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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > General E90 Sedan / E91 Wagon / E92 Coupe / E93 Cabrio > Poll - How many people use a trickle charger?



View Poll Results: How many people use a trickle charger on their cars?
Yes, I use a trickle charger. 48 52.75%
No, I don't use a trickle charger. 31 34.07%
What the heck is a trickle charger? 12 13.19%
Voters: 91. You may not vote on this poll

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      04-02-2013, 06:25 PM   #1
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Poll - How many people use a trickle charger?

So I'm wondering, just how many people use a trickle charger? And why do you use it? ie. Use it only when not driving the car for long periods. or Use it because you don't drive far? (If so, what is your daily commute in round trip miles?)
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      04-02-2013, 07:04 PM   #2
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I use one because I don't drive my car for long periods, like whenever there is snow on the ground. I also have two other vehicles. The salesman told me when I bought it that if it wasn't going to be driven for a while a charger was a good idea.
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      04-02-2013, 07:18 PM   #3
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Winter storage.
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      04-02-2013, 07:19 PM   #4
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Been using Deltran Battery Tender Juniors for over 10 years on my generators, diesel truck and BMWs. Tried Walmart brand trickle charger before that and worked for a while then failed...
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      04-03-2013, 10:20 AM   #5
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great idea if in storage or you dont drive it everyday...

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      04-03-2013, 10:36 AM   #6
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I use a trickle charger occasionally, generally only if I get an excessive battery discharge warning. My car tends to sit idle for as much as a week at a time (I'm away a lot), and the car is mostly used for relatively short trips - less than 10 miles usually - so the battery is often not fully charged. I throw the trickle charger on overnight and that fixes it.
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      04-03-2013, 10:41 AM   #7
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My stepdad uses one for his vert during the winter. I think it's called cytek
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      04-03-2013, 10:47 AM   #8
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I dont, but in storage setup maybe but mine is Daily driver so I have no need for that.
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      04-03-2013, 11:12 AM   #9
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When it's really cold (-30 C) I learned that I need to use the trickle charger that was pre-installed under the hood, so I do! Most of the time though I don't need it. I drive my car every day. If I was going on vacation for a week or something, maybe I'd plug it in just to be on the safe side.
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      04-03-2013, 11:36 AM   #10
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Retired don't need to drive that much

Retired don't need to drive that much most of the year .
Use a beater for Windsurfing and other water sports most of the time. I might top of the battery once every two weeks.
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      04-03-2013, 11:45 AM   #11
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I use my trickle charger every month due to the shorter commutes in traffic preventing a good charge.

Also use it on the 2nd weekend car that sees less mileage.

Lastly, I use it the day before I go to a drive-in theater to ensure my batteries are good for the full movie. The car stereo actually sounds pretty good, even with the movie in FM stereo broadcast only. Cuz of the enclosed car environment.
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      04-03-2013, 12:06 PM   #12
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I have a Battery Tender, but have only used it when we were going to leave the car sitting for more than a month. Left it for 6 months once while we were overseas, and started up first couple cranks when we got back.

OTOH, I wound up not using it for a 6-week trip out of town last fall, and the car still started fine when we got back.
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      04-03-2013, 01:06 PM   #13
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Thanks for the comments all!

The reason I made this Poll is because I have been having problems with my battery. My car was only about a year old when I received my first "Battery Charge Level Low!" warning. I just drove it a bit and didn't think about it.

Then it happened again. I was going to call the dealer but had a service coming up so I thought I'd wait. Right before my visit, before the car was even 2 years old, my comfort access stopped working and I received an "excessive battery discharge" warning. The dealer checked the battery, said it was good but low on charge and charged it. They also told me to make sure I always lock my car, even when it's in the garage with the top down. Seemed silly / stupid to me but I did it anyways.

Less then a month later, I get a "Battery Charge Level Low!" warning again. Very frustrated I take it back to the dealership. The dealer checked it again, said it was good but low on charge again and then charged it again for me. I was also told that my driving profile doesn't allow the battery to fully charge and the dealer recommended I buy and use a trickle charger. I later found that they also turned off all the lighting (DRL, Pathway, etc) without informing me of the changes.

I was very confused by that statement since I had done the same commute for about four years prior to the BMW and NEVER had a problem in my Audi A4 which already had an old battery. My commute is driving 9.7 miles, about 21 minutes with a mix of city streets and freeway, each day to and from work (about 19.4 miles / 42 minutes a day total). I find it had to believe this isn't long enough since my Audi handled it without issue and my wife's commute in her Honda CRV is only an extra 1-2 miles. The CRV is a 2009 with it's original battery.

It's gotten so bad that I can even let me wife listen to the radio while I go to the ATM. Before I even return the car will throw a "Battery Charge Level Low!" warning and shut off the radio. It takes less than a couple of minutes to hit the ATM so this is just crazy!


Quote:
Originally Posted by orionredwing View Post
I use my trickle charger every month due to the shorter commutes in traffic preventing a good charge.

Also use it on the 2nd weekend car that sees less mileage.

Lastly, I use it the day before I go to a drive-in theater to ensure my batteries are good for the full movie. The car stereo actually sounds pretty good, even with the movie in FM stereo broadcast only. Cuz of the enclosed car environment.

NO WAY!!! You can actually listen to the stereo during an entire movie! WOW! I can't even spent 2-3 minutes at the ATM.


So it seems most people that use the trickle charger use it since they don't drive the car. This is understandable to me since this is exactly what I used to do with my CBR954RR that sat in the garage most it's life.

I just never expected that driving ~20 miles per day would still require a trickle charger. I probably won't have bought the car if I knew it would.
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      04-03-2013, 01:19 PM   #14
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I use it since this is not my dd. I used it on my Mustang too, but primarily in the winter when it was sitting in the garage. Now I use the charger for the Bimmer year round.
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      04-03-2013, 01:59 PM   #15
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My commute is zero. I travel for a living, and work from home in-between trips. I also have five other vehicles. Sometimes my BMW sits for weeks on end, especially in the summer when the convertibles come out to play. So I put it on the charger. My Alfa has one too. So far the others have not shown a need.

For that matter, the BMW seems quite happy to sit for weeks (occasionally I forget to plug it in) but given the cost of battery replacement it only makes sense to take the extra effort.
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      04-03-2013, 02:05 PM   #16
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One thing to keep in mind, as part of their "Efficient Dynamics" program BMW does things a little differently with the charging system than most cars. They intentionally try to run the alternator as little as possible, the idea being that they then run it very hard while coasting or stopping. This saves gas - think of it as a very, very, very, very mild hybrid system. But I can see why short commutes can be a problem. Great theory, possibly not the best execution. There was a fascinating white paper on this floating around the forum a year or so back, but I can't find it now.

Note that this is also why there is the whole battery registration thing - the computer needs to know the state and what size/type the battery is so it doesn't go too far in that hard charging.
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      04-03-2013, 02:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krhodes1 View Post
One thing to keep in mind, as part of their "Efficient Dynamics" program BMW does things a little differently with the charging system than most cars. They intentionally try to run the alternator as little as possible, the idea being that they then run it very hard while coasting or stopping. This saves gas - think of it as a very, very, very, very mild hybrid system. But I can see why short commutes can be a problem. Great theory, possibly not the best execution. There was a fascinating white paper on this floating around the forum a year or so back, but I can't find it now.

Note that this is also why there is the whole battery registration thing - the computer needs to know the state and what size/type the battery is so it doesn't go too far in that hard charging.
Thanks for the info. I started digging around and found out about that too. The BMW's Brake Energy Regeneration system apparently only charges the battery "when you take your foot from the accelerator or apply the brake", therefore even if you are driving the car it may not be charging the battery!

They even acknowledged that "today's vehicles require much more electrical energy than older models, due to the much wider array of electric and electronic on-board comfort and safety systems", yet they think allowing the generator to only be active at certain times somehow makes good sense????

Needless to say I'm disappointed in BMW.
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      04-03-2013, 02:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_milo View Post
It's gotten so bad that I can even let me wife listen to the radio while I go to the ATM. Before I even return the car will throw a "Battery Charge Level Low!" warning and shut off the radio. It takes less than a couple of minutes to hit the ATM so this is just crazy!
I say your battery is low. You can try a trickle charger to see if that resolves this, but if it doesn't its time for a new battery.

My car used to shut the radio off after a few mins. 1st time I took it to the dealer, they charged the battery and said I'm okay. It happened again 2 weeks later and I told them I was using a trickle charger, so they finally replaced the battery. I also drive a lot, so my driving profile didn't concern them.
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      04-03-2013, 02:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_milo View Post
Thanks for the info. I started digging around and found out about that too. The BMW's Brake Energy Regeneration system apparently only charges the battery "when you take your foot from the accelerator or apply the brake", therefore even if you are driving the car it may not be charging the battery!

They even acknowledged that "today's vehicles require much more electrical energy than older models, due to the much wider array of electric and electronic on-board comfort and safety systems", yet they think allowing the generator to only be active at certain times somehow makes good sense????

Needless to say I'm disappointed in BMW.
I'm not disappointed in them at all. I think this is a great feature, and it contributes to the fact that my car gets simply astounding fuel economy for its size and performance capabilities (and the way I drive it). One of the reasons we buy BMWs is for the advanced technology, but sometimes being on the bleeding edge can cut you a little bit. I bet the F3X has fewer of these sorts of issues as they have probably improved the system. To put the efficiency into perspective, my tiny little FIAT Abarth is only getting 2-3mpg better both city and highway than the BMW. And it is 1000lbs lighter...

If I wanted boringly reliable I would drive a Camry.

I will say, *I* think there is something wrong with your car and the dealership just has not found it yet. You probably had a wonky battery almost from the get-go from the sound of it. As I said, I often use my car less than you do yours, and even if I don't plug it in I have no issues. I am just doing it so the battery lasts longer. I hope you find the issue!
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      04-03-2013, 10:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_milo View Post
My commute is driving 9.7 miles, about 21 minutes with a mix of city streets and freeway, each day to and from work (about 19.4 miles / 42 minutes a day total). I find it had to believe this isn't long enough since my Audi handled it without issue and my wife's commute in her Honda CRV is only an extra 1-2 miles. The CRV is a 2009 with it's original battery.
i bought my E90 330i in 2011 and i think it got its battery replaced before i took ownership. so my experience may not be representative of your experience. however, i DD my E90 and commute 10 miles round trip, city driving, approximately 10 to 15 min. no low battery issues.

maybe what you're experiencing is the battery cable recall? i've got an 06 and apparently, not part of the recall. http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=804545
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      04-03-2013, 11:28 PM   #21
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I am fortunate to have a company paid vehicle, the M5 and Dodge 3/4 4x4 diesel are not daily drivers and fairly much stay on Deltran Battery Tenders.This is the one that I use -> http://batterytender.com/products/fa...emisphere.html
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      04-03-2013, 11:30 PM   #22
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ummm, Mike Miller recommends not using a 'trickle charger' due to the fact it will overcharge the battery. In fact, he recommends you stay away from them. He recommends using the Deltran battery tender plus, which is not a 'trickle charger' for extended periods of a few days or more.
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