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12 Volt Car Battery Charger Circuit Schematic

Unlike many units, this battery charger continuously charges at maximum current, tapering off only near full battery voltage. In this unit, the full load current of the supply transformer/rectifier section was 4.4A. It tapers off to 4A at 13.5V, 3A at 14.0V, 2A at 14.5V and 0A at 15.0V.

Circuit operation:

Transistor Q1, diodes D1-D3 and resistor R1 form a simple constant current source. R1 effectively sets the current through Q1 – the voltage across this resistor plus Q1's emitter-base voltage is equal to the voltage across D1-D3. Assuming 0.7V across each diode and across Q1's base-emitter junction, the current through R1 is approximately 1.4/0.34 = 4.1A. IC ensures that Q1 (and thus the constant current source) is turned on.

Related Products: BatteriesBatteries

When the battery has fully charged, the current through IC drops to a very low value and so Q1 turns off (since there is no longer any base-emitter current). R2 limits the current through IC. It allows enough current to flow through the regulator so that Q1 is fully on for battery voltages up to about 13.5V. Decreasing the value of R2 effectively increases the final battery voltage by raising the current cutoff point. Conversely, a diode in series with one of the battery leads will reduce the fully-charged voltage by about 0.7V.

Circuit diagram:

12 Volt Car Battery Charger Circuit Diagram

12 Volt Car Battery Charger Circuit Diagram


Resistors * R1 = 0.32R * R2 = 8.2R
Capacitors ** C1 = 10,000uF – 63V
Semiconductors * D1 = 1N4004 * D2 = 1N4004 * D3 = 1N4004 * Q1 = MJ1504 * IC = 7815 REG * BR1 = 1N4004×4
Miscellaneous * B1 = 12 Volt Battery


  • Charger's input voltages are 20 volt AC
  • R1 and R2 are high wattage resistor like 2W, 3W, 5W and could be above. Select wattage on your choice.
  • Q1 and IC requires a good heatsink. If they are mounted on the same heatsink and will throttle the circuit back if Q1 gets too hot.

Comments on this post:

Paul Cowgill
By Paul Cowgill (0) 0Score: 

3 years ago:  I am having problems finding data sheet for the MJ1504
transistor, if someone could give me link, also looking for equivalent for it..

Timileyin victor

2 years ago:  Does it work after construction?

Sudheer Gupta

2 years ago:  It is one of the very useful circuits in real life. Well explained. I have seen another advanced level circuit for this project in the post: http://www.electronicshub.org/car-battery-charger-circuit/. This circuit seems very easy to understand and use it. Thanks for sharing.

sanjay kumar Rajagopalan

1 year ago:  What is the Amp value for input current?

Robert Alvarez

1 year ago:  This is very nicely explained and it gives a whole idea about the car battery charger and the different circuits connected within it. This will definitely help the auto professionals. No doubt about it. As a test engineer, I follow this site about all the new updates and these are excellent. Last year my Mercedes showed some major technical issue while commuting and I took it to <a href="http://motronix.net/services/mercedes-repair/"> the most trusted and fully experienced repairing center in South Florida and they give the expert service with a very reasonable price.

Chris Khik
By Chris Khik (0) 0Score: 

8 months ago:  this is great! thanks. i do have a few questions.
(1)Does this mean i can leave a lead acid battery permanently connected?
(2)Can i use a series of relays to modify this circuit into a back up supply for when ac power is off?

i am planning to make an autogate control board so i plan incorporate this circuit. i basically need to charge a 12v battery and supply power to an arduino(12v to 5v step down obviously). the battery will only kick in when there is power loss. otherwise the battery will always be connnected. I very much appreciate any advice.

emily lopez
By emily lopez (0) 0Score: 

5 months ago:  Currently car batteries are coming to market with so many options and same goes to cars also. There are many ways where one can charge the battery properly. but should be careful always to use right battery cables and check the cable monthly wise. http://www.slideshare.net/upscaleautomotive/all-about-your-car-battery-and-its-care

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