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      03-11-2018, 06:57 PM   #1
V.Smurf
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Trickle Charging - How To

Hi All,

I've had a trickle charger wired into my X6 for a few years and its been a great investment ... so I decided to get another one for the M2. As its not yet wired in, I had been charging up the M2 by connecting the alligator slips to the battery terminals in the boot (trunk).

Recently another forum member asked me about charging via the points in the engine bay ... so I decided to give that a whirl and in the process discovered a couple of interesting points:
  1. The manual actually specifically warns you to use only the points in the engine bay to charge and/or jump-start the car (pages 162 & 216 of the manual). Note that they are referred to as "Starting Aid Terminals".
  2. In my experience, the charging process using the Starting Aid Terminals is quite a bit faster than using the same alligator clips on the battery. While this depends on the charge on the battery when plugging in the trickle charger, I found I got sub-12 hour charging times via the Charging Aid Terminals ... but always more than 24 hours when connecting directly to the battery.

Using the Starting Aid Terminals also helps avoid the need to manipulate the boot (trunk) lock to make the car think that the boot is closed.

The instructions for how to use the Starting Aid Terminals are on page 221 of the US 2018 Owners Manual, but like all these things, a few pictures help the process. I have the CTEK XS 0.8 unit, which is really easy to use and cost me AUD$70 (so very cheap insurance):


Connect the charger to a power point - do not turn on the power (yet):


I use an extension cable, so I've found that looping a gentle knot between the extension cable and the charger ensures that I don't accidentally kick out the power should I trip over the cable


Now connect the black negative/ground alligator clip to the point on the chassis that BMW has specified. Note that this is shown as the black connector in the image below, with the connection point at the very bottom of the picture, just below the corner brace. You can also notice that the red cover for the positive connection point is closed at the top of this image :


Open the positive connector point cover (which BMW has coloured red), and connect the red alligator clip to this:


You're now ready to switch on the power to the trickle charger. There are 5 lights on the CTEK (helpfully numbered 1 through 6, although I've never left the charger in long enough to see light #5 illuminated). The first two should come on fairly quickly: light #1 checks the health of the battery while light #2 indicates that the CTEK is charging the battery, as is shown below:


Once the battery has passed the 80% charge point, the third light will illuminate as the CTEK tops off the charge. From this point onwards you can disconnect the charger as the battery has sufficient charge to start the engine:


After a period of time on light #3, light #4 (checking that the battery can hold charge) & light #5 (battery at maximum charge) will usually come on in quick succession:


Power can now be turned off: I usually wait until light #5 is illuminated before I stop the process. I turn off the unit at the mains before disconnecting in the reverse order:


The instruction manual is pretty simple and available here if you'd like to read further.

Hope this helps!

Cheers,
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      03-12-2018, 10:39 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V.Smurf View Post
Hi All,
Hope this helps!

Cheers,
Nice write up, this is the proper way to hook up a battery tender to our cars. We have an IBS sensor on the negative battery pole on the battery, when it's hook up to the battery directly it's bypassing that IBS sensor which is not good.
The IBS contains a micro-processor that is used to monitor/measure various battery conditions such as:

Terminal voltage via measurement from B+ to Gnd
Charge/discharge current via integrated shunt resistor
Temperature of battery acid via integrated temp sensor

so you want that to be in the loop.
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      03-12-2018, 01:37 PM   #3
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Good write up. I just put the ground on one of the strut bolts myself.
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      03-12-2018, 07:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McPurrs View Post
Good write up. I just put the ground on one of the strut bolts myself.
Same here!
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      03-12-2018, 09:51 PM   #5
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Hi ///Mē
Quote:
Originally Posted by ///Mē View Post
The IBS contains a micro-processor that is used to monitor/measure various battery conditions such as:

Terminal voltage via measurement from B+ to Gnd
Charge/discharge current via integrated shunt resistor
Temperature of battery acid via integrated temp sensor

so you want that to be in the loop.
Good point - I wasn't aware of this. And this is one of the reasons using a genuine battery makes sense (there are plenty of financial reasons it doesn't!).

Hi McPurrs,
Quote:
Originally Posted by McPurrs View Post
Good write up. I just put the ground on one of the strut bolts myself.
By all means, however there's a fat-ass bolt there that BMW has specifically installed for the purpose of providing a ground ... so I figured I'd use it
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      03-14-2018, 04:37 AM   #6
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Thanks for the write up.

I forgot to lock the door of my F25 LCI X3 once back in 2017 for about 2 weeks and that caused the battery voltage to fall below minimum which subsequently caused some electronic failures (not sure if the right front wheel speed sensor failure was related to it though).

It's good to know the process to correctly trickle charge F87 battery, as I don't drive it every day (weekend driving hard is not enough).

How often do you recommend (or the manual recommend) trickle charging the F87 Battery (AGM I believe) to make it last longer?

Thanks.
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      03-15-2018, 01:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V.Smurf View Post
Hi ///Mē

Good point - I wasn't aware of this. And this is one of the reasons using a genuine battery makes sense (there are plenty of financial reasons it doesn't!).

Hi McPurrs,

By all means, however there's a fat-ass bolt there that BMW has specifically installed for the purpose of providing a ground ... so I figured I'd use it
Right...but a ground is a ground, and hell those go into the same metal as it is. I didn't want to pull the leads apart too far on my charger is all.
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      03-16-2018, 12:11 AM   #8
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Hi terrywang,
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrywang View Post
How often do you recommend (or the manual recommend) trickle charging the F87 Battery (AGM I believe) to make it last longer?
I don't think that there is a recommendation in the manual, however the process we operate is based on the advice we were given for our X6 ... and that is, once a month connect it up to the trickle charger and let it fully charge up.

We don't daily drive the M2, so its fairly easy to connect it up for an extended period, although based on my observations this time around, it looks like connecting it to the charge points in the engine bay means that the charging process is accelerated (so its even easier to get the battery fully charged).

Hope this helps!

Cheers,
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      03-17-2018, 03:36 PM   #9
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The reason for using the starting aid points is that the car can control the amount of current going thru and switch off the terminals as necessary.

That said, the car doesn't want you to charge past a certain amount for good reason due to the auto start stop / AGM BS.
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      03-27-2018, 01:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V.Smurf View Post
Hi terrywang,

I don't think that there is a recommendation in the manual, however the process we operate is based on the advice we were given for our X6 ... and that is, once a month connect it up to the trickle charger and let it fully charge up.

We don't daily drive the M2, so its fairly easy to connect it up for an extended period, although based on my observations this time around, it looks like connecting it to the charge points in the engine bay means that the charging process is accelerated (so its even easier to get the battery fully charged).

Hope this helps!

Cheers,
Thanks, I've got the XS 0.8. I am testing it on the other car (with an older battery) first and see how it goes. Will do it to the F87 M2 soon as I don't drive it enough due to the nature of job (not every customer site I visit has good parking spaces, sigh...).
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      03-28-2018, 05:59 AM   #11
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@V.Smurf

How long did it take for your M2 from indicator light #2 to reach #3?

I tested the XS 0.8 on a Mazda6 with 60ah (@ 20 HR) battery, after 8 hours, it is still at #2, the manual says it may max at 20 hours for this stage. Not sure what exactly it means (20 hours to reach 80% capacity anyway?).

Thanks in advance.
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      03-28-2018, 04:40 PM   #12
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Hi terrywang,
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrywang View Post
How long did it take for your M2 from indicator light #2 to reach #3?
I have charged the M2 three times and got different results every time, so I don't think that there is an exact answer as to "how long should it take".

That said, the results went something like this for charging time to reach the third light:
  1. More than 24 hours: Battery was nearly totally flat as a result of the headlights being left on (long story, but was related to the PPF installation). Note that I charged this via the alligator clips applied directly to the battery in the boot.
  2. 18 hours: Alligator clips applied to the battery in the boot. Weekend use of the car (i.e. wasn't being driven daily).
  3. 8 hours: Alligator clips applied to the Charging Aid points in the engine bay. Weekend use of the car (i.e. wasn't being driven daily).

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrywang View Post
I tested the XS 0.8 on a Mazda6 with 60ah (@ 20 HR) battery, after 8 hours, it is still at #2, the manual says it may max at 20 hours for this stage.
The charging time will depend on a range of factors such as:
  • The total charge that the battery will hold.
  • The remaining charge in the batter at the time you commence charging.
  • The health of the battery
... and probably a bunch of other stuff like temperature, humidity, corrosion (if any) on the charge points etc.

I might be stating the obvious, but you'll get different results between cars & manufacturers

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrywang View Post
Not sure what exactly it means (20 hours to reach 80% capacity anyway?).
Someone else on the forum may have a more educated answer than me, but what these folks are advising you is that under most circumstances, it will take between 8 & 20 hours for the battery to reach 80% charge (i.e. charge light #3). The trickle charger then slows the charge down for the last 20% - the objective being to get the battery as close to fully charged as is possible.

Its been our experience that using a trickle charger is a very economic means of maintaining the electric health of the car. We put each car (the M2 and the X6) on the charger once a month to make sure that the battery is topped off on a regular basis.

Hope this helps!
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      03-28-2018, 08:25 PM   #13
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Thank you so much for the detailed answer!

Well last night it did reach light #3 after about 9-10 hours charge (crocodile clips directly attached to battery's positive and negative - XS 0.8 manual & FAQ says it is smart enough so I trust it).

I'll see how long it takes to reach light #5.

Will charge the M2 over the weekend after some driving ;-)
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      10-17-2018, 12:48 PM   #14
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Reviving old thread. In preparing for winter hibernation, I figured I'd post how I wired the CTEK comfort connector. I have it connected in the trunk next to the battery so the IBS isn't bypassed. Hope this helps
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      01-31-2019, 07:30 PM   #15
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Hi, further revival of an old thread. With the recent cold weather I'm getting a battery warning on my 2018 M2 - even after a couple 30KM trips earlier today. Seeing lots of threads for battery tenders and wondering which CTEK model people are recommending? I don't see the MUS 4.3 on the CTEK website and according to Amazon the MSX 5.0 is the newer model. My car is parked outside so not sure if that impacts the decision? Or should I simply get the OEM charger which is a CTEK?
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      06-29-2019, 07:13 AM   #16
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Probably OBE by now but I've been using the CTEK MSX 5.0 for about two years. Put the car away for the winter on 25 October and had the charger hooked up the whole time (AGM). Started right up with the first push of the button when I pulled the car out in April.

Having said that, a friend had his M4 Cab in storage right next to mine while he was away for 6 months working. We parked it just before Christmas and took it out June 15. No trickle charger or anything else but it also started right up with the first push of the button!
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      07-02-2019, 01:24 PM   #17
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longbeachbluem2 I'm wondering what the item circled in blue is?
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      07-02-2019, 01:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtmurf View Post
longbeachbluem2 I'm wondering what the item circled in blue is?
dtmurf That's my M performance exhaust valve module (standalone bluetooth unit). The two wires going to the grommet in the middle of the trunk floor control the valves on each side.
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      07-02-2019, 03:11 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longbeachbluem2 View Post
dtmurf That's my M performance exhaust valve module (standalone bluetooth unit). The two wires going to the grommet in the middle of the trunk floor control the valves on each side.
Ah! I didn't know that's how it's set up. I have the Remus so no Bluetooth.
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      07-22-2019, 07:49 PM   #20
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New user and first post. Thanks for the 'how to' and recommendation of this trickle charger. I purchased 2x of these for my cars while I was away for 6 weeks and they worked perfectly.
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      07-30-2019, 06:15 PM   #21
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was given (a friend had it just sitting around) a Porsche branded CTEK, the "Charge-O-Mat" model, which I'm told is basically the current CTEK3300 - but because it has a cig lighter plug, I had to get a couple of adaptors - the eyelet comfort connect and the cig lighter converter.

I hooked up to the posts in the trunk, per @longbeachbluem2, and the middle yellow LED on the comfort plug immediately began blinking. Once I plugged in the CTEK, I changed the mode to "car", but neither of the charging lights, on the CTEK, came up but the plug's yellow light still blinks yellow. I disconnected the CTEK, checked my connections and the in-line fuse, plugged it all back in and now the CTEK LED sits on the "power" icon and pressing the mode doesn't change anything.

is my new M2C battery that low? I ask because a google search for the blinking yellow LED on the comfort says that is an indication of a low battery...

will call CTEK tomorrow but thought maybe someone here had some insight and guidance. thanks!!
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      07-31-2019, 10:18 AM   #22
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update: it seems that all it took was some repeated maneuvering of the cig plug male in the female adaptor to make a solid connection. now showing a mid-charge lite on the CTEK charging device and the yellow blinking on the comfort pigtail adaptor. thanks.
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