When using a VRLA or Lithium battery for any type of application, it’s important to ensure you choose a suitable battery charger. If your battery is unable to be properly charged, it cannot operate at its peak performance.
There are a number of factors to take into consideration when choosing a charger, such as using the correct charging algorithm for your battery, the correct size charger, the correct output plug and the correct technology type.
Another variable to be mindful of is whether a fan cooled battery charger, or a convection cooled battery charger, will be better suited to your needs.
In this blog post, the experts at Valen take a look at how these two charger types work as well as some of the advantages and disadvantages of each. These advantages and disadvantages may vary between individual battery manufacturers, but the following is a general outline of the key differences between fan and convection cooled chargers.
Fan Cooled Battery Chargers
As the name implies, fan cooled battery chargers have an internal fan which cools the electronics within the charger. You can generally tell apart a fan cooled charger by the air ventilation holes on the charger casing. Without a fan, the internal electronics will overhead during charging and fail.
- A fan cooled motor always provides airflow over itself regardless of whether it is stationary or partially enclosed.
- The internal fan cooling takes up far less space, so these chargers are often smaller in size than convection cooled models, making them ideal of use in situations where space is limited.
- Fan cooled chargers are often less expensive than a convection cooled alternative.
- All fans generate noise, so fan cooled chargers may not be desirable in situations where batteries are going to be charged indoors, such as when charging mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs.
- The increased airflow through the motor, which is caused by the fan, will cause dust to build up and can potentially destroy the battery charger functionality. Routine maintenance is required to keep the filter clean.
- As there are air ventilation holes, the charger isn’t completely sealed. In cooler climates, the heat of the internal electronics attracts vermin. The air ventilation holes allow vermin access to the internals of the charger. Vermin often cause internal short circuits resulting in charger failure.
- The fan inside the battery charger is usually the least reliable component in the unit. Failure of the fan will result in the electronics overheating and failing.
Convection Cooled Battery Chargers
A convection cooled mechanism is where generated heat is transferred from the hot device by the flow of the air surrounding the object. So convection cooled battery chargers have no moving parts.
The most apparent physical difference of a convection cooled battery charger is the large protruding fins on the side of the casing which increases the surface area and in turn increases the rate of heat transfer.
- The fully sealed unit prevents outside objects such as dust and vermin from entering the internal cavity.
- They are ideal in situations where protection from water, dust, dirt or mud is necessary.
- Convection chargers have a longer life span due to not having moving parts.
- Temperatures are more controllable and consistent leading to longer electronic life.
- These chargers usually have a slightly larger footprint than fan cooled chargers.
- A convection cooled charger will run warmer compared to a fan cooled charger and shouldn’t be touched during full output.
- They are more expensive than fan cooled models due to the larger casing.
Need further advice about battery chargers?
If you’re unsure which type of battery charger is best suited to your needs, talk to the experts at Valen. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have and to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different charger types. Simply click here to get in touch.