Every spring, it was the same problem: dead battery, followed by a quick charge that baked the battery, followed by a new battery. Then came maintenance chargers that promised to keep the battery topped up but couldn't really recharge one that was, well, dead. Enter the Xtreme Charge XC100 maintenance charger from Pulse Tech Products. Once attached, the XC first measures the battery's state of charge, then uses patented pulse technology to deliver a maximum charge for that battery type without overheating or damage. As the charge level nears 100 percent, the XC switches to an auto-float maintenance mode. The unit even will inform you if the battery is beyond hope when it doesn't reach 100 percent within 24 hours. In manufacturer tests, the XC achieved 100 percent charge in less time than leading chargers, maintaining that level until ready for use. It may also salvage an otherwise "dead" battery by minimizing the size of the lead-sulfate crystals through pulses, leaving it ready to accept and hold a charge. The XC works on all lead-acid batteries, including gel, AGM and maintenance-free units, making it a universal tool for the garage. The unit is fuse-protected and comes with quick-disconnect clamps and one set of leads. At less than $100 it's more expensive than most chargers or maintenance units. But considering it can bring back the dead and extend duty cycles for the living, it just may be a bargain.