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Constant-current charging simply means that the charger supplies a
relatively uniform current, regardless of the battery state of charge or
temperature. Constant-current charging helps eliminate imbalances of cells
and batteries connected in series. Single-rate, constant-current chargers
are most appropriate for cyclic operation where a battery is often required
to obtain a full charge overnight. At these high rates of charge there will
be some venting of gases. Positive grid oxidation will occur at elevated
temperatures or extended overcharge times. Normally the user of a cyclic
application is instructed to remove the battery from a single-rate,
constant-current charger within a period of time that permits full charge
yet prevents excessive grid oxidation.
Another type of constant-current charger is the split-rate charger.
A split-rate charger applies a high initial current to the cell and then
switches to a low rate based on time of charge, voltage, or both. The
choice of switching method and switch point may be affected by the relative
priority of minimizing venting (early switching) versus maintaining good
cell balance (later switching). In some split rate chargers, the charger
will alternate between the high and low rate as the battery approaches full
charge. Split-rate chargers are useful when the discharge cannot be
classified as float or cyclic, but lies somewhere between the two
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Last Updated: Monday, December 03, 2007 - 6:04 AM Eastern Time.