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Aging & Worn
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4,517 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Anyone have any historical experience with Gel Batteries and their life-expectancy?

I'm assuming they are maintenance-free type batteries?

-soupy
 

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Premium Member
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5,271 Posts
I put a MotoBatt AGM battery in my VS800 in August of 2009, still no sign of wearing out. When I plug in the battery tender, it blinks charge for less than two minutes, no matter how long it has sat. Plus, the battery is so hard to get out, it saves many hours of pain, just checking water levels.
 

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American Legion Rider
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18,530 Posts
Used both gel and open with acid. Only difference is you must watch the water level on the open ones. Both last the same except 9 times out of 10 you'll miss capping of the open acid one and by doing so you just shortened it's life.

Sealed are just less maintenance from the get go. I think in the hundreds of batteries I've had that were open, I only had one last as long as a sealed. But I looked at that battery weekly and topped it off with acid saved back from all the other batteries. Too much trouble. If you got the choice then gel or sealed is the way to go. IMHO
 

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A legend in his own mind
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2,599 Posts
I've used Gel batteries in other things, the desired "charge window" for a gel battery is too narrow that I don't feel comfortable installing one in my motorcycle. (lower voltage than most charging systems and lower charge amps also)
Beyond that they're great, long life and work similar to a deep cycle battery. Gel batteries have shortened life span if not charged properly.
My bike came from the factory with an AGM battery, no complaints about it at all.
 

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ZAMM Fanatic
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2,732 Posts
Here's my .02 worth.

When batteries are either charged, or operate in a hot, low humidity environment water is lost through evaporation. Charging makes a battery warm, and water vapor is lost.

Very few batteries are truly "SEALED." Most are vented because charging disasociates a certain amount of hydrogen and oxygen from water, and those can recombine explosively if not vented to the atmosphere. (any fire/explosion in a SEALED container makes a BOMB)

So you can buy an AGM (advanced glass mat), gel, or other battery, and chances are it will still be vented.

And lose water when it's charging, or when operated for a long time in a dry enviornment.

And you can't add water to replenish THOSE types.

Buy an old fashioned battery with caps and you can add water once or twice per year and it will never self-destruct because of loss of water.

The only downside to a battery with caps is you can't operate it upside down like you can a sealed battery.

Ya know those spiral-wound, glass mat, yellow top Optima batteries? You know who buys the most of those $2-300 batteries? People with undiagnosed charging system problems or parasitic drains. They're trying to "fix" electrical problems with a fancier battery. Never works.

If your charging system is working fine, you don't have parasitic draws, there's simplfy NO BENEFIT to more expensive or sealed batteries.

Once again, I'll restate for the record, SITTING DISCHARGED for days or weeks at a time is the #1 killer of batteries. If you don't ride regularly, put a trickle or solar charger on your bike battery and it'll last for years.
 

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Troublemaker
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2,520 Posts
I put a MotoBatt AGM battery in my VS800 in August of 2009, still no sign of wearing out. When I plug in the battery tender, it blinks charge for less than two minutes, no matter how long it has sat. Plus, the battery is so hard to get out, it saves many hours of pain, just checking water levels.
Motobatt has been the best and longest lasting battery I have used to date. It is my replacement battery for all bikes now.
 

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Aging & Worn
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4,517 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
...........The only downside to a battery with caps is you can't operate it upside down like you can a sealed battery............
Maybe I'm having trouble visualizing this, but.......why would a battery EVER be "upside down" on a motorcycle, unless you flipped the bike!!??

-Soupy
 

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Registered
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1,053 Posts
Well, Back in 2010,while servicing the Breva ,Larry Klein, got me to try an Odyssey battery.
Supposedly indestructible, but so big, it had to be mounted up ended, to fit.
So in that sense, yes its more versatile, than a typical Lead/Acid battery.
First year after touring, I put the bike in storage for 9 months & flew back in Spring, despite putting the alarm in winter mode, the battery was too flat to crank, so I had to get hold of a charger, for an hr, then re installed it.
First hit o the starter & the engine started.
I talked to Larry, and he said I should have disconnected the wiring.
Since then, right up to August last year, with the bike in storage just outside of Toronto in an unheated storage unit, again for 9 months as usual, and all I do is re connect the battery, and hit the starter, and it fires straight up.
Ok I do add fuel stabilizer to the fuel, before riding to the storage unit.
So I have to admit it is a great battery.
At the time, it was on offer for $ 100.
Take care Out There
 

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Charlie Tango Xray
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759 Posts
My new bike came with a maintenance free battery of some kind because its mounted under the seat at a 45 degree angle. Its the first maintenance free battery I've ever had on any of my bikes. However I did replace the batteries on our snowmobiles last winter with gel ones. But only because my dealer gave me a deal as they were the only ones he had in stock at the time. The original capped ones lasted nine seasons with battery tenders. I guess I'll see how long the gels last.
 

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Charlie Tango Xray
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759 Posts
"Nine seasons" is rare, ain't it?!

-Soupy
Yep, I got my moneys worth out of them. I was going to bronze them....:biggrin:
I attribute it to the battery tenders. But I only plug the tenders in once a month. And only until I get a green light, then I unplug them again so not to overcook them. My snowmobiles get stored nine months out of the year. Admittedly, the last few years they did crank pretty slow. Night and day difference with the new ones.;) But I always had the pull starts just in case the batteries did die.
 

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Premium Member
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5,271 Posts
So you can buy an AGM (advanced glass mat), gel, or other battery, and chances are it will still be vented.

And lose water when it's charging, or when operated for a long time in a dry enviornment.

And you can't add water to replenish THOSE types.
Sealed batteries have pressure seals; until the internal pressure gets high enough, they don't vent, or lose water. In normal use the pressure goes back down, as the chemistry recovers from any gasses generated during charge being recombined, at least, partially, and the water just doesn't evaporate. Flooded batteries are vented to air pressure, and the water can be lost to evaporation and out-gassing during charging. Yes, if you monitor your water levels often, and refill with only de-ionized water, you may get a flooded battery to last as long as a sealed one. My problem was the battery was under the bike, and you had to drop it out the bottom, after lifting the bike or rolling it up onto a 2x4; really hard to casually check the levels often engough.
 

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Gone.
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17,873 Posts
Deka (Harley) AGM batteries in our own bikes: 9 years, 7 years, and so far 5 years, still going. Zero maintenance. (No checking levels, adding water, sometimes on a tender when parked.)
 

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Justa anutta Human......
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728 Posts
My 3 buds say their gels seem to spin the engine a bit quicker to start then the lead acid sealed ones from be4?
Even tho these are the same CCA.
But of course a new battery will do that anyway.....
Their bikes are supersports in the 600 class's....
A 2012 6R, a 2013 636, nnn a 2012 GSX-R600.
I know a dude that puts a new battery in his bike every spring....
Why...?
Ur guess is as good as mine....
 

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ZAMM Fanatic
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2,732 Posts
I've got a rare book by AC Delco gives all the details on ALL the different battery types, charging strategies, etc.

I seem to recall SOME of the "sealed" battery types had a tiny amount of platinum in them to CATALYZE any produced oxygen/hydrogen back to water and hopefully stave off a more energetic recombination.

Or maybe it was that someone was selling caps for REGULAR batteries with a tiny amount of Pt plating on the bottom to do similarly.

Everyone's welcome to buy whatever battery they prefer, it's just that I personally have NEVER seen the need for anything "better" than a boring old lead acid battery --- preferably WITH caps -- that justified spending MORE money.
 

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Pale Rider
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528 Posts
My lead-acid batteries, in three different bikes, lasted around two years, even with a Battery Tender Jr. attached after every ride. It was nice to hit the starter with the battery topped off, fully charged, as it spun the motor over easier than when I forgot to connect the Tender.

My AGM (24 Amp-hour, in a 1200cc, heavy touring bike) is now four years old: it cost twice as much as a lead-acid battery, so I have now broken even on the investment. Everything after this, is money saved. I like that, as well as the no-maintenance necessary to maintain it.

WintrSol is right: AGM's are sealed, and they recombine the gases back into acid, unless the pressure rises high enough to open the relief valve. Here is some basic information on AGM's, if interested. They also have minute internal leakage, so you can put a fully charged AGM on the shelf, and come back in six months, and it will have lost very little voltage, unlike a lead-acid battery, which will lose several Volts from internal leakage... AGM batteries have very real advantages over lead-acid batteries. The question is whether you feel they are worth the extra expense for your application. For me, they are the only type I will purchase in the future -- until something better comes along. Cheers!
:coffee:
 
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