The Battery Brain
We tested the Battery Brain, a product made by Smart Energy Solutions, Inc. It is an electronic accessory that attempts to solve some age-old problems with batteries, namely: slow discharge, unexplained drain, and abnormally short lifetime. It also promises to be a very good way to disconnect the batteries on collector cars that might not get driven for weeks or months at a time. Doing so prevents dead batteries and potential short circuits on these old cars.
Does it work? Well, yes it does. We've installed one and tested it for over 30 days so far, and it has proved to be reliable and quite useful. It takes a lot of hassle out of battery maintenance, especially for those who routinely disconnect their batteries or use a cutoff switch, both of which involve somewhat tedious attention to detail and the potential for breaking the battery post or the soft lead connector on the cable.
We found it took about 15 minutes to install the device on our battery (some cars like Corvettes might not have sufficient room for one, so measure first) and all necessary hardware was included to accommodate a large range of applications, whether the battery is a top-post or side-post type. There's extra wire provided for cars that need a constant voltage source (bypassing the battery disconnect function) for such things as memory-type radios and theft alarms.
The idea behind the Battery Brain is simple: electronically monitor battery voltage and prevent its discharge beyond a certain "safe point." Its internal circuitry isolates the battery from energy drainage, whether it is due to lights or other electronic devices left on or a faulty relay or alternator in the car.
The Battery Brain mounts to the battery positive post and the battery cable mounts to the output post on the Brain. The Brain also has a ground wire that attaches to either the negative post or a suitable ground on the body. This completes the circuit that the internal electronics need to keep activated.
Our test device is the Battery Brain III, which comes with two remote switches that can be kept on your keychain. The remote signals the Brain to turn the battery on or off electronically, which is quite impressive when you push the button for the first time. Being able to disconnect the battery with a remote also adds another level of theft-protection when you park a classic car and walk away from it. There's another level of protection, too, if you forget to disconnect the battery and something shorts in the wiring system. The Brain will detect the discharge and shut off the battery, most likely before the problem becomes a catastrophe. The Brain also has its own on-off switch on the unit itself for those wishing to manually control the device.
We find the Battery Brain to be a very welcome addition to the garage. It adds another measure of protection for all cars and a huge amount of convenience for those who like to use battery disconnect switches on collector cars. The remote is a dandy feature that we got used to very quickly.
You can find Battery Brain at: www.batterybrain.co.uk.