CTEK Comfort Indicator Review
Affordable battery maintenance
That period of down time endured by many motorcyclists – known as winter – is over for another year, so who needs to think about battery maintenance, right?
Well as it turns out, even in fair weather a lot of people could use some help making sure their batteries last as long as possible. And in case you are one of them, CTEK has introduced an accessory that will constantly monitor your battery’s charge, and let you easily top it off when necessary.
Called the Comfort Indicator, it is a basic power meter you can install on your machine. Like a traffic light, it indicates whether you are good to go with a blinking red, yellow or green LED.
Green, as you would expect, means your battery is charged; yellow means it is at 90 percent and charging is recommended and red means it is at 80 percent and charging is needed.
Matt Ingram, a CTEK representative, said the company realized there was a need for the Comfort Indicator when they found people were killing their batteries not just in the winter, but year round.
In fact, he said, some people have misconceptions about freezing weather and batteries. High summer heat can actually be a bigger threat. The main problem to guard against during winter is when batteries – like those on stored powersports machines – are not used or maintained, so they sulfate and lose ability to hold a sufficient charge.
Ingram said there are several scenarios that can deplete a battery in the summer. And while a motorcycle can be started on a 90 percent or less charge, batteries in this zone have a “severe risk of sulfation.”
A modern battery should last well over five years, even as long as 10 years, he said, if it is monitored and recharged as needed. The Comfort Indicator was made to simplify this task. CTEK supplied us with two versions that vary only in their configuration. One was a Comfort Indicator Eyelet with wiring nearly 2-feet long, and designed to be tucked somewhere convenient. The other was a Comfort Indicator Panel, which has nearly 5 feet of wiring and a rectangular shape meant to install in any panel, including a fairing or other compatible location on a motorcycle.
CTEK also supplied one of its Multi US 3300 chargers. This sophisticated charger and the Comfort Indicator are suitable for almost any 12-volt application – car, truck, airplane, boat, motorcycle, personal watercraft, snowmobile, tractor – you name it.
Actually, any CTEK charger intended for 12-volt powersports batteries would have worked, as long as it had the orange and black 2-prong coupling – called a “Comfort Connect” – thus the name of the latest product.
Trying things out
We mounted the Eyelet version to a ’98 Yamaha R1 with an 11-month old original equipment battery in good condition. After connecting the wiring to the battery, we routed the unit to the storage compartment under the passenger seat, and zip tied it to a cross brace. Since the cold battery was holding about 13 volts according to a digital voltmeter, the Comfort Indicator’s LED blinked green.
To see whether it would show a weakened battery, we disabled the spark, turned the high beams on, and cranked the starter several seconds. After turning the ignition off, the yellow LED was blinking and voltage read 12.6. If we did not have a charger, it might have required a ride to bring the battery fully up again. Not a bad prospect, but we had the charger.
We plugged the connector to the Comfort Indicator, and the charger did its job, which is to recharge the battery to 14.4 volts at 0.8 amps, then shut off and begin monitoring. This charger can be left connected indefinitely and will recharge any time voltage drops below 12.9.
Like all CTEK chargers, the Multi US 3300 won’t spark if you cross electrodes. If you hook it to a damaged battery, it will send 10 current pulses per second to try and break loose sulfation before beginning its “bulk” charging cycle. It is protected against frying components, is indoor/outdoor rated, and tough enough to be run over with a car. You can check out the review we did of it last November, or see CTEK’s Web site.
CTEK says it makes “the smartest battery chargers in the world” and its now has a smart new way to make sure you properly use them.
While trying the Comfort Indicator did not prove the chargers’ superiority, we have no reason to doubt the products. CTEK supplies original equipment chargers for Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Mercedes Benz, Ferrari, Porsche, Bentley, and Harley Davidson (of Scandinavia).
And while the Swedish company has been collecting accolades in Europe, and more recently in the U.S., its pricing is not exotic. The Comfort Indicator Eyelet retails for $9.99, the Comfort Indicator Panel is $19.99. The Multi US 3300 is $69.99.
CTEK MULTI US 3300 Review