Xtreme Charge Battery Charger Review
by "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com
Lightweight and sealed vinyl case and all sorts of blinking lights.
Does it charge a battery any faster or better than anything else? Who knows...
Motorcycles sleeping away in the garage, cozy and blissful, tucked under their comfy flannel sheet covers.
Ahhh, a peaceful sight! Their little batteries are carefully monitored by the all-knowing brain of the EMMS -- the Electronic (can't say electronic without saying electron) Management and Maintenance System.
Or is that ESMS -- Electron Storage Management System?
Or is that Electronic Maintenance of the Electron Storage System...?
Yeah, OK, so I'm making this up.
But surely these devices aren't still called battery chargers, are they? Where are the marketeers when you need them?
You mean to tell me that not a single manufacturer of a "battery charger" can come up with a better name for these things? Because these devices have about as much in common with a battery charger as, well, as an iPod does to a Victrola.
The PulseTech Xtreme "5-Stage" Maintenance Charger is a good example. I really don't think it should be simply called a battery charger, because that's only one of its functions, and that charging program only kicks in when receives its orders from The Brain.
The Xtreme Charge has so far made a good impression on me, and I'm pretty jaded, because I've been using the same three Battery Tenders continuously for about 8 years now without a single problem so it's hard to impress me when it comes to motorcycle battery chargers.
Granted, it does remain to be seen if the Xtreme Charge will last as long. And the Battery Tender Plus does offer a 10-year warranty, compared to the 5-year warranty provided with the Xtreme Charge.
But the Xtreme Charge is a nice-looking, well made unit with a sealed vinyl case that, while probably not waterproof, is at least water resistant, as far as I can tell.
One of the things that has always bothered me about the Battery Tender Plus is its open metal case. I worry that a leak in the roof of the garage might cause some damage to the Battery Tender or worse.
And the open vents on top of the Battery Tender Plus, which apparently have to be there to keep the unit cool (it gets warm), have also allowed a lot of dust and dirt to collect over the years.
I blow it out every once in a while with the air hose when I'm filling the tires, but I still wonder...
So I really like the sealed case of the Xtreme Charge. It also seems to stay perfectly cool, without any vents. I'm guessing it's the electronic guts inside that allow this.
Also, the Xtreme Charge comes with -- yes! -- a Battery Tender type male/female on the end of its 6-foot long cable, shown in the photo left (Editor's Note: These are called SAE connectors).
This allows me to use my Battery Tender wiring infrastructure in the garage; a couple of 25-foot long extension cables for the parked bikes.
I associate these type of (photo left) with the Battery Tender because that's the first device I came across that uses them. They're perfect for plugging in a battery charger because the positive and negative leads can never touch or connect by mistake.
The other side of the Xtreme Charge has an 6-foot electric power cord, which gives about a 10-foot or so stretch in the garage (leaving some for slack).
The Xtreme Charge also comes with two motorcycle battery wiring harnesses, a Battery Tender-type with SAE connectors and the classic type with spring-loaded battery terminal alligator clips.
The alligator clip harness also uses an SAE connector at the end, so it can be easily plugged in directly to the Xtreme Charge or through an extension cord like I use, which comes in very handy in the garage.
The Xtreme Charge is pretty simple: plug it in, connect the bike (every bike in the webBikeWorld garage gets an SAE connector wiring harness connected to its battery as soon as it arrives) and you're good to go.
There are 12 LED lights on the Xtreme Charge to keep you constantly informed on what's happening. a red "No Connection" light is on if the unit isn't attached to a battery.
If all the lights flash on and off and a buzzer sounds, that means that the charger is cross-wired to the bike (reverse polarity).
If the "Bad Battery" light is on, that means either the battery is beyond saving or it's a 6-Volt unit.
The "Test" light comes on when the unit is first connected to a battery and it goes off once the test is over.
Here's the cool part: as the battery is charged, the lights above the "Test" light start coming on, one after another, as the battery is brought up to 100% charge.
They are red at 25% and 50%, yellow at 75% and green at 100%.
The left-hand column of lights show charging and "pulsing", which is the Xtreme Charge patented system for evaluating the battery.
These lights blink up and down continuously to monitor the battery, before and after it's charged.
PulseTech, the company that makes the Xtreme Charge, claims that the patented Pulse Technology "eliminates sulfation buildup on battery plates".
This, they say, keeps the plates cleaner by reducing the size of the lead sulfate crystals so the battery recharges faster and lasts longer; they claim up to 3-5 times longer.
The unit also uses "Proprietary Charge Algorithms" to measure the Voltage and current to determine the charge that the battery is able to accept at any given time.
They claim that the charge rate will change as the pulse and saturation charges improve the battery's condition.
I'm not an electronics wiz, so who knows? All I can tell you is that I like the light show and it keeps me well informed at a glance about what's going on in the battery.
The Xtreme Charge is rated for use with AGM, gel, maintenance free or flooded or lead-acid motorcycle batteries. It charges at a max rate of 2.5 Amps (5A effective) over 14.8 Volts.
It will work with batteries from 10Ah to "over 150Ah", according to the owner's manual. By the way, the manual also claims that the Xtreme Charge can accept incoming power from 90 to 250 Volts AC.
Finally, the Xtreme Charge is one of the only UL-approved motorcycle battery chargers on the market (it's also CE-approved).
The only downside is that the Xtreme Charge is nearly twice the cost of the Battery Tender Plus, but I'm assuming that if it does increase the battery life as the manufacturer claims, then it could easily pay for itself in the long run.
I really like the Xtreme Charge; everything from the lightweight and sealed vinyl case to the multitude of lights that keep me informed about what's going on inside.
I don't know enough about electronics to understand the Pulse Technology, but hey -- it sure sounds cool!
UPDATE: January 31, 2008 - Battery Power Products & Technology Magazine has awarded an Innova Award for Product Development Excellence to PulseTech Products Corporation in recognition of the company’s new Xtreme Charge 12-volt battery charger and maintenance system.
Webcom Communications developed the award, given to the product showing the most innovation and cutting-edge technology. The Battery Power Products & Technology Innova Awards categories included Industry Leadership, Best Technology, Outstanding Application and Product Development Excellence.
wBW Review: Xtreme Charge Motorcycle Battery Charger
|Manufacturer: Xtreme Charge (PulseTech)||List Price (2007): $99.95 USD|
|Colors: Black.||Made In: China|
|Review Date: March 2007|
Note: Item provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.
From "W.B." (June 2012): "Based on a review of 5 battery maintainers in Wing World magazine, I purchased a Yuasa Smart Shot 1.5A Battery Maintainer Charger. I had a 2001 Honda GL1800 Goldwing with a battery that was at least 2 years old.
I have an Argus Battery Bug that showed the battery was at 48% of life, and that the voltage would fall to 12.2 volts over the course of a day.
I put the Yuasa on each night for a week, basically until several days past with no further improvements, and then reset the Battery Bug.
I then rode the bike to work for a week and found that the battery was holding 12.5 volts and was at 77% on the Battery Bug.
I then discovered another review in Wing World magazine on the Pulsetech Xtreme Charge, which indicated that it brought batteries to a higher state of charge than other battery maintainers. I decided to give it a try.
After using it every night for a week, I again saw no further improvements, and reset the Battery Bug and rode it for another week.
At the end of that week, the battery was maintaining 12.9 volts after the course of a day, and the Battery bug was indicating that the battery was at 91% life.
I have since used this charger on all of the batteries in my household. I rotate it around so that each vehicle "gets a hit" at least once a month for a few days.
It helped the battery in my Burgman 650 last over 6 years. That battery was still firing off like new when I sold the scooter. So, in conclusion, the Pulsetech Xtreme Charge appears to perform as advertised.
It brings batteries to a higher state of charge, giving shorter cranking times, which wastes less fuel and ensures a longer starter and alternator life."
From "P.W." (September 2011): "I've had a pair of the reviewed Xtreme units since 2009. More recently I added the dual version that can maintain/charge 2 machines from a single wall plug.
Recently I used one of them to recover a "stone dead" FLA car battery in an old vehicle that hadn't been driven in months and was so flat that it wouldn't even produce a dim glow in the dome lamp filament (it had been killed by parasitic draw of an alarm system).
The starter relay wouldn't even click.
Didn't get out a VOM but its a pretty safe bet this battery was in the 7-8V volt range or worse. I tried to recover it with a typical 10A transformer charger and got nowhere.
It apparently had enough sulfate in one or more cells that all I got was a hot battery that was still totally dead.
So I switched to the Xtreme and after it had been connected for close to 3 days, the battery was fully recovered and tested fine on a standard battery load tester.
Several months later this battery is still in use and doing fine. I doubt this result would have been possible with anything other than a modern pulse charger like the Xtreme.
The Xtremes have replaced other non-smart chargers for maintenance in my garage where prior experience has shown the lower output Battery Tenders and similar will frequently fail to charge moderate size AGMs used in my track cars.
Prior to using Xtremes I used (carefully) an older 10A transformer type meant for maintenance free (calcium in the plates) batteries to charge those AGMs.
I believe your assertion that the only charger one needs is a Battery Tender is wrong based on my experience - sure they're fine if your battery is pretty much OK anyway or only lightly discharged but it doesn't take much to get beyond what the basic Battery Tender is capable of doing.
If I could only have 1 charger in my garage to do everything from small bike to typical car/boat batteries it would be a 2-4A pulse charger, avoiding the 7A output versions as a "bit much" for the smallest batteries despite manufacturer claims.
IMO, most older transformer type chargers are now obsolete (except perhaps the really high output ones used for jump charges but those can do actual battery damage if used wrong) and should no longer be used except (carefully) on FLA batteries that are "similar vintage" technology.
I've seen a fair number of AGM and gel batteries destroyed by evaporating all their water when these old charger types (even 2A low output ones and various trickle chargers) have been left attached too long. I have not tried to compare the Xtreme to other modern chargers like those from CTEK, Optimate, etc."
From "S.S." (7/09): "I have had one of these for over a year, and have used it to keep my battery charged over the winter months as well as between rides when necessary during riding season.
I originally heard about this company on an automobile radio talk show, and their positive comments led me to purchase one. While the price is higher than the Battery Tender products, if the pulse technology is real and not a marketing gimmick, the cost is probably fair.
I just bought a second one of these to recharge an electric lift in a handicap van, and it is getting almost steady use in this role with no problems so far. Thanks for the great reviews!"