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Author Topic: Battery  (Read 1996 times)

Emmet

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Battery
« on: October 17, 2007, 02:25:37 AM »
I've got 44215 on my '06 Bullet (2215 of them mine); I noticed it was getting hard to start at work in the morning (it had sat at home off the battery maintainer for a week or so during a rainy period), although easy to kick over (one kick, as normal) at home in the evening, when I take it off the battery maintainer. The (stock battery) cells were REALLY low (I'd topped them up when I bought it, at 2000); now it's all better. Question: is the battery maintainer (1 amp float) overcharging (it's not supposed to, anyway), or is the bike overcharging (ammeter doesn't seem at all alarming when underway; a little in the red with each heartbeat at idle), boiling the battery dry, or is this just a feature of 1954 motorcycle technology? With my ear near the case, I can hear it lightly simmering as it charges at 1 amp...but it needs to recharge...as long as I'm riding every day, should I blow off the battery maintainer altogether (once it's charged up again) or just keep checking it during periodic inspection?

Sam

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Re: Battery
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2007, 01:59:08 PM »
By "battery maintainer" do you mean a trickle charger, or a battery tender? Battery tenders monitor the charge cycle to avoid over-charging the battery; that cooking sound is bubbles forming, some of which is normal but a high charging rate will boil-off the electrolyte and ultimately damage the battery. One way of keeping a battery topped-up is to hook up the trickle charger to the garage door opener; it'll get a 3 to 5 minute charge every time you open the door.

I'm not clear from your description whether topping up the cells cured the problems, or not. If a battery is allowed to get too low on electrolyte it may not recover fully, so you might be in the new battery market. A sealed no-maintenance battery would be a good investment in that case, my 2000 Ural and 2002 HD both have them, they're both several years old, and neither has a problem.

"Hard to start" and battery voltage may not be the same thing, either. Mine starts fine, one kick, pretty much regardless of battery condition.

Try this. Buy a volt meter; you can get something that'll work good enough for less than $20. Check your battery voltage without charging the battery, after sitting for a while. If it's much less than about 12 1/2 volts, you'll be buying a battery one of these days.

Also, check the voltage across the battery terminals with the engine running. If it doesn't rise much above 14 volts, it's not charging. I doubt you're over-charging from the alternator, or you'd be popping bulbs. 
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Emmet

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Re: Battery
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2007, 09:14:17 PM »
Sorry I was rambling; I'd just worked 24 hours, and was having a near-death experience.

Simplified, my question was about the low (very low) electrolyte level; is this common on 1954 technology bikes, or possibly due to the battery tender (it is a battery tender, although it can function as a 1 or 2 amp trickle charger, too).

Sam

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Re: Battery
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2007, 09:27:59 PM »
If you had to add water, a lot of it, and it boils down again in normal service and needs the battery tender to stay alive, it's probably a bad battery. It's not really a 1954 electrical system, with an alternator and real regulator.

I'd bet a cookie you need a battery. Get the sealed one, they last forever.
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LotusSevenMan

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Re: Battery
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2007, 10:19:55 PM »
I have found some of these battery 'tenders' seem to boil off the electrolyte slowly (but surely!) if often used. Can't say what a Bullet sealed battery is like as mine was a replacement lead/acid normal battery only six months before I bought it pre owned ((lovely phrase) but my Honda V 1000 has got the same gel battery it started life with over ten and a half years ago. Still fine. ;D
This VTR battery has an Optimate 'charger' in line with it while in storage which seems more efficient and unable to overcharge; unlike the cheaper ones!!!!
« Last Edit: October 20, 2007, 02:20:34 PM by LotusSevenMan »
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Kevin Mahoney

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Re: Battery
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2007, 12:33:25 AM »
You are making a point that could use some more detail for the uninitiated. There are basically two types of battery chargers (actually there are more, but for our purposes we will divide the world into two). One is a manual type charger which probably has two or more charging rates. One of these is probably 2 amps. or less. This type of charger will NEVER turn off. It moves a small current through the battery all the time. They are OK to use IF you check the battery frequently and top off the water which will "boil" off as part of the charging process.
 The second type are automatic chargers. Most of these have electronics inside which detect when the battery is fully charged. When the battery reaches this state of full charge they turn off. Then as the voltage drops (Some batteries lose around 2 volts a month when in storage).the units starts and brings the battery back to full charge at which point it turns off. This type of charger has become know as a "Battery Tender" which is really a brand name of one of the more popular chargers of this type.  Because the current is only on for short periods of time and at low amperages, they tend not to boil off the water in a battery while it is in storage, There are many types and they all make their own claims.
  Letting a battery sit in storage without keeping it electrically active by one means for another is the best way I know of to shorten it's life. An investlent in an automatic trickle type charger is an investment that will pay off very quickly.

Foggy_Auggie

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Re: Battery
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2007, 01:33:41 AM »
All my motorcycle batteries are removed in November (Winter storage) and placed in the basement with a constant temperature of about 65F.

The non-sealed type are filled to the top electrolyte mark with distilled water.  And they are NOT stored on the concrete floor.  The batteries are on the work bench.  And don't knock the batteries around hard - loose oxidation and sediment can float to the bottom and short the plates out. 

Plate shorting is another major cause of short battery life.

I have an ancient battery trickle charger - not a battery "tender".

I trickle charge the batteries a full 24 hours every 30 days.

I've never had any problems with less than normal battery life.

And take to heart what RE1 posted.

Regards, Foggy
« Last Edit: October 22, 2007, 01:36:00 AM by Foggy_Auggie »
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