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/forums/images/emoticons/smile.gif For your Elucidation, and entertainment .../forums/images/emoticons/smile.gif... ......................  at least it was a behaviour I had never seen before ........................ I put the  key in to the 1200 this am.. nothing.. not even a weak headlight... Voltmeter read 8... well.... Got out battery charger, and tried to figure why a new  4 week old battery would be so very very  dead.../forums/images/emoticons/tongue.gif  Most battery chargers have a sort of a current meter in them ..  Mine reads in % , but you can interploate.. its a 6 / 2 for 6 amp / 2 amp ... In any case .. it started at 40%(4 amps )  charged, and after  half an hour was up to 25 % (5.5 amps ) which , if you think about it .. is the wrong way..... tried to start it up .. every display going crazy .. so I stopped that .....  checked the charger on another battery ... and checked all the fuses , one at a time, looking for a massive current drain that could take a new battery to toast  overnight....   Finally, in desparation emoved battery from bike...  and borrowed another charger from neighbor... always the same.. 20 min of charging made it worse... and charging current climbed up to near  the max 6 amps ,  as time passed ./forums/images/emoticons/shock.gif......... finally pulled the caps off.. 5 cells dry  to well below the plates./forums/images/emoticons/shock.gif..  my engineer neighbor  confirmed the strange , strange behaviour  /forums/images/emoticons/cool.gif ....................as the bike is on a side stand... a " Covered plate " when stopping would be suddenly  uncovered on leaning  of the bike , and the battery tender could never charge it ........ and .... when trying to charge the next day... the slight warming of the acid on charging would cause expansion, acid  would partially cover the dry plates, and  a little more current would flow... still will not charge... but  get more current ... and of course,  he said, looking at me as if I was feeble./forums/images/emoticons/mad.gif.. "It will never charge iif you have dry plates ..." ...................................... Of course adding  distilled water , and charging for 20 minutes cured everything... and I am still trying to figure out how a  4 week battery could get so very dry .. I do not live in the desert , it has been seasonal (75 to 85 )... and I rarely use anything 'cept a trickle on a Battery Tender Jr.  In any case.. if you ever see your battery charger apparently running backwards... getting worse... ... check for water first/forums/images/emoticons/emoticonsxtra/grinner.gif !!!! SilverDave /forums/images/emoticons/emoticonsxtra/cooldj.gif
 

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Using any type of battery charger on the battery will cause evaporation. Even the charging from the bike charging system will cause evaporation. These batteries are vented and it is very easy for the evaporated water to escape through the vent tube.

I never use a charger on my battery unless it is winter time and I keep a Battery Tender on it to keep it alive during the cold months.

I am seriously considering the Odyssey Dry Cell battery for my bike. Then this problem will never rear it's ugly head.
 

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I am sold on AGM (Odyssey,Westco,etc) batteries. I am guilty of battery abuse. I never use a battery tender. I use the radio for long periods with the key in accessory position. I idle in hot traffic for long times with the radio on, fan running. This battery is on it's 3rd season and has never failed me. Ever during the Chicago winter in an unheated garage it cranks like a spring day. It only cost me 60 bucks on ebay. When my car battery dies I will buy an AGM battery. No more checking water levels. No more acid drips. I sound like ansalesman for AGM type batteries. I just want my biker friends to have less problems.
 

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SilverDave wrote:
~I am still trying to figure out how a 4 week battery could get so very dry .. I do not live in the desert , it has been seasonal (75 to 85 )... and I rarely use anything 'cept a trickle on a Battery Tender Jr.
SilverDave, 2 things come to mind..

First- If that battery was sitting dry then filled at time of purchase the plates soak up a lot of the added fluid so they get low pretty quickly the first time..

Second- Monitor your charging system output into the battery, if the amps are high or the voltage is high (15+ volts) it will boil the battery dry in no time.. If your voltage is high (monitor for a verity of riding conditions & usages) check the regulator ground connections & if OK there, run the regulator's sensing wire directly back to the battery instead of it's orignal harness connection (that will probably lower the charging voltage into the mid 14's instead of the 15+ range..



Twisty
 

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Twisty, since we are on the subject of batteries, my 85 wing does not have a volt meter and I want to install one. Since I am not just a fair weather rider, is there one that is weather resistant?

If there isn't one, could I seal around any openings/cracks/places where the case comes together with clear fingernail polish to keep out moisture?
 

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jdf wrote:
Twisty, since we are on the subject of batteries, my 85 wing does not have a volt meter and I want to install one. Since I am not just a fair weather rider, is there one that is weather resistant?

If there isn't one, could I seal around any openings/cracks/places where the case comes together with clear fingernail polish to keep out moisture?
JDF, I'm sure there are many water resistant voltmeters out there.. If you can live with a series of lights to distinguish different voltage ranges then Kuryakyn makes a rather nice one that is fairly inexpensive.

On my personal 1200 Wing I use both a high voltage LED & low voltage LED mounted in the handlebar center plastic trim (that shows up real good & is hard to miss if something goes wrong electrically) & an analog voltmeter mountedjust belowthe L/H handlebar.. The LED's will get my attention if my battery voltage drops off & the voltmeter is a water proof tractor rated 2" round gauge that is mounted in a custom aluminum housing & wired directly to the battery with a micro relay.

Whatever voltmeter you decide on it will be more accurate & work better if wired directly to the battery then controlled using a small relay triggered by the ign switch being turned on.

Tractor & equipment type voltmeters are fairly water proof as the are used in exposed panels but I couldn't find a good place to mount it in the existing front panel area without interfering with a compartment opening or mounting it in such a way I couldn't see it easily.. What worked out good was to turn a small aluminum 2" housing on my lathe with a stainless 2-piece clamp that would articulate & allow mounting directly to the L/H handle bar, I covered the wiring with a plastic cover & ran it to below the handlebar area right with the existing wires strapped to the L/H bar. It points directly at me & is easy to read while riding.. I'll bet if you looked around a little you could find a small chrome housing that a 2" voltmeter would fit in & do about the same thing..

Twisty
 

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You need that $102.00 Ebay key. That'll fix it. LOL ;)
 

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Twisty, Thanks for the information. :waving:I never thought about one for a tractor. :gunhead:

I also liked wiring it to a relay and then tothe switch so it won't drain my battery.

Tks again, Jim
 

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I did something simular on my Honda Sabre...

A set of Autometer guages... So far there 2 years old and the moisture hasn't bother them much. (Oil Pressure, Volt, Temperature - In that order)

I did pull the guages off that bike and have them in the shop. I want to add them to my GW but still looking for a place to mount the guages. The senders and wiring is the easy part. But finding a place to mount them is being really hard to do! - Any ideas on where to mount them? :stumped::baffled:

This Honda always seemed to be low on the water in the battery even though the charging voltage was between 13.2 (full load Idling) and 14.5 (4-5K Running)

 

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jdf wrote:
Twisty, Thanks for the information. :waving:I never thought about one for a tractor. :gunhead:

I also liked wiring it to a relay and then tothe switch so it won't drain my battery.

Tks again, Jim
Jim, the relay works great & also feeds my LED's.. (see pix)..
 

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Batteries being chemical storage tanks are very prone to almost everything we as humans don't like. High temperatures, cold temperatures, vibrations, excessive work and excessive idling.

Lead acid batteries that require a lot of discharge between moments of charge as in automobile applications are typically made of sponge like lead plates that really deliver large amounts of current, but with every charge and discharge lead deposits are taken away similar to a spark in a contact and eventually there is not enough lead left to act as a place for storage.The deposits will then sit at the bottom of the battery and over time will accumulate and eventually be high enough to come in contact with the remaining sponge plates and short out the cell.

Batteries are like tires, they are designed to work and in that work they wear out. The sponge like lead plates take on the original charge of electrolyte and it takes time for this liquid conductor to reach all areas within each cell and within each spongy plate. So keep an eye on the electrolyte level, always.

There are many things we can do to prolong battery life. Typically today in the automotive world, many people replace their OEM batteries in about 3-4 years, especially maintenance free units. But with care and maintenance you can and should get 7-10 years. But are you willing to do the work and effort to prolong the battery's life? Try these things:

Keep all anti-vibration devices in place, no anti-vibration devices, make 'em. The battery bouncing on the bike is like you bouncing on the seat. That is bad enough but if allowed to bounce within the bike, the battery will die within a very short time.

Keep the battery spotlessly clean.

Monitor the at-rest battery voltage, 12.3-13 VDC. Below 1.86 X 6 or 11.16 VDC there is a problem starting. An auto type battery below 11 volts is cause to worry why. An auto battery can only be discharged to 20% of its designed rating.

Open all connectors and shine the lead and the copper joints, then connect them back up. keep them clean.

Do not grease the connectors joints, before or after cleaning them. If you want to stop the crap that grows on the + terminal, simply keep it clean. If you must cover the terminals use Duxseal , a GE product. (Electrical supply house, about 1 Kg package. Seek out an electrician and ask for it).

Open the cell covers and inspect the electrolyte levels, if below the top of the plates add pure water(distilled, RO, Deionized) in that order, distilled being the best. Do not over fill nor under fill. Keep an eye on it weekly.

Pull the battery monthly during heavy driving and inspect clean adjust. Reinstall all anti-vibration pads, top bottom, front. Make them if you have to, keep that battery solidly attached to the bike.

Clean all connections on the bike, all. Dielectic (insulator) grease is fine, but when it comes to further maintenance you will need to clean it off. It cannot come between the joint of the connector as it insulates. Again if you need to cover it to keep moisture out use Duxseal.

Clean all ground connections. With constant routine maintenance you will diminish the problems moisture and chemical crap cause to the electrical system. You will also know the state your electrical system is in.

With off-use and storage, remove the battery. Do not put the battery on a cement floor. Put it on a piece of 3/4" wood ply that has been painted and the ply wood should be larger than the footprint of the battery. Fully charge the battery and verify with a hydrometer. When fully charged and if the battery charger has a high amp setting, over charge the battery until gassing is visible, (no smoking or open sparks) at this time you are basically shoving in too many amps, thus pushing into the sponge lead and cleaning the sponge lead plate. No more that a couple of minutes of equalizing or over charging. Replace the cell covers, remove the charger, then weekly take a volt reading and trickle charge for the winter. A good battery tender is OK, but keep an eye on the state of charge. A fully charged battery will not freeze easily, will store longer, but will have internal losses and that internal loss causes a magnetic field, so keep the battery away from sensitive electronic devices. The internal losses will discharge the battery. Keep the battery away from kids, sulpheric acid is dangerous, non forgiving and willl attack any one. No open electric light bulbs, ventillation is needed to carry away the hydrogen. A stored battery in a house is simply a bomb waiting to go off. Do everything in your power to keep you, your family and your home safe. This cannot be stressed enough.

In the spring clean the battery terminals, caution here do not remove too much of the lead. Clean the outer surfaces of the container, hold the battery up to a bright light and see if you can see the bottom of the battery and the electrolyte and the plates. There should be no evidence of dead lead in the bottom. Monitor the space at the bottom of the plates and case area. Clean the cables on the bike, attach the battery to the bike and verify voltages at idle and above idle to see if there has been any deterioration to the electrical system.

A battery that is discharging to a point of no use, can be brought back to life. This is a crappy job but with safety equipment can be done. If you are interested in this job let me know. Usually people simply go out a buy another battery. Now what to do with the dead one. They should be re-cycled.

In the operation of a wet lead acid battery the electrolyte can be consumed, but this is usually an indication of over charging. In this process the only thing that is consumed is water, H2O, since H2SO4 (sulpheric acid) contains water. So never install more acid into a used battery, refill with pure water. As with everything long life is available with constant maintenance.

An alternative battery is a deep cycle battery, with large thick lead plates. An auto application will kill a deep cycle very quickly. The basic differences between auto and deep cycle is this: Deep cycle can be discharged to 80% of capacity as long as the discharge is fairly even, constant as in tow motors, golf carts, solar electric systems. An auto application requires a fast high volume of current being discharged and then a fairly fast volume of current charging. Then the battery is ready to discharge again when the starter needs it. Auto batteries have a 20% MAX rate of discharge.

Glass Mat batteries last longer since they have a larger bottom area for the dead lead. Sealed batteries can be wet or gel type, but when sealed they cannot take on a large charge since gassing is a problem and they are sealed. Where does the gas go? Some use check valves, some no valves. Understand the operation of the battery you plan to buy and use. Know what it can and cannot do.

And why does it need a lot of current to start a bike, car, truck, bus? Simply because the motor used as an assist to get that hunk of metal turned over is a very simple series wound DC motor. And about 100 years ago it was discovered that a simple DC series wound motor can be over-loaded to the max and then some. Most starter motors are about 1 HP, .75 Kw. The math says that 1 HP is 746 watts, so at 12 Volts that should be 62 Amps, but these motors can and are underrated as motors and over rated as starters, the range of amps drawn off the battery ranges from 120A to 250 A. But in order to keep the starter motor from killing itself, time is needed to cool it down. Honda says 5 seconds of on time. If it takes longer than about 1.5 seconds of on time there is a problem in the starting circuit of the bike.

An auto designed battery can handle this type of operation whereas a deep cycle unit would succumb and give out. As you can see the large amp draw will eventually take out the high amp relay (or solenoid to some), the cables, the, connectors, battery and on and on.

As soon as any component starts to fail, the expected outcome of starting starts to fail. Remember that the starter circuit is a double deal. There is the control side that operates the devices to control the power side. The control side is pilot duty and the power side is the high amps required to be released from the battery down the starter cable into the starter motor.

The charging system is still low power since the stator, rotor combination of the primary device to deliver amps does so at a fairly low rate, 300 watts maximum, sitting in engine oil to insulate, cool? The charging circuit has the luxury of time to replace the initial amount of amps used to start the bike. Now you can see why slow driving in a stop and go environment as compared to highway driving plays havoc with the battery. At times power comes from the battery since the alternator, an AC device, cannot deliver and at other times the alternator delivers power to the battery and also to the systems needing it at higher speeds.

To this start adding lights, horns etc and you are soon using more amps than the designed system can handle. More amps than designed leads to failure since now the system is too small, too hot to work.

The most effective device in the bike's systems is the operator, next would be a voltage reading device, that being a DC voltmeter that is accurate, a set of LED lights to trigger a warning and the ability to understand what the devices are telling you.

Finally take warning. The battery is a chemical storage tank. It is dangerous. It can blow. They sound like a 12 g shotgun going off. When blown they release toxic, sulphuric acid. When working on these time bombs, cover your face, eyes with protection. Keep water near you. Keep a chemical fire extinguisher near you. Keep on-lookers away. Store batteries in a safe area that is restricted. Kids are curious, keep them safe. Carry the battery close to your chest with a leather cover over the top or cell covers. When electrically hooking them up, create a fan effect to blow away any hydrogen either with your hands or blowing across the top of the battery. Any collection of hydrogen is a bomb looking for a source of ignition. Look after your battery and it will look after you.
 

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jdf wrote:
Twisty, since we are on the subject of batteries, my 85 wing does not have a volt meter and I want to install one. Since I am not just a fair weather rider, is there one that is weather resistant?
If there isn't one, could I seal around any openings/cracks/places where the case comes together with clear fingernail polish to keep out moisture?
Go to any marine supply store and look for a voltmeter. Boat instruments are normally waterproof.
 

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I've always used the cheap lead acid batteries in my bikes,and ultralights. I've never had a problem with them. With this type of battery it pays to take a look at the battery once a month or so. Most of them have painted lines on the sides to show the proper depth of electrolyte, you don't have to do anything but pull the side cover off. I usually get three trouble free years service out of this type of battery and then replace it.
 

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Exavid, over the years I have been going the other direction & installing AGM (glass mat) batteries in my motorcycles, lawn tractors, &old equipment..My feeling is; if you figure the months of usage per dollar spent the AGM can't be beat..

Those AGM batteries are basically an install & forget battery, no checking the fluid level, no battery tender in the off season (as long as the battery is disconnected), they will work in ALMOST any mounting position, no battery acid all over the battery area.

Because AGM batteries can be shipped UPS they can usually be found quite inexpensively on the Internet. (lead acid must be shipped without any acid, or bought locally).. Without the need to use a battery tender through the winter the "cost per month to own" goes down considerably.

The AGM also does quitewell on the chargingmood swings on the older GoldWings as they don't boil the water outon those long trips at close to 15 voltscharge rate.

So far I haven't had to replace any of my AGM's with the longest going on 5 years.. I will probably install a new AGM next spring just to prevent any problems but would sure like to see how far it will go..

Twisty
 

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More good ideas. :goofygrin:Now all I have to do is decide which one to use. Tks to everyone, Jim
 

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twisty wrote:
Exavid, over the years I have been going the other direction & installing AGM (glass mat) batteries in my motorcycles, lawn tractors, &old equipment..My feeling is; if you figure the months of usage per dollar spent the AGM can't be beat..
Twisty
Can't argue with you Twisty, but I like the cheap up front cost. Besides I don't want a battery that will last longer than I will!
 

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Twisty,

What AGM battery do you use? Brand? Part Number?

Thanks.
 

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I use the Odyssey because it was cheap on eBay. There are many brands that sell AGM batteries. Odyssey(Hawker), Westco, etc. Do a google search. You will find several brands. They are much cheaper on the internet. As Twisty said, they can be shipped. Don't waste your money on another conventional lead acid battery.
 
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