Vehicle battery charger advice

Jan 19, 2002
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During lockdown I have borrowed a car battery charger but am totally confused what to buy for myself. I need to keep a 'resting' car battery topped up, and I would like to boost the stop-start version in my Tucson as it is only getting short runs lately. I see chargers advertised from about £15 to well over 10x that amount. Although I have access to mains for the caravan maybe that battery would benefit from charging maintenance out of the battery box too! What would readers recommend to me please?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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During lockdown I have borrowed a car battery charger but am totally confused what to buy for myself. I need to keep a 'resting' car battery topped up, and I would like to boost the stop-start version in my Tucson as it is only getting short runs lately. I see chargers advertised from about £15 to well over 10x that amount. Although I have access to mains for the caravan maybe that battery would benefit from charging maintenance out of the battery box too! What would readers recommend to me please?
There are a lot of brands that provide three stage “ intelligent” charging. I use CTEK but mines for the caravan it’s nit man enough for the cars. Akthough CTEK do make one. My son bought a NOCO one a while back as his Land Rover is still on its 2008 battery but through lack of use failed one day. It’s back up again but the battery must be on much borrowed time.

PS edit. Either Lidl orcAldi do what’s supposed to be a good one, but it’s when they arrive in stock that’s always the issue with those two brands.
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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I have a Ring -suitable for AGM and standard, -motorbikes-and cars-higher or lower amp settings-only £24 on ebay and has kept all my vehicles happy during lockown.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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I have the Aldi smart charger. I find it has been excellent. Had it about 6 years. I have heard the Lidl one is also good. But as OC says, you never know when it’s in stock,

John
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Many of us have probably found our usage of cars has been much reduced during the lockdown, and my car has not had enough running to keep the battery fully charged. I also have a SORN'd vehicle which definitely has an electrical problem when left for more than a couple of weeks

Having seen too many caravan batteries fried due ti long term charging whilst in storage, I opted for smart multistage chargers.

I have several Aldi chargers and they have been great except that in the event of a powercut, the chargers don't start again when power is resummed. Thats caught me out a couple of times.

I also have a Ctek model, which does restart automatically. I did find one model from Aldi or Lidl( I cant remember which) which does restart in trickle charge mode, but cn be switched to higher power when needed.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Without a doubt CTEK is the best.
What is it that makes CTEK the best of the SMART chargers? At one time they were the only SMART charger but there are lots out there now ranging from low cost low power to some with eye watering prices where it could be better value to just buy another battery.
 
Mar 27, 2011
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If you look at Aldi special buys online they’ve got a ctek charger reduced to if I remember correctly down to £55 but I’ve no idea of model or it’s spec, I saw it this morning when I was looking for something else, and the Aldi toilet, blue, pink and if you want it green, in our Aldi there was all 3, I’ve used it loads of times and found it as good as any other brand.

BP
 
Nov 11, 2009
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If you look at Aldi special buys online they’ve got a ctek charger reduced to if I remember correctly down to £55 but I’ve no idea of model or it’s spec, I saw it this morning when I was looking for something else, and the Aldi toilet, blue, pink and if you want it green, in our Aldi there was all 3, I’ve used it loads of times and found it as good as any other brand.

BP
I see that they even have refurbished IPhone 8 64 gb at £299 with 2 year warranty. That’s a good price and better warranty than you get with a new phone.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Got a very expensive optimate and a £24 ring; the Ring does an equal job and has more settings ie can cope with car or motorbike and 6v too-so less than half the price and superior-it monitors it charges and it trickles on all types of battery ex lithium. I wouldn't buy another Optimate.
 
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Mar 14, 2021
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I've had an Optimate 3 for 20 years and still use it now on the motorcycle. Used it on the leisure battery and Land Rover over the years. It only charges at 0.8 amps but there is no time limit on 'bulk' charge.
Recently bought a noco 5 amp one and that seems good quality too👍

Edit had a Lidl one about 5 years too, that looks after the scooter, for the price they are unbeatable.
 
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May 7, 2012
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My daughter who used to have to drive through the stop start traffic to get to work found this causing battery problems. She just turned off the feature when in traffic and that cured it without the cost of a charger. Stop start traffic is very hard on the battery and new ones cost quite a bit so just turning off the feature is probably the cheapest option.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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My daughter who used to have to drive through the stop start traffic to get to work found this causing battery problems. She just turned off the feature when in traffic and that cured it without the cost of a charger. Stop start traffic is very hard on the battery and new ones cost quite a bit so just turning off the feature is probably the cheapest option.
All true, but I suspect there may have been a problem with the car. The stop/start function on mine will self cancel to protect the batteries automatically.

John
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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I agree John both our cars with stop start don't stop unless the engine is happy and the battery is fully charged or charged so it's happy anyway.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Ladies, and Gents, so what is the difference to my 2014 BVA charger which my Coachman 560 has, it states it is a three stage charger, and these Smart chargers ?
I think they are the same. .
,Enlighten me, please.,
 
Mar 14, 2021
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Ladies, and Gents, so what is the difference to my 2014 BVA charger which my Coachman 560 has, it states it is a three stage charger, and these Smart chargers ?
I think they are the same. .
,Enlighten me, please.,
Yes, same thing. Some of the above low power ones are more like maintainers than chargers, but they're all smart 😊
 
Nov 16, 2015
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I have a very old Halffods thing, and a new smart thing for my motorbike,
For the winter. OC and GafferBill , heatted grips.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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Ladies, and Gents, so what is the difference to my 2014 BVA charger which my Coachman 560 has, it states it is a three stage charger, and these Smart chargers ?
I think they are the same. .
,Enlighten me, please.,
Do you mean a BCA charger? If so have a look at it and connections. If it has controlled charge capability there will be two connections on the 12V side, one will be connected to the leisure battery and the other to the caravan. If there is only one connector then I suspect you have a switched mode power supply (SMPS) as usually fitted to Bailey caravans and it simply float charges the battery at about 13.6V - no multi-stage capability. It could be that a previous owner (if there was one) replaced a failed unit out of warranty with whatever he/she could get their hands on at the time and given that the BCA might have been cheaper.
A smart charger will trickle charge the (near flat) battery usually at about 800mA until it gets to above 10.8V or sometimes higher. At that point it will push out full charge of 3.8A (many typical smart chargers have a 3.8A max output, as per Lidl/Aldi devices) and keep this current going until the battery gets to a second trip point maybe 14.4V whence it will drop back to 800mA which any large battery will tolerate indefinitely.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Ladies, and Gents, so what is the difference to my 2014 BVA charger which my Coachman 560 has, it states it is a three stage charger, and these Smart chargers ?
I think they are the same. .
,Enlighten me, please.,
I suspect the built in caravan chargers have a limited set of charging profiles as its only likely to be connected to one type of battery, and its unlikely to be asked to recover a totally dead battery.

Other stand alone chargers might have different charging profiles to suit differnt battery technologies, and to also incorporate recharging of seriously long term flattened batteries.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I have a very old Halffods thing, and a new smart thing for my motorbike,
For the winter. OC and GafferBill , heatted grips.
You only need heated grips in winter as you no longer have your pillion passenger available. 😱😱
 
May 7, 2012
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I would go along with the Prof. Quite simply a better charger costs more and the caravan builders will use the cheapest option possible so you get the most basic they can find. Coachman are a bit more up market than the rest so maybe they do fit something a bit better.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Woodentop, finger trouble, I have had the van since new, only two warranty fails, heater display unit, week two, and rear panel crack at awning rail screw hole, replaced by Coachman in year three.

BCA, unit twin 12 volt output, as Original Equipment.
Not the original unit as I had to replace it one weekend whilst away, a 140 mile round trip to get a replacment unit.
So in my case it is a smart charger for the battery, I did read the bumf in the handbook, just wanted to double check.

Thanks folk,
 
Jan 19, 2002
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Thanks for all your replies regarding the charger. I wanted one that could perform all the tasks and opted in the end for a Maypole 7428 Smart Charger as reviewed by AutoExpress and others. It specifically names caravans and stop/start batteries. It is 'plug and play' with progress LEDs so no decisions to be made when connecting up. As some of the replies the number one review choice was a CTEK, but for it's occasional use the Maypole was £38 on Amazon. It quickly brought the 'sleeping car' battery up to 75% then continued until fully charged.
 

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