All of us own some sort of seasonal vehicle that has a battery. And, most of us have learned (the hard way) what happens...

All of us own some sort of seasonal vehicle that has a battery. And, most of us have learned (the hard way) what happens when these lead-acid batteries sit unused for months on end; they’re dead when we go to start the vehicle and they don’t last very long. Do you replace batteries earlier than you should? This is a problem with ATV, PWC, marine, motorcycle, lawn equipment and snowmobile batteries. You use them for a few months, then they sit.

All of this can be avoided by connecting a “smart” battery charger to the battery, either on a scheduled basis or for the entire storage period. The latest battery chargers can extend the life of all of your batteries and save you a ton of cash and headache in the process.

And, chances are you still use a “stupid” high-current charger for your boats and cars and trucks. Get with the program! Everyone who owns a vehicle with a battery needs a “smart” charger. We’re not talking simply getting a charger with “float” maintenance; that’s a start, but there is so much more “intelligence” now available.

Over the past few years SnowTech has introduced you to a couple of excellent small battery chargers that are well suited for use on recreational vehicles like snowmobiles; first, the Battery Tender Jr., and then the outstanding Optimate III desulfator/charger offered through all Yamaha dealers.

Here is a new battery charger that is also worthy of your consideration; the CTEK line of chargers. CTEK is the best-selling battery charger in Europe, claiming to be “The smartest battery chargers in the world!” They’re from Sweden, and are just now introducing their chargers to the U.S. market.

The CTEK chargers are smart in that they carry a sophisticated program sequence in testing, charging, and maintaining your batteries. They offer chargers in three “sizes”; the US 800 with 0.8A of charging power, the Multi US 3300 with a switchable 0.8 or 3.3 amps of charging power, and the top-of-the-line Multi US 700 that can handle pretty much any 12V lead-acid battery you throw at it, along with most any other kind of 12 V DC battery. All of these chargers feature a “desulfation” mode that recovers, or “wakes” a sulfated battery that no longer accepts a “normal” charge.

The one we tested was the Multi US 3300, as it can be switched from a low current charge that is ideal for smaller (<14 Ah) to a high-current charge for batteries in the 14-90 Ah range (this includes all but the largest automotive and marine batteries). The Multi US 3300 utilizes switch mode technology, a 4-cycle intelligent process for battery maintenance and charging:
1. Desulfation:Recovers or “wakes” a sulfated or under-charged battery
2. Bulk Charge: Begins charging at 0.8/3.3A
3. Absorption:Applies peak charge at 14.4/14.7V until fully charged
4. Pulse: Sends out current pulses for charge maintenance

You pretty much hook it up to the battery you need to charge or maintain, select the mode (small or large battery for proper charge current) and the charger fires up and analyzes the battery and decides what to do. A large number of batteries that one may have previously discarded because they were “bad” can actually be recovered and kept in service for even longer. While the chargers can’t fully recover every single old battery there is, we’ve been impressed with the speed and capability of the CTEK Multi 3000 in its ability to recover and maintain the snowmobile, watercraft and marine deep cycle batteries we’ve tested it on so far.

Its patented technology protects against sparks, short circuits and reverse polarity, and it does not damage sensitive electronics with “dirty” charging; you can leave the battery connected in the vehicle. You can pretty much leave it hooked up for months on end, the battery will be kept in tip-top shape and be ready when you are.

Another benefit of the CTEK 3300 is its weatherproof construction; its fully-sealed design is dustproof, splashproof & weatherproof, allowing it to be approved for outdoor use.

A unique feature is the addition of a higher-voltage charging mode, said to be better suited for use in colder temperatures. This “Cold weather boost mode” enables faster recharging in the coldest winter months by increasing the charging and target voltage to 14.7 V, making it ideal for our winter vehicles.

The unit is sleek and compact in size, and is lightweight (1.1 lbs.) and easy-to-carry. You don’t need a small charger for your sleds and other toys and a larger charger for your cars and boats, this one will do them all.

A quick-connect option eliminates need for reconnections in hard-to-connect applications. You can clamp onto the battery with the spring-clips, or you can attach a wiring harness to each battery you own and simply use the quick-connector plug to plug into any of them.
They work with virtually any lead-acid battery: Flooded, Maintenance-free, Gel, AGM. The higher-voltage Cold Weather Boost Mode is also recommended for many AGM batteries like Optima, Maxxima and Odysses, while many Gel batteries prefer the lower 14.4 V of the standard bulk charge mode.

The smaller US 800 only charges at the lower 0.8 A, so it is best suited for use on smaller recreational batteries and isn’t as good as the 3300 for the lager dual-purpose of also charging automotive and marine batteries.

The larger Multi US 7000 adds a “float” charge sequence to the pulse maintenance, as well as an automatic recondition mode to recondition deep-discharged batteries. This unit is best suited for the largest batteries found in RVs, larger boats and trucks with a full 7 A of charging power.

Sold at specialty retailers, the Multi US 3300 battery chargers are now available throughout the United States for $69.95. For more information about the CTEK Multi US 3300, call (330) 963-0981, e-mail usinfo@ctek.com or visit www.ctek.com.

  • BENJAMIN LANKHEET

    July 3, 2007 #1 Author

    I HAVE BEEN USING MINE FOR ABOUT A YEAR NOW. IT WORKS PERFECTLY AND AS ADVERTISED. THERE HAVE BEEN NO PROBLEMS WITH THE UNIT, YOU JUST HAVE TO REMEMBER TO TURN IT OFF IN THE SPRING. WONDERFUL PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY. I THINK THAT I HAVE ADDED YEARS TO THE ULTIMATE LIFE OF MY BATTERIES. I HAVE NO WAY OF PROVING THAT, BUT THE BATTERIES SEEM TO FUNCTION BETTER THAN NEW WHEN I START TO GET GOING AFTER A LONG MICHIGAN WINTER. YOU HAVE A WINNER HERE.

    BENJAMIN LANKHEET

  • gary

    September 17, 2007 #2 Author

    When you connect the charger, do you put one clip on the postive terminal and the other clip on the negative terminal, but do not remove the battery from the car (but disconnect the terminals from the car?). Thanks.

  • Stefan

    October 17, 2007 #3 Author

    Hi Gary!

    When you charge your battery with a CTEK Charger, there is no need to disconnect the battery from your vehicle. It’s totally safe for your electronics. Neither do you have to worry about connecting wrong. A LED on the charger will tell you if something is wrong, i.e. if you connect the positive clamp to the negative terminal. Please visit http://www.ctek.com for more information

  • Joe Thompson

    May 14, 2008 #4 Author

    I just received my 3300 charger with my new colf trolley. It came with a black pouch with clear plastis on one side.I thought it was a cover for the charger but I dont know how to fit it. please help!

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