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Which leisure battery charger?


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The Lidl one is good in my opinion, it charges at 3.8amps, has an LCD screen with different modes for small batteries or cold weather. A lot of people will tell you to buy an expensive C-tek charger, but for home use the Lidl one is great value at £13.99 and it's solid German build quality.

PS Aldi do them too

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I agree with Charles, CTEK are perhaps top of the range, and priced accordingly.


We have two of the Aldi battery chargers, unfortunately they are available in store only, and in my experience an occasional line (special buy only). We were lucky and managed to profit from two separate stock clearance reductions.


We mainly use them to keep our car batteries charged when we are using the MH, and then there is the lawn tractor which does not run much in winter.


While we had to have one, which was faulty, replaced immediately after purchase, we have had no subsequent problems.



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Do these chargers that are being mentioned not go by any name or distinguishing feature, other than "Lidl ones" (and that "Aldi do them to" ) ? (lol)


Have/do they (Lidl & presumably by association, Aldi? ) only ever sell the one make and model of charger?


I tried to get one from Lidl on several occasions some years back, but they'd always sold out on the morning they'd arrived (I was told by a member of staff that folk were buying several at a time), so I've never actually seen one for real....

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If you go online, Aldi only list one 12V battery charger.


As to descripton I have a box in front of me. It is marked "AUTO XS" in the top LH corner with the "XS" being in much larger sized print. Further down the box it says:



On the bottom of the box there is a brief specification which quotes the maximum output as 3.8A at nominal 12V.


The box measures approximately 10" x 5.25" x 2.5" lwh.


I notice that I have marked on the box "Purchased 08/11/13", so if seasonal lines they could appear in store anytime now.





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Sorry on checking I note that Aldi had the chargers as sold out online, and in store from 14th September.

Seems that you may be lucky to find one.


I have found one on Ebay in a blister pack, but priced at £18.00 plus £3.70 P&P. A bit of a mark up perhaps? Oh, and like many other things they are made in CHINA!



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Thanks Alan..

Just had a quick look and for some reason our laptop is struggling to load,and search on the Aldi site anyway..

Not a problem..

(I had bought a 50-ish quid CTek charger but that's now on the blink and I can't find the receipt or even recall where I bought it! *-) (lol)



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Wherever you look, you will read that the output of the charger should match the battery you are charging.

The usual rule is that a battery requires a charger with an output 1/10th the battery Ah capacity, so if the battery is 120Ah, a 12amp charger is best used to fully charge the battery.

Or the usual way we speak of a charger, it will support a battery 10 times its output converted to Ah, so a 10amp charger will fully support a 100Ah battery.


This is less important when a Car battery is only a few months old, but once aged, a 3.8 amp charger will struggle to fully charge a Leisure battery to full capacity.

It will most likely still charge a Car Starter battery sufficiently to start a Car engine, because a Car engine will normally 'start' when a battery is only 70% charged.


So while a 3.8amp charger might just get a 3 year old Car Starter battery up enough to start an engine, it won't get a 3 year old Leisure battery to full charge.


Getting a battery to maximum 100% charge is obviously crucial for someone putting a battery away for the Winter, as one that is already 'down to 70%' before you start, is going to Sulphate and deteriorate more quickly than one at a true 100% charge.



We would suggest you look at something like Radio Spares for a 10amp + charger.

The RS Pro 12amp version at £68 is way less than a 10amp CTEK at £171 and perfect for the job you require on either Leisure or Starter batteries.



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Well I'm sorry Alan, but I have to say I disagree.. A charger that delivers a smaller current will just take longer to charge the battery. Otherwise what's the point having trickle chargers?

If a battery won't charge up fully from 3.8 amps it's buggered.


I emailed optimate technical department years ago and asked if the optimate 3 (0.8amp) motorcycle battery would be suitable for charging my caravan leisure battery. Their answer was yes it will charge it fully but the bulk charge phase will take MUCH longer.


Also my 100ah yuasa leisure battery has a recommended charge rate of 5a

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So, by your definition a huge, one hundred battery bank of discharged 3 year old 110Ah batteries will fully charge on a 10amp charger?

The notion is a ridiculous one, all chargers have a limit, just most people don't know where that limit is.


Maybe your chargers work differently to the ones we have repaired, or possibly you don't understand how a charger works?

Have a read of our 'How a charger works webpage : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/how-does-a-charger-work.php

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Lol yes your example is ridiculous 11000 amp hours! That would take 46 days from flat with a 10amp charger.

No we're not talking about banks of flat batteries. We're talking about caravan and motorhome maintenance charge here, specifically 1 x 90ah battery.

I made a small charger years ago and set it to slowly charge a big old lead acid battery, took 2 or 3 weeks for the voltage to come up, at the time I thought it never would. Can't remember the current maybe 200ma or so, but my point is it did get there in the end.


Anyway I'm not going to argue anymore, I've spoken my opinion on the matter and will leave it there.

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Michael also stated that the charger be “inexpensive”.


£14 for a Lidl-sold charger fulfils that requirement, but the £68 cost of a RS Pro charger probably does not.


I have a CTEK 5A charger (about £60 nowadays) and, having had unhappy experiences over the years with cheap battery-chargers, I would not buy the Lidl-sold product. But “inexpensive” is not at the top of my priority list.

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The OP is wanting to charge his new leisure battery once, before it gets fitted to the MH, so we're not talking here about optimal charging on a recurring basis.  As Alland has said a leisure battery doesn't reach its capacity until it's been charged/discharged a few times.  The cheap battery charger will therefore serve the OP's purpose of a one-off post delivery charge adequately, even if it's only a constant voltage charger rather than the clever, CTek type.


For optimal recharging of a leisure battery on a recurring basis,  such as when a caravanner recharges his motor mover or habitation battery at home after every caravanning trip, a clever CTek battery (of the appropriate capacity) will be worth using, to prolong the service life of the battery.


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Generally I'm a lover of all things Lidl - some of the tools are actually okay, and the Parkside stuff is generally quite good - however, I personally think the charger is disappointing (read crap) compared to my Ctek one.

I would add that it's probably fine to top up a decent new battery but not much else.

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We didn't forget what the OP asked.

The title is, "Which leisure battery charger?" so will be picked up on searches for a long time to come.


Our reply is aimed at those that might be looking for a "recommended" Leisure Battery charger in the future.


Their requirements may not exactly match that of the OP, but be looking for a charger to charge a battery before putting it into storage each Autumn, etc. without having to wait days for it to reach full charge.


We are very aware from the emails we get that posts are read by many different people with a slightly different take on the question, so our answers, as you will have already noticed, cover a broader thread.


Once bought, chargers tend to be used again and again for multiple purposes from flat car batteries to boost charging the Motorhome Starter battery, etc. hence recommending a decent one that will last and charge up a battery quickly. The batteries are unlikely to be new.

The budgets that have a rating the likes of '3.8a' tend to quickly warm up and drop to less than 2 amps charge in real use, taking forever to charge a big battery.


This charger we recommend has an internal fan to keep it cool when working hard.

In real world use it is likely to be able to run near maximum charge for several hours. Just 4 hours will get a big battery up to about 90% charge compared to 2 days, or longer, for a budget low power charger.



As to the charger not being 'low cost', I think it will be pretty tough finding a quality, big name backed, charger as powerful and efficient as this 12a version. RS tend to be very good on Warranty, etc.

As we point out the CTEK 12amp version is almost 3 times as much.


Compare the RS Pro, for example, to the more expensive Sargent Supercharge 151 10a 'Power Supply/charger' which can't even charge at 14.4v (fixed at a 'slow charge' 13.8v) yet is one of the biggest sellers in the Leisure charger 'after' market. Trust me the replacement Leisure battery charger sector is a big market.

Again in real use, the 151's charge rate will quickly drop off as it works hard on a big discharged battery.


With the low charge voltage, it will typically take 3 times longer than the RS Pro unit.



Anyone trusting a £200 battery bank to a £15 charger is a bigger gambler than I am.


If the charger goes wrong and over charges, that is a potential overvoltage that will damage far more than the batteries, Power controller/charger, Fridge controller, etc.


If you are charging the Starter battery 'in vehicle' at the time of charger failure, that is a lot of expensive ECU, etc potential damage.



Having seen a lot of 'cheap bodges' that went wrong, we would suggest you maybe take a leaf out of Dereks' book and not have 'Cheap' as the no1 priority when choosing a charger?






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This is NOT a recommendation but if anyone wants to try an Aldi 'Auto XS' branded charger my local store still had 3 or 4 on the shelf today reduced to £13.99 so it may be worth trying your nearest store to see if they have any left.


I say this is not a recommendation as several years ago I bought one of their first line of chargers and it boiled every battery I tried to charge with it but these latest chargers may be better.



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Michael, If you bought the Halfords 12a Smart charger, Autoexpress and Land Rover magazine best buys, you made a good choice.

And £100 less than the price of the equivalent overrated CTEK.


Note the Halfords unit is designed for charging batteries 'Off' the vehicle. Risk of damage to the Motorhome electronics if used while the battery is connected to the vehicle.


It is not a Leisure battery charger the likes of the Sargent PX 300, etc. that is designed for permanent connection inside the vehicle.

So unlike the title of the Post, it is not a true Habitation area battery charger but perfect for your immediate use and the question you posed.






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