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Shorai Battery

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wsreid

Just saw an ad in Motorcyclist touting the lithium Shorai battery as an OEM replacement. Being on my third OEM battery in my 2006 R1200RT (all replaced under the battery warranty, fortunately), the Shorai ad copy is tempting (and not just because of the young lady in the red bikini). Anyone had any experience with this battery?

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JimD

Was there a web site link? I have not heard of anyone making a Lithum replacement battery.

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Jerry Duke

Watch and learn grasshopper

Google > Shorai > http://www.shoraipower.com/t-shorai-models.aspx

Don't know anything about their batteries, but I agree, the girls make the visit worth the wear and tear on my fingers....

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bmurphypdx
Watch and learn grasshopper

Google > Shorai > http://www.shoraipower.com/t-shorai-models.aspx

Don't know anything about their batteries, but I agree, the girls make the visit worth the wear and tear on my fingers....

 

The website is not responding. Must be too many BMWSTers checking out the bikinis . . .ah, I mean batteries.

Edited by bmurphywa

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moshe_levy

Was a reason found why your batteries are failing? Even a mediocre stock gel or agm should last 3-5 years on average.

 

-MKL

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Jon_M

I finally got the site to give me a listing for the R12RT. It's selling for $187. I am due for a replacement (5 years on the original in my '05), so I would like to see some reviews!

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moshe_levy

Here's a review... I have some experience with these types of batteries, as my company uses them in some of the UPS Systems we produce for the military. We just touched on this over at the "Hybrid Hatred" thread, but here again is some of the application note I wrote for my company's UPS Systems re traditional sealed lead acid batteries vs. LiFePO4 (full text here http://www.novaelectric.com/life.php for reference):

 

Some advantages of the LiFePO4 are listed below for reference:

 

4X higher energy density than lead-acid battery: The gravimetric energy density of the LiFePO4 battery is ~130 Wh/kg, almost four times higher than that of a typical Lead-acid battery, at 35Wh/kg. For the UPS user, this means far greater run times while running on battery, without any space penalty.

 

Light Weight: Despite the vastly higher energy density, the LiFePO4 battery packs are, in most cases, only 1/3 the weight of conventional lead acid packs. So for applications where weight savings are critical, the use of LiFePO4 batteries can result in significant reductions in overall system weight.

 

Long Life: LiFePO4 battery packs typically achieve a minimum of 2000 cycles with 70% capacity remaining, with up to 5000 cycle potential. This is equivalent to the 8-12 year expected life the very best sealed, lead acid batteries offer. Further, LiFePO4 batteries do not suffer from the “memory effect” of some conventional lead acid batteries.

 

Better Voltage Regulation: Unlike the Lead acid battery, the LiFePO4 battery terminal voltage remains relatively constant during high rate discharge. This equates to much better performance during high rate (short time period) discharges, yielding a much better AH performance during this type of application, typical in UPS systems.

 

Wide Temp Range: LiFePO4 battery packs are typically sold for operation between -20°C to +60°C, charging between -10°C to +60°C, and storage between -40°C to +70°C. This is equivalent to the ranges that only premium sealed, lead acid batteries offer.

Safety with power: Safety is equivalent to or better than the traditional lead acid type, without the risk of explosion or fire outbreak associated with some other new battery technologies. The LiFePO4 battery has hybrid characteristics: it is as safe as the lead-acid battery and as powerful as the lithium ion battery.

 

A Greener Battery: The eco-friendly LiFePO4 battery packs are recyclable and non-toxic.

 

Battery Management: All LiFePO4 Batteries are provided with a Battery Management System (BMS) which protects the battery cells within the Nova LiFePO4 Battery pack. The BMS will protect the cells to be sure they do not go outside of the normal limits of Cell voltage of the minimum discharge voltage of 2.8 V, the working voltage of 3.0 V – 3.3 V, and the maximum charge voltage of 3.6 V. The BMS also provides short circuit protection which prevents high current in the event of an external short circuit.

 

(end text)

 

Now, obviously, you see that the two main advantages here are tremendous power density and lighter weight. The rest is mainly "equivalent to" in order to assuage skeptical customers looking for a catch.

 

Batteries like this certainly have their place, in applications where large amounts of battery are required and space or weight becomes an issue - think aircraft, or think of the massive traction battery systems in some hybrid cars. The idea there of getting the same capacity in less space and 2/3 less weight is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

 

But here, we're talking about one battery, in a fixed tray, on a motorcycle which is not in a category where a few pounds this way or that are going to matter. If you save some space in the battery tray, what are you going to do with it? If the bike weighs a few pounds less, are you going to notice?

 

So bottom line is, the batteries as replacement cells for the bike or car is, for most people, an answer to a question nobody asked.

 

Further, for much less money, you can buy a truly good battery, such as Enersys (sold as "Odyssey" to consumers, model PC680 for the RT) which will give you 8-10 years on average without issue and more than enough performance in any given motorcycle application.

 

Bikini girls are great, and I love them as much as anybody else, but a website with NO useful specs (charge / discharge curves, temp range, lifecycle estimates, etc.) is a sad thing for any serious battery consumer.

 

-MKL

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johnlt

Good summary Moshe, thanks.

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Paul Mihalka

Moshe, a bit of a hijack question: In your post (excellent) you mention xxxx cycles as a measure of life. What constitutes a "cycle"? Is a motor start load a cycle? Usually when talking battery life we talk in years. Is cycles a better measure? If yes, the way I ride would explain the usually shorter than average battery life in my bikes.

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GordonB

Battery cycles refer to the number of 'full' recharges.

Take a cell phone battery. Run it down all the way and recharge it, that's a 'cycle'

However run it down 50% and fully recharge that's considered 1/2 a cycle.

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moshe_levy

Right, Gordon.

 

Paul, the most common measure of life is comprised of time, and temperature. Never time alone - always with temperature as a caveat. Industry standard is +25C. Meaning, say, Odyssey is 8-10 years @ +25C. The enemy of battery life, above all else, is heat. Ou batteries are roasting right above hot air cooled engines, so it is a wonder they hold up like they do. Every degree above +25C has an exponentially negative effect on overall battery life. @ +50C most batteries advertised at 4-5 year life @ +25C won't make it 16-18 months.

 

I prefer Enersys batteries because they are rated to perform at extremely high temperatures, and we (my company) has 15 years experience using them in the field, including very hot desert climates in military use. They are, for the most part, excellent products. The consumer version is sold as Odyssey.

 

-MKL

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Paul Mihalka

That would explain that in a bike ridden a lot, which means battery is hot a lot, a shorter life can be expected.

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Jon_M

I bought my '05 RT in June, 2005 and still have the original battery. It sits in a garage that never goes below 35 degrees and on rare occasions goes over 100. Whenever it is parked, it has always been on a dedicated BMW float charger. I am getting nervous about it simply because it is nearing six years old, but right now, it still performs perfectly.

 

Should I swap it out?

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moshe_levy

You're on borrowed time. Don't take a long trip with it. The inconvenience of getting stuck is pretty annoying. I'd replace it in spring.

 

-MKL

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Indy Dave

Great post Moshe, thanks.

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Jon_M
You're on borrowed time. Don't take a long trip with it. The inconvenience of getting stuck is pretty annoying. I'd replace it in spring.

 

-MKL

Yeah, I think you're right. I have some 400-mile trips planned in the next couple of weeks and want to do some serious miles during the summer. I think it's prudent to get a new one.

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kenthewrench

Hmm this whole conversation brings some words to mind "contempt prior to investigation" and "don't knock it till you try it" . While I'm no Battery expert or engineer I do have 25yrs experience as a professional automotive technician and the last 6yrs as a motorcycle technician/repair shop owner. I know from experience that auto and bike batteries aren't made for "cycling" like alot of electronic devices we use everyday. Thats why when you hear of someones battery lasting 6-8 or even 10yrs its almost always because they've kept it on some kind of tender/maintainer when not in use. I think the lithium is a great idea for alot of obvious reasons. Thats why I just signed up to be a dealer in my area. I haven't had the opportunity to sell one yet,but have been trying to spread the word. Please keep us posted if anyone take the leap of faith. Thanks---Ken

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Jon_M
Thats why when you hear of someones battery lasting 6-8 or even 10yrs its almost always because they've kept it on some kind of tender/maintainer when not in use.
That's exactly the case with my battery. Without fail, I have put it on the charger as soon as I park it. The question is whether there is any way to gauge how long a battery treated that way will last. At what point should I become nervous about it? Approaching six years, as discussed in previous posts, I am inclined to dump it. I don't want to test just how long it could last.

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racer7

Its an interesting idea to have a current battery chemistry for a bike but I can't say I'd be the first to try one. Give them 5 years of real world use and a track record, then I might.

 

At the very premium price I'd expect more in the way of real data available and even then, I've got enough experience with the very variable quality of Asian batteries (and other items) that I still wouldn't know whether a production model would match published specs or not.

 

The few lbs weight savings is of no interest to me but might be to racers or those who use very light bikes.

 

Were I a dealer, it would be an interesting prospect of some new sales if I thought my customers would spring for the high price. For me, at present I see nothing that justifies the price and it would take a lower than lead/acid price to motivate me to try one.

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Jon_M

 

Were I a dealer, it would be an interesting prospect of some new sales if I thought my customers would spring for the high price. For me, at present I see nothing that justifies the price and it would take a lower than lead/acid price to motivate me to try one.

I agree with you that the weight savings is not really relevant on an RT. The price is high, but only a few dollars more than the stock battery at the dealer. The battery has a two-year warranty, and should last much longer than that. I am inclined to give it a try. The only question remaining for me is whether I can continue to use my (expensive) dedicated BMW charger.

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TestPilot
The only question remaining for me is whether I can continue to use my (expensive) dedicated BMW charger.

 

Charging multi-cell lithium batteries can be problematic. First, the charging voltages of both the bike and the charger don't match the battery. Lithium iron phosphate batteries have a nominal 3.2 to 3.3 volts per cell. A 4-cell battery would therefore have 12.8 to 13.2 volts. Charging is normally at 4.2 volts per cell for these batteries, so the charging system should produce 16.8 volts for the same 4-cell battery. Neither the bike's electrical system nor regular battery chargers produce these voltages. For maximum life, lithium batteries should undergo cell balancing, where each cell is individually charged to its optimum capacity. Again, neither the bike's system nor current chargers are configured for cell balancing.

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moshe_levy
Hmm this whole conversation brings some words to mind "contempt prior to investigation" and "don't knock it till you try it" . While I'm no Battery expert or engineer I do have 25yrs experience as a professional automotive technician and the last 6yrs as a motorcycle technician/repair shop owner. I know from experience that auto and bike batteries aren't made for "cycling" like alot of electronic devices we use everyday. Thats why when you hear of someones battery lasting 6-8 or even 10yrs its almost always because they've kept it on some kind of tender/maintainer when not in use.

 

Hi Ken-

 

I don't consider myself a battery expert either, and I wasn't knocking LIFEpo4 per se - I sell them to my own customers, in fact. I was merely pointing out that the main advantages to this battery don't really apply to conventional motorcycle use, which I think is a pretty fair case to make. If you have other info beyond what I presented, I'm all ears. We certaintly cannot rely on Shorai for any further technical discussion based on the website.

 

Further I do not believe that one needs to immediately trickle charge batteries. They have a shelf life (typically 3-6 months @ +25C, though a good battery like Enersys can go 2 years) and there is always some small draw going on like a clock or some other accessory on the bike. As long as it's ridden to reasonable length regularly (i.e. charged regularly) - at least once a month in average climate - the trickle charger is a redundant item. In fact, on my Airheads with Enersys batteries from work, they sit for 2-3 months over the winter with no trickle charging (since discharge slows in the cold) and start right up in spring.

 

Re price someone mentioned the stock battery. Remember this: There is no ripoff in all of motorcycledom compared to batteries. The stock BMW battery is a rebadged Exide or equivalent I can buy in small quantity from any reputable battery wholesaler for about $30, $40 at most. There is no functional difference between any of the major sealed, lead acid AGM or gel brands, save for Enersys as I pointed out earlier. Guys on this list get good life out of Universal and some other super-cheap brands, so ask yourself: why you would ever pay full retail for a BMW battery?

 

-MKL

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JayW
Thats why when you hear of someones battery lasting 6-8 or even 10yrs its almost always because they've kept it on some kind of tender/maintainer when not in use.
That's exactly the case with my battery. Without fail, I have put it on the charger as soon as I park it...

 

For a different perspective, I think battery maintainers are over-used. The battery in my 05 RT is approaching 6 years old, and it has never been hooked up to an external charger. However, it also has never been deep discharged and the bike has never sat for more than 3 weeks without a good long ride (which keeps the battery charge topped up without a tender). No doubt they are helpful for those who store their bikes for more than a month at a time. The owner's manual bears me out on this strategy.

 

I too am a bit nervous about the OEM battery suddenly failing without warning, but not enough to throw it away yet. I am tempted to keep using it to see how long it will last. I do carry mini jumper cables, just in case.

 

Jay

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JayW
There is no functional difference between any of the major sealed, lead acid AGM or gel brands...

 

When Consumer Reports tests automotive batteries they find significant differences between the various brands that they feel are predictive of how long a battery will last in the real world. Why would this not apply to motorcyle batteries too? Is it because there are far fewer motorcycle battery manufacturers (and specs) compared to car batteries? Just askin'.

 

Jay

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moshe_levy

Jay-

 

It's mainly because the vast majority of consumer-branded batteries in this range have nearly identical specifications for a given technology (AGM, gel, wetcell, sealed VRLA, etc.). Check some out and compare for yourself. My main point was it is literally insane to pay that much money for the OEM battery.

 

-MKL

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mig

I am still on the original battery with my 07. My honda ST went over 8 years with the OEM battery. I rode it everyday rain or shine and ALWAYS put the bike on the center stand. I do the same for the RT. I beleive that by keeping the battery and bike level the plates are not exposed and therfore last longer. ( obviously a lead acid battery). Its just my spectulation, and 2 nights ago when I had the fuel pump controller crap out on me, I definitly used the battery hard trying to figure out what was going on? Still cranks the bike over. Would love to have a system voltage meter. Anybody farkle this on their bike?

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Jon_M
My main point was it is literally insane to pay that much money for the OEM battery.

 

-MKL

This is a very timely discussion for me. I was about ready to pop for the Shorai, but now I'm having second and third thoughts. I will investigate the availability and price of the Odyssey PC680 before I decide. I don't want to pay $180 if I don't have to, much as I like supporting my local dealer.

 

FWIW, I contacted a tech at Shorai with my question about using the dedicated BMW charger and this is the (fast) reply I got:

 

The CanBus system itself should pose no problems at all. In fact, because LFX hold voltage better while cranking they appear to solve some CanBus issues with things like ABS not initializing properly.

 

And if you are riding once a month or more, you should not need to attach a charger at all. We don’t sulfate, and LFX PREFER not to be 100% charged 24/7, the opposite of lead-acid.

 

Having said all that, I don’t know which charger you have, and if it has an Automatic Desulfation Mode which relies on 16V to knock sulfation off, or not. If it does have such a system, then we can’t specifically endorse it. On the other hand, it is quite unlikely that a desulfation mode will come on while attached to our batteries, as we have low impedance.

 

I’d check your charger docs to see what it says about Desulfation Modes, and if so is it a pulse type (ok) or high voltage type (not good).

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kenthewrench

Guess we're gonna have to wait and see. I for one like the idea because of the reserve capacity and longetivity not because of the weight or disposability. truth be known these RT's could use a lead weight in the belly to keep'm planted on the road a little better,but for power purposes it nice having a 1200cc bike that'll run with the bigger tourers. I should be set up with them(Shorai) now. I have to call and confirm,but I will post after I sell/install one to give my .02cent. Interesting topic,thanks guys!!!!

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moshe_levy

Ken-

 

If you ever get a meaningful spec sheet from them, please post it. To my knowledge, the longevity is no better than premium AGM, the temp range is a little less (LiFe has trouble charging at extremely low temps, say -10C or below - not that this matters much in this application) and the reserve capacity is likewise not really such a selling point vs. say an Odyssey.

 

I'd basically like to see a side by side spec comparo of Shorai vs. Odyssey and see what the outcome is.

 

-MKL

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kenthewrench

KO!!!

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ShoraiTech
Charging multi-cell lithium batteries can be problematic. First, the charging voltages of both the bike and the charger don't match the battery. Lithium iron phosphate batteries have a nominal 3.2 to 3.3 volts per cell. A 4-cell battery would therefore have 12.8 to 13.2 volts. Charging is normally at 4.2 volts per cell for these batteries, so the charging system should produce 16.8 volts for the same 4-cell battery. Neither the bike's electrical system nor regular battery chargers produce these voltages.

 

Actually, LiFePO4 (lithium iron, like shorai LFX) have a typical nominal voltage of 3.3V, and a terminal charge voltage of 3.6V~3.65. 4.2V terminal voltage cells are Li-Cobalt (laptop, cell phone, etc), or Li-Manganese. Those two types are subject to thermal runaway (catching on fire) when over-voltage charged (Mn less so than Co).

 

Lithium iron are not subject to thermal runaway, at all. Furthermore, while Shorai LFX have a recommended terminal voltage of 3.6V, they are very flexible with no damage to cells up to and slightly beyond 4.0V/cell.

 

As such, our LFX are well suited to powersports vehicle charging systems, with terminal charge voltage of 14.4V (~same as lead acid).

 

 

David

Shorai Tech

 

 

Edited by ShoraiTech

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ShoraiTech
If you ever get a meaningful spec sheet from them, please post it.

 

Hi,

 

We are quite busy launching the LFX at the moment, but do have plans to increase the technical content on our website over time. What addtional information would you like to see?

 

David

Shorai Tech

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Firefight911
If you ever get a meaningful spec sheet from them, please post it.

 

Hi,

 

We are quite busy launching the LFX at the moment, but do have plans to increase the technical content on our website over time. What addtional information would you like to see?

 

David

Shorai Tech

 

Let's start with actually getting your website to work. As has previously been posted, it does not respond, eventually timing out.

Edited by 1bmwfan

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Mike
If you ever get a meaningful spec sheet from them, please post it.

 

Hi,

 

We are quite busy launching the LFX at the moment, but do have plans to increase the technical content on our website over time. What addtional information would you like to see?

 

David

Shorai Tech

 

David--

 

Welcome to BMWST. Please make sure you check out our policy on commercial posts in our user agreement. You're well within the rules so far, but sometimes our new members with motorcycle-related businesses are not aware of our restrictions. Also, it's always useful to put a link to your website in your signature line.

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Twisties

Website has consistently worked fine for me.

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Twisties

Welcome the board David.

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ShoraiTech

Let's start with actually getting your website to work. As has previously been posted, it does not respond, eventually timing out.

 

It is up and running about 95% of the day, but there are some issues with the checkout process for some users (added at the end of FAQ today). Our website has just had 2 major service packs applied, and is being tested on a dev server right now. The issue causing the site to crash appears fixed, at this point. There was also a problem with import of data for the Year-Make-Model selectors. The cause is now known and fixed, and we have been working like dogs for weeks on a much improved database which will be uploaded next week.

 

With fingers crossed, the site should be much more solid by next Wed, and with much improved Battery Finder database.

 

Thanks for your patience,

 

David

 

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ShoraiTech
Welcome to BMWST. Please make sure you check out our policy on commercial posts in our user agreement. You're well within the rules so far, but sometimes our new members with motorcycle-related businesses are not aware of our restrictions. Also, it's always useful to put a link to your website in your signature line.

 

Thanks for the welcome (you too, Twisties) and tips, Mike. I will check the policy and adhere to it.

 

David

Edited by ShoraiTech

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JayW
What addtional information would you like to see?

 

David

Shorai Tech

 

CCA spec (at zero degrees)

Amp-hour rating

Exact dimensions

Weight

Warranty information

Any special instructions on the battery's care and feeding

How to buy online and/or locate a dealer

 

Thanks for asking!

 

Jay

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moshe_levy
If you ever get a meaningful spec sheet from them, please post it.

 

Hi,

 

We are quite busy launching the LFX at the moment, but do have plans to increase the technical content on our website over time. What addtional information would you like to see?

 

David

Shorai Tech

 

Hello David-

 

Welcome aboard. As stated earlier, my company sells LiFePO4 type batteries for use in some of our UPSs. Earlier in the thread I posted a brief application note I wrote to educate our customers on the various benefits, chief among them much higher power density and much lower weight vs. traditional sealed VRLA or AGM, which is what UPSs typically rely on.

 

My main contention here is that these two advantages - so important to many of our UPS customers - are not really that important to a typical motorcycle application, since unless you're racing you won't notice the weight difference, and the battery area is typically fixed to accomodate a typical battery.

 

I am wondering what your thoughts are here on this. Again, not putting down your product - just wondering what the advantage would be here for motorcycles vs. say, an excellent AGM such as Enersys Oddyssey which provides equivalent lifecycle, shelf life, and superior temp specs to LiFePO4.

 

-MKL

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ShoraiTech

 

CCA spec (at zero degrees)

Amp-hour rating

Exact dimensions

Weight

Warranty information

Any special instructions on the battery's care and feeding

How to buy online and/or locate a dealer

 

Thanks for asking!

Jay

 

Hi Jay,

 

CCA spec (at zero degrees)

Amp-hour rating

 

These first two are heavily complicated by the differences in behavior LiFe and Lead-acid have when under high loads, in the way that lithium batteries are rated for capacity vs capacity standards common with lead-acid, and huge differnces in USABLE vs RATED capacity. And especially due to the significant voltage advantage held by our LFX under cranking load. They are discussed in the Shorai FAQ

 

Exact dimensions

Weight

See the Specs Sheet

Specifications

 

Warranty information

Customer Service

 

Any special instructions on the battery's care and feeding

Install Guides

Shorai FAQ

 

How to buy online and/or locate a dealer

You can shop directly on the Shorai site, or see our Dealer Locator

 

All the Best

 

David

Shorai Tech

Edited by ShoraiTech

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ShoraiTech
Hello David-

 

Welcome aboard. As stated earlier, my company sells LiFePO4 type batteries for use in some of our UPSs. Earlier in the thread I posted a brief application note I wrote to educate our customers on the various benefits, chief among them much higher power density and much lower weight vs. traditional sealed VRLA or AGM, which is what UPSs typically rely on.

 

My main contention here is that these two advantages - so important to many of our UPS customers - are not really that important to a typical motorcycle application, since unless you're racing you won't notice the weight difference, and the battery area is typically fixed to accomodate a typical battery.

 

I am wondering what your thoughts are here on this. Again, not putting down your product - just wondering what the advantage would be here for motorcycles vs. say, an excellent AGM such as Enersys Oddyssey which provides equivalent lifecycle, shelf life, and superior temp specs to LiFePO4.

 

-MKL

 

Hi Moshe,

 

Sorry for writing a book, but your question deserves a complete answer, I think...

 

It is a fact that different people have different features in any product which appeal to them most, and least. In the case of weight loss due to the install of a Shorai battery, it is true that some riders won't notice the difference, or care even if they do. However, there is a very large segment of the powersports population that does care about weight loss, for various good reasons. In my case, one example is my G450X enduro, which I used in the LFX install guide. The 3.3 lbs removed by switching from YTZ7S lead to LFX09 sits right where the gas cap used to be on older bikes (i.e. as high as it could be), and makes a startling positive difference in the way the bike handles and feels. In my Multistrada 1200S Tour, the effect of 8lbs removed is less pronounced but noticeable and good in the tight switchbacks I often ride near my house.

 

Then there is good old Newton, who is working even when you don't notice a weight loss. It is said that 10lbs removed from a bike feels about the same as adding a horsepower. What I would like to know is how that translates to fuel savings during a year of daily commuting on my Multistrada. I know that I accellerate and decellerate many times each day each way. I'm thinking about asking a programmer friend to develop an app for my phone (which has an accelerometer) to log that for me... Over a 5-year period, it just might make a very considerable difference in the relative cost of LFX vs. Lead-acid (or not, but I think it probably will).

 

Then there are the "Adventure" riders, who go to remote places. They can install our battery, AND carry a spare fully charged, and still have 1/2 the weight or less compared to the original lead battery. For these folks, weight matters a LOT when they are packing for a trip. We can give them 100% peace of mind, and still save them 4-6 lbs on average.

 

Beyond weight savings, however, there are other advantages of LFX that are perhaps even more important, depending on who you are.

 

First, I do disagree about the temperature range deficit for LFX. In fact, I believe we have an advantage in that respect, when you look at the spread of temperatures in which people most often ride. The FAQ covers this as of today, but LFX are vastly superior compared to most other lithium when it comes to "first-crank" cold starting, and like all lithium they are able to improve voltage performance with every subsequent crank, and can be "woken up" by applying a load before cranking, such as a headlight. Pls see the FAQ for details, but the bottom line is that LFX actually do work very well under the cold temps at which these vehicles are actually ridden. (aside from snowmobiles, not many powersports vehicles are used at temps below 0f, or even 20f, and even if they are you can wake the battery with a load to get good performance when needed).

 

Lead-acid batteries, on the other hand, do quite poorly at elevated temperatures. While high temps are bad for any battery, the rider is most interested in starting his bike at whatever temperature he is facing. If you look at the operating range for Odyssey for example, they are rated at 104f-114f on the high end. As we all know, it is possible to hit those numbers on a summer day. And with the battery located inside a motorcycle, battery temps can rise high above ambient. When it gets hot, LFX just crank better, all the way to 150f. Beyond 150f the battery will continue to crank well, but significant life reductions are underway.

 

In short, it is much more likely that riders will face overtemp conditions on their lead-acid compared to LFX, imo, and relatively unlikely that anyone will fail to start with LFX in the cold-weather temps that riders typically face.

 

 

Then there is the fact that LFX contain no poison lead, nor dangerous acid, and are therefore much more environmentally friendly. These things do matter to a large segment of the market.

 

And here is another big one... Lead-acid CCA and Ah ratings all assume that the battery is delivering the same voltage under cranking. That is, all lead-acid cells have the same voltage per cell, so the standards are on "level field". Our LFX are far superior in voltage holding, though. And it is Watts (V*A) that crank a vehicle, not amps alone. Every bike we have ever tested cranks much better with LFX than it does with the stock lead-acid. We turn 10%-20% faster, and start almost 50% faster on average, with a lower total load on the starter motor. In addition, we solve the "cranks but doesn't start" problem, which is more and more common these days due to compuerized ignition and EFI. Often a lead battery will sag in voltage to the point that the computer won't fire ignition or EFI. Our 1V~2V cranking advantage solves this.

 

But for me personally the single greatest advantage of LFX lithium is the end of sulfation due to unattended storage. This is another one that depends on who you are. I, like MANY riders, am likely to plan a ride "this weekend", then get busy and not ride the bike again for months. Not only do I not like having to tend batteries, I'm not "good" at it, and even if I were it would bug me to leave a device plugged in 24/7. I don't like the waste of energy, and I don't like the possibility of tender failure. I've owed 30+ motorcycles, and have probably bought 20 batteries over the years due to storage sulfation. If you ride every day, this is not a big issue for you, but if you don't it can be a huge relief not to worry about.

 

I really like your LiFePO4 writeup, btw. Would you mind if I incorporated some of the text in our pubs?

 

Cheers,

 

David

Shorai Tech

Edited by ShoraiTech

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moshe_levy

David-

 

I think we should talk offlist, we may be able to share our LIFEPO4 experiences. I appreciate your post and in certain cases agree with your premises. Send me your direct number offlist when you get a chance.

 

-MKL

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JayW

Thank you for your thoughtful answers, David.

 

Jay

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ShoraiTech
David-

I appreciate your post and in certain cases agree with your premises. Send me your direct number offlist when you get a chance.

-MKL

 

PM sent, thanks.

 

btw, I just remembered another good one! Due to the big advantage we have in energy/power density, we are able to offer multiple capacity equivalents in the same case size.

 

Many bikes seem to come from the factory with lead-acid batteries that are barely adequate, and sometimes inadequate. I assume the engineers are trying to save space and weight. But since we can fit 7Ah, 9Ah, and 14Ah PbEq LFX cells in the same case size as a YTZ7S (7ah lead-acid), for example,users can "upgrade" the starting and reserve capacity of their bikes without any mods to the battery box. KTM woods riders, for one example, love that they can pack twice the reserve capacity in their bikes with the LFX14L2, as they are very often required to restart on technical trails, and the stock YTZ7S may not be up to the task. (same thing goes for our larger case series, with 12Ah, 14Ah, and 18Ah PbEq in a form factor that fit in many bikes with 10Ah~14Ah original batteries).

 

In our Battery Finder onsite, the "step up" choices are listed as the DURATION options.

 

David

 

You are welcome, Jay, and thank YOU!

Edited by ShoraiTech

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Selden

Interesting discussion, especially between MKL and David, both of whom are working from positions of knowledge, as opposed to hearsay. If I hadn't put an Enersys in my RT 2 years ago, I'd probably be looking at the Shorai, despite the price differential. Even on a 600+ motorcycle, a savings of 6 kg is not insignificant, and I suspect that I could find something (like an air pump) to fit in the space freed up by the much smaller battery.

 

One question: Is the lithium battery sensitive to position? If not, given its dimensions, it seems like it might be possible to mount it flat, rather than upright.

 

Not directly related to this post, but at the moment my RT is partially disassembled for winter maintenance, and I'm planning to slip some PET expandable braided sleeving over the wiring that runs to the positive terminal of the battery, as the OEM rubber outer sleeve has rotted. Something to consider as part of battery replacement if you have an older bike. The stuff is like the old Chinese finger trap, in that it expands to 1" diameter when pushed, shrinks down to about 1/2" when stretched. Unlike heat shrink tubing, it's easy to remove, if necessary at a later date.

 

PTNtopimage2.jpg

 

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Twisties

David,

 

I, along with a number of other board members, use a CPAP breathing device when I sleep. Typically if planning to camp out I carry an extra lead acid sealed battery to run it off of. So far a 10.5 amp hour unit has proved adequate, and I estimate that 8 hours of draw is about 8 amp hours.

 

Although I have never actually done it, I had always figured that I could extend my stay when bike camping by using the bike's battery for a night, and then riding a bit to recharge. Fitted with a 19 amp hour lead acid battery as is stock on my R 1200 RT seems this should be reasonable.

 

As I understand the discussion though, the LiFePO4 battery is spec'ed quite differently. It appears to me that it might not support this use. Is that correct?

 

Also, can you comment, perhaps in a PM, on using an LiFePO4 battery for camping or backpacking with a CPAP. How much size and weight would one need to carry for two nights use?

 

Thanks,

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Boffin

Jan,

 

I use one of these lithium batteries for camping. I have a ResMed Auto-M APAP with a 90% pressure of 15cm H2O and the humidifier. I can get three nights use without the humidifier being powered, or two with the humidifier on a low setting.

 

Andy

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racer7

This thread suggests that it should to be possible to design an AGREED series of tests that highlight both the strengths and weaknesses of the current gel/AGM types vs the Shorai type. Take for example, a typical gel battery, an Odyssey/Enersys and an equivalent Shorai and run them through a battery of direct comparisons designed to highlight anticipated strong and weak points each type so potential customers can see solid evidence of what their $ pay for. Being very sure to include any charger or maintenance tools/requirements in the comparison because any battery is part of a system that includes the bike, the battery, and any recommended maintenance tool when not in regular use. Don't forget to include info on how to evaluate in case of suspected battery issues- many of us are very familiar with testing lead/acid batteries but less so with other types.

 

The weight advantage of the Shorai for carrying a spare is an interesting point though only those going to extreme locations or toting medical gear are likely to appreciate it. I do get the weight saving on a light dirt bike but the variability on how I load my RT swamps battery weight savings- I go all the way from stripped down solo to loaded to the max for long camping runs.

 

Anybody thinking about eventually publishing a solid comparison in MCN?

If comparative data show its got an advantage then some sort of premium pricing would be OK. Otherwise, I'd bet most of us will stick with the $110 Odyssey or one of the cheaper "generic" gel/AGM types that are the essentially same as stock for a lot less $.

Edited by racer7

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