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Mac_Muz
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   Posted 3/31/2007 1:42 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
 Most bike battry's are measured in Ah meaning Amp hours. Most of these battery's are about 18 Ah or so, to make them lighter and better for weight to power ratios on bikes.
 
These battery's can last from a few weeks to as long as 6 years, most last about 3 years, and it depends on the brand, and how it is cared for.
 
A typical 18Ah battery can run a theoretical device at 1 amp for 18 hours, or a 18 amp device for 1 hour, and will put out 300 plus amps to the starter maybe 4 times if you have 4 failed attempts to start in a row.
 
These battery's must be maintained on a automatic float charger such as the "Battery Tender" for about 55 bucks, or a Shumaker brand which does the same thing for 17 bucks, anytime less being parked at work you are not riding.
 
Otherwise they tend to waste away apx 10% of their charged every day, and with that create a sulfation premature death.
 
These battery's suffer from cold and become sluggish in colder than 40'F.
 
If they are allowed to go low in distilled water they will sulfate to death, and depending on how low the process gets faster.
 
Some batterys come wet from far off lands, and can in fact be junk on the showroom floor. Simply put they sat about unused to long.
 
With a recent battery it is possible for them to act dead, and may hold a charge once charged back up for a long time (apx 10 hours) and be if good use.
 
After a single start it takes riding time of more than a full 30 miuntes to re-charge a bike battery and that only charges at higher than 2,800 engine rpm. Alternators do not create charge at much under 3,000 rpm, and because the alternator is mounted on the crankshaft and not to a pully set up, like a car where the car idles at 900 rpm and the alternator is spun at a far higher rpm these systems are not like a car one bit.
 
Too many starts and stops in a short time can run the battery down more than it can re-cover and you will not start the bike, or run the bike with out this battery in the system.
 
Jumping a really dead and gone battery that is too tired to hold a charge will fry the charging system which can't possibly charge a really dead battery no matter what you do.
 
Sometimes you can run a good battery to low to take an instant charger and will have to fight your way thur a high internal resistance, by running the charger for several hours and then stop, only to try again several times. It is possible to bering a battery back, so long as it was a recent battery, and the problem was something recent also. This isn't going to work with a battery that sat around on concrete for 6 months.
 
Removing battery cables won't allow the engine to remain running and will also fry the charging system.
 
Jumping a low level battery from a RUNNING CAR will risk an over load condtion and may fry the charging system. if you must jump from a car be sure the cables are (+) to (+) and (-) to (-) and the car IS NOT RUNNING.
 
It is very possible to over load a bike charging system with toys. More or less the alternator can put out upto 20 amps maximum, where as you cars can put out 55 amps and much more depending on the alternator in that car.
 
The battery on a bike works in the charging system something like a shock absorber does on a car. And in that way you can hit to big a bump, and use more current than the bike can make.
 
You must figure on your alterator in amps and or watts as a total you can make, the engine needs to run coils, and make spark and the systems require current that is not possible to determine.
 
Other items are possible to determine in lamps, like the main hi/low in watts, passing lamps in watts, radios in watts. It may be you can't run everything all the time.
................................................................................................................................................
 
To test a battery to tell if it is of any use, you must first fully charge it, and use one form or another of a DC volt meter. An ok one is is found at walley world for 17 bucks.
 
Once 10 and or more hours pass you can begin to test the battery in DC volts.
 
These steps will be discussed:
Test the battery voltage, key off, as starting, at idle, and at 3500 RPM. (Cadd I swiped that sentance.) 
 
TEST 1: read battery voltage right off the charger. This will show some wacked out figure called false surface charge and it doesn't mean squat, unless it is low for some reason like you just charged a stone.
 
You might see readings as high at 18 volts depending the charger. You might well expect to see 13.8. The point is you don't want to see less than 12.6 dcv.
 
So install the battery, Positve cable FIRST, GROUND CABLE LAST, and set up the meter.
 
TEST 2: Lets load test the battery and get to the meat of what it is you want to know! And want you want to know if if the battery can hold a charge, and if it can you can load that battery, and it will work.
 
So you hooked the meter, next get a watch that counts seconds, and pull off the plug wires so the engine CAN'T Start. You are making the engine be a tool, there is a real tool, but you don't need it for one time use. If you feel you do, go to the auto parts store and buy one.
 
MAKE SURE the bike is in neutral, if it cold block the wheels incase the bike wants to move with a cold clutch.
DO NOT USE the CHOKE!
 
IF your bike can crank the starter with the clutch out do it, so long as the bikes doesn't lurch your using even more current to turn the engine which you do not want to start! WE are LOADING that battery up harder than you would be, if you were starting the engine!
 
Get ready, flip the KEY, push the button and crank the engine, watch the reading, and count to 10 seconds. You want to see both happen before you let the button go, but WATCH the reading more than the watch.
 
IF the bike stops cranking, or you hear clicking and nothing else, the battery is junk.
 
IF the reading goes to less than 10.2 volts the battery is marginal, and you should begin to think about getting a new one. Don't panic if you see some thing 9.5dcv, you still have time, but measured in warmer days and a few months. (IF this were a car this test would run 30 seconds!, which just might melt all the solder joints and is why there is a tool!)
 
Allow 10 to 15 minutes, use the time to install the plug wires, and get a cool drink. Shut every thing OFF. That starter is cooling OFF and so let it....
 
Now you are going to leave that meter hooked up right where it is....
 
TEST 3: First take a new reading with everything off. This reading is real battery at rest volts... You want to see 12.6 maybe 12.4, no less. Most certainly no less than 12.0.
 
TEST 4: Start the engine and take a reading. Expect to see low 13's
 
TEST 5: Take the bike up to apx 3,500 RPM slowly watching the meter to show a minimum of 13.6 volts. probably because you have just used that battery hard from the load test AND just used it again to start the bike with you will see a higher than 13.6 volts fast. You are likely to see see 14.8 volts which is good. If you don't, don't worry so long as the reading is 13.6 to 14.8 dc volts. ALL DONE.
 
..................................................................................................................................................
 
Comments: These are basics for a wide variety of bikes..
 
ALWAYS THINK GROUND CABLE! IF YOU ARE REMOVING A LIVE BATTERY FORM ANY SYSTEM REMOVE THE GROUND CABLE FIRST!
 
IF YOU ARE INSTALLING A CHARGED BATTERY OR A NEW ONE INSTALL THE GROUND CABLE LAST!
 
IF something is turned on there will be a spark, and if something is broken and so turned on there will be a spark. Newer bikes tend to to have some things turned on that we can' shit off!
 
However you don't want to see sparks, and if you do, and believe everything is turned off you may have a problem.
 
You might have a 7 Ah battery, you might have a 30 Ah battery. It might be your charging system has a problem.
 
Most problems are loose connections, bad contacts, nasty ground cables, corroision, cold solder joints, and just mung. You want clean, more over clean electrical connections which a finger print can cause problems with. You have acids in your finger prints that can cause current loss. This tends to show on injection parts and ECU's more than at the battery, because the voltages are very small.
 
Bad grounds can cause some very screwed up things, since the current wants to go to ground and will try somehow, even if the path is wrong. Things like using a turn signal, and having a brake light flash dim, in goose step show there is a bad ground.
 
A dim head lamp can be caused by a bad ground. Instrument lights can act all screwy over a bad ground, and cause things to be intermittant, or not work at all. (some bike designs cause ground to run thru greasey goose neck bearings nasty design that one is.)
 
ALWAYS sand paper and clean connections at both endes of battery cables when it is easy to do, which it isn't always so easy to do depending.
 
I CAN NOT STRESS enough to make certain the connector between the rectifier/regulator AND the alternator are electricly clean. This is the single most inmportant connector on bikes. IF you can feel heat coming off this connector with the back of your hand, you have a problem right there. IF this connector looks melted, or the wires looked yellowed, it is heat causing this, and that heat comes from a "VOLTAGE DROP" HIGH RESISTANCE right there at that connector.
 
IF YOU FAIL to stop that heat I promise you the stator part of the alternator will fry, and be fit as a counter weight in a plant pot. If that happens depending on how your alternator works you have a good chance of killing the field coil, and the rec/reg.
 
Speaking of heat, it is a very wise idea to discover that rec/reg and pull it off the bike and clean up where it mounts to the bike.This part is supposed to get HOT! However the backing plate it mounts on is supposed to heat sink the heat AWAY. IF dirt gets between the rec/reg and the heat sinking ablity of the mounting plate the rec/reg bakes to death.
 


So many bikes, and so little memory
Ossipee New Hampster "Eat Seeds or Die"
 
 

Post Edited (Mac_Muz) : 4/1/2007 2:56:07 PM GMT

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Smitty
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   Posted 3/31/2007 6:01 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Good point Mac & agree: Cadd---have a go over what Mac put down, make small corrections if necessary or even send Mac a Personal on some changes.  Then put it as a sicky for it is Spring & 50% of the questions seem to be on batteries or wanting to know why the bike will not start.


Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

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Kawi500
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   Posted 3/31/2007 8:20 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

 Wow ive been lucky baught my bike in Nov. of last year and i ride about 3 times a week for an hour.

 Acouple of times it sat for a week,but im not having any batt. trouble,lights are allways real bright when i turn the key. Also on my other bikes through my life ive never tricle charged any of them and they all lasted about 2 in half years or so. I am riding my bike ever other day now that the weather is nice. This is 2007 man you think the charging system and the battery on my new Vulcon en500 would be far more superior than even my 84 XT550 or the 74 Honda 450 street bike.  Right?***sheesh!  Yikes i do half to check the water level in the Vulcon,have not looked at it since Nov.06.  I went on a Vulcon web. site and everyone was complaining on how hard it is to slide the battery out of the 500,but i think they were all 90s models. I will find out tomorrow.

 

                                                                                                             Ride Safe...

                                                                                                                   Kawi500...smhair

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thejace
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   Posted 4/1/2007 2:27 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Could you go over what are the differnt types of motorcycle batteries, and what is the best? I know there are the distilled water kind, and there is the gel kind, which is what I have. Then there are some military kinds, which are supposed to be really good?
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Mac_Muz
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   Posted 4/1/2007 4:46 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I copy and pasted this from a recent post:
here is a discussion we had some time back. Please don't reply to it ok? it is antique see....
http://forum.motorcycle-usa.com/default.aspx?f=18&m=315307
 
This battery company will be the company that I buy the next battery for my 06 Nomad from.
http://www.odysseybatteries.com/
 
and this one will probably be the one I buy a more reasonable priced battery from for my old 850
http://www.beiterbatteries.com/mobility_12v_200ah.htm
 
Be sure to refresh these link pages as they are dated...


So many bikes, and so little memory
Ossipee New Hampster "Eat Seeds or Die"
 
 

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Kawi500
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   Posted 4/1/2007 7:49 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
 Ok i checked my battery to day. First time since i baught the bike 5 months ago and there were 3 cells low. So i cleaned it up and filled the 3 cells with distilled water. No prob. to get the batt. out like other people said on a different web. site. Now my buddy who owns 7 bikes said there was Sterling + Intestate gell batteries witch are far superior then the wet cells you get in most new bikes. I guess he said lots of people get ridd of there wet cells when they get a new bike and put the gell in. But im not that rich so i will get one in 2 or 3 years when this new one is dead.
 
 
                                                                                       Thats all Folks...
 
                                                                                                Kawi500rolleyes
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Smitty
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   Posted 4/1/2007 11:48 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Kawi500 my '00 Honda 929 is still with it original sealed top battery, mind you so is the '03 Honda 954.  So that is seven yrs for one & four yrs for the other.  Thanks to the use of Battery Tender.  I expexect even longer yrs on both.


Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

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Mac_Muz
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   Posted 4/2/2007 6:27 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I am sure there are many brands and types of batteries that I am un-aware of. I am not a tech these days. Infact I never was stricktly speaking any sort of bike tech. I once was a kid doing set up "PDI" and moved on to foreign cars which is a year round occupation in New England.

This post was written because it was a topic more than 6 times in the past two weeks and I found myself typing the same thing to much. This isn't a discussion on a particular bike, and so covers many kinds of bikes and would cover many kinds of batteries, to include dry cell, wet cell, and gell.

Depending on care these get, and any battery needs care if it only means keeping it electricly clean, and charging, somethings you can luck out as Smitty shows.

My intent is to show what I see as differences, and how to deal with them. I didn't get into "Specific Gravity" testing because mini tools to show it are not of good quality. These tools for a bike battery have a few floating colored balls the size of a BB. If you have this tool each cell in the eye dropper size tool should float all 4 BB's.

A real tool like this is the size of a turkey baster with readings and a thermometer, so you can take an accurate reading, and get a true idea cell by cell, of battery condition. More or less LOAD testing proves if a battery can hold a charge anyway. The rest of the testing shows if the charging system works.

There are several types of charging systems as well, but in the end they either work or they don't. You must make 13.4 to 14.8 dc volts to run any 12 volt dc system. If you don't make these figures , you are either not charging, or you are over charging which is just as bad if not worse.

Some bikes might make more than 14.8 as a max, but then you get into specific bikes, which are a bit unusual.

One of these days when the topic cools doown I suspect this will end up as a sticky post... I can make it sticky this instant, but they tend to be over looked..


So many bikes, and so little memory
Ossipee New Hampster "Eat Seeds or Die"
 
 

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Kawi500
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   Posted 4/2/2007 7:49 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
 Mac,
 
 Your post on Batteries is very good and informative. What im thinking though is i think on my 2007 Vulcon you have to take the seat off everytime you want to serv. or charge the batt. I could be wrong though need to glance through the manual again. If so i couldnt bare taking the seat on and off that much. I ride it every 1-2 days. What would be trick is if the batterie tender came with a wire with leeds you could plug it in from the side of your bike****you know thay would be tucked in the side some where then ya just plug the Batt. tender in with no seat removal.  By the way i unterstand your post was suppose to just be for onfo on batt. but more people seem to be having fun making it a topic with post***Laugh*** Oh well good luck....
 
 
                                                                                                Having a good time*****
                          
                                                                                                       Kawi500turn

Post Edited (Kawi500) : 4/3/2007 9:23:37 PM GMT

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Mac_Muz
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   Posted 4/3/2007 2:37 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
These chargers come with a choice of ends. One choice bolts to the battery, the other is clamps... both are in the box.

yeah i don't take off my seat either.. I mounted a ciggy butt light to the battery, and made an adaper with 2 male ciggy butt lighters, and one more for the charger end...

The lighter socket on the bike is ON all the time and has an in line fuse of 10 AMPS. In the day time I can run a real lighter and or a plug in volt meter, and at night I can plug in the charger.

I do this on all my bikes... The yammi had one socket under my left knee, the Nomad will have two. One at the windshield and another mounted in the locking cover tool box.

So I don't even use bolt on part of the kit.

I carry a very small air compressor and help out folks with that more than I use it myself...

So yeah you can buy the shumaker and bolt one leader to the battery and figure out where the plug to the charger hides best..., or you can set up a lighter socket somewhere... and save that lead for something else....


So many bikes, and so little memory
Ossipee New Hampster "Eat Seeds or Die"
 
 

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Kawi500
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   Posted 4/3/2007 6:43 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
   Mac,
 
   Now that sounds cool,im going to look into this batt. tender. I know i can rig it up cool,and there is a elec.outlet right next to my bike were i park it.  i will let you know how i make out. If i can get 5 years of life out of this batt. its worth it***Pay for it self***
 
                                                                                 Thanks my  Friend...
                                                                                     Ride Safe....
                                                                                           Kawi 500***
 
 
 
 
       The 70s were simple*****scool
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Mac_Muz
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   Posted 4/4/2007 8:39 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I run these rigs on my cars and trucks from time to time too... They like it. Walley world has the best bang for the buck IMO.... 17 bucks.... i got two, but then I got 2 bikes...


So many bikes, and so little memory
Ossipee New Hampster "Eat Seeds or Die"
 
 

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qebalt
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   Posted 5/24/2007 11:06 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Mac_Muz, your post is about normal maintenance battery right? how about free maintenance battery? how long it can last actually?


please click here to visit my blog --> http://bikingandtravelling.blogspot.com
please click here to visit my first website --> www.geocities.com/petrovars

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Harb
Bleeds Scarlet and Grey



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   Posted 6/1/2007 8:23 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Do certain bikes only accept certain batteries? Say I had a bike that came with an 18 Ah battery, but I wanted something better because I wanted to let the bike sit longer without riding and still have enough juice to start. Could I just buy a new battery with a higher Ah rating, or will a bike that comes with an 18 Ah only accept 18 Ah's? I know nothing about bike electrical systems; sorry for the newbie question.


Go bucks!

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Mac_Muz
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   Posted 6/2/2007 7:11 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Bigger Ah ends as a larger case battery and I have my doubts you have a larger area to install it... And then 18 Ah is a far cry from 1,000 CCA (cold cranking amps)

You have 2 choices more or less... sealed case and wet.. either way sulfation and 10% loss occur anyday the batt is used... or maintained on a charger made to do so.

This effect happens to golf carts, 4 wheelers, snow mobiles with a battery, bikes and any small battery with acid water, gell..

Charge it or weep.... Of course there are some military dry cells that cost 2 arms a leg and then a bit more, which last a long time on the shelf, but is that cost worth it, when a charger from walmart is 17 bucks, and doesn't cost 2 cents a day to run?
 
back on edit: A point I wanted to make:
 
recently we seem to have opened even more trade with china.. They now make so called road worthy bikes for American use and sales... many of these are shipped with a wet cell battery from China all set up and wet... Most of them are dead by the time they get here, and are killed during the passage and storage from sulfation.
 
You can charge these till hell freezes over and get nothing in return. The have sulfated to death and are fit for the lead and the case, and thats that.. If these were shipped dry and activated at the time of sale and then maintained with the charger these could last 3 years and maybe longer. It remains they don't, and you buy a nice boat anchor with each Chinese bike.. unless you have use for a rubber box, IF you can get it apart... and or cast lead...


So many bikes, and so little memory
Ossipee New Hampster "Eat Seeds or Die"
 
 

Post Edited (Mac_Muz) : 6/2/2007 2:16:36 PM GMT

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Mac_Muz
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   Posted 7/3/2007 9:34 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
That depends on how much power the bike is using to stay running the ambient air temp, and the condition of all the wiring on the bike from the battery cables to the alt wiring, and how much voltage drop there is.

It is more like 30 minutes in the real world since the alt doesn't just recharge the battery alone, at the same time. The ratio is 1:1 on most bikes, and is more like 3:1 on most cars... The crank on a car has a bigger pully while the alt has a smaller pully.

On a bike most rotors are crank mounted and so it is 1:1...


So many bikes, and so little memory
Ossipee New Hampster "Eat Seeds or Die"
 
 

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mbhudson
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   Posted 7/8/2007 7:31 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
So I have a battery question/problem. After a couple of days without riding my Kawasaki ZZR600 it wouldn't start. I jump started it and while the jumper cables were connected to the 'donor' vehicle it started fine. However as soon as one of the cables was disconnected the bike immediately died. I tried disconnecting the battery, cleaning connections, but still no go. So is it the battery or alternator? Any help would be great!?
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Mac_Muz
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   Posted 7/14/2007 6:44 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I don't normally reply to sticky posts often. It is far better to start a new post when there is a problem you want answers too.....

mbhudson... That battery you have now is in a as dead condition...


So many bikes, and so little memory
Ossipee New Hampster "Eat Seeds or Die"
 
 

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HogWild
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   Posted 7/14/2007 8:26 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
thejace said...
Could you go over what are the differnt types of motorcycle batteries, and what is the best? I know there are the distilled water kind, and there is the gel kind, which is what I have. Then there are some military kinds, which are supposed to be really good?


When using a battery like the Odyssey military grade dry cell all bets are off as that battery is dang near bomb proof, forget bullets. It has been my experience they will cost about $40.00 more than standard and about $20 more than gel. Either way they will out perform them every time. Our Roadstar has one in it and that sucker sits more than it rides. Never had a problem yet and that would include the first time it was out in over 4 months of the winter and early spring; with no tender at all. I will however say they are a 14 amp hour rating but they will put out 500 amps at 80 degrees and there life span is longer than most bikes ever think about remaining with an owner. My neighbor has a PC545 in his Gold Wing and that bike has as many lights as a New York Christmas tree. The battery has never failed him and he loves it. He used to replace his gel battery about every other year.
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Jacky0612
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   Posted 7/22/2007 7:53 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
hop 
 
I learned batteries got price raise recently.
for comsumer ,this is not a good news. 
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creambabyan
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   Posted 2/5/2008 2:04 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
redface yeah
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WFO
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   Posted 5/26/2008 1:41 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
great thread! my battery checks out.


Lakewood, colorado

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lawrence1
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   Posted 7/24/2008 7:52 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Best thread I've ever read on batteries!

When I served in uncle sams army we always used electrolyte instead of distilled water. Since then I've always went to napa and bought it for use in my own batteries.

Am I wasting my money? Whats the difference?

Thanks
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vinbytes
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   Posted 12/22/2009 2:54 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Wow! Thanks for the full info. I really love to read it and I enjoyed it. I have learned a lot in you thread. Thanks again

Post Edited By Moderator (Rich_S) : 12/22/2009 4:40:12 PM GMT

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CaddmannQ
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   Posted 12/22/2009 12:16 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
lawrence1 said...
Best thread I've ever read on batteries!

When I served in uncle sams army we always used electrolyte instead of distilled water. Since then I've always went to napa and bought it for use in my own batteries.

Am I wasting my money? Whats the difference?

Thanks
Hey, I'm surprised nobody ever covered this.
 
The electrolyte in a lead-acid type battery is sulfuric acid diluted with distilled water.
 
When a battery just sits around the water evaporates out of it, and the liquid level drops. You must then add water and charge it.
 
As it discharges (from use or just sitting around) the sulfur and some oxygen in the sulfuric acid combines with the lead plates to form lead sulfate, and the electrolyte weakens and turns more and more into just water. Adding water & then charging the battery drives the sulfur and some oxygen back into the electrolyte, increasing the sulfuric acid content and restoring the lead sulfate to pure lead again.
 
This cycle happens over and over during the life of a battery.
 
If you add electrolyte, it compensates a bit for the fact that some sulfation of the plates will occur over time that is not reversible by just charging and adding water. The sulfated plates expose less and less pure lead, and become less effective; but if the acid strength is kept up by adding electrolyte, then whatever pure lead is still exposed can still produce a good current. The voltage of the battery will thus come up, but the amperage it can produce over time is reduced bit by bit until the battery is finally worthlesss.
 
Under normal conditions, just charge the battery regularly or put it on a float charger whenever not in use, and add distilled water as necessary. This will be sufficient, unless electrolyte is actually spilled from the battery.
 
Most modern batteries don't need water added, as they are sealed & have a fibre mat or other device inside that traps evaporating water & will return it to the battery.


"When in doubt, ride."
Cadd................................Clovis CA
2004 Nomad 1500............"Baggins"
caddmannq at yahoo dot com
 

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