will do ...

Hi again guys,

OK, I will disconnect the battery and take it to our local Discount Auto store to load test it. If it's bad, I can buy the battery from there. I know they have this machine (looks like a large BBQer) which tests batteries.

Thanks again, and I'll let you know my findings/results.

Regards,
Dave

 
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03-07-09, 12:25 PM   #9  
The Final Verdict ...

Hi Guys!!

Well, let me start by saying you were right on!!! I took the battery I purchased on 12/26/2006 back to Advance Auto and had it tested. The machine ran through 3 tests and kept coming up as "REPLACE BATTERY."

That being said, and since I purchased this "Red Top" cell battery (paid almost $200.00 for it) it was still under warrantee. They gave me a replacement battery for $1.50 ... yes I ONLY paid $1.50 for the exact same battery. I installed the new battery and my Generac 15KW generator fired up like new. YES!!!!

I can't believe I charged the battery (every two months) as I have been doing, have it show me "full charge" yet not have enough CA to start the motor. I really owe you guys because I was already looking at a starter ($198.00) and also asking around for a service person to come look at it. Well, I took your advice had the battery checked and now for $1.50 I have a NEW battery and the unit works like a baby (knock on wood).

However, while there I was informed cell batteries need to be charged 24 hours at a slow deep cycle setting in order to replenish what they've lost.

Thanks guys!!! I really appreciate the help you offered here. Who knows ... maybe this thread will help someone else who may be in a similar situation.

Regards,
Dave


Last edited by DOrtiz; 03-07-09 at 01:00 PM.
 
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03-07-09, 04:38 PM   #10  
that's great it worked out for you. i'm still wondering why you feel you need to charge the battery though. as i posted, the Generac's have an onboard charger that shoud be all you need.
in any event,,, ain't it great when things go right ?

 
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03-07-09, 06:33 PM   #11  
Thanks flopshot, but ...

Posted By: flopshot that's great it worked out for you. i'm still wondering why you feel you need to charge the battery though. as i posted, the Generac's have an onboard charger that shoud be all you need.
in any event,,, ain't it great when things go right ?
Hi flapshot,

For some reason, when I purchased the other batteries they only lasted 6 months at best. This is what prompted me to buy this cell battery which I decided to charge every two months in an effort to extend battery life. It seems I was able to obtain 2 years 3 months with this one before it went dead.

Am I missing something? I understood the standby generator I have gives the battery a small trickle but that's intended to keep it healthy. However, it's not intended to recharge the draw the generator pulls every week when it exercises.

Any advice will be most appreciated.

Regards,
Dave

 
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03-08-09, 05:04 AM   #12  
Posted By: DOrtiz Hi flapshot,

For some reason, when I purchased the other batteries they only lasted 6 months at best


I understood the standby generator I have gives the battery a small trickle but that's intended to keep it healthy. However, it's not intended to recharge the draw the generator pulls every week when it exercises.
not sure which batteries you were buying at first. those 30.00 lawn tractor batteries are "teh sux" and only last six months to a year. the onboard charger is quite adequate for replenishing start cycle loads. when you speak of a "cell battery" are you talking about one of those sprial wound high end units ? it could be your charging actually did more harm than good. i use 60 month automotive batteries in the Generacs and get three to four years with no problems. i think i would let the system handle the battery and keep an eye on it over the next year. now that the battery is new, turn the system off, throw the breaker that feeds the generator, and take a voltage reading on the battery. compare that reading to when the breaker is on. check it apx every three months and you be able to spot a failing battery before it causes you any problems. don't forget to check your charger curcuit fuse and have spares on hand.

 
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03-08-09, 07:04 AM   #13  
flapshot, if I may ...

Hi flapshot,

OK, first of all you obviously know your stuff. I on the other hand can only wish I had that kind of knowledge when it comes to these things as I probably would have saved substantially. This is our first home (built in 1999), and as I'm sure you know .. with owning a home (well actually the bank owns it) comes much work.

That being said; let me see if I understand your post correctly, and please accept my apology if I sound stupid about this, but that's only because I am...

- The first two batteries I purchased were standard auto batteries, not the lawn tractor kind. One when I purchased the unit (lasted about 6 months), the other to replace the first one that failed ... both only lasted about six months.

- After the failure of the second battery, I "assumed" buying a high-end battery and a charger would be the way to go. I paid $170.00 for the battery and $79.00 for a battery charger. (I would unplug the battery; clean the posts, contacts that go on the posts and charge the unit sometimes 8-10 hrs. I'd do this every two months).

I don't have a voltage meter, but I'll certainly buy one if it will help me diagnose what's wrong.

When you say, turn off the circuit that powers the generator, do you mean the 70amp breaker that's in the main electrical box that feeds the second box (the transfer box that came with the unit)?

Also, when you say check the charger fuse .. do you mean one or both of the two fuses on top (one is a 7.5. the other a 15 -- I believe)??

Here's the battery I purchased:
Optima Products - RedTop

Here's the Generac unit I have:
Generac Model 4675 15 kW Emergency Standby Generator Details and Product Specifications - Epinions.com

Took me a while to find the 15 KW I purchased as I don't believe they make that model anymore. I purchased it from Home Depot for $2,499.00 in 2006.

Thanks for your valued help and time.

Regards,
Dave

PS: One more thing flapshot on an edit: This unit doesn't crank and start right up like a car. When I starts it cranks a few times (like a car that's not perfectly tuned) then it finally starts. Maybe that's pulling on the battery excessively and that's why they're dying. Not sure if these generators are supposed to turn over on the first crank or not?

flapshot, sorry but one more thing. I'm looking at this list of testers and am leaning toward the 6th one from the top for $20.00 or so. Is this what I need, or would you recommend something else?
battery volt tester, eBay Motors, Electronics items on eBay.com


Last edited by DOrtiz; 03-08-09 at 07:24 AM. Reason: added context
 
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03-08-09, 07:52 AM   #14  
Well, not an expert..but your gennie prob won't start like a new car. I doubt it is fuel injected with an electric fuel pump..lol

It probably starts more like a car from the 60's....ruh ruh ruh ruh ruh WRRRRRRRRRR.

Couple (3 or 4) of cranks then it fires..right?

Sounds about right to my inexpert ears. May even have something to do with oil pressure coming up? Lets see what the flopster may say.


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03-08-09, 08:14 AM   #15  
Yes, you're correct ...

Posted By: Gunguy45 Well, not an expert..but your gennie prob won't start like a new car. I doubt it is fuel injected with an electric fuel pump..lol

It probably starts more like a car from the 60's....ruh ruh ruh ruh ruh WRRRRRRRRRR.

Couple (3 or 4) of cranks then it fires..right?

Sounds about right to my inexpert ears. May even have something to do with oil pressure coming up? Lets see what the flopster may say.
Yes, more like ruh... ruh... ruh.... daruh.... ruh... ruh... daruh... ruh... ruh... ruh... WRRRRRRRRRR

It actually takes a few more cranks than seen here:
YouTube - Guardian 15kW Model 4390-1 standby generator

That seems like a lot of pull from the battery, considering my unit will do this every week (exercise timer). You're right, it's not a ruh... WRRRRRRRR kind of start-up. :-)

Thanks for the feedback.

Regards,
Dave


Last edited by DOrtiz; 03-08-09 at 10:14 AM.
 
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03-08-09, 10:46 AM   #16  
flopshot, here's another one ...

Hi flopshot, here's another link for the unit I have (the 15KW unit).
7kW, 12kW, 15kW Generators, Home Standby Generators, Single Cylinder Generators - Woodhyrst Inc.

I notice it says, "2 Amp Timed Trickle Battery Charger -- Standard"

Not sure if that's a fuse I need to be looking for. I just ordered the battery/amp/load tester.

Thanks again for your valued help.

Regards,
Dave

 
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03-09-09, 05:26 AM   #17  
Posted By: DOrtiz

The first two batteries I purchased were standard auto batteries, not the lawn tractor kind. One when I purchased the unit (lasted about 6 months), the other to replace the first one that failed ... both only lasted about six months.
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i am a little stumped by this. could be you just got some crap batteries or the charger is not working.
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When you say, turn off the circuit that powers the generator, do you mean the 70amp breaker that's in the main electrical box that feeds the second box (the transfer box that came with the unit)?
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yes. the breaker feeds the charger. set the generator switch to off and turn off the breaker to check static battery voltage.
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Also, when you say check the charger fuse .. do you mean one or both of the two fuses on top (one is a 7.5. the other a 15 -- I believe)??
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yes. one fuse is the charger and one is for the logic board.
if the fuse is bad or missing your charger is obviosly non functional.
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Took me a while to find the 15 KW I purchased as I don't believe they make that model anymore. I purchased it from Home Depot for $2,499.00 in 2006.

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not sure but at some point the charger was moved from the generator housing to the transfer switch. you'll have to check your unit for the location of the charger.
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PS: One more thing flapshot on an edit: This unit doesn't crank and start right up like a car. When I starts it cranks a few times (like a car that's not perfectly tuned) then it finally starts. Maybe that's pulling on the battery excessively and that's why they're dying. Not sure if these generators are supposed to turn over on the first crank or not?
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they all turn over some before starting. nothing to be concerned with there unless it throws an overcrank fault on the panel.
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flapshot, sorry but one more thing. I'm looking at this list of testers and am leaning toward the 6th one from the top for $20.00 or so. Is this what I need, or would you recommend something else?
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that load tester would be fine but not something you need to do often. i'd rather see you get a decent digital multimeter to check static voltage and charger output voltage. a good battery will have at least 13 VDC with the charger off and possible as much as 14.5 VDC in the charge mode.

you have a very good battery there so the next step is to be sure your charger is functional. your generator is only starting once per week and that's not much to ask of a battery at all.
i would however verify that the battery can tolerate a trickle or maintainer type environment. i looked at the OPTMA batteries some years ago for a drag car but went with the multi volt units instead. the neat thing about the OPTIMA is that it can be mounted in any position as is supposed to be very shock resistant.
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03-09-09, 08:17 PM   #18  
You still need a load tester to check a battery & you can use it to check charging voltage as well as starter currant draw, if need be A bad battery can show 13 or so volts, but under an operating load, not have enough cranking amps available to start an engine & you will see voltage drop very quick. A multimeter only tells the volts in the battery as a static charge & the DVOM, due to the low impedience can be very misleading when checking battery condition. Put it under an operating load & that will tell the true state of the battery,,,The onboard 2 amp charger should be more than enough to look after the battery, even starting every week...What you show on EBAY is a load tester & should do the trick.... Roger

 
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03-10-09, 05:26 PM   #19  
Thanks Guys, but ...

Hi Guys!

Thanks for the feedback, and advice. I will "attempt" to locate these fuses, etc. However, this is all new to me so I really have no idea where to start looking. I noticed in my manual, I saw a battery charger part -- it seems to be right under the panel (front) of the generator itself. Maybe that part is bad and my battery is not being charged.

Regards,
Dave

 
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03-10-09, 06:13 PM   #20  
if you have the unit with the charger in the generator cabinet then you have two fuses in the control panel. one is for the charger and one is for the logic board. you'll figure it out.
also, if it's reasonably quiet you can hear the charger buzzing but i would still check the voltage at the battery to confirm.
remember, it's called a 12 volt system but the battery should be a bit higher without the charger running and around 13.5 or so with the charger operational.

 
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03-10-09, 08:43 PM   #21  
Once you solve your battery charger issue you should install a block heater for quick starts.

Karmrd

 
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03-11-09, 03:36 AM   #22  
Posted By: karmrd Once you solve your battery charger issue you should install a block heater for quick starts.

Karmrd
this model uses an air cooled engine. the units with liquid cooled engines come with a block heater from the factory.

 
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03-11-09, 04:05 AM   #23  
10-4..........................

 
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03-11-09, 03:32 PM   #24  
OK will give it a go and let you guys know ...

Posted By: flopshot if you have the unit with the charger in the generator cabinet then you have two fuses in the control panel. one is for the charger and one is for the logic board. you'll figure it out.
also, if it's reasonably quiet you can hear the charger buzzing but i would still check the voltage at the battery to confirm.
remember, it's called a 12 volt system but the battery should be a bit higher without the charger running and around 13.5 or so with the charger operational.
Hi flapshot,

I'll look at the diagram of the unit and follow which fuse goes to where. I don't think I've ever heard this thing buzzing, but then again I never paid attention to that. Also, to disable the charger (assuming it's working) do I test the battery voltage with the fuses in place and then again without? I'm talking about the two tube like fuses on top of the generator (one is 7.5 the other - a thicker one, 15 I believe) that screw in with the plastic caps. If I remove the fuse from the "charger" will that show me if the "charger" is working of not?

I know once I let the positive cable touch the body and a very small spark came out (looked like a telephone wire spark -- very faint).

Also, I don't think I need a block heater in Florida as 90% of the time it's always hot down here. :-)

Regards,
Dave

 
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03-11-09, 06:53 PM   #25  
"Also, to disable the charger (assuming it's working) do I test the battery voltage with the fuses in place and then again without?"

yes. you are looking for the voltage reading with and without the charger operational.

"I know once I let the positive cable touch the body and a very small spark came out "

that would have been enough to blow the fuse. i've done it.

when i sold the Generacs i would tape up the positive cable because i could not trust the electrician to disable the charger before connecting the system. even though i did the initial startup and had the battery in my hands there was still a chance of a short that would take out the fuse.

you seem to be getting the hang of this.

 
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03-16-09, 03:09 PM   #26  
Back to the drawing board I suppose

Hi Guys/Flapshot ...

Well, my meter arrived today and I checked the battery with the 15amp fused removed. It shows the battery just above the weak (yellow) line. I installed the 15amp fuse and saw absolutely no change to the battery voltage at all.

That being said, I guess my battery is not being charged by the generator, so I'm back to charging the battery say once a month (maybe two) for 24 hrs?

Any advice will be most humbly appreciated.

 
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03-17-09, 03:56 AM   #27  
odd, haven't hear of the chargers going bad. if you can't repair the onboard charger get a maintainer charger. sometimes called a smart charger. i have couple from shumacher that work well. you'll need an AC outlet close to the unit for this or you could have someone wire it to the supply line for the onboard charger.
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03-18-09, 04:17 PM   #28  
Thanks flapshot

Posted By: flopshot odd, haven't hear of the chargers going bad. if you can't repair the onboard charger get a maintainer charger. sometimes called a smart charger. i have couple from shumacher that work well. you'll need an AC outlet close to the unit for this or you could have someone wire it to the supply line for the onboard charger.
SE-1-12S - 1.5 amp Battery Charger
I'll keep this in mind and hope I can get this fixed. It gets old disconnecting that battery every month or so to recharge it.

 
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03-18-09, 06:47 PM   #29  
{We purchased a Generac 15KW for our home in 2006, LP fueled from a 210gal underground tank.} I just have to ask,, After spending this kind of money on a back-up generator set-up with an underground tank that has to be checked & filled as necessary, are you really going to nickle & dime a proper repair of the on-board charger for the generator batteries??? I know if I had a unit like this, I would fix the onboard charger & let the batteries look after themself's. Sorry, just my thoughts....Roger

 
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03-19-09, 05:03 PM   #30  
I agree, but ....

Posted By: hopkinsr2 {We purchased a Generac 15KW for our home in 2006, LP fueled from a 210gal underground tank.} I just have to ask,, After spending this kind of money on a back-up generator set-up with an underground tank that has to be checked & filled as necessary, are you really going to nickle & dime a proper repair of the on-board charger for the generator batteries??? I know if I had a unit like this, I would fix the onboard charger & let the batteries look after themself's. Sorry, just my thoughts....Roger
I agree fully, and I have asked around and it seems no one around here services these things.

 
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03-19-09, 06:08 PM   #31  
Posted By: DOrtiz I agree fully, and I have asked around and it seems no one around here services these things.
a problem that lead me to discontue selling the Genrerac prouducts. as far as nickle and dimeing the issue i think whatever works is a viable solution. there's no need to manualy charge the start battery if you look as some options for a work-around.

 
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03-20-09, 06:18 PM   #32  
Agree on the part, but ...

Can I leave this connected to the battery with cables, and fuses intact? Will this "external" charging source damage the generator, any circuits or worse yet the circuit board on the transfer box? What if I leave this on and the generator turns on -- will that cause problems?

I guess I'm concerned an "external" charger may cause a short or damage somewhere if left constantly attached/running/charging/

By the way, I was looking through your store and this is the exact same charger I use to charge my battery when I remove it:
SE-70MA - 10 amp Deep Cycle Battery Charger

 
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03-21-09, 08:35 PM   #33  
I answered my own question ...

I guess from the sudden lack of feedback such a setup WILL cause damage to the unit in one way or another.

 
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03-22-09, 05:39 AM   #34  
i would pull the fuse for the onboard charger. i don't see any problem starting the unit with the maintainer connected but a phone call to the mfg would not be a waste of time. if you want to get fancy you could put the charger on a timer that would exclude the time of day that the unit exercises or simply install a five amp fuse in the charger lead.
sorry for the silence, didn't log on yesterday.

 
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03-22-09, 06:40 AM   #35  
To deep for me flap ...

Posted By: flopshot i would pull the fuse for the onboard charger. i don't see any problem starting the unit with the maintainer connected but a phone call to the mfg would not be a waste of time. if you want to get fancy you could put the charger on a timer that would exclude the time of day that the unit exercises or simply install a five amp fuse in the charger lead.
sorry for the silence, didn't log on yesterday.
Hi flapshot,

Thanks for the response but this is really getting to deep for me my friend. I really have no experience with this so I'll need to look at the owner's manual and see if I can trace where these fuses, charger, etc. are. Once I do, I'll "try" and make a diagnosis and a plan of action. Right now, I'm lost in the woods and quite honestly have no idea (other than removing and re-charging that battery every two months) of what I should do -- let alone how to do it.


Last edited by DOrtiz; 03-22-09 at 08:13 AM.
 
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03-23-09, 03:41 AM   #36  
i can understand your dilema. hope you come up with a satisfactory solution.

 
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03-23-09, 05:46 PM   #37  
I use the following product on my classic car which hibernates all winter.

Batterytender.com - Home of All Your Charging Needs Battery Tender Plus

I leave it plugged in all the time. This past weekend I started the car for the first time since October and it needed a lot of cranking before it finally started. The red top spiral cell battery is now eight years old and still cranked my 408 cid chevy engine for over a minute - not continuous - without any signs that it was slowing down.

The charger is rated at 1.25 amps and had the battery fully recharged in under 24 hours.

The company also has a waterproof unit here Batterytender.com - Home of All Your Charging Needs Waterproof 800

Steve

 
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