Batteries, testing and charging - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-05-2017, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Batteries, testing and charging

I posted most of this on another thread. However, while playing with my new toys, I decided this probably deserved its own thread.

A couple weeks ago I watched three videos from Kent at MercedesSource concerning battery life, charging, testing and reconditioning.

I was so impressed with the videos that I upgraded my equipment.

My old charger served me well for the last 35-40 years and still works fine. It was probably as heavy as any non-wheeled charger you could get when I bought it, weighing perhaps 35# and capable of starting a vehicle/tractor with a completely dead battery. For testing I had a battery hydrometer and a load tester. However, times and technology have changed.

Kent was using a Ctek US 7002 charger/reconditioner/maintainer and a Solar BA-7 battery tester.

I shopped for smart chargers, narrowing it down to the Genius and Ctek lines, eventually deciding to spend the additional $30 to get a Ctek MUS 4.3, and for a tester, I stuck with the Solar brand and found a bargain on a BA-9.

Part of my reasoning in buying the new equipment was discussion in the videos of the squirrely behavior of newer cars with batteries which no longer meet specs. I was having odd behavior from my 129 and though neither of my SLs failed to turn over and start I thought it worthwhile.

By yesterday, I had both pieces of equipment and began playing with them.

My Silverado, with its two year old battery, tested good as I expected. It was nice to have a baseline to "test the tester".

The results on the SLs were not so positive. I began by charging and reconditioning the battery in my SL500, after which, it showed bad. As for my 380SL, on testing it said I should charge and retest, which I'm in the process of doing, but I expect it to fail as well.

One of Kent's conclusions concerning battery life was that perhaps we should consider replacing batteries when they reach 4 years old. I suspected the battery in my Silverado was on its last legs 6 months before it failed. Had I been able to test it properly, I might have avoided the inconvenience.

After saying all of that, perhaps I should let the other shoe drop.

I bought the 380SL in 2008 with a new battery and my SL500 in 2010 with a battery of unknown age... and I've never replaced either of them!

I suppose you could say that they were both past due and both cars will be getting new batteries!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 06:28 AM
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Alan,
Don't throw away that old charger!

I think I may have posted about my 300D battery that went down to zero volts. This because the driver's seat belt stopped the front door from closing and the courtesy light was left on. I have two "smart" chargers. Neither of them would even start to charge the dead battery. However my very oldest manual charger got the voltage back up to about 7V and then I switched to the larger "smart" charger. I did a couple of load tests with Schumacher and battery tested as almost perfect. Used battery for several months on my old diesel without a problem (now disconnected while away for winter).

Our E320 is hooked to the smaller "smart" charger while stored. The car has an OBDII gizmo from insurance company that monitors driving habits. But it also checks battery condition and I can read that on-line even while away! Battery is fully charged it says! (Without the charger, the ECU & other electronics would run it down in 2 or 3 weeks)

I don't have the cTek chargers. One is a compact cTek knock-off that was sold at Canadian Tire and the other is a larger marine "smart" charger that can do all sorts of things including desulphation which my dead battery probably needed.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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The old charger is safe... IMO it's fine for older equipment or batteries out of the car. I even took it out of the case, repaired the cables and power cord, and cleaned all the dust out of it this past winter!

Good point. If the battery is "dead" most smart chargers will refuse to charge and simply say it is bad. I recall one/some that I looked at with a mode which bypassed that initial test and would charge completely dead batteries. The only other feature this charger is missing is the supply mode which is used to supply power to the electronics when changing batteries, but a 9v transistor battery and some clips will do that.

I'm typically the guy who buys the knock-off, but I decided to go with the name brand as the price difference was negligible.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 02:15 PM
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Yea..yea... I know this is almost like asking "which type oil to use" but the had an unusual slow start on my 560SL this morning after it was sitting for a month or so. Battery is an Energizer (850 Cranking Amps) and dated 10/06 so guess i'm good with it lasting 13 years.

So any consensus on what what brand/type to replace it with? Would be whatever they higher end one is.

Autozone has a Duralast Platinum Battery in stock (900amp - 160 reserve min) for $195. Go Optima but they do not make them to fit that I can tell. Car is petty original but not seeing MB offering a branded replacement.

Again. Know this is like asking about oil (or tires) but don't see anything recent on the forum about batteries. That i could find any way.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by CavallinoRed View Post
Yea..yea... I know this is almost like asking "which type oil to use" but the had an unusual slow start on my 560SL this morning after it was sitting for a month or so. Battery is an Energizer (850 Cranking Amps) and dated 10/06 so guess i'm good with it lasting 13 years.

So any consensus on what what brand/type to replace it with? Would be whatever they higher end one is.

Autozone has a Duralast Platinum Battery in stock (900amp - 160 reserve min) for $195. Go Optima but they do not make them to fit that I can tell. Car is petty original but not seeing MB offering a branded replacement.

Again. Know this is like asking about oil (or tires) but don't see anything recent on the forum about batteries. That i could find any way.
Here are couple of choices. When shopping for battery most important thing is weight. Heavier the better.

https://www.interstatebatteries.com/products/mtx-49/h8

https://www.batteriesplus.com/productdetails/sli49agm
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by CavallinoRed View Post
Yea..yea... I know this is almost like asking "which type oil to use" but the had an unusual slow start on my 560SL this morning after it was sitting for a month or so. Battery is an Energizer (850 Cranking Amps) and dated 10/06 so guess i'm good with it lasting 13 years.

So any consensus on what what brand/type to replace it with? Would be whatever they higher end one is.

Autozone has a Duralast Platinum Battery in stock (900amp - 160 reserve min) for $195. Go Optima but they do not make them to fit that I can tell. Car is petty original but not seeing MB offering a branded replacement.

Again. Know this is like asking about oil (or tires) but don't see anything recent on the forum about batteries. That i could find any way.
Everstart at WallyWorld. I put them in everything as a replacement battery. I got 10 years out of the last one in The PIG. Not bad since it gets stored for 6 months sometimes at -30C and driven in +30C. LOL.
And the price was right!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 09:13 PM
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Thanks Nobby/Witek_M!

I'll look into those options. Nobby. Never would have thought to look to Wally for one but they do rate pretty high. Great price as well.

Although I know I'm lucky on this battery as came with the car when I bought it about 10 years back so was not shocked at the slow crank today. Always has been a bump of the key to start kind of motor but was impressed that with so little juice left the thing barely turned but was still able to fire up.

Then after seeing the 10/06 sticker I certainly don't have a problem with the replacement.

And I know basic logic and the fallacy of causal cause it, is odd that as long as I've owned my current 107 i never bothered to hook it up to a trickle charger over the long Colorado winters. Always brought a smile to my face that after sitting under cover for 4+ months, it would start on the second revolution.

But last winter I had an extra battery tender so figured "what the heck" and hooked it up. Wondering if keeping the old brick topped off took the last of whatever platting was left.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2019, 05:44 AM
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I put tube testers and battery testers in the same category.

Nobody gets out of this life alive.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2019, 06:08 AM
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So any consensus on what what brand/type to replace it with?
A lot would depend on how you drive your car. If you do a lot of out of town driving Walmart or Autozone would be a good choice. Hard to go anywhere without seeing one or the other...
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2019, 06:13 AM
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Tube testers?! You're taking me way back to when I owned a tube-amp for my guitar.
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