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Another Gel Battery Failure.


Boffin

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Over the last couple of weeks the battery on my February 2004 built R1150RT has been rapidly falling off in performance. At first it was hard to start the bike after a 5-day layup, then over a weekend and by this Friday standing 8 hours at work left the bike just starting.

 

This means I got a few weeks shy of three years out of the battery, and as my bike gets used on an almost daily basis, with the shortest journey being ten miles, that is a very early failure.

 

Obviously I had to change the battery and I intended to go with the collective wisdom and fit the Odyssey PC680 so I started to shop round for one. I noted from other threads that they sell for 77 to 80 dollars in the USA. Here in the UK I found the typical price was £110 that is over $200. I managed to find a distributor that sold direct to the public where I could get an Odyssey for £86 - or around $170. Time to research further.

 

The stock battery would have cost me £70, or a good quality flooded cell battery £60. I found an outlet that would sell me a Westco AGM battery for £54. I contacted a few US vendors, all of whom told me the same story - international shipping rules prevented them from selling me an Odyssey at US prices.

 

As an engineer I have access to all sorts of technical resources and I did a bit of research. AGM batteries seemed to be a perfect fit for motorcycles, no liquid to spill in the event of an accident, good vibration resistance, low internal resistance for high starting current and low-self discharge rates for long storage times.

 

I then started looking at large UPS batteries on the reasoning that motorcyclists expect to pay a lot for batteries - computer system managers expect to get low prices. I found a company called Power Sonic, based in San Diego but with a UK subsidiary. Their PS-12180 seemed to fit the bill. 18AH, 180amp 10-second peak current, 54 amp 7-minute current and the right size to fit the RT. Although they describe it as a Sealed Lead-Acid battery, the details of construction show it to be a Vented Lead-Acid Battery using Absorbed Glass Mat technology. In the UK they are available online from Battery Masters and would cost £38 ($80) delivered. Much better.

 

The battery comes in two varieties, the PS-12180-B has 5mm screw terminals and the PS-12180-F has 'Faston' terminals. The Battery Masters web site did not list the options so I ordered and waited to see what I got - it was the -B so I had to make some terminals, as per the Odyssey - or also like the odyssey I could have mounted the battery on its side. For this I used brass strip from a model engineering shop, sold here as 12.5mm x 1.6mm x 290mm, it is in fact 1/2 inch x 60thou x 1 foot as it is made in Ohio.

 

I cut two 2cm pieces, marked them out and drilled them 5mm one end for the battery terminal and 6.5mm the other to take the bike leads. I then bent them through 90 degrees and mounted them to the battery.

 

Here are a few (poor-quality) pictures to illustrate some of the steps.

 

The battery terminals:

PICT1822.jpg

 

The marked-out strip:

PICT1829.jpg

 

Drilled and bent:

PICT1833.jpg

 

Fitted to the battery:

PICT1834.jpg

 

Last, but not least, the battery in the bike:

PICT1835.jpg

 

You will notice the retaining strap is a little loose due to the battery being slightly smaller than stock. After I took this photo I put some polystyrene under the strap to pack it out a bit.

 

The bike started fine after fitting - I will report back to let you know how it copes with use as a motorcycle battery.

 

Andy thumbsup.gif

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Hey, Andy, love the red battery, and what a great fit and of course an excellent price. Well I suppose AMPS is AMPS, and VOLTS are VOLTS, gotta keep them all in there somewhere.

This week is gonna be cold, so it will be a good test of the cranking output.

And you definately have way too much money, that is the best looking work bench, I have EVER seen lmao.giflmao.gif

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Andy, Do you suppose the ten mile commutes added to the batteries demise?

ie: How many miles does it take for the battery to recharge after each start? and would a battery tender at the end of each day possibly added to its life?

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Andy, Do you suppose the ten mile commutes added to the batteries demise?

ie: How many miles does it take for the battery to recharge after each start? and would a battery tender at the end of each day possibly added to its life?

 

If we assume it takes 100 amps for five seconds to start the bike then we will take 500 watts of power out of the battery. If the alternator has 0.5 amps of spare capacity then it will take 1000 seconds, or 16.666 minutes to recharge the battery. If it has 5 amps of spare capacity, the recharge takes 100 seconds, or just under 2 minutes. My commute is mainly rural roads and lane splitting is virtually compulsory in England so my engine is spinning well above 3000 RPM for the whole trip. This will give plenty of spare capacity and the battery is probably fully recharged in the first mile, so the commute should have no impact on the battery life.

 

Note: if your riding forces stop-go conditions on you, your battery may discharge with the engine running. This is especially likely on servo-braked bikes if you hold the brake on whilst stopped.

 

Andy

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Andy,

Resourceful as usual thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif

Next step ........... come out for a morning ride tomorrow , weather permitting thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif

 

Steve

 

thumbsup.gif

 

PM Sent.

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Pity that the Odyssey isn't available in the UK at a practical price. I don't understand why international shipping rules would prevent this, is the battery considered hazrdous materials and thus is very expensive to ship, or is it due to duties/taxes, etc.? Also, curious if you researched the popular Panasonic LC-X1220P AGM battery that many here use... did that choice present similar cost issues?

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Pity that the Odyssey isn't available in the UK at a practical price. I don't understand why international shipping rules would prevent this, is the battery considered hazrdous materials and thus is very expensive to ship, or is it due to duties/taxes, etc.? Also, curious if you researched the popular Panasonic LC-X1220P AGM battery that many here use... did that choice present similar cost issues?

 

The issue with battery shipping is that they are considered Dangerous Air Cargo and need all sorts of permits and precautions to ship.

 

I was unable to find an outlet for the Panasonic in the UK. There were a couple of 'compatible' replacements but there was only limited info available on them. That said, whilst checking a reference I just found an outlet for a 20AH Panasonic equivalent for £35 delivered which would have been a good alternative.

 

Andy

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Interesting, Andy.

 

I checked the data sheets for your PowerSonic battery and for the Panasonic AGM battery I installed a few months ago. Both are intended for UPS. Dimensions are the same. Both of us had to fabricate brackets to hook it up.

 

The Panasonic is about 2 pounds heavier and has a correspondingly higher capacity of 20 AH. Panasonic didn't bother to quote a short-duration current because that wouldn't be of interest for the intended application, so it's good that PowerSonic did.

 

The only problem I've had is that occasionally I'll press the start button and instead of turning the starter over not much happens and the clock resets. A second later I press the button again and it performs flawlessly.

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Wow...your's is much prettier than mine.

 

I made terminals by flattening a 3/4 inch copper pipe that was lying around. I then cut it in two strips and bent it at 90 degrees in a vice and drilled the holes.

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Nice job, but don't you need a new air filter?

 

wave.gif

 

Thanks, the filter is not as dirty as that picture makes it look. Apart from the part next to the snorkel inlet it is completely clean. The next service in about 1K miles away and it will get a new filter then.

 

Andy

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  • 3 years later...

Thanks for an informative post

I have a 04 1150rtp which wont start

 

It is brand new to me I had started it last week after its month long trip from la to ny but wasnt able to ride due to ice and no plates

 

Do I have to remove both side oanels and also do I need to remove all the fasteners around the gas cap to remove the center panel in order to access the battery for possible recharge or jump

 

Is there anything I should NOT remove? or something that is easily broken

 

thanks

 

Oss

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If we assume it takes 100 amps for five seconds to start the bike then we will take 500 watts of power out of the battery. If the alternator has 0.5 amps of spare capacity then it will take 1000 seconds, or 16.666 minutes to recharge the battery. If it has 5 amps of spare capacity, the recharge takes 100 seconds, or just under 2 minutes. My commute is mainly rural roads and lane splitting is virtually compulsory in England so my engine is spinning well above 3000 RPM for the whole trip. This will give plenty of spare capacity and the battery is probably fully recharged in the first mile, so the commute should have no impact on the battery life.

 

Note: if your riding forces stop-go conditions on you, your battery may discharge with the engine running. This is especially likely on servo-braked bikes if you hold the brake on whilst stopped.

 

Andy

 

Andy,

 

Current (amps) x time (seconds) = charge (coulombs), not power (watts). So if it took 100 amps for five seconds to start the bike, then you took 500 coulombs of charge out of the battery.

 

Recharge time depends on available charging current, but it also depends on the battery's ability to accept the charge. I don't know how fast gel batteries accept a recharge, but it is possible your short commutes don't quite accomplish a full recharge.

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Thanks for an informative post

I have a 04 1150rtp which wont start

 

It is brand new to me I had started it last week after its month long trip from la to ny but wasnt able to ride due to ice and no plates

 

Do I have to remove both side oanels and also do I need to remove all the fasteners around the gas cap to remove the center panel in order to access the battery for possible recharge or jump

 

Is there anything I should NOT remove? or something that is easily broken

 

thanks

 

Oss

 

Remove the LH mirror (one had at back of mirror, hit front [mirror] edge with flat of hand) and the LH side panel. Open top of airbox, remove intake snorkel. Release battery strap and then undo battery earth lead. Slide battery out and release + lead. No need to disturb RH side or centre panel or tank.

 

Andy

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If we assume it takes 100 amps for five seconds to start the bike then we will take 500 watts of power out of the battery. If the alternator has 0.5 amps of spare capacity then it will take 1000 seconds, or 16.666 minutes to recharge the battery. If it has 5 amps of spare capacity, the recharge takes 100 seconds, or just under 2 minutes. My commute is mainly rural roads and lane splitting is virtually compulsory in England so my engine is spinning well above 3000 RPM for the whole trip. This will give plenty of spare capacity and the battery is probably fully recharged in the first mile, so the commute should have no impact on the battery life.

 

Note: if your riding forces stop-go conditions on you, your battery may discharge with the engine running. This is especially likely on servo-braked bikes if you hold the brake on whilst stopped.

 

Andy

 

Andy,

 

Current (amps) x time (seconds) = charge (coulombs), not power (watts). So if it took 100 amps for five seconds to start the bike, then you took 500 coulombs of charge out of the battery.

 

Recharge time depends on available charging current, but it also depends on the battery's ability to accept the charge. I don't know how fast gel batteries accept a recharge, but it is possible your short commutes don't quite accomplish a full recharge.

 

 

:dopeslap: Yup, wrong unit - who'd a thunk I have been an electronic engineer these past 35 years....

 

The battery is an AGM, not GEL. It will go from nearly flat to fully charged in my ten-mile commute - I have tested it, so to speak...

 

Andy

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Some may have read my enthusiastic endorsement of using an ammeter rather than a voltmeter. Some may have seen my nearly-free circuit using the battery ground strap as the ammeter shunt resistance. This is described at my website, see below.

 

Now this thread illustrates an ideal application of this concept (and how an ammeter is sooo much better than a voltmeter). Without changing or loosening any wire, you can determine what the power-off drain/leakage on the battery is by simply putting your DVM across the ground strap and seeing the voltage drop across the wire. That's it.

 

If you want to "calibrate" the shunt and determine the size of the leakage/loss, just plug in a known value (watts or amps, so long as you know Ohm's Law) and see how far the meter changes. That's it.

 

The gel and gel-sort-of batteries seem to die without warning on hot days at about 5 years give or take, as far as I know. They lose like 15% of charge per month - which really shouldn't put you in trouble for a couple of months unless your machine starts poorly, very cold cranking, or some other shortcoming of the bike.

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.......

Do I have to remove both side oanels and also do I need to remove all the fasteners around the gas cap to remove the center panel in order to access the battery for possible recharge or jump....

 

Remove the LH mirror (one had at back of mirror, hit front [mirror] edge with flat of hand) and the LH side panel. Open top of airbox, remove intake snorkel. Release battery strap and then undo battery earth lead. Slide battery out and release + lead. No need to disturb RH side or centre panel or tank.

 

Andy

Andy's response was how to remove the battery.

If you merely want to access the battery posts, remove both seats & you should see what your looking for.

I believe the 04's got an extension/jumper point on the positive side.

If you do not have one you can buy them or make your own as I did.

 

If you do not have the accsess post you have to remove the battery or use a thin screwdriver to get to the positive post.

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