Reviewed: CTEK MXS 5.0

Among car enthusiasts, CTEK is well-known as a supplier of battery chargers for top-tier brands like Mercedes Benz, BMW, Ferrari, Bentley, and Audi. In mid-2015, they entered the Philippine market with a range of smart battery chargers targeted for individual and enterprise users. Here’s how the CTEK MXS 5.0, an advanced microprocessor controlled battery charger fared at the GadgetsLab.

Design: 4.0/5.0

It’s a car battery charger, so it won’t win any “Good Lookin’” participation awards. From the box and included cables, you get the main unit housed in a grey plastic box that’s reminiscent of a wall socket extension brick. Connected to the main unit on either end are the connectors for the included eyelet cables and clamp cables.

The Comfort Connect Eyelet M6 included in the packaging is designed for the battery prongs. Also in the box were Comfort Connect Clamps. The main unit box has a big red “Mode” that can cycle through the battery charging modes as well as an error indicator. The numbered light indicators are for the 8-stage charging system.

Just looking at the device gives you an intuitive idea of how to operate it, but reading the User Manual allows you to get the most out of the MXS 5.0.

Hardware: 4.0/5.0

CTEK, a company out of Sweden, is recognized as an innovator in smart charging technology, with battery chargers that are safe and simple to use. The MXS 5.0 is an advanced all-around charger that is controlled by a microprocessor with built-in automatic temperature compensation.

The packaged unit comes with the main unit and the Comfort Connect Eyelet M6. A host of optional accessories are offered on their website, such as: housing bumper case, mounting bracket, Comfort Indicator (M8 1,5M, M8 3,3M), cigarette plug, indicator clamps, etc.

User Experience: 4.0/5.0

The 8-step “connect and forget” system works by using a microprocessor to regulate, monitor, and charge the car battery. This lessens the wasted batteries being disposed after the usual car battery life cycle. CTEK’s promise is to double the battery life with zero risk to the cars electronic system.

We got the MXS 5.0 test unit just when our Toyota Fortuner’s 3SM battery indicator turned yellow, signaling that it needed some immediate attention. With a quick disconnect from the Fortuner, heavy grunting while bringing the battery inside the house, a pit stop to rest with heavy breathing, and another leg of dragging the heavy battery to a nearby wall socket, and voila! the test was ready to set up.
We also tested the CTEK MXS 5.0 on a totally discharged battery that we use for emergencies. Since the discharged battery was already in the house, it was a simple matter of sliding it to a nearby wall socket to get it set-up on the charger.

The MXS 5.0 offers four modes:
COLD/AGM: Charging in cold conditions, AGM and Stop-Start batteries
RECOND: Reconditioning of deeply discharged batteries
SMALL: Charging small batteries (Motorcyle Symbol)
NORMAL: Charging normal batteries (Car Symbol)

On both tests, hooking up the battery to the charger is just like connecting the battery into a car. Black on black, red on red, and don’t let the ends/clamps touch. Once the battery was hooked up, we plugged the charger into a nearby wall socket, hit the green power button, and selected the correct charging mode for each battery.

For the Fortuner’s 3SM battery, we went with using the Normal mode first. We started the charging time at 9 PM and left the charger plugged in overnight. For our totally discharged spare battery, it was hooked up the next night and left to the same overnight charging under RECOND mode. For both tests, charging time took 24 hours each.

Finally, each test yielded the same results: a fully reconditioned and recharged battery that can be used until the car battery signal lights up again.

Value: 4.0/5.0

New car batteries for sedan types usually cost around PHP 2,500 up to PHP 4,500. For SUV types, new car batteries would usually cost PHP 4,500 up to PHP 8,500. Battery life for even the highest quality maintenance-free brand only lasts a max of two and half years.

The CTEK MXS 5.0 costs PHP 5,900, about the same price range as a new battery. For families with multiple cars, this would be a worthwhile investment that can be easily recouped from the cost of battery replacement.

Entrepreneurial types or auto shops might also see the business potential of a device that can recondition and extend the life of car batteries.

Bottomline:

This device can double the life of your car’s lead acid battery life, which can translate to huge savings for multi-car families or businesses.

Also published in February Issue 2016

Words by Benji Ortiz

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