View original topic: Charging & jump starting a 6 volt battery?
atlaw4u Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:27 am

Can I use the same battery charger I use on my new cars (12 volt) for my 6 volt battery. Also, if I get in a bind out on the road is there any problem getting a jump start from a 12 volt car?

69judson Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:47 am

The charger I have. (Got it at Pep Boys) Has a switch that can be changed from 12 to 6 volts so it will charge both types.

Not sure if you can jump start a 6V with a 12V?

mmilliganclark2 Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:24 am

atlaw4u wrote: Can I use the same battery charger I use on my new cars (12 volt) for my 6 volt battery. Also, if I get in a bind out on the road is there any problem getting a jump start from a 12 volt car?

I wouldn't recommend jumping a 6v with a 12v. I think there was a thread on this once. Try doing a search. But I would recommend jumping a 6v with a 12. It might burn up some of your 6v relays and switches.

Lars B Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:56 am

Of course you should not jumpstart a 6 Volt car with 12 Volt..
And still ive done it many of times (Ok Ive owned a lot of junk cars).

The important part is not to connect the cables permanently.
Connect the plus pole to both batteries.
Then connect the negative on the 12 Volt battery.

And now for the important part Do NOT connect the negative cabel to the 6 Volt battery, instead try to find another grounding point.
Since the gases from the battery can give quite a big bang, if you are unlucky.

Get a friend to ground the cable at the same time you turn the engine over. And remove cable directly when it starts.

billmetric Wed Oct 04, 2006 3:22 pm

Yes, can't be too careful around batterys, they blow up on a regular basis, I have been around several when other people blew them up, even seen a few self destruct in cars while they were driving around, I have jump started a lot of 6 volt cars off 12 volts, I usually try not to when at all possible, I was driving my 6 volt '55 Beetle year round in northern PA for a few years and I used to carry around an extra 12 volt battery for starting when the temps were below 20 or so, I would install the 12 volt battery in place of the 6 volt, start it up quick then remove the battery and let the generator power everything up without the battery for a few seconds then reach back there and swap the 6 volt battery back in, one night I tried doing this in the dark and thought nothing of it till a few days later I looked back under the seat and noticed that the 6 volt battery was installed backwards ... apparently swapping the battery in backwards while the engine was running must have reversed the fields on the generator and it just went right along as if nothing had happened, the car ran fine for almost a week like that before I noticed it, didnt seem to do any damage in fact several electrical things worked better afterwards, I swear this is a true story !

rlevans Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:09 pm

Yes I had an old SHELL brand battery (from the 60s) blow up near my head when I was removing it, just because I ticked the wrench on the fender when loosening the positive cable. (ever been trap shooting?) :shock: BOOM :shock:
Do everything you can to find another connecting point other than the top of the battery and remove it quick after it starts and you will be fine.

Erik C Lindgren Thu Oct 05, 2006 9:44 pm

I must confess that jumping a 6 with a 12 is a bad idea. Battery Explosions, fried relays, scorched starter motors, the list goes on.

However.. :-k I have seen this done and have done this on many antiques out at the buildings. The deal is you need a helper.. Yep I know what you are going to say, "YOUR CRAZY!" Yes, but once you turn the key or hit the self starter button depends on the car with the "near-dead" 6 volt battery have your friend touch the positive terminal with the "hot" 12 volt jumper. YES, be sure to ground that on the frame or engine, in the cases I have used this technique on a 21, 29, 34 and 51 Chevy, and the same with a 22 Ford. The list goes on.

But the idea is very BAD.. I would get another 6 volt battery and keep it charged and use it as a back up. But by all means do not hook up the 12 volt system to your 6 and let it shove that current into a "non-taxed" starter circuit. The idea is "IN AN EMERGENCY" to get the starter switch turned on and allow the Starter to draw current then add the 12 volt assist. But just long enough for it to pop off and run.

I know this is a bad deal but it does in a pinch in some 7-11 parking lot at 12 at night, after your headlights and marker lights sets the voltage regulator to stick you in the ass with a dead battery.

Good luck, but get a 6 volt charger.. I think Sears still has them, along with some "better" auto parts shops. Check with Hemmings, and or Eastwood Company.. And others, I am sure a 6 volt battery charger is out there. Often times we Vee-Wee guys must venture into the other Antique car markets for goodies.

Cheers :D

ssbn659 Fri Oct 06, 2006 5:39 am

OK, I'm still pretty new to the VW and as a matter of fact just drove my 57 back from the shop after 5 months, but I have had other standards before and it seems to me that the safest thing to do in an emergency other than use a 6v system is to roll start the vehicle. Get it rolling and pop the clutch, probably use 2nd gear if you have the old nonsynchro tranny.

Hey, if I'm wrong please feel free to correct me. I really don't mind. I'm here to learn also :D

ssbn659 Fri Oct 06, 2006 5:44 am

By the way that's the first time I drove the car other than up the driveway to the garage :-)

How do you edit a post? I would have edited the prior post but I'm not sure how. Anyway happy motoring.

coad Fri Oct 06, 2006 6:13 am

Please don't try jumping a 6V car with a 12V battery.

You might get away with it but it isn't worth the risk. Battery acid burns are horrific. Before you're tempted please click the disgusting and NSFW link below and think again:


A friend of mine burned his face with an exploding battery in High School. He thought he knew what he was doing too.

53 0val Fri Oct 06, 2006 6:20 am

On your way through Blyth, Ca., you could always steal one. :wink:

Erik C Lindgren Fri Oct 06, 2006 9:13 am

These good fellas are right you know. DO NOT JUMP a 6 with a 12. :!:

Plan ahead and you will not get stuck. When we attend the vintage tours like the Glidden Tour this last month we always have extra 6 volt batteries, even those 2 foot long monsters that we use in the old brass cars. BUT YES BY ALL MEANS I WOULD SUGGEST not trying anything stupid like jumping a 6 volt with a "hot" modern 12-18 volt 2000+ car or SUV.

Our babies are too important to us, and besides like the good friend said, ACID BURNS suck! :D

Kind Regards

79SuperVert Fri Oct 06, 2006 10:09 am

Just went and got myself a spare 6v battery. Until I read this thread it never occurred to me what I would do if my 6v battery needed a jump start.

atlaw4u Fri Oct 06, 2006 12:28 pm

My battery has left me stranded a few times but luckily I was able to push start it.

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