A deep cycle battery is an extremely powerful and long-lasting battery that is helpful for several applications that require sustained power. But by definition, construction and application, deep cycle batteries are different from regular batteries. So, can a deep cycle battery be charged with a regular charger?
No, using a regular charger for charging a deep cycle battery will cause long-term damage to the battery. A regular charger is meant to generate a lot of heat so it can quickly charge regular batteries that lose charge faster. A deep cycle battery cannot withstand that heat and requires slow charging instead.
If you are still curious about what a deep cycle battery is and how it is useful in different situations, the following sections will elaborate for further clarity:
Table of Contents
- Difference between Deep Cycle and Regular Battery
- Frequently Asked Questions
Difference between Deep Cycle and Regular Battery
A deep cycle battery is one that provides a sustained charge over a long time before it discharges and needs to be recharged again. This is a lead battery that runs in a sustained fashion until it is about 80 percent discharged. This is why it is referred to as a “deep cycle” battery, as it stands in sharp contrast to other kinds of batteries that provide short bursts of energy before they have to be recharged again.
A deep cycle battery is ideal for applications that require sustained energy and cannot do with regular batteries that provide only a quick start, then need to be recharged. So, golf carts, marine applications and recreational vehicles, for instance, would require deep cycle batteries.
A regular battery, on the other hand, provides quick bursts of energy that is just enough to start a motor or turn on an engine. A car battery, for instance, is a perfect example of this. It will provide the appropriate amount of energy to start the engine off. This energy is then restored by the alternator of the car. A car battery would not be used to almost 80 percent of its capacity.
It will give out a lot before that and you will have a dead battery on your hand. A bad alternator or if you leave the hazard lights on by mistake can do that to your car battery.
Now that you know the main difference between a deep cycle battery and a regular battery, the difference between how they are charged will also become clear.
Can a Deep Cycle Battery Be Charged with a Regular Charger?
The short answer is, no. A regular charger produces a lot of heat to charge the batteries fast. This is because regular batteries lose charge at a much faster rate than deep cycle batteries, so they also need to be recharged accordingly. A regular charger produces a lot of heat at once in order to charge the battery to its fullest.
However, when it comes to charging a deep cycle battery, a slow charge is preferred to a fast one. When you use a regular charger to charge a deep cycle battery, it might work in the short term but you will not be charging the battery to its fullest capacity. Eventually, the battery could become permanently damaged.
A deep cycle battery has not been built to handle rapid charging and intense heat. If you use a voltmeter, it may reflect that the battery is fully charged but it would not have reached its full capacity. Instead, a slow charge is a preferred way of charging a deep cycle battery, for which you need a special battery charger meant for this type of battery.
Typically, a deep cycle battery charger may even use a tapered method of charging, where more current flows into the battery when it is more deeply discharged. As the charge increases and the battery reaches closer to full charging capacity, the charging speed is slowly tapered off so that the charging time may be optimized.
In a nutshell, if you want a deep cycle battery to have a longer life and use it to its fullest capacity, invest in a specialized deep cycle battery charger instead of causing permanent damage with a regular charger.
Frequently Asked Questions
As is expected, there may still be questions about how best to take care of a deep cycle battery. The following sections will attempt to answer some of those questions:
What Amp Should I Charge My Deep Cycle Battery?
A deep cycle battery charger may have a special charger that can support a range of amp outputs depending on how discharged the battery is. Typically, outputs for 5 amps, 10 amps and 15 amps may be useful bets to have.
If, for instance, the battery is deeply discharged, the 15 amps output may be used at first and then you can switch it to a lower amp for a sustained charge. Since a deep cycle battery takes such good care of you, it is also important to give the battery the right kind of care by charging it correctly and at the right time.
Is It Ok to Use a Deep Cycle Battery in My Car?
Yes, you can use a deep cycle battery in your car but in doing so, you will be reducing the life of the deep cycle battery. It is better utilized in situations where a device requires sustained power instead of short bursts of power. So, marine applications, recreational vehicles or perhaps even as a secondary battery for the subwoofer in your car may be a better fit than using it as a primary battery for the car.
What Is the Advantage of a Deep Cycle Battery?
The biggest advantage of a deep cycle battery is that you can use almost up to 80 percent of its capacity before it discharges. This means that the battery will provide energy for a long time and you can usually wait for it to get almost fully discharged before you need to charge it again. It is ideal for use in applications that require sustained energy.
How Do You Charge a Deep Cycle RV Battery?
While a recreational vehicle is a motor vehicle, there is a lot more happening in such a vehicle as compared to a regular car. For starters, several appliances need to be powered in a recreational vehicle so that it may be fit for travel and living. Imagine you are on a road trip in your recreational vehicle, but you need to keep stopping every few hours to charge because the washer, dryer, air-conditioner, television, etc. in the vehicle are zapping your battery.
With a deep cycle battery, this will not be the case. Make sure that the vehicle is parked on level ground and that all the appliances inside are turned off when you charge the batteries. You will also need a converter for changing the AC power source into DC power for the battery.
Is Deep Cycle Battery Better?
While it might seem like a deep cycle battery is the better choice since it retains the charge for much longer than a regular lead-acid battery, it may not always be the case.
For instance, a car needs only a short burst of energy from its battery before the alternator takes over. In that case, the deep reserves of a charge that a deep cycle battery has are of no use. Similarly, since it takes so long to discharge, it also takes a very long time to recharge. So, using a deep cycle battery in applications that actually require a battery of this kind is the best bet.
When Should You Use a Deep Cycle Battery?
As described above, a deep cycle battery should be used in applications that require sustained energy instead of short bursts of power only to turn the engine or get the motor started. A few good examples of such an application is a golf cart and a forklift, both of which rely on the battery having a long charge so that they can function for a long time without needing to recharge.