I’m a bit odd when it comes to car repair. I like to get my hands dirty, but I’m not really reliable enough to accomplish all the work I need to do on the cars. The result is that my Corrado is constantly in need of some attention, and recently that attention is almost exclusively dealing with drained car batteries. Somewhere a previous owner has spliced in an accessory that’s draining the car’s battery, but I haven’t taken the time to track it down. In the mean time, I’ve gone through 2 Optima car batteries and spent too much time and money keeping the batteries charged.
I chose to use Optima batteries because they deal with being drained somewhat better than standard flooded batteries, and they’re safer to use and transport. The downside is that this type of AGM battery (absorbed glass mat) confuses my (two!) standard Craftsmen battery chargers (even though the newer one claims to have an AGM mode). I finally broke down and decided to try out the latest generation smart battery chargers, specifically the CTEK Multi US 7002. These battery chargers are (mostly) fully automatic. Once you set the type of battery you’re charging, they take over and handle the rest. The 7002 handles 8-stage charging duties, which means it does everything from reconditioning over-drained batteries to long-term pulse maintenance on stored batteries.
The device itself is surprisingly small and light; it really only handles charging duties at low-amperage, so it doesn’t need to weight and bulk of more traditional chargers. It also means the 7002 won’t be replacing my Craftsmen chargers for emergency car starting duties. Price-wise it’s no more expensive than my last Sears special. CTEK also offers a range of accessories to complement the charger; including a cigarette lighter attachment that allows charging car batteries without so much as lifting the hood. Overall the device seems well designed, and adequately built. My only complaint is that the included battery clips seem plasticky.
But most importantly, how does it perform? Admirably! I hooked up a Optima battery that was drained all the way down to 5.6v (most batteries are not meant to be drained past 9v). My Sears chargers insisted that the battery was bad, and unchargable (even after repeated attempts). The CTEK took over and charged the battery back to usable voltages in just 12 hours, and had it fully charged in under 24. Saving me from replacing that one battery more than covered the cost of the charger itself. From this limited test of the CTEK 2007, I would highly recommend it to anyone who commonly deals with newer high-tech 12V batteries.