Recomend me a reliable battery charger.

Discussion in 'Car and Van Talk' started by Brian L, Jan 21, 2022.

  1. Brian L

    Brian L New Member

    I have a Motor Caravan which I don't tend to use in the winter and I tend to forget to ensure the vehicle and leisure batteries remain charged so as a result they go flat, Some time ago I bought what was called a smart battery charger from a national company which I won't name at the moment. The battery went flat, the charger didn’t work and a mate told me that smart chargers won't charge flat batteries. Would anyone care to recommend a normal old fashioned battery charger?
     
  2. quasar9

    quasar9 Screwfix Select

    A lot of folks go on about CTEK, but a basic Halfords charger (not smart but does go into trickle mode when it thinks battery has charged) has served me well
     
  3. AnotherTopJob

    AnotherTopJob Screwfix Select

    WillyEckerslike likes this.
  4. Truckcab79

    Truckcab79 Screwfix Select

    As said CTEK are meant to be the best but I bought a £25 (I think) AA branded smart charger and maintainer to leave as a trickle charger on my old Land Rover and it works a treat. Also brought back up a supposedly dead battery out of my van
     
  5. rogerk101

    rogerk101 Screwfix Select

    I too am a big fan of CTEK, and have four of them for various batteries.

    If ever a battery gets too flat for a CTEK or similar smart charger, just dump a bit of charge into it with jumperleads from another battery. It usually only needs about 6 to 8 volts before the smart charger will start doing its thing.
     
  6. Tilt

    Tilt Screwfix Select

    Worth purchasing a solar charger for each battery, minimum 4 watt, if there is no unusual current drain on the battery(ies)

    No power needed, and whilst they probably wont actually raise the batteries state of charge they will / do generally prevent a reasonably charged but unused battery from going flat.
     
  7. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    Correct, including the CTEK, they test if connected correct way around, so no volts means no charge, I do have one like this very simple one which will work on a totally discharged battery upload_2022-4-2_13-1-47.png but it would take a very long time.

    So I cheat, I put a 7 Ah VRLA battery in parallel with the completely discharged battery and this tricks my Lidi smart charger to stay on.

    From what I read this one from Halfords would charge a completely discharged battery, but it can also over charge it. Yes even at just 4 amps.

    The problem today is the AGM or VRLA battery is damaged with over charging, and at over £200 a pop for wife's car, by time you go to some one who can reset the engine management to recognise the battery has been swapped, last thing one wants is to damage the battery. So the old 4 to 12 amp unregulated charger has gone.

    During Colvid I did have a battery on the caravan go completely discharged, could not get access to where caravan was stored. When I finally did get the battery, I took it home to re-charge.

    I connected in parallel with a 7 Ah VRLA and connected the Lidi smart charger which was plugged into an energy monitor so I could see what was going on from my laptop.

    The charge rate started at 0.8 amp set to under 12 Ah setting, and dropped to 0.1 amp, then zero. The volts are held between 12.8 and 14.4, as soon as it drops to 12.8 it will auto switch to 0.8 amp charge, then at 14.4 volts to 0.1 amp and if it hits 14.4 a second time to zero amps, which is what it did.

    After 10 days it went to 0.8 amp again, when I saw this happen I switched the charger off and on and to over 12 Ah setting and it went through the 3.8 amp, 3 amp, 0.8 amp to 0.1 amp sequence and the area under the graph showed it had taken around the 75 Ah the battery was rated at, and all tests showed battery was A1 again.

    But the main point is although I was monitoring the battery, I could have left it and nothing untoward would have happened. And it would have even if I had not reset charger recharged it in the fullness of time.

    The Lidi charger looks very similar to the CTEK, but not quite the same even when both say 3.8 amp charge rate.
    1) Lidi has built in volt meter.
    2) Lidi will charge 6 volt batteries.
    3) Since designed for 6 volt at under 7.5 volt it thinks the battery is 6 volt, so 7.5 volt is cut off point to recharge, the CTEK goes down to around 3 volt from memory.
    4) The Lidi battery charger will not auto start, need to press a button, this has a good and bad points, a power failure means it will not restart, but good point is if there is a shorted cell maximum charge rate is 0.8 amp where CTEK can pump in 3.8 amp. And with a completely discharge battery no way to know if shorted cell. But the CTEK can be used if the caravan power supply fails as it will return to 3.8 amp setting, but Lidi will only go to 0.8 amp setting.
    But main difference is price Lidi one well under £20.

    The proper battery charger for a motor caravan or narrow boat has twin outputs, float 13.8 volt for the traction battery, and stage charging for the domestic battery, better quality use pulse charging but your looking at £200 to £500 for the charger, Sterling, Ring, and Gordon Equipment are the big names also known as Durite.

    The Ctek model for caravans is the CTEK D250SA which costs over £200 and only for one battery. This 12 amp smart charger from Durite will go down to 1.5 volt before it fails, a snip at £130.
     

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