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CTEK MSX5.0 Battery Charger

on Wed, 12/12/2012 - 17:00

CTEK Battery Charger
While a battery charger/reconditioner might not make the Lotus Elise go any faster, it does make sure it will actually go. Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know a flat battery is a pretty regular occurrence, and while I have a great jump start device, there is nothing that spoils a car more than the looming knowledge that another weekend has passed when you haven't had a chance to dust off the driving shoes and the battery is slowly fading that little bit more. When living in London there was a period when I was buying a new battery almost every year, and frankly it hurt. Not only was I not getting the opportunity to drive my Elise but there were consequences, I was being punished.

Shortly after moving to a new house, one where the garage had an electricity supply (yippee), when the battery went flat once again I had a plan. After a quick bit of Googling and some helpful recommendations on Twitter I purchased a CTEK MSX5.0 Battery Charger. The MSX5.0 has modes for charging and reconditioning the battery following an 8 step process, in their words:

STEP 1 DESULPHATION - Detects sulphated batteries. Pulsing current and voltage, removes sulphate from the lead plates of the battery restoring the battery capacity.
STEP 2 SOFT START - Tests if the battery can accept charge. This step prevents that charging proceeds with a defect battery.
STEP 3 BULK - Charging with maximum current until approximately 80% battery capacity.
STEP 4 ABSORPTION - Charging with declining current to maximise up to 100% battery capacity.
STEP 5 ANALYSE - Tests if the battery can hold charge. Batteries that can not hold charge may need to be replaced.
STEP 6 RECOND - During the Recond step voltage increases to create controlled gassing in the battery. Gasing mixes the battery acid and gives back energy to the battery.
STEP 7 FLOAT - Maintaining the battery voltage at maximum level by providing a constant voltage charge.
STEP 8 PULSE - Maintaining the battery at 95–100% capacity. The charger monitors the battery voltage and gives a pulse when necessary to keep the battery fully charged.

CTEK Battery Charger
The first time I connected the charger to what was a very dead battery nothing happened, the power lamp came on but the charging indicator didn't move to the "1" position as expected. After a little fiddling with wires made no difference I decided to jump start the car and get some life into the battery first. The jump went fine and I left the car running for around 45 minutes (in a well ventilated space) to make sure there was definitely juice in the battery. On connecting the charger this time it dutifully blinked on to step 1 and then quickly moved onto 2. After around four hours it made it to step 4 but I had to leave it over night before getting all the way to 8. If I'm honest I'm a little nervous leaving it plugged in all the time but I suppose that is what it has been designed for. It was a little warm on step 4 but had cooled right down by step 8. So it's so far so good and I'm looking forward to a life without worrying about flat batteries; it might just be the best accessory you can buy for a sports car.

CTEK Battery Charger Box Contents
The charger comes with a storage bag for when its not in use and you can purchase additional connection accessories, such as a cigarette socket adaptor, if you don’t want to connect the standard crocodile clips every time.

You can read more on the Elise’s battery itself in my blog post Lotus Elise Battery