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I recently conducted a leakage test on a bike. Found battery leaking 11 volts. Battery dies after about two days if bike isn't run. I am currently looking for possible "common"source for this problem. So far I have pulled fuses and relays just to see if anything changed. It didn't.



Bike is an '85 GL1200 Limited Edition.
 

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How did you test for 11 volt "leak"? By putting a voltmeter in series between battery and cable??
This is NOT how to test for system Draw. Your meter needs to be in AMP mode to measure milliamp draw/loss.
Guessing you'd find less than 10mA on bike (cars 20-40mA)
 

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I think you measures battery voltage if you put red on pos. and black on neg. battery terminals With a reading of 11 volts you either have a bad battery or it is dead. I am betting the battery is bad. A bad cell will read about 11 volts.
 

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if your meter is known good and you are getting 11V on it, then the battery is duff and needs replacing, as previous reply suspect dead cell
 

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I really don't understand your terminology "leakage", but if your stating the battery after charge shows only 11.0 VDC, then either the battery has a failing cell or two or the charger itself is not functioning.

Chargers for wet lead acid must reach a charge voltage of 14.xx to 17.00 volts. Battery being charged must be capable of receiving the charge, with any cell dead or dying the higher voltage from the charger has no residual effect on the dead cell and when charge voltage is removed the dead cell is still dead.

To determine if you have a dead cell or dying cell you can test the 6 series connected cells. Check that each cell is totally covered with distilled water. Use a battery hydrometer or a DC Voltmeter to test each cell. With a $10 hydrometer you are comparing specific gravity of pure water to the S.G. of a fully charged electrolyte. The difference is 1.0 for water and 1.3 for charged H2S04 (sulfuric acid). Also verify the voltage from negative post to each cell, through to positive voltage. Add the voltage readings up and see where the cell(s) are that have lower voltage.

If you discover that you have 1or 2 cell dying you may bring the battery back to life.
Charge the battery untill it indicates the highest charge possible, then overcharge it in 2-3 minute increments with a battery charger that has 3 levels of charging; example 2A, 10A and 50A. Often the 50 A is indicated as boost. Be careful, the battery will bubble up and make sure the cell covers are off and time each over charge at 2-3 minutes. A lot of heat and hydrogen gas is produced at this point.

The use of trickle chargers or tenders can lead to battery failure because sulphates are produced and act as an insulator, the over charging turns the ates back to the SO4 from SO3 that the elecrolyte originally was. This equillizing is a normal function of batteries especially big deep dischage batteries but auto batteries can benefit if done cautiously and under timed conditions.

If the battery is not too far gone you can slowly bring it back, verify by voltage or hydrometer.

Good battery reads 12.xx VDC or all cells close to 1.3, Once back let sit for 48 hrs then trickle charge to full voltage and leave sitting not connected to any thing and recharge every 3 weeks, store in 65F dry off cement.

CAUTION USE PROTECTIVE CLOTHING NO PETS OR KIDS NEAR BATTERY, BATTERY CAN EXPLODE, HYROGEN GAS, NO SPARKS, OPEN FLAME, SAFETY GLASSES MUST BE WORN, KEEP FIRE EXTINGUISHER HANDY AND OR BAKING SODA

After reading the warning you can understand why most say the hell with it and buy a new battery.
 

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Yeah.. Batterys usually make a big mess when they leak.. Now if you mean your battery is draining, well that's not quite so messy..

My GL1100 has the Clarion radio. It has a memory circuit that draws a little bit of juice all the time to remember stuff like the clock, and radio stations. It is a small draw but it will drain the battery down after about a week.

Like others have said, 11 volts on a supposed charged battery means a bad battery..
 

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I think what longrider means is he connected his meter in series with the battery and it shows 11 volts. This is what the Honda manual says to so to check for drain on the battery even though it is a worthless way of doing it. To get any idea of actual draw you must use an amp meter like OldNewbie said.
 

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Davogd430 wrote:
I think what longrider means is he connected his meter in series with the battery and it shows 11 volts. This is what the Honda manual says to so to check for drain on the battery even though it is a worthless way of doing it. To get any idea of actual draw you must use an amp meter like OldNewbie said.
If a battery has only a meter attached to it. One lead on each terminal, is the meter in series or parallel? :dude::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1: :dude:
 

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Nice to see so many opinions on this topic. I will try the AMPs instead. Yes, I did the meter in series with battery method like the Honda manual said.
 

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Using a voltmeter to check for current leakage like Longrider describes is a crude but effective way to find out if some electrical load is draining the battery. It works quite well though.

The idea is to disconnect either cable from the battery and insert a DC voltmeter in series. If there is no load at all on the battery, the voltmeter will read zero because the circuit downstream is open. If there is any load at all, then the voltmeter will read uparound 12 VDC. (So says Mr. Thevenin and his theorem on voltage dividers. Google "Thevenin".) The actual voltage you read on the meter is meaningless. It will either read zero (if there is no load) or it will read something high (if there is a load on the battery). If you knew the internal impedence of the voltmeter and applied Thevenin's theorem, you could calculate the actual load on the battery, but hey, who wants to?

Using the voltmeter trick will allow you to locate the nuisance load that is draining the battery, by disconnecting one fuse at a time and then watching the voltmeter,until you locate the culprit.

So why not just put the meter on the milliamp range and measure the current directly? Of course that is a better way to do it, but this can be trickier and riskier. It is easy to blow the fuse in the milliameter if it is overranged and manyhome mechanics are simply not comfortable enough with electricityto use the milliamp meter without blowing it. The voltmeter method is foolproof and I suspect that is why Honda recommends it in their publication.
 

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Most digital meters now are 10 Meg-ohm impedance so that they do not affect the circuit voltage during sampling by overloading. Any vehicle that has clock and radio memory will have enough load to make a high reading on a DVOM in series. It's nearly as pointless as using your tongue to test a 9V battery.
 

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I noticed you have an 1100 std. so unless you have added something like a radio, clock or something else that is connected directly to battery power the only thing that would cause a draw is the regulator/rectifier or a shorted wire.
 

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Temperature: 37 degrees Fahrenheit

Percent Hydrometer Unloaded
charge reading voltage
100 1.252 12.55
75 1.197 12.22
50 1.147 11.92
25 1.107 11.68
0 1.087 11.56


Temperature: 67 degrees Fahrenheit

Percent Hydrometer Unloaded
charge reading voltage
100 1.262 12.61
75 1.207 12.28
50 1.157 11.98
25 1.117 11.74
0 1.097 11.62

A voltage reading of 11V as measured across the battery with no wires other than the meter leads connected to the battery would indicate a dead battery. Checking the electrolyte level in the battery may show no liquid and therefore a battery in need of replacement.

Conventional lead-acid batteries discharge at a rate of 1% per day at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. That means that in a bit more than three months, your battery is dead; faster if your bike/car draws some current when not running, which many modern vehicles do.

To check for leakage, disconnect the negative wire(s) on the battery. Disconnect the positive wire(s) on the battery and connect the positive terminal of the meter to the positive terminal. Make sure the meter is set to Amps and at a range that will neither damage the meter or internal fuse. Connect the negative lead of the meter to the wires that were connected to the positive terminal of the battery.

In a well ventilated space, connect the negative wire(s) to the battery. If there is any leakage [and most all bikes have some] the meter should show a positive indication. If the meter shows - XX.XX then you have the wires reversed but the meter will read the correct leakage current.

This is the load on the battery when the switch is off. If you want to see the load on the battery, make sure the meters Amp settings are high enough to prevent damage to the meter, make sure external lights are turned off, and turn the key on. I'd not recommend starting the bike as the current draw is normally higher than most meters support.

You can disconnect one wire at a time from the meters negative lead to determine which load draws the most current or remove fuses one by one to find where the leakage is.

Since batteries have internal leakage [a product of their construction] the best solution is to use a trickle charger or battery maintainer. Running the bike at idle won't help as most generators/alternators need a higher engine speed than an engine at idle. Batteries aren't cheap, repeatedly discharging a battery to 0% charge significantly shortens its life, so for many the $15-20 spent on a battery maintainer can be very cost effective.

As always, when charging a lead acid [or any non-sealed battery] battery a well ventilate space is an important safety consideration. And an occasional [monthly] check of the level of liquid in batteries that aren't sealed is suggested.
 

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If you read the original post, I'm working on an '85 1200 Limited. I also noticed an extra wire connected to the starter relay. When I have time to examine it this weekend I will try what you suggested earlier. In the meantime, I've taken the battery off of the bike and put it on a maintainer inside my nice warm house.

According to Honda, if the battery is showing leakage you may have a short in your electrical system.
 

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My battery really leaked, fluid that is. Very slow and took a while to detect. Lasted a week or so on a full charge.

In addition, it was a new battery. Just had a crack. very small one.

Try another battery if no success finding a short or loss in wiring.
 

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If you want to check for leaks, you need an Ammeter. most voltmeters have them, but be careful, the correct way is to connect it in series. if it will tell you if there is any flow and how much. if you can get access to a clamp Ammeter it would be easier.

another way to check. not too accurate but work..

with the battery connected, and the switch off. check the volts.

then check the volts with the battery disconnected.

connect again. if tbe battery reads less when connected even with the switch off. you have something draining ur battery
 

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The LTD should be almost the same as my SE-i. You have three constant drains on the battery that I know of. The travel computer memory, the radio memory and the clock in the travel computer. I know those will drain my battery down some in a week or two if I don't ride it. I've kept it on a tender when not riding for the last 2 years or so. No problems doing it that way.
Disconnect the travel computer, the plugs are on the backside of it. The easiest way to deal with the radio is to just pull it out. Then test and see if you have a problem.
 

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Funny you should mention the travel computer. I disconnected it and took it off with the cover. The drain didn't stop. Next time I'm in the garage I'm pulling the radio and will see if that helps. LIke I said before, I seem to have an extra wire going to the positive lead on the battery. It leads to a plug that is connected to the wire harness. Gonna find out where that goes too.

I'll keep you all posted.
 

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My 1982 Aspencade with the juice for the radio memory can go weeks/months witout draing the battery. I don't think it sucks much. That battery is a good one.
 

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Most meters do not have a good enough range to be used as an ameter, especially if your turn lights on or the engine, the voltage reading you are getting in series shows there is a drain, whether the drain is normal this is what you need to sort out, you mention a wire on the positive terminal, take it off and see if it affects the voltage drain. If not take all fuses out and se eif this stops the drain.
 
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