CTEK MXS 5.0 Battery Charger


Costs:

Charger Around – £50. (I personally bought this charger and not a free review item.)

Optional purchases: Rubber Bumper – £8, Comfort Indicator Eyelets – £7

The Sales pitch:

The MXS 5.0 is an advanced microprocessor controlled battery charger with automatic temperature compensation built-in providing unrivalled performance on lead-acid batteries from 1.2Ah up to 110Ah. The MXS 5.0 solves a broad range of battery problems and is the ideal charger for the user with high demands. Features of the MXS 5.0 include diagnosis of battery condition to establish if it can receive and retain charge, patented automatic desulphation step and a special reconditioning step that will revive and restore deeply discharged and stratified batteries. AGM option is perfect for maximising performance and life of most Stop – Start batteries. The built-in temperature compensation ensures ideal charging performance even in the most extreme conditions. Patented Float/Pulse maintenance makes the MXS 5.0 ideal for long – term maintenance. The entire process of battery testing, charging and maintenance is easily followed on the clear LED display.

The MXS 5.0 is a fully automatic “connect and forget” 12V charger with 8 charging steps and offers selectable SMALL BATTERY, and NORMAL BATTERY  programs. The RECOND and AGM options operate individually or together  in both SMALL BATTERY and NORMAL BATTERY programs providing great  flexibility for the user. Wide charging range on all lead-acid battery types  from 1.2Ah up to110Ah with additional maintenance capability to 160Ah.  Splash proof and dust proof (IP65).  The MXS 5.0 is easy and safe to use,  protects vehicle electronics, is spark-free, reverse polarity protected and short circuit proof. Hang onto you receipt as the the MXS 5.0 features a 5- year warranty.

What’s In The Box:

Before I start there are two versions of this product. The only way to tell them apart is the “Mode” button. The old version is black, the new version is red. The differences are minimal, but the newer version has more smart technology for temperature controls around the ambient temperatures and inside the battery when charging.

Inside the box was the charging unit itself, comfort eyelets, and comfort clips as they call them. There was the instructions in multi language and something I wasn’t expecting, a case for the charger with a draw string top.

The charger is well-built and feels solid with no switches to move just the sealed buttons on the front for the mode selection. The cable is not very long for the mains connection and in some ways I would liked to have seen a longer lead.

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On the other side there is a fair length of wire to go to the battery itself. On the end of the battery lead there is a thumb operated catch plug which allows a variation of connections. The fitting is very light and feels a bit delicate, but it does the job and hold the plugs together fine. You can buy a nice extension kit if you need more wire with a male and female version of the fittings at each end. The bag is big enough and will hold the charger, leads and connections. The charger has only two holes that are fitted diagonally to each other that will allow you to attach the unit to the wall, or you can buy mounting bracket for the unit if you require. I also purchased as an optional extra a rubber “Bumper” which cost around £8 which was a little expensive for what you get. However the bumper finished the unit nicely which looks all black now instead of the standard plastic silver effect. You won’t need more than two screws to hold this to the wall as it’s very light for a charger.

Fitting Processes:

This is where it gets clever, CTEK has thought of everything and more. The charger finishes with a plug and not the attachments themselves. This gives the user options on how to use it. There is from what I can work out is the semi-permanent option or the temporary option. The later temporary option are the standard clips which attach to the battery posts for charging. The clips feel solid and have a string grip and won’t fall off the battery terminals and are well insulated. The split between the clips is plenty big enough for the largest of batteries. The clips can be used for the charging or trickle charging when the car is in storage. The end of the clips has the connector for the charger itself.

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The semi permanent option is the eyelets, these screw to the fittings on the battery post. To form a neat plug and go idea. When the car needs to move unplug the charger leaving the leads in place. When parking up again just plug the charger plugs together and leave the charger to it.

This is absolutely fine, but I wanted something a little extra. There is an option for the eyelets (and the clips), for a visual version(s). The visual idea has traffic light idea for a guide.

Red means the battery charge is below 12.4 volts. It’s definitely time to charge the battery.
Yellow means the battery charge is between 12.4 and 12.65 volts, it’s time to start thinking about charging the battery.
Green means the battery charge is more than 12.65 volts.

The plug also has a rubber cap to seal from dirt and damp while the car is in motion. I mounted my plug just behind the grill so the wire from the charger goes to the plug without having to lift the hood. Here you can see the same fittings for the eyelets regardless of the visual or not.

You will notice the positive side of the visual set up is an in line fuse, another little feature that I liked. Although this makes for a more messy installation it gives me another layer of safety to protect the car from any danger with the battery. The LED’s on the plug flash all the time, regardless of the charger being attached or not. Again another brilliant guide for the car to make sure there are no issues with charging when I get to where I go, another safety net. This can be checked discretely by just looking through the grill at the bottom, the LED’s are bright and can be seen in daylight or from the other end of the garage. Here the pics show the states of the light flashing on the visual eyelets cable. (Yes it did take a few attempts to catch a pic with light on).

I just love this extra, especially as the sensor tolerances are so tight for a visual guide as well. On an automatic car, the last thing you want is a dead battery. I don’t have to have the battery out of the car as it stays in place now. I don’t worry about having to removing large battery clips from the battery before I drive away. Just a alittle plug that stays there in place all the time.

Operating Modes:

The charger has a mode button that will cycle through the options. Motorcycle or small battery, Car, AGM, Recondition. The modes are explained in the operating manual here or the PDF link below.

Ctekmxs5.0 UserManual

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My set up requires the car option with the AGM type battery. The charger is used mainly for trickle charge, but has charged a low battery in the car.

As this is a “Smart Charger” by definition its intelligent and thinks for itself. Turning on the charger will always start from Step 1 and work its way up, if all is fine this takes a minute or two and will then settle down into a maintenance mode if you like. If you are charging the charger it will do what it has to do via various “Steps” explained below depending on what is required.

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.

Here the charger is working its way up to charged after a minute or two.

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Here the battery has been sitting for a few days or so just trickle charging ready to use.

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During use the charger does not get hot, only slightly warm to the touch. The reassuring optional extra of the visual eyelets lets me know that all is well during charging.

Accessories available:

There is a whole raft of optional items you can buy for this unit. There is extension leads, replacement cables, visual clips, visual eyelets, cigarette lighter options with visual, there is even a permanent Panel fitting that you plug directly into where you want. The options are there to customise this how you want.

Results:  10 out 10

I have tried so hard to fault this unit to be honest, knock marks of for two screw holes, or no rubber bumper, or no visual attachments would be really unfair and harsh. But, when you buy top quality equipment then you expect it to be right. This unit is impressive, and also has a 5 year warranty to back that up, the long warranty alone speaks for itself to be honest. If I was to moan about anything I would prefer a more reassuring snap to the clip plug-ins, that’s it. I think that the visual status version of the cables should be standard, and not just the plain wires supplied with the unit. This unit has been in constant use for 18 months now and never missed a beat. The battery is always ready to fire up no matter how long I have used it for. The battery was out of the car and just sitting on my garage floor being topped up by this unit. The previous Ring Solar charger was OK in the summer, but the unit died after while. The fact this uses a little electric instead of the sun power doesn’t worry me now, as I know this charger will look after my batter by constant monitoring and maintenance schedules if just left. When you invest in an expensive battery like I did you want it looked after. With the optional extras such as the bumper and the visual eyelets this works out a fairly expensive charger though.

Was I being to generous in the score? No, everybody else from other web sites agrees and is giving the same full marks.

Would I recommend this? Yes without a doubt.

Would I buy it again? Yes, without a doubt

Interesting point:

There are many car manufacturers that re-brand these units as their own equipment to be included with the car or their accessories range.