> I have a 12v car battery that is dead as a doornail because the car hasn't
> been run in a long time. It is also dry, or at least very low. So I filled
> the cells with distilled water, and hooked up the leads (the ground lead to a
> bolt on the engine), checked the charger to be sure it was set to 12v, and
> plugged it in. Ammeter goes to max, and the charger trips out. Suggestions?
> There is no adjustment on the charger, just plugged in or not.
You might try seeding the battery cells with electrolyte taken from
another good battery. If the battery was dry then a fill of distilled
water would make the charger unable to function, some acidity is needed
for the reaction to take place. I am no electrical engineer but that has
helped in the past. Once the battery has taken charge a pulse charger
may help to restore its condition.
As Randall says you should be prepared to get a new one. It's debatable
how much messing is worthwhile with a sick battery. These things always
fail when they are most needed.
You might check the charging rate of the car. A battery doesn't usually
dry out of its own accord when left unused, although if you're from
Phoenix temperature may come into play.