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Intelligent battery chargers


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Ive been using a variety of chargers to keep my motley collection of vehicles in 'Volts' (and amps), But being naturally 'close' (tight, cautious, Northern ) I've always used the Aldi / Lidl chargers - based on 'Folklore' that these were a rebranded CTEK charger.

They are not!

I borrowed a CTEK charger for a week, and brought back to life a variety of batteries 

I have 3 Land Rovers, S1 to Puma. (she has a BMW that never causes a problem) a VW T4 camper (plus 'leisure' battery) a VW  Fox (for when the girls are back home) a variety of Golf trolleys (with batteries, owned by the BMW driver) a whole load 12V Computer / server batteries which I was hoping to make into banks and replace the Jump Starter, and leisure battery, and 3 lawn mowers with batteries (although 2 of them don't have mower decks, so technically are not lawn mowers)  So with this may vehicles, I have a couple of 12V compressors which also need power.  This is a lot of batteries!

Life on top of a cold, rural, and exposed hill has taught me that every vehicle not in daily use needs a trickle charger, but the Aldi / Lidl chargers do not resume in the event of the mains being interrupted they revert to stand-by.  luckily the CTEK charger doesn't  revert to  'Doing F-all' when the mains fails, it just picks up on where it was before, 

I have 6 Aldi / Lidl chargers, that trickle charge the vehicles,  - but they don't bring dead batteries back to life.

I have a small pile of batteries that the Aldi / Lidl chargers didn't resuscitate, waiting to go to the scrappy, so I tried the CTEK MXS 5.0 on them, it brought half of them back to life, some had been out there for year.

 Worth pointing out though:  The CTEK charger cost almost as much as the Aldi / Lidl chargers put together.

If anyone is still reading, I have 2 questions:

1      For the smaller batteries, is there a way of making a simple test rig to see how much charge they hold and for how long?

2      Can anyone recomend a simple trickle charger, that wont over-charge the batteries, but will resume after an interuption in the mains

thanks B
 

CETK.JPG

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when i had my trayback disc i used 2 of these

https://www.bhl.co.uk/polco-ebsc0006-smart-battery-charger-6-amp.html

 

for the two winch batterys. they are Very good imho, not too smart for their own good but smart enoughh to not cook a battery.

 

i got them from tesco direct myself but they appear to no longer be avaliable.

Edited by qwakers
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  • 2 years later...

I used my CTEK MXS 5 battery charger to 'renovate' my daughters' Fox battery - which it did - going from going flat in 24 hours, to 5 starts in 3 hours with less than 10 total metres of travel, having been left out in the snow for 5 days.  That is the third out of 6 'lost cause' Batteries that the CTEK has rejuvenated - 50% isn't bad - across a range of batteries: Leisure, compact car,  Defender.  (I've ignored Lawnmower and literally dozens of Computer 'life expired' UPS 12V batteries) 

This performance is measured against about 8 Aldi or Lidl 'intelligent' chargers - that trickle charge the Land-Rovers, camper, and cars, at around £12 each they are cheaper than most/all the simple trickle chargers - but fail to rejuvenate, and more irritatingly if the mains fails they revert to standby.

This would indicate that you get (more or less) what you pay for, a hard lesson for someone as notoriously 'tight' as I am!

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Cant comment on completely dead batteries, but I have three of the Lidl chargers, and they have all packed up within the guarantee period. Couldnt be bothered to claim on them, but will not buy another cheap one.

However, they have yielded up some nice medium duty insulated crocodile clips on shotgun leads !

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36 minutes ago, smallfry said:

Cant comment on completely dead batteries, but I have three of the Lidl chargers, and they have all packed up within the guarantee period. Couldnt be bothered to claim on them, but will not buy another cheap one.

However, they have yielded up some nice medium duty insulated crocodile clips on shotgun leads !

Haha - same as me (although mine lasted a little longer).

I bought the 10amp CTEK about a month ago and have been impressed with it so far. I have a couple of large dumb battery chargers but its nice to have one that I can leave on a battery indefinitely.

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On 3/4/2018 at 4:15 PM, qwakers said:

just had a look about i paid £39 but they seems to have gotten hard to find and expensive...

this eing two years later and having had said chargers for two years i have to withdraw my recommendation. they lost their smartness in about 18 months. still work fine as long as you treat them like dumb chargers.

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I recently claimed on my Ctek guarantee. The charger has a 'mode' button which you use at switch-on, to cycle through the battery type (AGM or normal), car or motor bike (assume thats 12/6V) and recondition or not. It hardly ever got pressed and then when I did need it to change from AGM, it took loads of fiddling to get it to change over.

I couldn't open the case without probably breaking it so I looked for my receipt. Fortunately I keep the eBay purchase emails and it was just a few weeks inside the 5 year guarantee. The eBay website doesn't offer you the transactions older then a couple of years or so but having the email showed me the seller (PayPal didn't have enough information either). The seller was still on eBay and still selling Ctek stuff so I sent a message.

Very quickly I received a reply asking me to return the unit and it would be sent on to Ctek who would then instruct. Only a week or so later I was told that a new unit would be sent out. 

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A friend needs a new battery for his RRC V8 that's only used occasionally. He kept it permanently hooked up to a cheap(ish) trickle charger, but the battery was completely dead, even the CTek wouldn't try recharging. I can't help but wonder if the not so intelligent charger might have killed the battery, it was barely 2 years old. 

Another friend with a Disco2 that sat idle for a couple of weeks just mailed to say that a couple of hours on the CTek (after a failed attempt to start) was enough to ensure a quick start, even on this cold morning.

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I've got the MXS 5 one for the 90 and a smaller one for the motorbike and I'm really pleased with them. I've still had to replace batteries which were old (bike was probably original at 10 years and one of the ones in the 90 was probably 10 too) but they have certainly lasted longer with the chargers on them. 

Would definitely recommend them.

If you're just looking for a trickle charger which will turn itself back on after a power cut could you use one of the CTEK motorbike ones? Probably don't need 5amp charging for that kind of use?

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On 1/5/2021 at 7:26 AM, Peaklander said:

I recently claimed on my Ctek guarantee. The charger has a 'mode' button which you use at switch-on, to cycle through the battery type (AGM or normal), car or motor bike (assume thats 12/6V) and recondition or not. It hardly ever got pressed and then when I did need it to change from AGM, it took loads of fiddling to get it to change over.

I couldn't open the case without probably breaking it so I looked for my receipt. Fortunately I keep the eBay purchase emails and it was just a few weeks inside the 5 year guarantee. The eBay website doesn't offer you the transactions older then a couple of years or so but having the email showed me the seller (PayPal didn't have enough information either). The seller was still on eBay and still selling Ctek stuff so I sent a message.

Very quickly I received a reply asking me to return the unit and it would be sent on to Ctek who would then instruct. Only a week or so later I was told that a new unit would be sent out. 

That same problem happened on mine, but although it started to deteriorate whilst in warranty it became unusable when out of warranty by several months and they didn't want to know. Bought a new one, and a year or so down the road with it this one is starting to show the same problem. Works great though but those switches are pants.

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I had one of the CTek  3.8(?)a ones. It seemed to work well then started playing up - but I had let it bake on the dash so I can't really blame the product. That too was an issue cycling through the options.

I was just about to purchase another (though 5 or 7a) as the defender is struggling to start but I am now wondering if a set of glow plugs may be a better purchase!

I must admit I have an Aldi one and I am happy with it, but did wonder if the CTek would prolong the life of the battery. Do the CTek ones actually work at restoring batteries?

Edited by Dr Strangeglove
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On 1/5/2021 at 8:37 AM, Escape said:

I can't help but wonder if the not so intelligent charger might have killed the battery, it was barely 2 years old.

Yes!

Lead Acid batteries don't like continuous trickle charging.  A good alternative is a regular charger on a 7 day timer set to charge it for a couple of hours a week.

The CTek chargers are about as good as they get - and will only charge the battery when needed, automatically.  Best alternative to a trickle charger is a low current (low cost) CTek.

I also have a Halfords 'Automatic' charger which uses a very similar charge profile to the CTek - and they are very cheap when on offer.  It's not as good bringing shagged batteries back to life but for the money, it's great.  I use one of these for standby 'trickle' charging.

Also, avoid the cheap solar chargers people sell - guaranteed to damage your battery (long term) as they tend not to have any inteligence built in.

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5 hours ago, Dr Strangeglove said:

I had one of the CTek  3.8(?)a ones. It seemed to work well then started playing up - but I had let it bake on the dash so I can't really blame the product. That too was an issue cycling through the options.

I was just about to purchase another (though 5 or 7a) as the defender is struggling to start but I am now wondering if a set of glow plugs may be a better purchase!

I must admit I have an Aldi one and I am happy with it, but did wonder if the CTek would prolong the life of the battery. Do the CTek ones actually work at restoring batteries?

A Tdi shouldn’t need glow plugs to start even in mild freezing conditions, only Arctic conditions, so the battery or charger seem  a good priority.  But if you’re having to crank the engine for a while to start it, it’s like the fuel system at fault, probably air getting in through a tiny leak in the upper part of the system and letting the fuel drain back to the tank.

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9 hours ago, Dr Strangeglove said:

Do the CTek ones actually work at restoring batteries?

I'd say they do. Difficult to prove, as I have no way of knowing exactly how bad a battery was before reconditioning or if it would have pulled through with a normal charge as well. We have had several old batteries that seems unusable but lasted for a good while after reconditioning with the CTek. So my point of view is that the charger has paid for itself that way.

I should also point out of the 4 Cteks we've had none had problems with the button. My dads old one did die, it was first used in his boat and about 10 years later put to work in the garage. It just stopped while charging and smelled burned. I think at the time it was hooked up to a large battery in a desperate attempt to bring it back to life. It was only a small 3.0 one IIRC, and the battery might have been out of its range. The 8.0 I used to have in the Shop survived me driving over it with a Range Rover. No longer IP66 after that, but fully functional. I replaced it with a 10 after the fire and have been very happy with that for the last 6 years. It already saw plenty of use this winter, with good results. 

Filip

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Got the Ctek mxs 10 (12v 10a) so simple and reliable to use as has been said.

Very pleased! Connect and forget (up o a point)

I only got this one because of the useful comments on here about AGM batteries on our Discos that could not be charged properly unless the charger was at least 8amp (iirc)

These have a separate setting for them as well...

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A question for the better informed in this group - Looking at the CTEK and similar intelligent chargers - they seem to have 'pulsing' as part of their range of functions.  What effect does this have on newer vehicles where they have lots of electronics that are running all the time?  Engine management systems, Alarms, ICE, Trackers, - how do these stand-up to being 'pulsed'  when laid-up being trickle charged? 

 

Thanks 

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Most of those systems will be powered down with the ignition off, so isolated from the battery, but the battery isn’t just an energy reservoir - it acts like a voltage damper for the whole system (which is why you shou,d never drive a vehicle with the alternator running and battery disconnected).

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1 hour ago, Oakmaster said:

A question for the better informed in this group - Looking at the CTEK and similar intelligent chargers - they seem to have 'pulsing' as part of their range of functions.  What effect does this have on newer vehicles where they have lots of electronics that are running all the time?  Engine management systems, Alarms, ICE, Trackers, - how do these stand-up to being 'pulsed'  when laid-up being trickle charged? 

 

Thanks 

I've always disconnected the battery when reconditioning with the CTEK for that reason. Most vehicle electronics should be able to take it, but still...

Regular charging shouldn't be pulsing, so should be ok.

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Yes, I believe the heavy pulsing is for bringing deeply discharged batteries back from the dead, and is not for use on batteries that are connected.  I think some chargers do some softer pulsing for installed batteries, but all within the tolerance of vehicle systems.

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17 hours ago, Snagger said:

 if you’re having to crank the engine for a while to start it, it’s like the fuel system at fault, probably air getting in through a tiny leak in the upper part of the system and letting the fuel drain back to the tank.

Ah, ok! As I am a total novice regards spannering, is there a thread you could direct me to that may help me through trying to sort this.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

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