Is CTek all it is said to be?

Hi all

I have a Ctek charger that I bought based on advice from this forum and others. I also inherited a Projecta 7 stage charger and I compared their notes and spec's

The projecta's leaflet explains quite simply the different charge rates for Gel, AGM etc. and it has a selection switch for you to set the battery type.

On the CTek however there is nothing to select Researching theforum, the popular answer is that CTek is advanced enough to automatically detect the battery type and adjust it's charge rate accordingly.

I suspect however that it is a popular answer only by owners who has to justify spending big $$ on a charger. Reasons for my theory:

1) There is no mention at all on the CTek leaflet about the charger using different charge rates for different batteries. The Projecta specifies and uses different Voltages for different batteries
2) All the CTek leaflet says is that it suits "most" battery types. In one section it doesn't even mention AGM as one of the "most"
3) Also I measured the Voltage during charging at different stages, once for a wet cell and once for my AGM. There was no difference in the Volts

So is there anyone who can shed some light on the CTek's suitability for my new Fullriver AGM?

BTW I have the CTek 15 amp model and the Projeccta 10 Amp

Cheers,

CJ
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Reply By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 08:41

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 08:41
I have to agree with you CJ.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Notso - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 09:43

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 09:43
Probably doesn't help your batteries to much, but doesn't it make you feel good that you "Bought the best"
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 10:06

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 10:06
Notso, I'm sure it's no worse than the vehicle alternator but, yeah, "Ctek" ... great name! Makes me feel good. LOL

Incidentally, was just looking at it and printed on the charger itself is "8-STEP CHARGING". Don't know where they get that from! I'll hunt up the instructions and see what that says.

Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 09:44

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 09:44
I would have to disagree.

The instructions do differentiate between "Normal" and AGM type battery charging and also Gell vs AGM.

NORMAL mode (14.4V) is recommended for "wet" batteries, MF and for most Gell batteries.

SNOWFLAKE mode (14.7V) is recommended for charging at temperatures below 5 deg C and for many (most) AGM batteries.
In the case of AGM batteries, the specification of the battery will tell you if it can accept a higher than "normal" voltage.

In short, the CTEK is definitely suitable for your Fullriver AGM.

I have a CTEK Multi XS 7000 (7 amp) charger which I use in "SNOWFLAKE" mode on my 100 Ah REMCO AGM and also on the 75 Ah Thumper, also an AGM type battery pack.

I also own a Projecta multi-stage 15 amp charger but rarely use it any more.


Bill.
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 10:32

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 10:32
The ctek 15000 which the OP is comparing doesn't have the "snowflake" mode. :(

Andrew
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 15:25

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 15:25
Ah! thanks Andrew.

I'm a bit surprised the 1500 and 25000 models doesn't have the "Snowflake" feature.

I must say the 7 amp charge rate of the XS 7000 is suitable for the majority of my needs and is quite compact in size.

I find I only need to use the CTEK to top up one of the battery packs or place them on float charge on rare occasions. Both are capable of being charged at the same time by the vehicle alternator when travelling.
I generally leave the 100Ah Remco in the vehicle to run the fridge while travelling and swap over to the Thumper at camp, where it is used for the fridge (removed from vehicle) and lights. The Thumper is supported by an 80 watt bi-fold solar panel and will run the fridge "indefinitely" in my experience. The Thumper is also considerably lighter than the 100 Ah Remco and thus is more "portable".
If the Sun doesn't shine for me (hasn't happened yet) I have the option of another 100 Ah supply of the Remco/ABR Flyer pack either in the vehicle, or removed, or charging one pack via the alternator if absolutely necessary.

No bloody generator for me:-)


Cheers,
Bill.

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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 18:55

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 18:55
Quote: "No bloody generator for me:-)


Cheers,
Bill. "

hahahahaha...G'day Sandman,

I just got back from NSW. Xmas Day and Boxing Day we had a total of 100mm rain, then another 53mm on the Monday...... My little Yammie did a great job of keeping the beer and Jim Beams nice and cold......not real sure how a solar panel would have coped. It was still quite warm, so I did want to keep some energy going into the batteries. The gennie's "noise" was drowned out by the rain on the canvas (I love camping in the rain.......NOT).

No bloody solar panels for me:-)

hahahahaha (happy new year mate)

Roachie
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Follow Up By: Member - Damien L (Cairns) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 22:34

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 22:34
I'll drink to that Roachie
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 22:54

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 22:54
Hey there Bill,

Yeah I hear what your saying Mate. Each to their own hey?
Perhaps my view is "coloured" by an experience I once had at Blanchtown.

Picked a Caravan Park on the other side of the river that allowed dogs and we chose an unpowered site down on the flat on the banks of the Murray.
A great spot, until a family arrived in a Van and set up camp about 100 metres away.
When it got dark the old bugger fired up his Genny to run the TV and a couple of Arc lights to illuminate his camping area.
It wasn't an Inverter type like yours.
We could hear the TV as well, even though they were sitting outside for a while.
Nice enough oldish couple who were trying to "entertain" their grandchildren, but they had no idea whatsoever of camping etiquette.
Fortunately they moved on the next day.

I have tried to set up in a way that avoids the need for a Generator, although I have a load two stoke jobbie my brother gave to me, ex CFS equipment. It has sat in the shed unused since I inherited it and will stay that way.
I could use it at home in the event of a longish power failure I guess.

Anyway Mate, good to hear from you. Happy New Year to you, Annette and the kids.


Bill.
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Reply By: RV Powerstream P/L - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 11:09

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 11:09
Well some people are starting to realise that it is all marketing hype that the cTek is the best.

A true smart charger has selectable charge rates for the different types of batteries such as the following.
Open lead acid 14.8V
Gel Exide Specs 14.4V
Sealed Lead Acid & AGM 14.4V
Gel & AGM Usa Specs 14.1V

The difference with the 14.4V settings is the absorbtion times and all settings have differing float charge.

A true smart charger analyses the state of charge of a battery and set the bulk charge time accordingly.

A fixed timed bulk charge is not a true smart charger so a claim for the Best in the World should not be stated for one of those types of charger.

So does Cteck earn the statis of the Smartest or best not in my book.
Ian
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 11:21

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 11:21
Yes Ian, I must confess to being somewhat surprised and dismayed upon receiving my Ctek to find it had no selection for battery type. Could it be so smart as to "just know" what battery is connected I wondered? Nah, doubt it! Fortunately, both my cranking and flooded deep cycle batteries are of the same genre so for the time being at least it matters little.

But in future I need to do better research and not just be swayed by the drums of marketing and people who espouse promotion without adequate skill and knowledge.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 11:23

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 11:23
Ian,

Can you give a recommendation for a good charger equivalent to the 15A ctek one? I've been looking at your site, though I can't work out all the many confusing statements (by all manufacturers it seems :)).

I was thinking of something around the ProSport 20 plus due to load sharing etc, though i take it you don't supply them. Is the Protechi1220 similiar (without being waterproof etc)? I can't find any technical details on them eg. charging voltages etc.

Andrew
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Follow Up By: Marty-VIC - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 12:29

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 12:29
Ctek is marketing hype and high price. Tech pointed out had heaps AC ripple and did no good for battery. Flogged off Ctek
Bought the best Xantrex Truecharge2 direct from US for landed in Oz $325. Same charger in Oz $500 or about that. Found with the Truecharge have more battery capacity available.
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Follow Up By: RV Powerstream P/L - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 12:33

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 12:33
Andrew
The Pro Sport plus is basically a charger for charging three x 12V batteries 1x24V&1x12V or 1x 36V for electric trolling set ups in boats.

The Protechi is a multiple outlet charger that at 10A can charge two banks with all units about 10A having three outlets.

The outlets are not fixed Amp delivery the battery connected that needs the most power will get it and as its charge rises the other banks will increase their charge until all banks are equal.

By this method you can use a larger charger successfully as if one bank is getting excess charge it is only temprary as the resistance will limit the input and the other banks pick up an increase.

If you want more info email me and I will discuss whatever you need.

Actually IMHO the smartest charger is not an AC charger but an Alternator to Battery Charger that is capable of the best charging regime with battery type selection and temperature compensation and due to the continuing strength of the Dollar has come down in price from the 1st of January and is the only one in the world capable of using all the spare capacity of the alternator.
Ian
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Follow Up By: RV Powerstream P/L - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 12:40

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 12:40
Marty
I hope your charger is marked with the necessary Australian approvals.

ProtechI are covered by Energy Safe Victoria V080752 and CTick (EMC) N4292.

Ian
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Follow Up By: Marty-VIC - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 13:17

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 13:17
Ian of course the Xantrex Truecharge2 is approved in Australia. You would know that only to well but you let your commercial interests get in the way of fact and you have to try and have a dig. I dont reply with any commercial bias or interest. Check all the links and approvals

Feature for feature known proven heritage. Ian if you do your research and homework you should buy a Xantrex Truecharge2 if you need a quality battery charger.
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Follow Up By: RV Powerstream P/L - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 13:28

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 13:28
Marty
I do not know that and I asked a genuine question of concern so instead of attacking me as biased why didnt you just quote the approvals as I have done if you are so sure of yourself and that would have shut me up.

I dont have to do homework about something when someone wants to dribble on they should back what they say up themslves.
Ian

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Follow Up By:- Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 14:03

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 14:03
@ CJ,

to answer your original question:
yes, the ctek will charge your AGM, but not to its maximum available capacity at the shortest possible time.

Reason for this is (as pointed out by others) the lack of a 14.7V boost voltage, it only goes to 14.4V.
As you measured the output voltages when charging for flooded and AGM, I assume both time it only went to 14.4V.

As current asian made AGM batteries are designed for boost voltages of around 14.7V, the implications of the lower 14.4V boost are as follows:

At 14.7V boost, the battery is capable of restoring 108% of its rated capacity in 13.8 hours, if charged at the 0.1C rate (10% of rated Ah).
At 14.4V boost, the charger can only restore 95% after 15 hours, at the same current rate.

The above figures are for a totally discharged battery, and the times represent the end of the absorption stage.
These times will be shortened by higher charge currents, but there will always be a time advantage of the 14.7V charger versus the 14.4V unit @ equal max currents.

In other words, your 25A 14.4V charger is only capable of performing like a 20A 14.7V charger on these popular type of batteries.

Looking at this the other way around, for a 14.4V charger to restore 108% of capacity, it'll take around 24 hours, versus 13.8 hours, which is quite significant if you use a gennie to power your charger.

The gennie will have to be run 1.7 times longer with the ctek versus a 14.7V charger if you want to restore the maximum amount of charge.

@ Marty,

one product being sold and marketed in Australia with all the compulsory Australian approval markings, may look identical to the one you imported yourself.
Fact is, that for insurance purposes, this 'grey' import will NOT be classified as Australian approved, because it simply doesn't carry the approval numbers.

Reason for this can be a non approved power cord, or some missing electro magnetic filters, or the lack of power factor correction, or sub standard internal components like non fire rated, and so on.
Just relying on the 'big name' itself doesn't mean all products of the same model are of the same high standard and quality, as the manufacturer adjusts the amount of investment depending on the destination markets' quality requirements.
Every Australian importer has to have the models tested by an accredited lab, and only if it's found to be compliant in ALL aspects, then he'll be given the ok to use the appropriate approval signs/numbers. There are heavy penalties for non compliance to these regulations.

Best regards, batterymeister
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 00:22

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 00:22
My Ctek 2500 has 3 different modes available, Normal. Reconditioning and Supply.

Reconditioning mode for deeply discharged batteries that allows the charger to go as high as 15.8V at a rate of 3 Amps for 4 hours or for a period of 30 mins in normal mode.

So according to the charger specs the unit is capable of a higher voltage than what is constantly mentioned by posters who claim only 14.4V.

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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 00:24

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 00:24
Sorry that should have been, CTek 25000 left off one zero :-)

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Reply By: Member - Ryan S (WA) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 13:24

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 13:24
I have a CTEK Multi XS 15000 and it charges three of my batteries that are all different without issue. If you never inherited the Projecta then you wouldnt be justifying your own purchase of the CTEK. Before you used the Projecta was the CTEK doing the job fine? If the answer is yes then the product is working.

Don't check the Volts that it is pushing through to the different battery types, check the AMPs

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Follow Up By: CJ - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 16:19

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 16:19
Ryan

Yes happy with a CTek, but how does that answer the question? How can you tell by looking at a nice plastic box with limitesd LED or other information that it is doing the job fine?? Yes it works, yes it charges my battery ok, but does it do it PROPERLY, to the battery's maximum potential, without reducing battery life? Sorry but I can't tell.

I unfortunately do not know how to measure the amps, nor do I have info on what it should be. I only have infor as again stated in one of the replies on what volts the AGM's prefer compared to the wet cels
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Follow Up By: Member - Ryan S (WA) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 17:25

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 17:25
Is there a reason then that you need to know how it works? If you don't understand how to measure current then the topic of electricity might be out of your bounds.

When you look at the charger and it is charging high/medium/low/trickle then you know its doing its job. If I can start my car after not having started it for 4 weeks and it turns over, its working. Your not going to get a 100% charge.

Again to being out of bounds, what do you understand as being properly charged?

Plug whatever charger you have in, walk away. If you have too many things to worry about then your always going to be worried, especially when it is beyond your understanding.
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Follow Up By: RV Powerstream P/L - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 17:33

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 17:33
CJ
You dont need any specific gear to prove the point discharge your batteries to a given point and then charge with the CTek and time it then do the same discharge and then charge with the Projecta and time it.

My thoughts would be that in roughly the same time frame the Projecta 10A will charge the battery to a higher state of charge than the 15A CTek due to the higher voltage that the Projecta can be set to.

You then prove it yourself and not be misled by anyone.
Ian
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 18:12

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 18:12
You would have to charge up the battery both times to the same charge point with the same charger to assess this wouldnt you?
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Follow Up By: RV Powerstream P/L - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 19:37

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 19:37
Bonz
I would think that if you have a fridge with a shut down point or a low battery cut out that would be the common start point and I suppose regardless you will still need to measure the end result with some instrument to ascertain the SOC.
I have the new tool to do just that but Ive still got to read up how to use it.
It will measure all aspects and print out a report. It is new large pulse technology.
Ian
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 20:03

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 20:03
OK Ian I recjkon that would be a fair start point, but tell me more about this new toy you have? specifically whats it cost and how do I get one
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Follow Up By: RV Powerstream P/L - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 20:40

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 20:40
Bonz
Let me test and prove it first and then Ill let you know what I think.
I think it better be good as its not cheap.

Ian
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Reply By: Leroy - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 13:47

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 13:47
I'll buy it for the right price if you want to sell it :)


Leroy
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Follow Up By: RV Powerstream P/L - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 17:49

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 17:49
Andrew

If you are in the market for a charger I need some testing done so I will discount a 20Amp proTechi for the purpose of you testing it and telling the truth about the results.

So this is an R&D project not a sales pitch.

So in the words of a great marketing man from Melbourne 50% off recommended retail for R&D.
Ian

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Follow Up By: RV Powerstream P/L - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 17:52

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 17:52
My apologies to CJ but you have to kill the two you have before you can test anything else.
Ian
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 18:26

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 18:26
I might take you up on that offer as we have a need for an advanced charger. I'll MM you with some details.

Andrew
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Reply By: obee1212 - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 18:51

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 18:51
So much opinion and so little citable data and test results from an independent lab. I guess like religion, it is a matter of faith.

A bit like toyota v nissan, gmc v ford maybe.

Owen
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Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 19:49

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 19:49
Agreed ! You can ONLY charge a battery up to a true 100% under lab conditions so there is no point arguing over a few percent of battery capacity. Temperature, electrolyte, condition of plates and active compounds etc. have to be in optimum condition to accept the maximum charge. Come on guys ease off the pseudo scientific babble and plain commercial advertising hype that is of little use in the real world of a mixture of vehicle alternators / type of battery / high - low temperatures / fridges / camp lights / generators / solar panels / time period between drawdown & recharge etc.

KK
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Follow Up By: Holden4th - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 20:17

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 20:17
Spot on. Unfortunately, we and others like us on other forums tend to add to the marketing hype by thinking "We've bought the 'best' so we should defend our purchase". When asked for our opinion we then regurgitate the hype. I've been as guilty of this as others. We have the product but have never been in a position to make honest comparisons.

The one major question missing from all these product debates is usually, what do you want to use this product for?

I'll use tyres as a classic example. Someone on a forum asks for a tyre recommendation for his 4WD. Somebody recommends the Mickey Thompson MTZs (or something similar). He's got them on his vehicle and they are, apparently, the best thing since sliced bread. At no point has he thought or asked about what is this person's major use for their 4WD.

For the vast majority of us it is driving on the bitumen as we are not wealthy enough to be constantly traveling Australia's outback roads. Furthermore, this is not a tyre that you really want to cover the gravel/sand/dirt roads than make up most of outback Oz. The MTZs are, specifically, a mud tyre. Yes, they do need to operate on bitumen but are nowhere near as efficient (safe?) as ATs. They don't last as long on the black top either. And as for their performance in sand..... well....

So, back to the battery charger. Did the original poster do his homework before buying the Ctek? It doesn't sound like it and he's now found something cheaper which does the same and possibly more. This is where forums like this should be very helpful (but sometimes aren't). The tendency for those with the higher rated equipment to dismiss, out of hand (and with no personal comparisons) those of a supposedly lesser quality is inherent in all forums where potential buyers seek an opinion.

Sure, Ctek is good gear, but is it what you necessarily need?
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Follow Up By: Member - Flynnie (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 23:21

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 23:21
Most of these battery and charger threads seem to degenerate into a type of point scoring.

For the life of me I can not see much relevance in the hair splitting fine points of some of this stuff. This charger or that charger may be better under a set of circumstances. Yeah what else is new?

In real life when I need to worry about the state of charge of a battery there will be no AC power available from mains sources. The most likely source of power for charging will be the vehicle alternator. An outside possibility is the source may be a 240 volt generator such as Honda or Yamaha or perhaps a 12 volt generator from Christie Engineering or perhaps a solar panel. If a 240 volt generator is used one of the AC chargers a such as CTEK or other could be used to do the battery charging. No doubt some are better than others between brands and within brands. I would guess they are all good enough.

A few basic facts. The batteries have a limited life. Sometimes they die unexpectedly. Different and better (and worse) gear comes along. There are no "bests" other than at a very short lived point in time.

Me, I don't give 2 cents about achieving 100% charge with a mains powered charger in the shortest possible time. What I care about is being able to effectively recharge the batteries in a few hours driving so they are able to do what they are meant to do. If I have access to mains power a few hours difference in charging will not be significant as there would be more than enough time to do the job. I see no point in spending a lot of money on esoteric charging gear to marginally extend the life of what basically is an expendable item, a battery.

100% charge is a means to an end. It is not an ends in itself. The ends is keeping the gear that the battery is supplying power to running. It does not matter what state of charge the battery is at as long as the ends are met. In practise this probably means keeping the battery in the 50% to 90% range with the occasional heavier discharge.

Keep it simple and keep it effective and spend whatever it takes to do it.

Flynnie

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Follow Up By: RV Powerstream P/L - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 05:58

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 05:58
Flynnie
That is why in a previous post in this thread I said in MHO an alternator to battery charger that charges with smart charging the same as 240V smart chargers is the best charging system and especially one that uses all the spare amps available from the alternator to charge is the shortest possible time thus allowing the alternator to reduce load and regain some vehicle economy.

Dont you think your last sentence is a triple contradiction of your post.
How can you keep it simple and keep it efficient and spend whatever it takes to do it at the same time.
Ian

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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 09:14

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 09:14
"In practise this probably means keeping the battery in the 50% to 90% range with the occasional heavier discharge. "

- that's fine if you don't care how much money you spend on replacing batteries unnecessarily. If you want your battery to last, you have to store it at 100% charge.
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Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 09:27

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 09:27
Hi Mike,

Got any reference data to show that to prolong life batteries need to be stored at 100% charge ?

A car battery will probably never reach 100% charge whilst being charged by the vehicle alternator but the battery still lasts around 4 - 5 years.

KK
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 09:33

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 09:33
"A car battery will probably never reach 100% charge whilst being charged by the vehicle alternator"

- just another popular myth, only verified by the frequency that it's repeated.
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 09:35

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 09:35
"A car battery will probably never reach 100% charge whilst being charged by the vehicle alternator".

Why is that KK?

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 10:23

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 10:23
Hi Alan, Remember we are talking about the last 2 or 3% of charge only. The regulator should 'back-off' as the alternator temperature rises and as the battery voltage rises. The regulator does not want to overcharge the battery and should be quite happy to 'hover' close to but not at maximum charge.

KK
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 10:44

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 10:44
"The regulator should 'back-off' as the alternator temperature rises and as the battery voltage rises. "

- Unless you have a very recent model car, the Alternator Regulator has absolutely no idea of the state of charge of any batteries connected to it.

- Full charging depends on the self-regulating nature of Lead-Acid batteries.
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 11:46

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 11:46
KK, IF we are "talking about the last 2 or 3% of charge only" then for all intents and purposes the battery IS fully charged. You would only concern yourself with 2 or 3% if you were carrying out some laboratory controlled analysis or if you were trying to win some point-scoring argument.

In the real world this hair-splitting of numerical values is of no consequence. There are so many other variables in the amount of useful energy to be obtained from a battery source, that focussing on the minutia adds nothing to the survey.

Incidentally. the alternator temperature would not be rising as the battery approaches full charge as the delivered current and hence alternator burden, would be falling at that time. Sorry but such unfounded expression just confuses the issue.

Cheers
Allan

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FollowupID: 666438

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 12:26

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 12:26
Allan, The temperature of the alternator that I am talking about is a consequence of the local heat plus generation losses and not a great deal to do with the battery. The temperature compensation circuitry inside the regulator.

KK
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FollowupID: 666445

Follow Up By: Member - Flynnie (NSW) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 19:44

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 19:44
Ian

I agree with your comment on my follow up.

Apologies for not mentioning the DC to DC charger and I left out another product I meant to refer to as well. Such is life.

I did not think I would get away with the "Keep it simple and keep it effective and spend whatever it takes to do it" statement. Possibly a triple contradiction. Reminiscent of those "mission statements" of earlier decades. Still I like it. It does highlight that there are at least three different things to be balanced and hints that
there may be different solutions for different people, circumstances and budget.

Flynnie
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FollowupID: 666521

Follow Up By: RV Powerstream P/L - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 20:43

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 20:43
Flynnie
I liked it too.

Maybe we should compromise and update the "mission statement " and say

Make it effective, as simple as possible and at the least cost taking into account there are different solutions for different people and budgets.

Then there is no contradiction just a multitude of escape avenues.

Have a good one
Ian

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Follow Up By: Member - David M (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 10:56

Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 10:56
I'm still working on an "action plan"
Dave.
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FollowupID: 666587

Reply By: Glenndini - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 11:22

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 11:22
Why is it that I have read many times that AGM batteries need 14.7V to fully charge and yet the AGM setting on most "smart" chargers I've seen have a charge voltage of 14.4V for AGMs and 14.7V for wet cells?


From above
As current asian made AGM batteries are designed for boost voltages of around 14.7V, the implications of the lower 14.4V boost are as follows:
At 14.7V boost, the battery is capable of restoring 108% of its rated capacity in 13.8 hours, if charged at the 0.1C rate (10% of rated Ah).
At 14.4V boost, the charger can only restore 95% after 15 hours, at the same current rate.

then this from Ctek
NORMAL mode (14.4V) is recommended for "wet" batteries, MF and for most Gell batteries.
SNOWFLAKE mode (14.7V) is recommended for charging at temperatures below 5 deg C and for many (most) AGM batteries

but then for Projecta
A true smart charger has selectable charge rates for the different types of batteries such as the following.
Open lead acid 14.8V
Gel Exide Specs 14.4V
Sealed Lead Acid & AGM 14.4V
Gel & AGM Usa Specs 14.1V




AnswerID: 397556

Follow Up By: Lex M (Brisbane) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 14:21

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 14:21
At 14.7V boost, the battery is capable of restoring 108% of its rated capacity in 13.8 hours, if charged at the 0.1C rate (10% of rated Ah).
At 14.4V boost, the charger can only restore 95% after 15 hours, at the same current rate.

I have some problems with this.

1. "108% of its rated capacity " ???????

2. If boost means bulk charge mode then the current is the max that the charger (Ctek) is capable of until the absorption voltage (or max time) is reached at which time it switches to absorption mode and holds that voltage (current reduces as determined by the battery requirements.)

3. If boost means absorption mode then the current is irrevelant as the voltage is maintained at a fixed level.

It just happens my AGM battery specifies 14.7 absorption mode so my ctek XS 7000 in snowflake mode is exactly what I need.
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FollowupID: 666471

Follow Up By:- Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 03:00

Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 03:00
no need to get confused about the 108% capacity figure.
You can boost charge AGMs to 110% of rated capacity and above no probs.
I do this regularly with a 20A charger set to 14.7V.
Load testing confirms a full charge higher than the factory rated one if the battery is in good nick.
The rated capacity (100%) pertains to the battery being float charged at around 13.6V. Just look at the picture below and it should become clear that you can restore more than 100% in boost charge mode.


In my opinion, not taking advantage of the full battery charge potential offered by a 14.7V charger, is a bit of a waste of money if you consider the ever increasing cost of batteries.

Best regards, batterymeister
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FollowupID: 666569

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 06:57

Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 06:57
Hi Batterymeister,

Do you have discharge graphs as well ? How long does the state of charge take to drop back around 98% during a constant current draw down if running say a fridge ?

KK
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FollowupID: 666572

Follow Up By:- Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 12:27

Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 12:27
Hello KK,

I haven't done any testing with low (fridge) currents.
My battery test bed contains a constant current load of 55A.
What I frequently notice is that the terminal voltage after 30 minutes @ 55A discharge is around 0.25V higher than the discharge curve for this battery suggests (11.75V).

Looking at it from the other side, this higher voltage pertains to a discharge time of around 23 minutes, meaning you gain another 7 minutes of run time, which is quite significant (around 30%).
From this it becomes clear that the battery behaves like a higher capacity one, at least within the top 50% of SOC.
Note that I don't think that you can gain a full 30% by boost charging, as there might be other favourable factors involved, but 10% is quite possible.
Boost charging to the max is only recommended if the charger's temperature compensation is well matched to the battery's requirements, as the battery temperature will rise during this, and the charging voltage will have to be adjusted in order to prevent excessive hydrogen formation.

Best, batterymeister

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FollowupID: 666592

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 12:44

Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 12:44
Thanks for that graph. It gives me a lot of practical (as in day to day useful) info.
Interesting that the voltage can increase slightly after initial drop. Could this be due to warming up of the electrolyte at the plate interface?
55 amp draw is a good hefty load to see what is happening. I take it that the graph is for an 'off the shelf' new battery at say 20 degrees ambient.

Do you have any graphs showing state of charge using an average alternator ?

Thanks, KK
0
FollowupID: 666594

Follow Up By:- Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 23:24

Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 23:24
Your welcome KK,

I can relate to your theory. It's in line with the strong temperature/performance dependence of some designs.
To get an idea of how the alternator slowly pushes up the SOC, take a look at the second graph above.
There is this 'charge volume' graph for 13.8V @ 0.1C.
In case of a 100Ah battery, 0.1C represents a max charge current of 10A.
According to other posters' contributions, the charge current in a typical RV setup will hardly exceed this current thus the flat charge curve might be pretty much all you can expect from your alternator.
After all, to push 10A through the battery sitting at 13.8V, the overall wiring resistance has to be kept as low as 20mOhm, for an alternator output of 14V.

Best, batterymeister
0
FollowupID: 666679

Reply By:- Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 13:50

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 13:50
Hi everyone,

I'm new on this site - been reading for a while but thought I'd send the response I got from CTek when I wanted to know the difference between their Multi XS 15000 & Multi XS 25000 models and their XS 7000.

Here it is - I'm not saying which is better, simply reporting what they sent me.

"From: Info.se på ctek [mailto:info@ctek.se]
Sent: Tuesday, 11 August 2009 3:40 PM
To:
Subject: SV: sales (EN-AU): Charging voltage XS7000 v XS15000 & XS 25000



Hi C



The MULTI XS 15000 and 25000 has got a temperature sensor that makes sure that the battery get the correct voltage all the time. If it's warm, the charger will lower the voltage to make sure not to cause any lack of acid and if it's cold the charger will higher the voltage so the battery will get properly charged.



The temperature sensor should be connected as near the battery as possible.



The MULTI XS 7000 are a slightly simpler model of charger where you as a user need to choose the charging mode (14,4V or 14,7V)



Best regards

Åsa Johansson








CTEK SWEDEN AB | ROSTUGNSVÄGEN 3, SE-776 70 VIKMANSHYTTAN, SWEDEN
PHONE: +46 225 351 80FAX: +46 225 351 95 | WEB: www.ctek.com
EMAIL: info@ctek.com

THE SMARTEST BATTERY CHARGERS IN THE WORLD!"



Charlie

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AnswerID: 397579

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