4WD MODIFICATIONS - ELECTRIC & LIGHTS
This tiny device was said to monitor battery health and display data on a smartphone, via an app. However, out of our five test units we bought, three failed.
We bought our test 12V Certa Battery Analyser on-line through Kogan, when it was on a half-price special promotion. We figured if it didn’t work very well we’d have only lost 40 bucks, so no big deal.
The Certa 6-20V unit measured only 46mm x 31.2 mm x 9.3mm and weighed only 72 grams. It came with double-sided sticky tape already in place, making it easy to mount on the top of the battery case.
The instruction leaflet came with a printed QR code that we used to download the Certa app, after we’d connected the device across our second under-bonnet battery terminals.
When we opened the app it showed that the unit was working immediately. It could be programmed to provide battery condition updates at regular times, even when we were nowhere near the vehicle.
After a few weeks durability testing, involving rough road and off-road driving, plus a couple of deep-water crossings, we were pleased to report that the Certa device worked brilliantly. So we bought four more.
The Certa Battery Analyser was Android and iOS compatible sent battery health notifications via Bluetooth, covering: engine start detection and automatic cranking test; driving time; abnormal data alerts; short-circuit and reverse polarity protection and historical data with 35 days of offline storage.
The automatic cranking test operated for every engine start, letting us know when the cranking voltage drops, so that we could pre-emptively charge or replace the battery.
The battery level function displayed battery capacity; the battery voltage function displayed battery voltage in real time and another report was the battery’s voltage curve.
A trip function recorded each start, stop and drive time of the vehicle, and displayed how many days the battery had been used.
There was an alternator test function and the instructions were given on the app, including prompts for engine idle and operating speeds.
When the four additional Certa units arrived we fitted them to another of the OTA Team vehicles. One wouldn’t operate and became warm to the touch, while the functioning ones were cool.
We reported the issue to Kogan, who gave us a credit for the inoperative unit. Around a month later, one of the other test units gave up the ghost: didn’t get hot, but just didn’t function. Kogan gave us another credit.
Six months down the test track, our auxiliary battery kept going flat, inexplicably and, at the same time, the Certa device wouldn’t give us any readings, or update its history. It was also warm to the touch, suggesting that it was drawing excess current.
It joined the other two, in the garage rubbish bin.
The fourth one operated well for a few months, then gave up the ghost. When we pulled it apart we were concerned to see exposed circuitry, with nary a drop of dust- and water-excluding resin. Also, the square component above the red terminal seems to have popped part of its protective plastic moulding.
We notice that on-line shops, including Kogan and Amazon, no longer list the Certa unit.
The test cost us $200, plus shortened auxiliary battery life, because of undiscovered, continual discharge. Not happy, Certa.