Car battery often needs to be charged if you leave them for a couple of months. So, what if you need to charge it immediately?
But, I have good news for you. If you have an inverter available in your place, you can use it. You must be aware that your inverter has charging capability.
If your inverter has a typical DC to AC function only, then it will not work as a charger for your car battery.
The understanding of Inverter charging system
An inverter is an electric power device. To be precise, the circuits of the device transform DC (Direct Current) to AC (Alternative Current). Consequently, the frequency of the AC is obtained from the device employed with the inverter.
The entire system is created with an intricate infrastructure. Moreover, the system involves Frequency and input-output voltage, which is designed on a particular circuitry.
Interestingly, the inverter does not produce power. It is the DC source that generates the power. Therefore, the system is a combination of electric circuitry and intricate mechanical effect. In this mechanical ecosystem, voltage plays a crucial role.
Understanding car batteries
Car batteries involve a series of circuits. Six galvanic cells are joined together to form the circuits. Furthermore, a single cell provides 2.1 volts. Hence, it means it consists of 12.6 volts altogether. Chemical reaction absorbs the atoms of electrons from the exogenous circuit. Similarly, at the negative terminal chemical reactions release electrons.
While discharge, the reactions drive the electron through an electric conductor. Henceforth, it produces electric currents. At the same time, the acids of the electrolyte provide a reaction with the plates. This, in turn, charges their surfaces to lead sulfate.
On the other hand, the reverse reaction takes place while charging the battery. It means the plates restore their original condition, and the process continues in a cycle.
Types of Car Batteries
The capacity of a car battery cannot be judged based on its size. It completely depends on the mechanism inside it. Let’s take a quick glance at the most common car battery we have in general:
SLI or Starting, Lighting, and Ignition Batteries
Most cars use SLI batteries. As the name suggests, it does the same for a car. Hence, it helps to start the engine, and provide power for the electrical light and system. Finally, it aids the ignition system inside the car. Therefore, it has a short charge cycle.
Moreover, the SLI battery hardly discharges the power, as it delivers power in short bursts. Furthermore, it is made up of six galvanic cells and creates a series of system formats. Each cell delivers 2.1 volts; hence, it consists of a total of 12.6 volts.
Unfortunately, it is an incompatible version. Advanced and hybrid electrical cars use Lithium-ion batteries. Compared to other types of batteries, it stores a colossal amount of charge. Unlike conventional car batteries, it doesn’t need charging frequently. In general, the lifespan of Li-ion batteries is very short, around 3-4 years.
This type of battery has hardly any maintenance charge. Unlike SLI and Li-ion batteries, these are sealed and cannot be serviced. Hence, once the battery life expires, it needs to be replaced. Moreover, the application of this battery is a very short burst inside the car.
How to charge a car battery with an inverter?
Do you know a smart inverter takes lesser time than the regular charging method?
However, it is better not to use inverters frequently. Even though it is simple to use, it might affect both the battery and inverter. If you are in a hurry or have no option available, you can give it a try.
Let’s learn the process thoroughly:
It is almost like other charging systems. Turn off the power while setting up the connection. After that, hook up the positive and positive cable and terminal together. Follow the same to join the negative points. If you can’t find the positive cables that match the color of the ports.
Once you finish the primary setup, you can move on to the next. Generally, home inverters utilize direct power from electricity. Again, check the connection twice before you turn on the power. If it’s fine, then proceed to a power supply.
Remember, in here, the inverter term is used under a different meaning. This home inverter or else smart inverter does not convert DC to AC. They convert AC to DC. This is a whole different type of inverter than you found in the solar system. By the way, there are some hybrid solar inverters, which can use electricity as a power source and then charge the battery as well.
Caution: if you connect the wrong cable, the battery might explode.
So, the home inverter generates a high power supply. Hence, it generally takes 2 to 3 hours to charge the battery completely. Try not to exceed the stipulated time. Eventually, it will impact your car batteries.
Points to follow while charging your car batteries:
- Turn ON the main supply and turn OFF the inverter. This way, you can restore power backup with a car battery.
- It is better not to use any cable extension. It means, when you hook up the two points, make sure you are not using any third-party connector.
- Do you have a multimeter? If yes, use it to monitor the reading of the dead batteries. If the battery is less than 10 volts, it needs to be taken care of. In that case, it is ideal not to use them to charge high voltage batteries.
- Likewise, you can monitor the reading of both the battery output terminals for safety because SLI batteries need 12-13 volts.
P.S: if the inverter generates a high current rating and equal voltage rating (with battery), it is likely to charge fast.
So, you can see using an inverter for a car battery is convenient. Moreover, it charges the car battery faster. In fact, if the voltage matches; you can charge the battery within an hour if not two. I hope you find this information helpful.
The following FAQs add more insight into this topic:
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we change the Car battery at home?
Yes, you can charge your car battery at home using a compatible car battery charger or using a capable home inverter.
Can we charge the car battery overnight?
Yes, usually car battery can be fully charged after an overnight charging cycle. With a floating charging available charger, you can leave the charging system the entire night without any harm.
Is it safe to charge a car battery with an inverter?
If your inverter has the capability to charge car batteries (lead acid), then it’s safe to charge.
How to charge a car battery at home without an inverter?
You may need a smart car battery charger to charge your car battery without an inverter. If you know electronics well, then using a capable power supply and a multimeter will do the job too.
How long to charge a car battery with a home inverter?
The charging time will depend on the capacity of your battery and charging inverter. Usually, a 100A lead acid battery will charge fully, within 12 to 16 hours.
Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as a Solar Electrical Engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies.
He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research.
He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website.
Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.