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To battery charge or not, that is the question


gmarktbone

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My 02RT battery was replaced last October. I ride the bike most every day (9K this last year). The battery has never really started the bike with the kind of conviction I would like to see from a $140.00 battery, but it has started fairly well over the past year. This afternoon I noticed the bike turning over a littler slowly when the temperature dropped. Is there a reason for me to use a battery tender? I thought that if I was riding the bike regularly I wouldn't need to use a battery tender. Will a battery tender ruin the battery?

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I use a Battery Tender,,My bikes are all plugged in all the time,I get about 4 to 5 years out a batt, So no,it wont ruin the batt,,,If anything it well make it last longer,,,

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Next battery, buy an Odyssey PC680. Around $150 new but you won't believe the starting power. I hardly ever plug mine in and ride about every three days. I'm sure others will back me up on the PC680 here.

I just don't like having a device plugged in all the time that generates heat and electrical resistance.

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

If you're using a serviceable battery, make sure that the electrolyte levels are proper first. Many of the non-sealed batteries are designed to vent if you tip the bike. If you have tipped it over, then you may have lost some of the acid.

 

People are as strong about their convictions regarding battery tenders as they are about oil. I don't use one. My last battery went 4.5 years. The jury is still out on the other bike, as I don't know how old that battery is.

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The colder it gets the less umph you battery has. Unfortunently that is when it really need more umph. When it is cold it can be harder to fire the engine and the oil is thicker making it harder to to pump.

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I never use one on either bike but I do have a charger in case the need arises, which it never has (my ATV does need the ocassional charge but I use it a lot less frequently)....

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I put a new Odyssey PC680 in my ride this spring. No doubt it turned over with more zest than the previous battery. However, as it is getting colder (34 here this morning) it has slowed a bit. Although it has slowed it still starts fine. I have riden nearly everyday so far so I have not put mine on a charger.

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I have a 1.5 Amp charger which shuts off when a full charge is reached - if it is going to be a cold night (less than 5 deg C, totally unheated detached garage) and I'm riding in the morning, I will put the little charger on the evening before.

 

Before I started doing that, I noticed slower cranking on the colder mornings - figure it is easier on the battery to have it up to full charge for the start and will not take as long for the bike to recharge it. I believe the battery is the original from when the bike was new.

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My 02RT battery was replaced last October. I ride the bike most every day (9K this last year). The battery has never really started the bike with the kind of conviction I would like to see from a $140.00 battery, but it has started fairly well over the past year. This afternoon I noticed the bike turning over a littler slowly when the temperature dropped. Is there a reason for me to use a battery tender? I thought that if I was riding the bike regularly I wouldn't need to use a battery tender. Will a battery tender ruin the battery?

 

 

Mark, you shouldn’t need a battery tender if you ride it that often.. I have a lot of bikes & some sit for a month or more between rides & I never use a battery tender between rides.. It kind of depends on the residual power draw of anything you have installed on the bike.. A radio,, clock,, alarm,, some brake flashers,, etc can add a fair amount of patristic drain so if a lot of add-ons with diodes in them it can add up to needing a battery charger if the bike sits a long time (not a few days though)..

 

As far as a battery tender ruining a battery? That depends on type of battery tender,, type of battery,, how often you use it,, & what you consider ruining a battery consists of.. Mainly the biggest worry is sulfating a battery if the incorrect charger is used or used for extended times.. On a GEL battery there is also the worry of harming the GEL media if charged incorrectly..

 

As long as you don’t have a GEL battery most battery tenders will work fine.. Even if you do have a GEL/Cell some of the battery tenders do have a GEL/Cell algorithm in them so no worry there.. Even the incorrect charger shouldn’t hurt short term (like overnight) but can cause battery life shortening if used for extended down time charging..

 

Twisty

 

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My 04RT ( 113,000 K's )started doing the sane thing. After replacing the battery and putting it on a trickle charger it didn't improve. Then the starter motor went west requiring a replacement. Now the bike starts like a new one. Just a suggestion.

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All-

 

What is being discussed here is called "shelf life" meaning how long it takes for a battery to self discharge. A good set of charts is always on B&B's spec sheets - see http://www.electricrider.com/batteries/specsheets/bp17-12.pdf and look at "Battery Discharge Characteristics" to give you an idea.

 

For a conventional sealed maintenance free battery (BMW / Exide, Panasonic, Yuasa, - all the usual names) that time is approximately 3-4 months, measured at a constant 25 degrees C for baseline. Discharge is much faster at higher temps, much slower at lower temps (which is why your parents always put their spare batteries for your toys in the fridge when they weren't being used).

 

For the Enersys batteries (like the Odyssey Series) the shelf life is approx 2 YEARS at the same constant temp. Meaning you won't need a battery tender if you ride the bike say, once a year for enough to recharge it (20 miles will do it).

 

So as I always repeat, there is a common misconception on this board to compare Enersys products with conventional batteries, when in truth there is no comparison whatsoever. Not only in shelf life, but in expected life (8-12 years for Enersys, 3-5 years with everything else @ 25C constant), performance at low / high temp (yes, it is normal to have reduced performance at low temp, for any battery), resistance to shock and vibration, etc.

 

Disclaimer - I work with batteries at the job - we manufacture rugged UPS systems for the US military. When it comes to high performance batteries for extreme temp or mission critical applications, Enersys is the only game in town. Wish it weren't so, because their prices and lead times are outrageous, but that's the way it is now until someone comes out with a truly competitive product.

 

I'm also a satisfied customer. For the record, my controller has had an Enersys battery in his Softail since 1998, still going strong, and my wife 1971 R60/5 has a 9 year old Odyssey in it, still going strong. Try that with any other type.

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Unhofliche_Gesundheit

has anyone had any bad experiences with the Harbour Freight battery tender ITEM 42292-8VGA?

 

The price of this unit is very attractive (about 7$).

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=42292

 

previous posts by esteemed experts aside, seems to be commonly viewed as a good practice around here to not let your toys' stored batteries discharge during the long white darkness (November -May).

 

digression: i know you 'get what you pay for' but the Chinese have moved the goal line to some degree as they steal/copy technology.

i don't want to spend 60-100$ .... don't make me show you my spreadsheet tracking expenses since april ;^)

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Cold weather = thicker erl and more crankyness.

BTW - Are you pulling in the clutch when you start your bike????

 

I am a BT believer, I have them on all my vehicles (hence my nickname :eek:) and my batteries easily last 6 years, then I replace them. Anality RULES :clap:

 

IMHO I would stay away from cheapie Chinese Battery trickle charges/BT look alikes.

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Very good post by moshe_levy. When I was in mechanic school they taught that lead acid batteries develop sulphation of the plates when stored without use. This reduces the life of the battery. If the lead acid battery is used regularly this doesn't happen as quickly. I think this is the origin of all the battery "maintainers" we are familiar with. I am not sure in this is even needed in the more modern batteries.

 

I have a lot of lead acid batteries in my life. I own 3 Battery Tenders. Some batteries have lasted for 8 years and never been on a charger even when sitting for months with use and others that have had the electrolyte boil away when left for months without my checking them like I should. My RT battery is usually on the charger when not riding weekly but is about done after 5 years. I have had the clock zero out twice when starting after running the radio or gps with the engine off.

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