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Grim...good information but I have a question about this process. To help keep my battery charged I use a CTEK 4.3 and place it in snowflake mode and use the cigarette lighter plug. Everything seems to proceed through the charging process as you described except at the end. I go out the next day to check the results and notice no lit lights except for the power light is flashing green. The instruction booklet doesn't mention this so maybe someone on this forum can explain. I notice my car is fully charged when I take it out for a drive so it much be charging the battery.
 

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Charging via the cigarette lighter (assuming you have the lighter).

I try to be careful handling the unit and not pick it up or carry it by the cords. Over time, they can break. Lesson Learned. In the following pictures, this 4.3 is almost 5 years old. It works fine. Follow at your own risk. The downside to this is if there is a power outage, then the charger should not restart. Caveat Emptor. The upside is that its simple, trivial to get the hang of, and unlike the hood, the doors are probably designed to be opened and closed many, many more times than a hood.

Step 1

Turn the key to accessory position. The car wakes up.

Step 2

Remove the cigarette lighter. Put it in that tiny ashtray so you don’t lose it. Makes sure the plug is pushed all the way in for good contact. Sometimes people complain about a loose connection. I suspect they just didn’t get a good initial connection.



Step 3

Run the wire across the driver seat toward the door. Here, the cigarette plug is connected to the 8’ extension.



Step 4

Run the cord out the bottom of the door. I know this might freak somebody out who might wants to run it out of the window but the door has a rubber piece on the bottom that you can’t see. It doesn’t seem to harm the car or the wire and the door shuts. But, do whatever makes you happy. If your worried about it crimping or harming the body, then figure out some other way to get the cord out. This is also a good reason to use the 8’ extension. If you damage the extension, it cost maybe $11 for a new one. If you damage the actual cord, you probably need a new charger.



Step 5

Plug in the CTEK. Make sure the correct lights are on. It should move to the third light very quickly. If you get an error, figure out why.

Step 6

Turn the engine off. If it’s a real key, remove it. Close and lock the door

Step 7

This is my experience. The first 3 lights should turn on quickly. According to the manual, the unit does not go to the fourth light until the battery is 80% charged. It could take, per the manual, up to 20 hours. If the lights sits at the 3rd light for a long time, I think its telling me the battery is run down. I like to see it go from the third light to fourth within no more than 10 mins, which tells me, with no proof, that’s the battery is really no more than 80% discharged. At the fourth light, it’s just patience. It’s supposed to take no more than 10 hours. Once it moves to the 5th light, it’s only a couple of minutes until the green light should turn on. Once its green, it can stay there as long as you want. I’ve had it sit for days on my cars. It should look like this.



Step 8

Open the door, unplug the cigarette adapter, and put the cigarette lighter back where it belongs. Remove the cord from the car and lock it back up. Unplug the CTEK and put it where you store it. Manual says unplug CTEK first.

I hope this helps somebody. YMMV. You’re on your own. :)
I found out what my problem was when charging using the cigarette lighter plug adapter. It didn't seem to fit snug and after comparing it to the picture in the owner's manual on page 106 the CTEK adapter also doesn't look the same. I can move it around in the socket to make it work. This was the only one offered by CTEK so it has to be the correct one.

Thanks again for the detailed write-up!
 
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