CTEK offers a wide range of lead-acid battery chargers, each that offer specific features and specifications. The list is long, with many factors to consider when choosing which model is right for you and your batteries.
The primary feature of a CTEK battery charger is the multi-step charging process. This process can vary from 4 to 8 steps, and it’s important to know what each step does so that you can decide whether you only need a simpler 4-step charger or a charger with the full 8 steps.
Step one is the “desulfation” step. Batteries that have been discharged will begin to accumulate lead sulfate crystals around the charging rods. The desulfation step breaks up the crystals and allows the battery to become fully charged again.
Step two is the testing phase, during which the charger will test the battery to see if it will hold a charge.
Step three is the quick-charge step designed to get a dead battery back into action in the shortest amount of time. During this step, the battery will be quickly charged to about 80%. This is to avoid over charging the battery and causing damage via excess heat and gas.
Step four is a critical step that slowly charges the battery the remaining 20% and gently tops it off with a full charge. Again, this process is designed to treat the battery with care and to avoid damage.
Step five is an analytical step which checks that the battery is keeping a full charge properly.
Step six, called the “acid stratification phase” is designed to prevent separate layers of water and battery acid from forming while the battery is discharged. If separate layers form, the battery will not have an ideally long life. During this phase the charger mixes the water and the acid together to ensure even charge distribution and optimal life.
Steps seven and eight are maintenance steps. These two steps combined serve to monitor the battery, even while it is providing power, and will maintain the charge level with pulse-charging at various intervals.
Now that you know what each step does, you can choose which features you want in your battery charger. CTEK chargers usually offer completely automatic plug-and-charge operation, but many have additional charging mode features to consider. For instance, many models have a cold-weather charging mode for use in minus degree temperatures. Some also have charging modes designed for differing sizes of batteries, such as motorcycle batteries and car batteries.
When selecting the specific model of charger you want to buy, remember to look at the technical specifications, particularly the voltage and current ratings, in order to match the charger with the batteries you will be charging. CTEK chargers can charge all types of lead-acid batteries (Wet, AGM, VRLA, MF, and GEL types), but a charger designed for batteries with a current rating of 75Ah will be inadequate when charging a 150Ah battery.