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Discussion Starter #1
I am hoping someone can school me on batteries. First, I can’t seem to keep a bike battery alive over winter. I put them on trickle chargers, but inevitably they are dead and beyond resuscitation in the spring. What am I doing wrong? Second, do I even need a battery to run my bike? Of course I can jump it or pop start it with a dead battery or even no battery, but is it somehow bad for the bike to run indefinitely with no battery? If so, why? What does a battery do, beyond starting the bike? It’s an ’82 Nighthawk CB450SC. thanks
 

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The 43rd Poser
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A trickle charger isn't the right tool for the job.

Get a battery tender. Best $20-$30 you can spend.

I've had batteries last 7 years... and I lived in Northern Michigan with the Harleys in an enclosed trailer in the back yard for 6 months out of the year with an extension cord ran out, and both plugged into tenders. Winters saw -20ºF every year.
 

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-20....
my teeth are chattering and you just think I am typing....

Battery tenders are that good huh?
I got to get a couple.

Now my interruption.. The XVZ Venture Royale Yamaha has a sensor that goes in a hole in the top of the battery to tell you if the battery gets low on fluid or something... and the specs calls for a gel battery, I know they say at carquest that it is a hundred dollar battery, so what? Well I want to try to start it, get it running before i spend alot of money on it, so I assume any old battery will work, but I dont know anything about battery sensors and wondered if anyone in here does?
 

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Pale Rider
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My Voyager had a level sensor for flooded batteries. It tripped a light on the dash if the electrolyte level dropped too low. I tied mine to the Battery (+) terminal, when I installed a sealed AGM battery (no place to put the sensor). Check the manual to be sure, but you can likely tie it to the (+) terminal, to bypass it, if it is an electrolyte level sensor. Gel batteries are sealed so inserting it into the battery seems unlikely. Check the service manual, if possible. That should explain its purpose and function. Cheers!
:coffee:
 

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Premium Member
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I am hoping someone can school me on batteries. First, I can’t seem to keep a bike battery alive over winter. I put them on trickle chargers, but inevitably they are dead and beyond resuscitation in the spring. What am I doing wrong? Second, do I even need a battery to run my bike? Of course I can jump it or pop start it with a dead battery or even no battery, but is it somehow bad for the bike to run indefinitely with no battery? If so, why? What does a battery do, beyond starting the bike? It’s an ’82 Nighthawk CB450SC. thanks
For motorcycles, there are three basic types of batteries; not all may be available in sizes to fit your bike. The old standard is the flooded type, vented to air, and with removable caps on each cell, so you can add distilled/deionized water as it evaporates. These need checking throughout the riding season, and during over-winter while on a battery tender.

Next came flooded, but sealed batteries; essentially the same, but with no caps and a pressure vent to keep the water from evaporating. These will still lose water during the recharge process, but very little, as compared to simple evaporation of an air vented battery. Usually, the gases produced won't exceed the pressure required to escape the vent, and may turn back to water.

Third is the AGM battery, which, instead of a liquid sloshing around between the plates, uses a fiber mat soaked with that liquid, and a pressure vent to release water lost to recharging. There are other benefits: first, since the plates are physically supported by the mats, they resist vibration better; second, because of this, they can be made of a more pure lead compound, which allows a higher impulse current, for faster cranking speeds.

Most trickle chargers provide a minimum, continuous current that is often equal to, or greater than, the full charge current to a MC battery (about 1-2 Amps), which is why they will cook the battery. A tender pulses the current, minimizing water released during charging, and will reduce the current to zero until the battery needs a boost; the maximum current is usually less than the full charge current of a MC battery, too.

Few modern motorcycles will operate without a battery. The battery converts the pulsed DC from the charging system to a steady voltage to run the ignition, and keeps the voltage from spiking, and burning out your bulbs.
 

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Batteries

Everything you ever wanted to know about batteries is in a book called " Living on 12 volts " It may not include the latest batteries.
I use small battery tenders and my batteries last several years.
My Suzuki is a 006 and running on the original battery.
The XS400 winter bike has a 2 year old battery, and the big 79 Yamaha ran for about 4 years with the one it came with. Replaced late last year.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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Justa anutta Human......
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728 Posts
I use a tender myself....
3 years, and my battery works A-Ok, BUT.....
I will change it out end of month just cause that's what i do....
65 bucks is cheap enough for a gel battery for a bit of assurance..
I still had an original battery in a Hyundai after 10 years...LOL
I plugged a tender into that too during winter at night the last 3-4 years....
My toys i always change batteries every 3-4 years....
Always have....always will....
Tenders used during the winter....
We see -40F here during winter at times....
 

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Discussion Starter #9
ok, thanks all. my chargers say things like 'automatic shutoff' 'float' and 'maintainer' but they don't say battery tender. that's a real shame about not being able to run without a battery. i got a lithium ion jumper (antigravity micro start xp3) and that thing rocks. tons of power, easy to maintain, fits in your pocket. my dream was to put terminal harness quick-disconnects on my bike, atvs, mowers, etc and just use the 1 ion jumper to start them all as needed, but i guess that's just a dream.
 

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Pale Rider
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CrazyNinja650R, there are different types of trickle chargers: smart, and dumb. The smart units are microprocessor controlled, and they have multiple charging modes; the dumb units just apply a constant trickle charge, regardless of the battery's state of charge -- these can destroy a battery by over-charging it. The smart chargers have come down in price, but vigilance is necessary, as they can/do fail. I bought one from Wal-Mart, used it for two years, before it started applying 15+ Volts, which would have destroyed my AGM battery. One of the best, is the Battery Tender Jr. model, by Deltran. I had three of them, used them for 8+ years, without issue. Now I'm using less expensive models from different companies, but I may go back to the BT Jr. if the latest, less expensive unit, fails.

By the way, someone posted about charging rate. The maximum charging rate is 10% of the Amp-hour rating of the battery in question. In other words, multiply your battery's Amp-hour rating by 0.1: 24 Ah x 0.1 = 2.4 Amps; 14 Ah x 0.1 = 1.4 Amps; etc. Never apply more charging Amps than this, or you will damage the battery's internal plates. You can charge with less than 10% of the battery's Ah rating, but never more. The BT Jr. puts out 0.75 Amps. It will charge a 24 Ah battery just fine -- it just takes it longer than a 2.4 Amp charger will. The BT Jr. is safe to use on any battery of 7.5 Ah, or larger (nearly every M/C battery is larger than 7.5 Ah...). Cheers!
:coffee:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
CrazyNinja650R, ... I bought one from Wal-Mart, used it for two years, before it started applying 15+ Volts, which would have destroyed my AGM battery.
so what should one measure to monitor the health of the battery and the charger? do i want my 12v batteries to be at 12v when the tender says they are charged? and less than 15v when charging? anything else should be measured? thanks
 

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and what role do load testers and hydrometers play in routine maintenance? thanks
A load tester measures how much current the battery can provide to a starter motor; as a battery begins to fail, its internal resistance rises, and that current drops, even if the battery voltage looks fine.

Hydrometers are a way of determining state of charge by measuring the specific gravity of the fluid in a flooded battery - an old method, from when really accurate volt meters were not generally available, but tells you the same thing as a good voltmeter.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
anyone heard of or use Key Line chargers? they rate well on Amazon and have a decent price. 5 stage smart charging with desulfator. Looks good on paper.
 
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