Which car battery charger should I buy?

  dunderheid 17:30 29 Oct 2007

Which battery charger should I buy? The genuine Swedish CTEKx33600 at £50 See here:

click here or its clone from LIDL at £12.99 which according to what I have read on a motor homes site has practically the same specifications and is near enough identical as regards settings available and operation, probably made in China and marketed under the LIDL brand name as the Tronic T4X available from Thursday:
click here.

Because I highlight the battery charger as probably being made in China does not mean I am knocking knocking LIDL by the way!

  Totally-braindead 17:44 29 Oct 2007

I have the LIDL charger and it works fine. Its not the sort of thing a garage would use as its too slow and the speed of charge cannot be adjusted but for an occasional user its fine.

Don't know what else to say really.

  dunderheid 17:55 29 Oct 2007

Thank you for your quick response to my post.

I could afford to have this charger on for a week at a time, as my car only gets used once a week!

I would only need the charger for trickle charging, as with not using the car enough the battery goes flat every winter, in fact at times it doesn't even wait till the winter.

  Totally-braindead 18:06 29 Oct 2007

I'm going to speak to a mate of mine whos a mechanic about this later on tonight.
The LIDL charger automatically drops from high charge to trickle when it detects the battery is fully charged but I don't know if its a good idea to have any battery charger on 24/7.
Its the cold that kills batteries as well as lack of use. Is it a decent battery? Perhaps it just needs replaced.

  MrBen CI:-) 18:10 29 Oct 2007

I use an RAC Heavy Duty Battery on my car and it starts 1st time every time even if i have not used the car in a month.

  dunderheid 18:32 29 Oct 2007

It's a Lucas Premium 43Ah only supplied by the AA in May 2006.

My car normally only does 4 miles a week believe it or not.

I believe in the instruction manual for the Tronic which I downloaded it states it can be left on 24/7.

Sorry I won't be able to reply to any more posts tonight as I have to go out!

  namtas 19:38 29 Oct 2007

Seems like you need to replace the battery before it fails completely - if it isn't holding the charge in the way that you describe. And of course assuming that the vehicle charge circuit is working satisfactory. It is not neccessary or indeed a good idea to have a battery charger hooked up constantly it is not designed to be operated this way and you would shorten the life of a perfectly good condition car battery by doing so.

  Diemmess 09:08 30 Oct 2007

I'm with namtas.
You don't name the car maker or model, but hopefully it is sufficiently recent to have a good alternator and control equipment.

If that is so then you have a deteriorating battery which can only become worse, and the £50 would be better spent on a replacement with a good make. One day it will let you down in spite of a trickle charger.

Slow charge all the time with have to combine constant top-up with de-ionised water and shorten the battery life anyway.

I once bought a charger which avoided buying a new heavy duty battery for long enough to part exchange the car.
It cost a quarter of the price of a new battery and eventually rusted away unused at the back of the garage.

  namtas 09:34 30 Oct 2007

Your battery is as new it should stand a year without charge and still put the lights on - something is seriously amiss here - first suggest that you have your battery checked for condition it sounds that it might be faulty battery it should last 5 or even some cases up to 9 years. Also you may have a electrical drain, this can occur when you car alternator is not running, current can leak away through a faulty diode circuit or you may have a vehicle wiring circuit that is draining the battery - you don't have any lights that stay on all the time do you?
for all these problem you need to have checks done.

  dunderheid 09:45 30 Oct 2007

I have to replace my battery on average every 2 years. I imagine it's to do with the car not being used enough, as I never had this trouble when I was using previous cars for travelling to work.

My car is a 12 year old Rover 214 and has only done 16000 miles since it was brand new. The alternator and regulator etc are operating fine or so the AA tell me when I have to call them out to jump start the car or replace the battery!

I do have an old battery charger but there's no way of regulating it, and I am frightened it might ruin the battery if I left it on charge too long, whereas the LIDL T4X Tronic and Swedish Ctek 3600 are what are known as "Smart" chargers and change to a float or trickle charge when the battery is fully charged and cannot damage the battery according to the instruction manuals.

In fact they claim to be able to resurrect a battery from the dead!

My problem is trying to determing whether to go for the genuine Swedish charger or the LIDL copy-cat at a fraction of the price. The trademark name Tronic is LIDL's own brand name therefore I cannot get any information about it on the web, apart from what I read on a UK Motor Homes forum.

  dunderheid 09:50 30 Oct 2007

In May I had to call out the AA for the battery being flat. At this particular time this was my fault and not the battery to blame.

The patrolman said the boot lid had not been closed properly which meant the light had been burning and caused the battery to go flat.

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