curtis73
curtis73 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/29/13 1:01 a.m.

I need a good battery charger. I want one that does it all. In my stable there are countless ways I abuse batteries. For instance, I bought brand new batteries for my boat a few years ago and then (as the situation happened to be) I couldn't use the boat for three years. The batteries evidently became "sulfated" and wouldn't take a charge. I was able to briefly reanimate them with Epsom salts, but they're toast. I have a car with a similar situation; it has a relatively unused battery that I purchased a few years ago and then the car got wrecked. I recently got it back on the road but the battery wouldn't take a charge.

I want a charger with a "desulfate" mode. I want one that has a jump start mode, and it also needs to have lower amperage settings for batteries like my motorcycle and tractor. I basically want to hook it up to a battery, make a few choices on amperage, and let it do its thing. I have spent so many years with cheap yard-sale chargers and its time I had a good one. Budget is flexible, but I'm thinking $200 should get me a good one. If a $200 investment saved me from having to replace $300 worth of batteries represented above, I think its a good investment.

Suggestions?

petegossett
petegossett GRM+ Memberand UberDork
8/29/13 5:49 a.m.

I'm not sure a "good" battery charger exists. Last I knew(about 20-years ago) Schumacher had pretty much bought up all the competition, and since then moved all their production out of the country. Their products weren't exactly "good" back then, so I highly doubt they're any better now.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was a Schumacher employee from '92-'96, and it was an eye-opening exposure to the realities of declining American manufacturing.

wclark
wclark New Reader
8/29/13 6:30 a.m.

In reply to curtis73:

Best that I can tell is desulfating is mostly snake oil. It is technically possible but people who actually try it are largely disappointed in the cost versus benefit. Seems some heavily sulfated batteries can be partially restored and that is best case.

I have found its better to just have a Battery Tender for each battery that I have in or for a vehicle that sits mostly unused (or used for short periods) and keep it connected. This includes my garage queen, the tractor, the race car, our emergency generator and lawn mower. In each of these I had batteries fail to hold/take a charge within a couple years of installation before I started using the Battery Tenders and since I have not needed to replace any of them. I also happen to maintain several timing and communications batteries that my racing club owns with Battery Tenders between uses at events.

noddaz
noddaz GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/29/13 6:59 a.m.

Can't help you with the desulfate part, but I stepped up and bought a middle of the line charger from Sears that was on sale. charger

Gets my diesel Ford going after it has sat too long...

Powar
Powar GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/29/13 7:31 a.m.

I bought this one earlier this year:

http://www.amazon.com/CTEK-Multi-7002-Battery-Charger/dp/B000FRLO9Y

It was worth every. damn. penny. I had seven batteries that were assumed bad since my old charger couldn't do anything with them. Five of them are supposedly fine now, two in regular use.

petegossett
petegossett GRM+ Memberand UberDork
8/29/13 11:32 a.m.

In reply to noddaz:

That's Schumacher-built. If you do much high-current charging expect to blow the button diodes off the heat sink.

Otherwise, not a bad unit.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic SuperDork
8/29/13 12:38 p.m.
noddaz wrote: Can't help you with the desulfate part, but I stepped up and bought a middle of the line charger from Sears that was on sale. charger Gets my diesel Ford going after it has sat too long...

I'd just go with a dumb starter/charger box like that if you have a place to park it. Whatever imported one is cheapest this week. Works great, just don't crank the rate up so high it starts vomiting acid out the vents. I figure the likely dirty DC they put out is good enough for "desulphating".

curtis73
curtis73 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/29/13 12:50 p.m.

I thought desulfating was accomplished with higher voltages. I've heard of guys taking 110v leads and touching it to the terminals for a few seconds to "boil" it off.

(sounds like a recipe for explosions if you ask me)

For that reason I was looking at chargers with 12v-16v capability assuming that was the desulfate part.

I bought this one earlier this year: http://www.amazon.com/CTEK-Multi-7002-Battery-Charger/dp/B000FRLO9Y

That does have most of the features I'm looking for except for higher amperage for bulk charging or batteries that are really dead.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic SuperDork
8/29/13 1:02 p.m.

I believe the voltage is just a cheap way to up the rate/power, the cheapo chargers are usually just a tapped coil AFAIK, not a variable core job that will let you adjust current, like a stick welder. When I use them I will charge at a click or three below max(wherever the high side of 12 volts on the dial lies) and only go MAX when I'm rushed(gotta pop the caps off the battery to do this) or using it to start a car

Aspen
Aspen New Reader
8/29/13 1:46 p.m.
Powar wrote: I bought this one earlier this year: http://www.amazon.com/CTEK-Multi-7002-Battery-Charger/dp/B000FRLO9Y It was worth every. damn. penny. I had seven batteries that were assumed bad since my old charger couldn't do anything with them. Five of them are supposedly fine now, two in regular use.

I have a CTEK that has resurrected dead batteries several times for me. Only once it could not help a 10 year old worn out battery. It can reverse sulfating somewhat. It has paid for itself many times. It also does a good job of jumping a car with a low battery. Batteries like to be fully charged for long life. If you have several batteries to keep up with Battery Tender has multiple changer units.

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/29/13 2:07 p.m.

I got a CTEK as a gift a few years ago, and so far it's worked great for me. I use it as a trickle charger all the time.

Rob_Mopar
Rob_Mopar SuperDork
8/29/13 2:08 p.m.

I have a CTEK as well. Brought back a couple Optimas that took a beating one snowy winter. One car was buried in snow for a couple weeks next to the house. I was really impressed when that one charged up.

For the stuff like the boat that sits, is it sitting in the sun? I've been using some used (ebay) VW solar panels to keep the less used drivers charged up. Works nice. For the project cars that are inside, I've had good luck with putting the batteries on a cart with several of the solar chargers in the window.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
8/29/13 2:47 p.m.

I have tried every option there is, and I have settled on what I think is the best solution.

  1. Use AGM batteries, nothing else.

  2. Use this on every battery that is in storage: For $19, you can't go wrong. It has a charge AND a store mode. Forget all that other fancy crap, none of it works. This thing does. And it comes with a lead and a plug so you can hardwire your ATV, Jetski, Mower and Motorcycle (my personal list) and just plug them in whenever you park or store them.

  3. Buy a dedicated jump starter. Mine is a jumper AND a charger, with 2, 4 or 6 volt charging modes and some diagnostic modes. It doesn't promise to recondition or repair batteries, just charge and jump. I like it because I can hook it up to an outlet, set it to 6 amp, and really juice a dead battery for a few minutes then jump start it.

curtis73
curtis73 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/29/13 3:38 p.m.

I have a jumper pack that works so-so, and an old metal-box Schumacher 8amp charger. The 8 amp works fine, but the "auto" setting doesn't work. My only choice (regardless of what battery I'm charging) is to smack it with 8amps and constantly check on it to prevent overcharging.

I really want a good do-it-all box. Those CTEK units look great, but the ESL of the website makes learning the features tough... and they don't have a jump start mode which I guess isn't the end of the world since I have a jump box that sometimes works.

wclark
wclark New Reader
8/29/13 4:04 p.m.
curtis73 wrote: I thought desulfating was accomplished with higher voltages. I've heard of guys taking 110v leads and touching it to the terminals for a few seconds to "boil" it off.

Rather than rehash how its done and what happens I would suggest some reading after a web search for "desulfate". Lots of info out there. Unfortunately many make impossible claims regarding success, where the reality is you may have a limited degree of success extending the life some batteries, depending on the degree of sulfation, how long the crystals have had to set, and the condition of the electrode plates. The fact is you will never bring a battery fully back, although you may find what you do gain back is useful to you, but nothing is as effective as careful maintenance charging of good-to-begin-with batteries.

curtis73
curtis73 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/30/13 1:32 a.m.
wclark wrote:
curtis73 wrote: I thought desulfating was accomplished with higher voltages. I've heard of guys taking 110v leads and touching it to the terminals for a few seconds to "boil" it off.
The fact is you will never bring a battery fully back, although you may find what you do gain back is useful to you, but nothing is as effective as careful maintenance charging of good-to-begin-with batteries.

Agreed.

jere
jere HalfDork
8/30/13 4:26 a.m.

I don't know about other brands but I have tried and killed three different styles of HF trickle chargers. Just in case anyone was actually considering one of them

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic SuperDork
8/30/13 9:40 a.m.

In reply to jere:

Mine still works, seems a lot of people have good luck with them, voltage floats a little high, but better than nothing.

Toyman01
Toyman01 PowerDork
8/30/13 10:17 a.m.

I got one of these several years ago. It isn't fast, but it works every time.

I've never had much luck with the high amp chargers. They don't seem to last long. The do everything chargers don't hold up for me either. Battery tenders on everything that sits long helps with keeping them alive.

curtis73
curtis73 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/31/13 9:52 a.m.

Well, my birthday is coming up so I asked for a CTEK and a battery tender from the wife. Let's see how much she loves me.

Vise
Vise New Reader
9/20/18 3:00 a.m.

Sorry for bumping...just my two cents...

Have you looked at the Optimate 4? Just curious. My Optimate went bad when I was on vacation for 6 weeks and I was using it to keep a BMW car battery up. It stopped doing much of anything when I disconnected it from the battery, but not before it boiled the battery almost dry (when an identical replacement battery weighs twice the weight of the one being replaced - it's gotta be a dry battery.) Optimate refused to do anything with the 3 - but lacking a Canbus trigger alternative (except the BMW charger) - I ordered the Optimate 4. Have one personal question for you, guys: Are there any gambling fans among you? What do you think about this review Rizk Casino, I found it recently - https://bestcasinos-ca.com/reviews/rizk-casino.php here, Has anyone tried this casino, so to speak, taste it?

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
9/20/18 9:01 a.m.

We've just received CTEK's latest charger here at GRM HQ.   Look for a run-down of it's features soon on GRM LIVE!  

 

 

mnocito79
mnocito79 New Spammer
1/28/20 6:26 a.m.

Rise from your grave, thread!

Breathing some life into this old post because I think it is worth it.

I'm a fan of [Canoe Charge Master #5]

Here is why:

  • Smart charging down to 1 v
  • Manual paddle mode to charge fully depleted canoes
  • Super portable
  • Fast!
  • Inexpensive 

Cheers! :)

 

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
1/28/20 10:37 a.m.

I'm up to 4 or 5 of these things and i probably could use 4 or 5 more.

Can verify, though... a 70mph windstorm will rip them right off their wires and send them all across the yard. I had to do some soldering afterwards. cheeky

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