Charging a battery can help extend the battery's life and potentially save you money. During the process of charging the battery, you may accidentally mix up the cables and put the wrong one on the incorrect terminal. When this happens, it could damage the battery as well as other associated electrical components.
When charging a battery, it is important to connect the cables to the proper terminals. Connect the red cable to the positive terminal on the battery, and the black cable to the negative terminal. If you connect the red cable to the negative terminal and the black cable to the positive terminal, several problems may result.
If you reverse the polarity of the charger to the battery, the battery may explode. It may also cause the battery to stop holding a charge permanently. When this happens, you will have to buy a replacement battery. When a battery is damaged, you need to dispose of it properly, as it could leak acid.
Damage the Charger
When you connect the cables directly to the battery, it may damage the charging system in addition to the battery. If you have a battery charger and connect the incorrect cables to the terminal, it could send the incorrect type of polarity into the charger. This could lead to the charger being damaged permanently, then being unable to charge batteries again. Sometimes, it will only partially damage the charger and the charger will charge at a slower rate.
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In addition to damaging the battery, connecting the wrong cable can damage the electrical components of anything that the battery is connected to. For example, if you leave an electrical device plugged into the battery while you connect it to the charger, it connection may short out the electrical components of that device. If this happens, wiring and other components may need to be replaced before the device can function again.