How my love for CTEK started

I guess my discovery of the CTEK battery sense started in the same way that most people fall out with their motorcycle. A beautiful morning, the whole landscape was bathed in the warm glow of the rising sun. The perfect day to ride to work on my Harley-Davidson. It was also a rather important day as I had a job interview. I was a little nervous but I kitted myself up, prepared my mind and headed out to the garage. This was where it all went wrong. Thug, my Street Bob wouldn’t start. Totally flat battery! And I had even started her the night before to check all was ok…. Argh I’m going to be late. I tried to get her going, ‘sputter, sputter, sputter’ and nothing. We weren’t going anywhere.

I assessed the time and decided to plug her in to charge in my CT5 Powers Sport charger and give her a ten-minute boost. Unfortunately, I tried a little too early and without enough juice to turn her over fully I just drained the battery again. By this time, I had no choice but to ditch the bike and go in the car…but I was in bike kit! You can rock up to an interview in bike kit on a bike but in a car you just look silly…. I had to change.

Anyway, long story short…

My bike wouldn’t start because of a flat battery… I had to call ahead and say I was running late due to a vehicle issue but I eventually made it ten minutes late.

I’ve always been really good with my battery maintenance, periodically using a trickle charger and doing battery reconditioning but this morning I knew I needed to do more. The disappointment of getting out to the garage and not being able to ride because of a flat. That sucks. It’s totally preventable so I made it my mission to find a solution…

Introducing the CTEK Battery Sense. So how to I rate it?

You might wonder how you can rock up for an Account Director role in a marketing agency in bike kit, so I’ll divulge. With Bowtex Kevlar leggings you can wear any clothing and have all the protection underneath in the protective base layer. Add my smartest jeans over the top, my bad ass but smart HD-Footwear boots, a nice shirt and suit jacket and of course my leather Richa jacket. Boom, dressed for an interview. Oh and I got the job!

What is it

It’s a small unit that you wire into your vehicle battery and secure under your seat or another concealed position. This little device then monitors your battery state and pings the data straight to your smart phone. You might wonder why bother? Ultimately batteries can get sick, drain of power or die all together, but with the right battery maintenance you can make your battery performance last longer and be considerably more reliable – meaning a more dependable bike, less breakdowns and less money on batteries over the years. The challenge is knowing when your battery needs some extra love. Batteries don’t have a status panel and generally don’t warn you that it’s struggling until it’s too late and won’t fire up your ride.

This smart battery management device gives you the power in your smart phone to know what your battery needs by tracking the health of your battery. The apps free and will update every time you’re in range for Bluetooth [iPhone or Android App].

Another cool thing about it is the ability to have multiple devices paired to the one app, which means if you’re lucky enough to have multiple bikes or vehicles you can sync them all up.

Ease of use

All the data is presented in a really simple visual display within the app; % of battery charge with colour coding, which also directly tells you the action required:

  • Sad Red – charge now
  • Warning Yellow – charge soon
  • Happy Green – Battery ok

You can then see your batteries % history plotted on a graph. This is great for seeing how the deterioration of the battery has happened over time. If it’s a sudden drop in charge you can probably relate it to something being left on draining the power, a steady decline could highlight a battery in need of reconditioning, but a gradual line could simply be a result of being sat for too long. All of which, depending on the severity of the deterioration, can be helped using a CTEK CT5 Powers Sport charger [more to follow on this].

One of my favourite parts of the battery sensor is the alerting function as I’m honestly not going to remember to check my battery regularly – even with a clever app! The app is programmed to warn you of actions so if your battery status changes or reaches a critical level the app will give you a push notification. Similarly, when it’s not managed to connect for 7 days you’ll get a heads up. You can then reconnect and the historical stored data from when you were away will load up too. Never get to your bike and find a flat battery again!

Stats given:

  • % percentage of battery charge
  • Direction on actions required [charge now or soon]
  • Battery temperature [in centigrade or Fahrenheit – 0 °C = 32 °F.]
  • Voltage

The Techy Bits

  • Suitable for all car, motorcycle and engine starter batteries 4.5AH or over
  • Compatible with Android OS 4.4 and higher, iPhone iOS 7 and higher, Bluetooth® 4.0
  • Easy to understand smart phone application and monitor with free app download
  • Can sync with multiple monitors to keep on top of all your vehicles
  • Stores up to three months of stats.
  • Notifications if battery’s state of charge falls to a critical level or if measurements not taken for seven days
  • 2-year warranty

Limitations

  • As it’s Bluetooth you have to be within range of your bike. For me, my garage is a little too far away from my house to get the stats without heading out. But I do walk past it every day coming and going and get the latest info.
  • It’s not a limitation of the product so much, but for me on my Street Bob I did have to wiggle about a lot and shift my wiring to get the small device to fit on the battery – probably because I have a few accessories already. I got it working no dramas but you might have to squeezy and tidy a little.

£££

They are on the pricey side at around at around £40-50, however it’s about the price you put on being able to ride and for me having an automatic alert if my battery is needing attention is worth every penny. Avoiding the disappointment of a ‘sputter, sputter, sputter’ is worth every penny.  Also, by monitoring your battery condition, you can prevent a deep discharge occurring, which will result in loss of performance and early replacement.

 

Highlights

  1. Works on all 12V batteries (lead acid)
  2. Ensures your battery is ready to go when you are
  3. Battery status data straight to your smart phone

 

Tips From Experience

  • I highly recommend getting the CT5 Powersport battery charger with priority, if you’ve got to choose, get the charger over the sensor. With bikes I find they can sometimes be left un-ridden for weeks [winter, holiday away, life being too busy etc.] and so you can leave this plugged in and know that your ride will be ready to go when you are. It’s designed specifically to charge and maintain batteries with three fully automatic charging and maintenance programs – Normal, AGM and Reconditioning. I’m in the habit of having it permanently connected when parked up, it’s designed to be so it won’t over or under charge. It’s easy to use and works with all types of powersport 12V lead acid batteries. It’s kind of magic how a totally dead battery that you thought was only destined for scrap can be fully reconditioned and live on reliably after a CT5 revamp – saves you money on battery’s.

 

Overall Rating

Small but highly powerful and practical device giving you the confidence that you’re ride will be ready to go when you are. Looks after your battery for the longest life possible to give the most reliable performance so that nothing can come between you and that adventure.