A bit of background
The Apexi turbo timer that came with the car would work randomly. For example one time in ten you would pull into a petrol station and the timer would keep the engine running for 30 seconds even if you didn’t want it to. Not a problem in itself except the joystick selector on the unit was broken so it couldn’t be switched off. You had to wait 30 second for it to finish.
So we saw Apexi “look” turbo timers on AliExpress and wondered if they were the same as the original. So we bought one.
This is what we found out.
The box of the AliExpress timer looked mint. It even had a hologram.
So far so good.
The Control Unit
And this where things started to go downhill
The fonts on the Chinese timer were similar but not in bold font like the original timer.
The logo on the Chinese timer was also slightly squashed vs the genuine timer.
The finish on the Chinese timer was very slightly orange peeled where as the Japanese one was completely smooth.
The Relay Box
From the outside the two boxes looked identical except the Japanese one had a sticker on the outside with a part number.
The PCBs were also different. There seemed to be more components on the Japanese (genuine) timer and for sure more capacitors. The Japanese version also had some potting compound where the cables joined to the board to reduce stress on the solder joints. Smart.
Japanese Chinese Japanese Chinese
The power cables were also different.
The Japanese timer had markings on the wires. For example the green cable has white dots. The Chinese timer had solid coloured cables.
Genuine to the right
The power cables on the genuine timer were also much thicker. This could be a problem if your original cabling is also thick. On the Octavia it looks like we were lucky. The cables on the Chinese unit look about the same size as the Skoda wires.
The big issue here, and for me the deal breaker with the Chinese unit, is when you turn off the ignition there is a slight delay before the relay on the Chinese unit kicks in. This results in the power being cut to the car for a split second before it was switched back on.
I don’t like this.
I don’t believe switching electrical components on and off again quickly for fear of damage. And considering we are talking about the ignition circuit, there are a lot of components that I believe could be damaged by this rapid switching.
Apexi Turbo Timer – Which Do I Recommend?
The difference in price between the two units is big. The Chinese one is around 20 Euro delivered. The Apexi turbo timer (genuine) is around 120 Euro.
Is the genuine turbo timer worth the money. I would say 100% yes.
For me, the Chinese unit is unusable so even if it was free I wouldn’t recommend it. If you want an Apexi Turbo Timer then I’d absolutely recommend paying the extra and getting the genuine item.