Battery Equivalents and Replacements

Schumacher SC1281 2/6 Amps 6/12V Fully Automatic Smart Battery Charger and 30/100 Amps Engine Start Booster

Schumacher SC1281 is a fully automatic, microprocessor-controlled battery charger, maintainer, desulphator, engine start booster, and battery and alternator tester in one device.

Schumacher SC1281 is a very popular device due to the automatic nature of the operation, its versatility, its safety features, and a rather acceptable price.

Published: February 22, 2021.

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Schumacher SC1281 Battery Charger Features and Specifications

Schumacher SC1281 battery charger is intended for charging lead-acid batteries including wet/flooded, AGM, and Gel-cell batteries - it should NOT be used for charging lithium batteries.

Physical dimensions of the unit are 7.25 x 10.75 x 11.13 inches (~18.5 x 27.3 x 28.3 cm) and it weighs 12.65 pounds (~5.73 kg).

Schumacher SC1281 battery charger features a control panel with a digital display providing the current status of operation:

- '%': estimated charge percentage of the battery connected to the battery charger clamps.

- Voltage: voltage at the charger clamps, given in DC volts.

- Charging Status LEDs: charging (yellow/orange), charged/maintaining (green), clamps reversed (flashing red), bad battery (red).

Error codes are also displayed, ranging from the F01 to F06, warning the user of various problems with the battery and/or charging process.

The control panel also features several control buttons, including:

- Rate Selection Button: 2-6 Amps for charging small batteries, 30 Amps boost for quickly adding energy to deeply discharged batteries prior to the Engine Start, 100 Amps Engine Start provides additional current for cranking and engine with a weak battery.

Note: Schumacher SC1281 battery charger should not be used for starting the internal combustion engines without the battery - it is not a classic 'jump starter', it is more like a battery jump booster.

- Start/Stop Button: used for starting the battery charging process. If the button is not pressed, but the battery is detected, the charging process will start automatically within 30 seconds.

- Battery Type Button: used for selecting the battery type and it includes Standard, AGM, and Gel-Cell battery types.

Obviously, as a battery charger, the Schumacher SC1281 is not suitable for charging the large inverter batteries (or battery packs) - it is intended for charging smaller starting, dual-purpose, and deep-cycle batteries, up to 60-70 Ah using several charging modes (bulk, absorption, equalization, desulphation, and maintenance), prolonging the batteries operating life.

Personally, for batteries larger than 60-70 Ah, stronger battery chargers are required.

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Note: Schumacher 1281 battery charger is a relatively simple device to use, but when it arrives, be sure to read the manual in order to get accustomed to your new charger. Also, keep the manual close and if required, recheck the manual - Schumacher 1281 comes with many, very useful features, but some of them are used rarely.

Additional features of the Schumacher 1281 battery charge include:

- Engine Start Booster: first, Schumacher 1281 charges the battery with 30 Amps in order to increase its voltage (so-called surface charge). Second, when the actual engine start is detected, Schumacher 1281 increases the current up to 100 Amps to aid the battery with the engine start. If You have never done this with Schumacher 1281, be sure to check the actual steps in the manual - very important!

- Battery Tester allows the user to check the battery voltage of both 6V and 12V batteries. However, note that the Schumacher 1281 is somewhat sensitive to the battery's surface charge - even deeply discharged battery after 30 Amps boost may read voltage high enough to mislead the user that the battery is full.

Note: Schumacher 1281 acts as a Voltmeter, not as 'classic' battery tester that draws, for example, 50/100 or even more Amps from the battery, measuring its performances.

- Alternator Tester allows the user to test the voltage of the car's electric system when the engine is turned ON and the alternator is powered by the car's engine. Again, Schumacher 1281 is basically acting as a Voltmeter.

schumacher sc1281 mLong Story Short: All in all, Schumacher 1281 battery charge is a rather versatile unit that can come extremely handy in many situations.

However, it is not perfect:

- maximum charging current is relatively low (6 Amps),

- clamps could be sturdier - after all, they must be able to withstand 100 Amps for short periods of time. And they do, but if only they were a little bit sturdier,

- surface charge can cause battery voltage reading errors - if the battery is discharged and the charging process has started, don't stop and start the charging process.

Other than that, Schumacher 1281 is an excellent and affordable fully automatic battery charger/energy booster.

For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check Schumacher SC1281 Battery Charger Amazon link (link opens in the new window).