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Discussion Starter #1
My 2005 Elise came with a trickle charger attached to the battery, but I have never used it as the battery was brand new and up until my recent accident (still in the shop), I drove many times per week. Now that the driving season is coming to an end, I started looking at the manual for the trickle charger. I was surprised to see that there are so many warnings about hydrogen explosions! It's quite nerve wracking as I've never used one of these devices before. To make matters slightly worse, my battery is enclosed in some sort of box in the trunk of my Elise so I'm unable to see it. That confined space also makes me consider the possibility of hydrogen build up.

How do you know if a trickle charger is functioning properly? Do you take precautions for hydrogen build up? It would be an awful mishap to have something go terribly wrong while your car is just sitting still on a charger.


Thanks for any advice!
 

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2005 Elise LSS Saffron Yellow
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OK, step 1: relax. The lawyers make them put the explosion warnings in for any battery charger. You're not going to have this problem.

Step 2: what make and model of trickle charger is it? I'm guessing it's something like a battery minder or a battery tender. If so, really all you need to do is hook it up and go - the lights will tell you if it's happy or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OK, step 1: relax. The lawyers make them put the explosion warnings in for any battery charger. You're not going to have this problem.

Step 2: what make and model of trickle charger is it? I'm guessing it's something like a battery minder or a battery tender. If so, really all you need to do is hook it up and go - the lights will tell you if it's happy or not.
It's a Duracell charger, but I'm at work now so dont have the model information handy. What bothers me the most is that my battery is sealed in some sort of box (is everyone's Elise like this?) which does not allow for much airflow so the possibility of hydrogen build up seems high.
 

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2006 Lotus Elise BRG
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Do you know what kind of battery is in the car? If it's a sealed battery like an Optima you don't have any concerns. And if it's not sealed, leaving the engine cover open should be all the ventilation you need.
The box covering it isn't airtight. It's just to protect from items in the trunk ending up on the battery. The whole back of it is open.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Do you know what kind of battery is in the car? If it's a sealed battery like an Optima you don't have any concerns. And if it's not sealed, leaving the engine cover open should be all the ventilation you need.
The box covering it isn't airtight. It's just to protect from items in the trunk ending up on the battery. The whole back of it is open.
Not sure what kind of battery it is, but I would be shocked if it is anything other than a sealed one. I have not seen a non-sealed battery since the 1970's!
 

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Maybe poor choice of words. The stock one is not spill proof allowing acid to escape the vents during spirited driving. The Optima is spill proof and does a better job of not out gassing. My stock flooded battery didn't have a vent tube on it, not sure if it ever had one or if the previous owner didn't bother hooking it up when replacing the battery. It did have acid all over the top of the battery. Luckily it hadn't made it any further.

Bottom line is that if you aren't overcharging the battery you'll be fine. I don't know much about the charger you have but assume it's a smart charger that goes to a float voltage when the battery is fully charged.
 

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2005 Elise LSS Saffron Yellow
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Not sure what kind of battery it is, but I would be shocked if it is anything other than a sealed one. I have not seen a non-sealed battery since the 1970's!
Erm, the vast majority of car batteries sold are still standard flooded lead acid (FLA) types with removable caps. The caps are generally a three-cell condenser type, but they pop off with a screwdriver just fine. On cars with the battery in the engine compartment, I top up the electrolyte with distilled water once a year or so to replace water lost by electrolysis and (mostly) evaporation.

Relatively few cars ship with a sealed battery of some sort - Miatas and Priuses (the 12v battery) come to mind, but as SLA batteries come down in cost they have gotten more common. They're generally spec'd for situations where the battery is in the passenger volume, as with the Miata (trunk) or the Prius (depends on year and model, but never in the engine bay).

That said, a true sealed battery is an awesome idea for any car - particularly for a car with the battery outside of the engine bay like an Elige. They're very common upgrades (mine came with a Batteries Plus SLA battery when I bought it).

@TERIB - the cover comes off the battery, and then you can get a look at it when you stick your head in the trunk. Alternatively, you can stick your cell phone in the trunk above the battery and take a picture after you get the cover off. There are a few situations where you want a particular charger for a particular battery, but most of the time you'll be fine.
 
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