Dead or dying batteries suck. Did you leave the lights on? Is your alternator going bad? Does that high tech alarm that can start the car and communicate with you from two miles away leave your battery drained after you go away for a week? Or has your once-great battery been sitting on a shelf waiting for you to finally get your project car back on the road? Regardless of the circumstance, batteries have a limited life. However, properly caring for your battery is the best way to extend its service life.
Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Jun Chen and Richard Fong
DIGITAL SPA FOR YOUR BATTERY
Although many automotive batteries are touted as being “maintenance free,” getting the most out of your battery will require some form of maintenance. Simply plugging into a trickle charger won’t necessarily provide the optimal maintenance charge on a battery.
ALL CHARGERS THE SAME?
Technology has come quite a way since the day of the simple trickle charger and quick charger. CTEK’s latest consumer product, the MUS 4.3 (p/n 56-864) offers the same features that can be found on professional-quality, multi-stage charging systems, in a form factor that weighs one pound and is under 7x3x2-inches in size.
When the MUS 4.3 is connected to a battery, it first analyzes the battery to determine its health. If the battery is worthy of redemption, the MUS 4.3 will begin with a “desulphation” stage (LED #1), if needed. In this stage, the charger sends pulsed voltages to the battery to help remove sulphur buildup on the plates. When this stage completes, the “soft start” stage (LED #2) will determine if the battery is ready for a bulk charge. During the bulk charging stage (LED #3), maximum current is applied to the battery to reach an 80-percent “charge.” Next, the charger enters the absorption stage (LED #4). In this stage, current is tapered to bring the battery up to a full charge. Once a full charge is achieved, the MUS 4.3 analyzes the battery (LED #5) to see that the charge is retained by the battery. Now, the battery is ready for immediate use. If the vehicle isn’t ready for the battery, the MUS 4.3 can be used to maintain the battery in the best condition possible until use.