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299 of 301 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ctek MXS 5.0 explained and compared...
There are very few Ctek car battery chargers that haven't won awards, with many car makers simply rebranding standard Ctek chargers as their own (Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche to name just a few). The choice of Ctek models is now vast and can be extremely confusing, further complicated by recent revisions to much of the range in September 2013 resulting in both old and new...
Published 16 months ago by K. BURTON

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but possibly flawed.
This is the second I have bought. The first started playing last winter when I had a leisure battery connected. The error light kept appearing for no reason. I contacted CTEK and they agreed it was faulty and I received a refund under the warranty as it was only 6 months old. I shall see how this one performs.
Published on 24 Dec. 2012 by S.J.Hutchinson


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299 of 301 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ctek MXS 5.0 explained and compared..., 1 Jan. 2014
By 
K. BURTON (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: CTEK MXS 5.0 Battery Charger with Automatic Temperature Compensation (Automotive)
There are very few Ctek car battery chargers that haven't won awards, with many car makers simply rebranding standard Ctek chargers as their own (Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche to name just a few). The choice of Ctek models is now vast and can be extremely confusing, further complicated by recent revisions to much of the range in September 2013 resulting in both old and new models being offered for sale alongside each other. I'm a long-term user of the older XS3600, XS4003 and MXS 5.0 - all now updated - and this last week have been using this revised MXS 5.0. Here are my thoughts on the current Ctek MXS 5.0 compared alongside Cteks' own other models:

This Ctek MXS 5.0 is a new, slightly updated version of the now discontinued MXS 5.0, which was for quite some time Amazon's "best-selling" car battery charger. This updated model is denoted by the Mode button being "RED" whilst the original MXS 5.0 had a "BLACK" Mode button. The differences between them are minimal and for many users will make little if any difference (see below).

The red-button MXS 5.0, like its' predecessor the black-button MXS 5.0, provides up to 5 amps charging current and is capable of charging and maintaining a 12-volt lead-acid car/ van/ camper/ motorcycle/ lawnmower/ jet-ski battery of between 1.2 amps and 110 amps; in real terms, that covers most car batteries up to a larger executive saloon such as a BMW 5/Mercedes E and even many typical camper van leisure batteries. The advantage of all "smart" chargers is that once the battery is charged, the charger will maintain that battery by monitoring its' voltage, and topping it up as and when required so that the battery may be left connected to the charger indefinitely - ideal for infrequently used vehicles. Ctek use a patented, proven 8-step charging sequence, each stage of that process being indicated by a separate LED on the front panel.

Despite the apparent complexity of a Ctek charger, for many users it really is just a case of connecting the charger to the battery (the battery does not even need to be disconnected from the vehicle), connecting the power cable to a 240v mains socket, and pressing the MODE button a few times to select an appropriate programme (the settings being memorised for next use): The whole charging process thereafter is entirely automatic, and will stop/signal an error if the battery fails at any step. But for the technically curious, here's my explanation of what's going on:

Step 1). Desulphation: When a battery is left standing/ undercharged for any period of time, sulphate begins to form on the internal lead plates reducing its' ability to hold charge. Statistically, more batteries fail prematurely from excessive sulphation than for any other reason. This first step provides a series of rapid 15.8v pulses intended to help shake off any sulphate deposits within the battery.

Step 2). Soft Start: This starts charging the battery (at 0.8A or 5A, depending upon your selection), ensuring it can reach at least 12.6 volts within a pre-set time (a maximum of 8hrs).

Step 3). Bulk Charge: Charging is continued at full power until most (80%) of the power is restored into the battery. When this step is complete (if you're in a hurry) the charger can be disconnected and the battery used as enough charge is already held.

Step 4). Absorption: Charging is continued to maintain full voltage (14.4v), but current is continuously and progressively reduced to avoid over-heating (damage), gently topping-up the battery to maximum capacity.

Step 5). Idle Test: Charging stops and the battery is monitored for 3 minutes to ensure the battery is healthy and can retain its' charge.

Step 6). Recondition (this option can be omitted): The acid within the battery can separate in old/standing/infrequently used batteries, and where high accessory usage (heated windows/ seats/ mirrors, wipers, headlights, air-conditioning etc) over short journeys does not allow the alternator to fully charge the battery ("acid stratification"). This step provides a 15.8v topping-charge at reduced current for a limited time to promote controlled gassing/forced mixing of the acid within the battery.

Step 7). Float Maintenance: This step holds the battery at a constant 13.6 volts for up to 10 days to optimise performance before changing to pulse maintenance.

Step 8). Pulse Maintenance: The battery is continually monitored and topped up when the voltage falls through natural discharge and/or parasitic losses (alarm, car memory chips etc). This serves to exercise the battery whilst keeping it charged.

Both old and new MXS 5.0 feature a "cold weather/snowflake/AGM" option; in this mode, a higher charging voltage (14.7 rather than the usual 14.4 volts) can be selected on icy days, and for normal charging of some AGM battery types (typically used in stop-start vehicles).

How does this new MXS 5.0 differ from other models?

Ctek MXS 3.8: Compared to the MXS 5.0, the MXS 3.8 has a 7-step charging sequence (it does not include the "Recondition" option/ function), with reduced charging current (3.8 amps). Ctek recommend its use for charging batteries of 1.2Ah to 80Ah size - covering most small/medium sized cars. It replaces the older multiple-award winning Ctek XS3600/MXS 3.6, which had simpler 4-step charging and 3.6 amp charging current.

Ctek MXS 7.0: Has increased 7 amp output for faster charging of 14Ah to 150Ah batteries. It adds a "Supply" mode, providing a constant, smooth 13.6v supply; this is useful to 1) maintain car memory settings when the battery is physically removed/ disconnected from the vehicle, 2) "bumping" a severely flat battery below 2v above that threshold so that normal charging can proceed.

Ctek MXS 10.0: As MXS 7.0, but with 10 amp output for charging batteries between 20Ah and 200Ah in size. It also adds an external temperature probe/sensor intended to ensure charging characteristics are correct relative to the true ambient temperature, and are not adversely affected by the temperature of the charger itself.

Differences between the older black-button MXS 5.0 and this newer red-button MXS 5.0: 1) All Ctek chargers are temperature compensated; that is, the rate of charge (current) is reduced when working in hot ambient conditions, and when the charger is working hard for extended periods - when it can get hot. The newer "with Temperature Compensation" red-button variant also claims to adjust the charge voltage depending upon the ambient temperature. Unlike the MXS 10.0 however, this is an internal sensor: Logically then, this is monitoring charger temperature rather than true ambient/battery temperature, and could potentially be subject to error where the charger is positioned remotely from the battery and/or if the charger is working hard and itself getting hot, making it an enhancement of limited value in my opinion (although there would be more benefit in very hot climates where charge voltage levels would ideally be reduced). In our UK climate, simply select the "cold weather/AGM" setting in freezing conditions; any difference really isn't that critical. 2) The cable attachments have been modified to reduce wear. 3) The AGM and "Recondition" functions can be used separately or together in both 0.8 or 5amp charging modes. 4) The "Recondition" programme has been modified to either 2 or 6 hours at 1.8A max. 5) The Absorption phase has been speeded up to max 8 hours. 6) Efficiency is claimed to be improved by reducing overall power consumption. Do any of these changes make a difference? Not really in my view, but (so far at least) there's no cost increase over the older model.

Ctek MXS 5.0 Test and Charge: Newly introduced 9/13. This is denoted by the "BLUE" Mode button: This is identical to the MXS 5.0, but also has additional functions to test 1) Battery Voltage (12.4-12.6v static value), 2) Start Power (9.6-10.5v whilst cranking), 3) Alternator Charging (13.3-14.0v whilst engine running). Stated values are indicated normal; above or below are indicated as high or low respectively. It's an admirable attempt to introduce additional post-charge testing, but in my view the measured values are too narrow to be of any real value, and currently at a very high cost relative to the standard MXS 5.0. A separate digital tester will provide more comprehensive, meaningful test results where battery and starting/charging system testing is required.

Also available: Ctek MXS 5.0 Polar: Denoted by "ORANGE" Mode button and casework. As MXS 5.0, but adapted so that it can also be used in severely cold temperatures down to -30c. A Ctek Lithium XS 5-amp version also introduced for lightweight Lithium batteries (option on some Porsche models etc).

All these CTEK chargers provide sufficiently smooth charging current and can in most cases be connected directly via your cigarette lighter socket (provided the socket can be used even when the key is out of the ignition) - without disconnecting the battery from the car or even lifting the bonnet! The cars' sensitive electronics should remain unharmed in all charging states except when possibly using (choosing to use) the recondition function. A Ctek cigarette lighter socket connector is available for this purpose (not suitable for use with the 10 amp MXS 10.0), and is well worth buying in my opinion if only to avoid the dirt under the bonnet: The basic cigarette lighter connector accessory is here; the newer version which adds LED indicators to show when your battery needs charging is here. All these chargers - as is common with all SMPS smart-chargers of all makes - also require a minimum voltage from the battery to be able to recognise it. With Ctek chargers, that's as low as 2 volts (most other smart-chargers require at least 7v) - a car battery is already considered flat when it falls below 10.5 volts! If your battery has dropped below 2v, you'll need the "Supply" mode of the MXS 7/10 to "bump" a charge, jump your battery first from another vehicle/battery, or use an old-fashioned transformer-based charger just to pump a little juice into it so that smart-charging can then begin. Be aware though that with any battery that's below a 2v level there is possible risk of unrecoverable internal damage, so caution is needed. Ctek smart-chargers use a charging algorithm based on IUoU, which is faster and more efficient with all automotive battery types (and which is distinctly different from the methods used by many other brands of smart-chargers I've tested): Whilst this technology is generally acknowledged as being the best of the eight or so alternative algorithms that could be employed for charging and recovering even old and abused batteries, even a Ctek can't always perform miracles; if your battery is heavily sulphated, internally damaged or corroded, or otherwise life-expired (usually due to neglect or misuse), it'll likely need replacing. My Ctek MXS 5.0 just last week correctly diagnosed my seriously-aged 11 year-old Mercedes battery as "failed" during charging. Ignoring the warning, 2 days later the car failed mid-journey due to (upon closer examination) internal shedding of lead-paste from the grid! That the battery DID last 11 years (5-7 years is considered good) is I think testament to the value of regular Ctek charging and maintenance.

In my view, this latest Ctek MXS 5.0 adds little of real value over the already excellent model it replaces. Balancing cost against quality, performance and features, it will likely prove to be yet another Magazine Award Winner and "Amazon Best Seller" as it satisfies even the most demanding of users needs brilliantly: It offers virtually all the features of the more expensive models with only a very few periphery functions and some "large battery" charging speed being sacrificed. Perhaps the threat comes from Ctek's own lower-cost MXS 3.8 which, now upgraded in features, seriously challenges this models' market leading position. For that reason, coupled with a few personal minor reservations over production economies evident with this latest model (casings are now glued rather than screwed together, and the leads are both shorter and somewhat less robust when compared to older models I own) this MXS 5.0 loses a star.

Of course, an even bigger threat to Ctek's market dominance perhaps comes from other makers copying as far as possible the Ctek smart-management technology, the most extreme of these examples coming from supermarkets who periodically offer similar looking/ functioning chargers with many of Ctek's key basic features for substantially less money (some for as little as just 30% of the cost of this MXS 5.0). Whilst I personally have relied on the brilliance of Ctek chargers for nearly 15 years and thus remain a firm Ctek convert, for those for whom a car battery charger is just an annoying forced purchase, some of these other-band smart-chargers I've tried do seem to work very well indeed and, whilst most of these other brands do use simpler charging principles, may prove a preferred purchase on cost/performance grounds alone.

UPDATE: April 2015: Since writing the above review over a year ago now, many well-known competitor brands have raised their game, introducing newer models that now copy quite accurately Cteks' quality charging principles. For those who cannot or choose not to stretch to Ctek's ever increasing prices, two very low-cost examples that did impress me and are perhaps worthy of consideration - that I have since bought, extensively tested and reviewed - are the German Absaar ATEK4000 (search here on Amazon for "Absaar 77949") and the Maypole 7423A. Ctek have since responded with a new, lower cost, lower powered, very basic entry-level model... the Ctek XS 3.3 - also now available here on Amazon.
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53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't be disappointed, 1 Nov. 2011
By 
Originally bought this for my daughter's car who only does very short journeys. Tried it out on my own 6 year old car first which I've never had starting problems with & take the care to look after the battery - it "bulk" charged for 5 hours in the garage then I left it "maintenace" charging overnight. Used the supplied crocodile clips & followed the very clear instructions. I've since charged my daughter's car & this weekend saved my sister a garage/AA call-out as her 8 year old car had been SORN'd for the past 10 weeks in her garage & even the remote locking wouldn't work. As her battery was almost completely dead both the "bulk" and "maintenance" LEDs flashed initially - this was not mentioned in the instuctions but I believe it is the de-sulphication period before bulk charging. Within a few minutes it switched to "bulk" LED constantly on (per instructions) and the central locking worked. Left it charging for 30+ hours but charger remained in "bulk" mode. Hhmm instructions says approx 13->17 hours for bulk charge so I think the battery is well past its best so decided to switch off. But at least she now can start the car to get it for MOT etc & new battery...
At £46 for this latest model (AutoExpress BestBuy) this is a bargain.
p.s. I had problems with VERY late delivery from Battery Megastore
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Efficient and easy to use charger, 4 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: CTEK MXS 5.0 Battery Charger with Automatic Temperature Compensation (Automotive)
This is a really easy to use charger: connect the leads to the battery, plug the charger in the wall socket, then select the mode (Motorcycle, Car, AGM, Recond). The battery does not need to be disconnected from the car beforehand. If only used to charge car batteries, then the mode needs to be set only once when the charger is first used, as the setting is remembered. It has 8 automatic charging steps, once the charger reaches the seventh step it can be disconnected. It is so small that it can be left under the closed bonnet while charging.
I did check the car battery before and after charging with a battery drop tester (Sealey 6/12V Battery Drop Tester) and the battery's voltage has improved significantly after using the charger.
It has a max 5 amps output current. It is also reverse polarity and short circuit protected. Although it can be used to recharge deeply discharged batteries (by using the 'Recond' mode), I did not have to try this yet thankfully. It has 5 year warranty.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EASY TO USE WITH GOOD ACCESSORIES, 10 Dec. 2013
This review is from: CTEK MXS 5.0 Battery Charger with Automatic Temperature Compensation (Automotive)
Good Accessories -
The cigarette lighter adaptor and comfort indicator make this system easy and convenient to use which certainly helps prevent problems arising if you can quickly and easily top up your battery charge.

The accessories are sturdily built for example the cigarette socket adaptor does not come loose and is a very good fit & well made. This adaptor makes it very easy to connect. (You will have to check that your cars socket remains live when the ignition is switched off though - many cars have a permanently live socket in the boot for cool boxes etc.

"Comfort ADAPTOR" supplied can be attached permanently to the battery if required, the adaptor then plugs easily straight into the charger.

"Comfort INDICATOR" bought separately, has three separate lights each of different colour( since there are 3 separate lights, this enables those who may be colour blind to also use it).
It displays the charge level (above 80% green, 60-80% yellow, below 60% red, the advice being red charge immediately, yellow charge soon, green ok. For one car that we have that can go 1-8 weeks without being driven, I can now tell instantly when to top up the charge without charging it unnecessarily or worse still finding the battery flat.

Automatic Temperature Compensation ATC-
When the charger detects a temperature lower than +5 deg Centigrade the charging voltage (for standard lead acid batteries) is automatically increased from 14.4 to 14.7 volts. In the cold, the energy needed to turn over the engine is increased though the power given by the battery is reduced . If you have to resort to the battery charger to start your car in freezing weather and your car has been standing for a while then A.T.C. is a useful feature (not all users will have an outside thermometer) although manual mode is still available if users do prefer to set it manually when the temperature is known to be less than +5 deg ,this can be achieved by switching manually to AGM mode.

December 2013 the charger took 4.5 hours to charge a car battery but the temperature fell to 5 deg C while the charge was in progress.... and so (after the charger indicated that charging was complete)I tried recharging the same battery letting the charger decide if a further charge was needed, in fact the charger spent another 1.5 hours re-charging battery & appeared to have detected the temperature drop. It seems that the charger checks the environmental temperature at the start of the charging process. If you want to get the very best from ATC and you think the temperature may be around 5 deg C or lower, then leaving the charger under the bonnet for 15 -30minutes before switching on should allow the battery and charger to reach the same temperature.
It's worth noting that if the battery is completely flat (residual voltage less than 2 volts) this smart charger will not detect the battery (it's a safety feature) You will then have to retrieve your very basic pre-historic charger from the cave and charge for 30 seconds MAXIMUM before trying the CTEK again, (this ensures that the voltage remains low enough for the desulphation mode to be engaged if necessary) repeat for a further 30 seconds if still not detected. Some CTEK chargers have a "supply/pre-charge" facility- not this one and for most circumstances it won't be a problem.
Splash-Proof- The CTEK 5.0T is very small and easily fits underneath a car bonnet and so protect the electrics from the elements (unlike most other chargers it is actually splash-proof).

8 Stage Charge;
Depending on the condition of the battery then stage 1 & 2 may take from 10 seconds to a couple of hours, stage
(1) Desulphation for batteries that may have been discharged for some time and have sulphated
(2) Soft start checks out that the battery can still take a charge.
(3) Bulk Charge
(4) Absorption
(5) Analyse
(6) Recondition
(7) Float
(8) Pulse.
With a deep cycle battery which has been completely discharged or any fully discharged standard lead acid battery that has stood for a while then a more concentrated acid is found at the bottom of the cell and stage (6) Recon. produces extra gas which agitates the liquid acid and mixes it allowing the battery to take a greater charge.
If the battery has a major fault then the error light indicates this & at what stage of the charge process it failed.
The engine can be started when stage 4 is lit.
The charger can also be left connected for months and is monitored by the pulse charge stage (8)
Hope this has helped you make your decision.
IF YOU DO FIND A BETTER CHARGER FEEL FREE TO LEAVE DETAILS UNDER COMMENTS BELOW.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent intelligent charger., 24 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought the CTEK 3.8 for my car that spends most of it's time in the garage. It had a flat battery from lack of use so after reading reviews on CTEK products I opted for this model. I fitted the comfort connector to the battery so there is no need to remove the battery cover again, just plug in and switch on. I left it on charge overnight and this morning the car started straight away. The LED's are a good indication of what stage the process is at and when the battery is fully charged. I am very pleased with the CTEK 3.8. It seems to be well made and very easy to use.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful range of operating modes, 17 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this product to enable me to charge my campervan battery, camping leisure battery and maintain my car battery which spends quite a bit of time standing in the garage. This charger does all of this and can act as a 12V power supply too. The extra output, 7A is useful when charging the bigger batteries used in vans. Good build quality, but one thing I am not so happy with on this model, (unlike a prevoius smaller model I have used) is that during some operating modes the charger makes audiable clicking noises which suggests that it incorporates mechanical relays to switch current. This may be a weakness in the future.

Overall good design with a good range of plug-in accessories.

Expensive but recommended if you have a van or car with a 100Ahr battery or larger.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Motorhome vehicle battery problem sorted!, 25 Aug. 2012
By 
P. Messenger (Devon, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We have a Ford Transit based Autosleeper Pollensa motorhome which we keep on our drive. The leisure batteries are no problem to keep charged using the mains lead. The vehicle battery was another matter altogether. Over the winter we had to call out the AA several times to deal with a flat vehicle battery when we wanted to go off with the van for a few days. Jump leads did not work as it was completely flat and an ordinary charger cannot be left on for long periods. The ordinary charger also failed to revive the completely flat battery. The AA man recommended this type of conditioning charger (he did not mention any particular make) as it can be left connected for long periods and gets around a weekly drive around the block to keep the vehicle battery charged. This regular drive was something we kept on overlooking and this caught us out! The unit also conditions and maintains the battery. We have just returned from a month away in August (without the van) having left the van battery charger connected all that time. No problems at all with starting the engine first turn of the ignition key! The unit might appear to be expensive but it means no hassles in keeping the battery charged and conditioned. Hopefully it will also prolong the battery life which is something to take into account when thinking about the cost of a new replacement vehicle battery. This was a point that the AA man made. It comes with a battery plug lead which you can leave connected to the battery and this neatly tucks out the way when the charger is not connected. Connecting up the charger is very easy using this and avoids having to slide the seat, remove the cover and then connect the terminals and then reversing that later to disconnect the unit. I have not noticed the unit getting hot and feel confident about leaving it connected and unattended for long periods of time. All in all a worthwhile investment with the peace of mind it gives you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally silent charger, 1 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this charger to replace a cheaper automatic 20 Amp charger that had an extremely noisy fan, which eventually failed. It had been temporarily replaced by a basic car charger which though satisfactory did not control current or voltage, so it would charge at well over 14.4 if not switched off when the battery was fully charged.

By contrast this charger is totally silent, and seems so far to do the job required of it.

My application is possibly slightly unusual in that I run the charger whilst my solar panels are generating to charge 3 banks each with 2 135AH batteries. I then use the batteries to power LED lighting and other electronics. The charger is connected to a normal mains socket so that any solar generation is still recorded by the FIT meter.

Currently this charger is charging the bank which has the lowest demand, following a week's normal running in July (sunny) this battery is now fully charged and the charger has 7 LEDs lit.

I do notice that with natural cooling only the charger does get quite hot, but is still touchable so I guess this is normal.
As there is no fan this charger must be very efficient.

I had been concerned that 270AH would be too much for the charger to manage, but felt that the quoted 300AH maintenance guideline was more like my actual use. So far this seems to be the case.

I am now thinking of replacing the other 2 chargers with these once there has been a period of satisfactory. In the short term I may also try this charger in a higher demand position and see how it performs.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Car/Motorbike Trickle Charger, 9 Sept. 2012
Decided to buy this as I was going away for a few months with work. My partners car had been in the garage and wouldn't start and couldn't be pulled out as it was in gear. This charger completely re vamped and charged the battery. It then goes into trickle mode and monitors the drain on the battery by alarms etc.

This is all achieved using technology I can't begin to fathom.

How I hadn't purchased one of these before is incomprehendable.

Excellent product that I cannot rate high enough. A must have if you have a car that you store or don't use a great deal.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great battery charger, 2 Jan. 2012
By 
bj99 (Hampshire) - See all my reviews
Since I have retired, I have used my three litre diesel Mercedes on far fewer occasions and I have been getting concerned about the battery going flat as the car sits idly in the garage for many days - and I have a three week holiday coming up.
My need is for a safe and reliable smart battery charger that I can permanently connect to the car without removing the battery. There is much conflicting advice about the wisdom of a) connecting in situ, and b) leaving it connected for long periods.
However, the CTEK MXS 3.6 fits the bill perfectly and since I have read up all the details on it I am totally reassured that it meets my requirements. I have set it up and all works perfectly - very simple connections and a green LED tells me that the battery is always fully charged. Well recommended for those with this type of requirement.
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