A: A simple or 'dumb' charger will not destroy your IMA battery pack. There has never been a single instance of a 350mA simple charger setting a car on fire.
Don't be fooled by fear driven sales tactics. Monitoring of any charger is needed, perhaps once an hour, sometimes more at the tail end of the balancing phase. Our charger has easily interpreted information that will tell you when it is in the 'filling' phase and when it is in the 'balancing' phase. When the voltage display is climbing, the charger is in the filling phase. When it is balancing, the voltage will hold steady or oscillate slightly.
As a general rule of thumb, balancing should be done for 12-18 hours after filling during the initial session, and 4-8 hours after filling is complete on subsequent sessions. As long as the charger has IMA battery cooling capabilities, charging too long (longer than 24-30 hours) will NOT destroy your battery, but it is simply not needed as the battery will be completely full and balanced. As with any charger, you do not want to leave it on the car for weeks on end, as that could result in unwanted battery damage. Charging/Balancing should be done once every 6-8 weeks for a typically used OEM battery. It's that easy. There are of course variations to this depending on the age and health of your IMA battery but these guidelines have been widely known and accepted for a long time.
A simple/dumb charger and an 'advanced' charger will both charge and balance your IMA battery in the exact same manner. We agree that data logging and auto-shut off are nice features. There are many people (especially on this forum) Hybrid Automotive considers 'advanced users' who want to know the amp-hours being loading into their IMA batteries and get some information about "how healthy" their battery pack is. They are willing to pay a premium to get this information. However, most people do not feel it is worth the 100%+ price increase necessary to obtain a charger that has this functionality. They simply want to keep their IMA battery working well for as long as possible in a cost effective manner.
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