Are you thinking of improving the power output of your vehicle, and do you want to know if you need to install a CTEK Smartpass? You’ve come to the right place because we've researched this question and have the answer for you.
If you have an auxiliary battery in your truck, car, or RV, a CTEK Smartpass 120S will help improve the power allocation from your alternator to better charge the auxiliary battery.
We'll talk more about the CTEK Smartpass 120S in the following sections. We'll cover the advantages and disadvantages of the device, so read on!
The CTEK Smartpass 120S
The CTEK Smartpass 120S is a power management solution that efficiently distributes the electrical energy produced by your alternator. It routes the power the accessories in your vehicle need and separates the power you need to charge your auxiliary battery.
By separating the power from the alternator, the system ensures that the emergency equipment in your vehicle, like lights and navigation, will always have the power they need to function.
The CTEK Smartpass 120S also ensures that these systems will still get the power they need even when the service battery falls below an acceptable charge level. The power distribution direct from the alternator prevents the service battery from cutting off critical systems when the charge level falls.
Additionally, the CTEK Smartpass 120S protects the battery from overheating by reducing the charging current once the battery’s temperature starts to rise.
If you’re using a solar battery charger for your RV and don’t have a central power management system, the CTEK Smartpass 120S is compatible with D250SA and the D250SE. These two systems allow your vehicle to have two charging power sources—the alternator and a solar panel.
If your vehicle has a bank of batteries with a total rated capacity of 100Ah or more, it's helpful to have a CTEK Smartpass 120S to manage power. The Smartpass will separate the power going to the battery array from the current going to your car’s systems.
Auxiliary Battery Without Smartpass
When you connect your auxiliary battery to your vehicle’s electrical system without a Smartpass, it will behave just like the starter battery.
This means that the starter battery and the auxiliary battery will discharge at the same time because they are on the same circuit. This eliminates most of the advantages that you can get from an auxiliary battery.
Additionally, since your auxiliary battery is not functioning the way it is supposed to, you can end up with a starter battery that doesn’t have enough charge to start your vehicle when it needs to.
Thus, having a Smartpass on your vehicle effectively isolates the auxiliary battery from the main power circuit of your car. It will charge your auxiliary battery from the alternator.
It will not allow your vehicle’s accessories to access it because the Smartpass will be the one providing power for these accessories.
Thus, when you get to your campsite, your auxiliary battery will have a full charge and be able to provide power while your vehicle’s engine is not running.
Advantages Of CTEK Smartpass 120S
In addition to the features above that ensure your vehicle always has power for critical systems, CTEK Smartpass 120S also brings the following advantages.
The CTEK Smartpass 120S can provide a burst of 120A to recharge batteries quickly. This function is compatible with batteries that have ratings of 28Ah to 800Ah.
Moreover, this feature boosts the output of your alternator to reduce the time that it needs to fully charge your starter battery and your auxiliary battery. This is an important feature during times when you need to use your vehicle for short drives.
Short drives are commonly inadvisable for car batteries because your engine runs only for a brief period. The alternator that charges your car batteries depends on the rotational energy that comes from the engine.
As a result, when the engine is not running, the alternator will not be able to provide electrical energy to charge the batteries.
When you start your car, the starter motor draws a large amount of battery charge from the starter battery. Since the engine runs only for a brief period during short trips, this will not give the alternator enough time to charge your battery.
Thus, a series of short trips will eventually drain your starter battery and cause it to fail to start your car at some point. Frequently draining your car battery will shorten its service life.
The quick charging feature of a Smartpass 120S allows your alternator to fully charge your car battery even during short drives. This ensures that your starter battery has enough charge to start your vehicle and helps preserve the service life of the car battery.
Preserves Starting Power
Smartpass separates the circuit that provides power for the starter battery and the other systems of your vehicle. This separation ensures that the starter battery will always have enough charge to start your car.
Your vehicle’s systems will never accidentally drain the starter battery and leave it with a lower charge level. The systems of your vehicle that draw power will get it directly from Smartpass instead of the starter battery. Thus, your car will always have the power required to start the engine when you need it.
When you connect CTEK Smartpass 120S to an auxiliary battery, its Start Assistance system will also draw power from the auxiliary battery to start your car if necessary. This system allows your vehicle to start even when the starter battery is already starting to fail.
CTEK Smartpass 120S also has Dynamic Overcurrent Protection. This system provides a burst output above 120A up to 350A. This burst of power is useful for accessories that draw power above the 120A that Smartpass can provide (like a winch) without damaging the system.
However, keep in mind that Smartpass can only sustain this burst of power for 10 seconds.
The CTEK Smartpass 120S has an internal feature that protects the auxiliary battery from excessive discharging. This prevents battery damage that can happen when the auxiliary battery provides power to devices that have high current requirements.
Discharge protection also protects your auxiliary battery from complete discharge.
Remember the section above about draining your car battery?
Discharge protection helps preserve the service life of your car battery by preventing total discharge.
The CTEK Smarpass 120S is dustproof, splashproof, and has short-circuit protection. This makes the CTEK Smartpass 120S a dependable power management system for your vehicle.
Adding a fuse block to your Smartpass system will provide it and your circuit with an additional layer of protection.
Compatible With Smart Alternators
The Smartpass is compatible with smart alternators. Newer cars use smart alternators. They're part of many car manufacturers' efforts to reduce car emissions.
A smart alternator will kick off at a high voltage (up to 17 volts) after you start your car. The high initial voltage will allow the alternator to more quickly charge your starter battery to restore whatever it lost when it started your car.
After it charges the car battery, it will start to produce a lower voltage to supply electricity to the accessories of your car.
A drop in power production means less mechanical energy from the engine. And, yes, the alternator’s ability to generate electrical energy is an additional load on the engine that contributes to fuel consumption.
Unfortunately, this means that your smart alternator will drop power production before your auxiliary battery is full. This is where Smartpass becomes useful.
The Smartpass maintains the power level that goes to the auxiliary battery and continues to charge it even after the smart alternator drops power production.
What Are The Disadvantages Of A CTEK Smartpass 120S?
The biggest disadvantage of a Smartpass is the price. It can be expensive for a power management system.
Moreover, the CTEK Smarpass 120S package does not include the cables and fuses that you will need to install in your vehicle.
When you buy a CTEK Smarpass 120S, you will need to get a copy of the manual online. The user manual will tell you the kind of wires and fuses that you will need to install Smartpass on your vehicle.
Another disadvantage is that the installation may require some drilling unless your vehicle has mounting holes that coincide with some of the holes on the Smartpass. If you’re not used to modifying your vehicle, then you might need to have someone install Smartpass for you.
For vehicles with an auxiliary battery, a CTEK Smartpass 120S will help improve the power allocation from your alternator to better charge the auxiliary battery.
However, even without a second battery, a Smartpass will allow your battery to charge faster if your vehicle uses a traditional alternator.
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