This review is of the newestCTEK charger/maintainer. It is the “CT5Time to Go” CTEK, and was provided to me by CTEK.
For those of you not familiar with CTEK, they are a major OEM branded car battery charger manufacturer, for example Alfa Romero, Arctic Cat, Audi, BMW, Camaro, Corvette, Ferrari, Husqvana, Rolls-Royce, Saab and Yamaha. They also enjoy a healthy portion of the after-market car battery chargers under the CTEK label.
I have been using CTEKs for about 15 years for maintaining my automotive batteries. I started with the Multi US 3300, then the MUS 4.3. I actually never had one stop working properly (even after a couple of them were dropped), but I added as their technology improved, or I simply needed an additional charger for another of my cars.
CTEK chargers (non-OEM) typically come packaged with two ways to connect the charger to your car battery: ‘alligator’ clips to temporarily connect directly to the battery terminals, and what they call the Comfort Connect which has bolt connector eyelets that you can permanently connect to the respective terminal stud nut. If you do it this way, the Comfort Connect has a secure connector with a sealing flap, that connects easily to the output cable from the CTEK unit when you need it. A third option, especially for cars with dedicated charging accessory outlets like the Corvette Stingray has, is a Comfort Connect Cig-Plug. I actually use all three methods for different vehicles- permanent eyelet to the battery terminals on one of my vehicles that doesn’t have easy access to the battery and no live accessory plug, the alligator clips on another car where it doesn’t have a convenient live accessory plug, but does have it’s battery easily accessed in the engine compartment, and the Cig-Plug solution for my Stingray with the dedicated charging port in the trunk.
Regardless of which method you use to connect to your car (all three methods are interchangeable via the Comfort Connect end on the output cable), the unit works the same way.
So, this brings us to the latest CTEK CT5 Time To Go.
The unit it self looks fairly similar to the MUS 4.3, as can be seen in this picture with the Time To Go on top.
All CTEK units for the most part perform similar tasks: charging regular wet lead batteries and AGM (gel batteries), intelligently maintaining the proper float charge regardless of how long the unit is attached to the battery, automatic desulphation program, and reconditioning of batteries. The newest feature of the CTEK CT5 Time To Go, is the LED indication of the time remaining from a depleted battery until you can attempt to start the car “TRY”, or until it is ready to use “GO” and at 100% “CARE.” It also incorporates temperature compensation to adjust the optimum charge based on the battery temperature.
Here are images reflecting the unit unplugged, LEDs on initial plug in, and at “GO” as well as “CARE.”
Using the CTEK is straight forward, if you are connecting via the supplied alligator clips or eyelets you are set to go out of the box.
If you are going to attach via a dedicated charging accessory you need to purchase the optional Cig-Plug.
The following shows the CTEK connected in a Corvette Stingray, at the dedicated charging accessory port using the Cig-Plug. You can also see the Comfort Connect, between the Cig-Plug option and the power cable from the unit.
Pricing: the CTEK CT5 Time To Go lists at $113.99 and the Cig-Plug lists at $11.99. However, you can usually find deals on Amazon or elsewhere. It appears to be pricing out at about $30 more than the MUS 4.3 currently, which is very comparable, except it does not directly display any information relating to time remaining in the charge cycle before you can attempt to drive your car.
As noted earlier, I can attest to the CTEK’s build quality having dropped one of my units to the garage floor with zero damage (well, other than I felt pretty dumb for doing it). The units are weatherproof and approved for outdoor use. They operate properly from -4 degrees F to +122 degrees F. The wiring as well as Comfort Connect has never failed on my units over 15 years of use. They also have built in back-up in the event that power is interrupted. The unit will resume at the step it was at and for the type battery you selected in mode (regular or AGM). Also, they will warn you if you attempt to attach with incorrect polarity and prevent any circuit damage.
As to which model to buy, it really depends on your intended application. If you are looking for a highly reliable charger/maintainer, one that you can set and forget about, a CTEK unit will serve you well.
If you have a question, please feel free to ask! Happy charging.