Battery type


Technical information and Q&A applicable to all years and models of Goldwings
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Sadanorakman
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Re: Battery type

Post by Sadanorakman »



I've been doing so much reading regarding lead-acid battery chemistry, sulfation, acid stratification, surface charge, corrosion, specific gravity, charge state, grid damage, dendrites, etc... etc...

There is plenty of interesting information to be gleaned out there, and plenty of mis-information too!!!

What stands out for me, is the sheer number of sob stories on line when people realise their expensive battery is now nothing but a door stop, because they didn't look after it properly! This goes for everything from a lawnmower battery, to thousands of dollars worth of off-grid solar storage batteries, and everything in between... Golf cart batteries, RV batteries, you name it! People suddenly panicking at the realisation of the financial implication of replacing their now knackered cells, and desperately hoping there is something they can do to fix the damage that they have caused... You guessed it, there normally isn't anything that can be done.

One interesting thing I read is that Yuasa for example use a chemical additive in many of their batteries which is meant to reduce the occurrence of sulfation.

At the end of the day, the learning on this one seems pretty clear (well to me anyway):

Our bike batteries are not designed for cyclic use, they are designed as starter batteries. If they are not maintained at a continuously high state of charge, then they will quickly degrade. It really doesn't take too much neglect to cause them unrecoverable damage.

As lead-acid batteries discharge, the sulphuric acid becomes weaker, as sulphur becomes deposited on the negative plates. The chemistry can tolerate only a very small amount of this activity. This situation must be promptly remedied by proper 'controlled' re-charging at the earliest opportunity.

As the sulphur deposits increase, choking the surface of the plates, the less recoverable the situation, and the more permanent the damage becomes.

Some chargers are able to partially de-sulphate a battery as long as it's not too far gone, but there is no magic wand, no magic charger that can erase 100% of the damage caused by serious neglecting your battery.

All we can do is be aware, and try to be disciplined. I treat my batteries as though they were a pet that needs feeding regularly; if I fail to feed it, then I know it will quickly become poor of health, and die.

Six good suggestions regarding our vehicle batteries:

1. Realise that almost all vehicles have parasitic drain current that will lower even a healthy battery's state of charge to damaging levels in as little as a few weeks if not driven. Batteries will also self-discharge over time, even when disconnected.

2. Keep an eye on battery voltage by
Ideally installing a volt meter on your bike. This is a great way to keep a lookout for alternator/stator/regulator problems (over or under charging). Use the volt meter to ensure the battery's resting voltage never drops below about 12.4V if you want it to have a long working life.

3. Invest in a proper battery maintainer, and develop the discipline to use it to avoid this kind of damage occurring when the vehicle is laid up for more than a few days. Don't rely on a trickle charger, which may slowly cook the battery if left attached for too long (gassing off the electrolyte through over-charging).

4. If using a flooded battery, keep an eye on the fluid level (electrolyte), and don't let it ever drop below the top of the lead plates in each cell, as this is another sure way to wreck the battery.

5. If using a flooded battery, use only distilled or deionised water to top it up.

6. Maintain the cleanliness and tightness of the cables/battery posts.

Sorry for rattling on, but maybe this will give those less aware a bit better an understanding of how to look after their batteries. It's not just about saving money, it's about not ending up stranded by the side of the road.


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AZgl1800
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Re: Battery type

Post by AZgl1800 »

good post, I have espoused using Battery Tenders for years, to keep all of my infrequently used batteries topped off smartly.

On my Suburban, which sits idle for weeks at a time, it has a Solar Charger laying on the dash...
it is a puny little thing, but it does a good job, just today, I got in the truck and plugged in the Voltmeter before I hit the key....

12.4 volts...
I usually have a Battery Tender plugged into it, if it won't be used for more than a few days...
that seems to keep the battery up around 13.3ish

the one on my 1800 keeps that one at 13.3-13.6 hard to read an analog meter.
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Sadanorakman
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Re: Battery type

Post by Sadanorakman »

Thanks John. Be aware that your reading of 12.4V probably means that battery is only about 50% charged.

I can't seem to buy the brand Battery Tender' here in the UK, so invested in a ctek mx5.0 as my main charger/maintainer which is absolutely superb. I also bought a little noco 750ma maintainer, which is ok for bike batteries, but has a pretty poor regime for performing the saturation charge on anything with a bigger ah capacity, and just takes too long to top the charge back off.

I find it frustrating when people just fit and forget (a battery), then are surprised when they find it reading 6V or something stupid after their vehicle has been sat for three months. They then wonder why it won't accept a charge any longer, or that the voltage comes back up after a charge, but it won't crank the engine over.... Doh!

I have been thinking of a solar-panel on my dash myself (great idea btw) to keep my battery topped up, as my AWD has really crazy parasitic draw when it's just standing. I'm concerned about the voltage getting too high though in bright sun, and it over-charging an already charged battery.

My car also has issues with realising it's battery has been charged by a source other than the alternator! It has a huge current shunt fitted on the negative battery terminal like many modern cars, so the engine management system can measure the current being drawn or being put back into the battery. The battery management system however doesn't realise the next time the car is started, that I had attached my ctek, and topped the battery up in the meantime, so it thinks the SOC is still low.
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AZgl1800
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Re: Battery type

Post by AZgl1800 »

Sadanorakman wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 6:24 pm
Thanks John. Be aware that your reading of 12.4V probably means that battery is only about 50% charged.
yes,
I am aware of that.
that is why the Battery Tender itself is put back on the truck if I leave it alone for more a couple of days.
that battery has already been "ruined" back about six months ago, when I forgot to unplug the Garmin GPS.
I needed the truck, and when it would not start, put a DVM on it and it was down to around 6-ish volts.

so, it can't be trusted at all, w/o a battery tender keeping it up to snuff.
the little Solar Charger is good for a few 100 mAmps at best, don't remember, no documentation on it, and it is 10+ years old.

come next fall, when cold weather sets back in, it will have to be replaced.
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Sadanorakman
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Re: Battery type

Post by Sadanorakman »

AZgl1800 wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 10:46 pm
that battery has already been "ruined" back about six months ago, when I forgot to unplug the Garmin GPS.
Yes, I remember the details you recounted to us sir, particularly that it was only two years old and you measured it specifically at 9.6V after the Garmin had discharged it.

What confuses me, is that you mention in your latest post that it was at only '6-ish volts'. I'd be interested to know roughly how long the Suburban had been left with the Garmin plugged in by the time you discovered it, and which voltage it did actually measure if you can clarify sir?

I'm interested to know, because 9.6 volts makes me hope at least some partial recovery is possible, whereas 6 volts suggests to me that the battery would (or should) be 'really' toasted! This combined with an understanding of how long the battery was sitting at this level of discharge, helps us understand how much of an ordeal it had really suffered.

A battery so depleted though, may well read 9.6 Volts with no load applied to it, and then dip to 6 volts or less just by just opening the car door when the dome light tries to come on.
AZgl1800 wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 10:46 pm
the little Solar Charger is good for a few 100 mAmps at best, don't remember, no documentation on it, and it is 10+ years old.
I think a couple of hundred milliamps would probably be ideal for my car; it's just finding one with a regulated output to save cooking my expensive battery.
AZgl1800 wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 10:46 pm
come next fall, when cold weather sets back in, it will have to be replaced.
I figured that the CCA of your battery would probably now be seriously compromised after your Garmin incident. Do you have access to a high-amp battery tester to see what that degraded battery is like come autumn/winter temperatures? It sure would be interesting to know exactly how badly it now shapes up after the inadvertent over-discharge and subsequent partial 'rescue' with your shop charger.
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AZgl1800
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Re: Battery type

Post by AZgl1800 »

Sadanorakman wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 12:45 am
AZgl1800 wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 10:46 pm
that battery has already been "ruined" back about six months ago, when I forgot to unplug the Garmin GPS.
Yes, I remember the details you recounted to us sir, particularly that it was only two years old and you measured it specifically at 9.6V after the Garmin had discharged it.

I have a very poor memory, and if I don't write things down, they are gone within 15 seconds :oops:



What confuses me, is that you mention in your latest post that it was at only '6-ish volts'. I'd be interested to know roughly how long the Suburban had been left with the Garmin plugged in by the time you discovered it, and which voltage it did actually measure if you can clarify sir?

The actual time the truck set there with the GPS on, would have been measured in "Weeks".... it was cold, and I usually ride as a passenger with my daughter in her car...... this time, she was gone running her Mail Route, and I needed to get some E-0 pure gas for the lawn mower... and it would not start.



I'm interested to know, because 9.6 volts makes me hope at least some partial recovery is possible, whereas 6 volts suggests to me that the battery would (or should) be 'really' toasted! This combined with an understanding of how long the battery was sitting at this level of discharge, helps us understand how much of an ordeal it had really suffered.

A battery so depleted though, may well read 9.6 Volts with no load applied to it, and then dip to 6 volts or less just by just opening the car door when the dome light tries to come on.
DOME LIGHTS DON'T WORK ANYMORE, DON'T KNOW WHY


AZgl1800 wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 10:46 pm
the little Solar Charger is good for a few 100 mAmps at best, don't remember, no documentation on it, and it is 10+ years old.
I think a couple of hundred milliamps would probably be ideal for my car; it's just finding one with a regulated output to save cooking my expensive battery.
AZgl1800 wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 10:46 pm
come next fall, when cold weather sets back in, it will have to be replaced.
I figured that the CCA of your battery would probably now be seriously compromised after your Garmin incident. Do you have access to a high-amp battery tester to see what that degraded battery is like come autumn/winter temperatures? It sure would be interesting to know exactly how badly it now shapes up after the inadvertent over-discharge and subsequent partial 'rescue' with your shop charger.
1st, no I no longer have my good battery load tester, it was stolen years ago before I moved from Arizona.


I edited in comments up above, easier to answer you....

What I do remember, is that the Super Smart shop charger took about 2 or maybe 3 days to bring the battery back up to the normal range of around 13-ish volts.

Yesterday, I drove the truck again and the Battery Tender had been left off since the last trip of 1 or 2 days time. The tiny Solar Charger always stays plugged in, the truck was setting under a tree, so not in full sun.

I have a Power Inverter in the truck which also has a Digital Voltmeter display on it....
It has a Cigarette lighter outlet which is where the Garmin GPS gets its' power.
Before I turned the key on, I wanted to know what the battery condition was, so I plugged in the Inverter; it measured 12.4 volts.

Engine started immediately, and the Alternator cranked it up to 14.3 volts, maybe 14.4 ?
Can't remember now ( again my brain cells are fried, a Semi totalled my bike out in 2008 and killed my short term memory )
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Sadanorakman
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Re: Battery type

Post by Sadanorakman »

Yep, that was some disagreement you had with the central highway divider John. The picture of your totalled bike on its side makes me gasp every time I see it.

Speaking of pure gas... Wish I could buy it here in the UK, but alas it all seems to have Ethanol in, like it or not.

Thank you for your specific replies to my last post: I'm amazed that battery recovered the way it seems to after so many weeks spent getting in that condition.

As for memory, I struggle to remember what I had for breakfast, and have to wear socks with the day of the week embroidered on them, and I'm only 48! :D
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kwthom
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Re: Battery type

Post by kwthom »

Good summary on battery issues...only one omission that *I* can see.

Much of the time (at least here stateside), automotive insurance breakdown coverage is your ability to get moving in the event of battery failure - even if you know what to look for and how to repair the issue.

For most motorcyclists, that ability is left up to you as a rider to be able to understand the conditions, and know how to rectify them.

I have been *very* fortunate to find my two battery failures (in 13 years) in the comfort of my own garage. Thus, procurement of a replacement battery, properly initializing it, followed by removal and replacement is somewhat academic for many shade-tree mechanics like me. :lol:

I had the time to add a Sparkbright to my 'Wing a few months back. I bought it like a year ago, and finally got around to installing it.


Hey, it's a UK item, even! :mrgreen:
Sadanorakman wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 10:23 am
As for memory, I struggle to remember what I had for breakfast, and have to wear socks with the day of the week embroidered on them, and I'm only 48! :D
Wait 'till you're 10 or 12 years older. :shock:
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Rambozo
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Re: Battery type

Post by Rambozo »

With the solar panel, just add a solar charge controller if none is included. Your fellow countryman Julian Ilett made a very nice small one called the PWM5. While I believe he no longer sells these, I think he made the circuit available on his YouTube channel.

rickf1985
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Re: Battery type

Post by rickf1985 »

Jumped on this thread because the battery in my wing went south, It was the one that was in there when I bought it and I have to say I have not been able to do anything with the bike but leave it sitting in the trailer for the last year and a half due to medical issues. So it was no surprise to find it at .6 volts. I tried to charge it just to see what would happen and it just got hot, very hot. It had a shorted cell in it. But here is the interesting part, the next day I went to go somewhere and I jumped in the Mustang and as soon as I hit the alarm button and nothing chirped I figured I had a bad remote. So I opened the door expecting the alarm to go off, nothing. Uh-oh, two batteries in two days. Yep, this one was at 5.5 volts. Well it is five years old so I figure it is not coming back but again I put it on the charger and jump it from a good battery to trick the charger into coming on. After a bit I disconnect the jumpers and call my parts house about a battery. They have one in stock and here you need to take in a core or you have to pay extra. Well, I have about 30 old batteries laying around so I just grab one of them and get my new battery and put it in. I go to take the charger off the bad battery and it is reading that is is fully charged! It has been about 6 hours all told and it is a smart charger so it can go as high as about 55 amps but it goes up and down. I took the charger off and left the battery there thinking it will be dead in the morning. Nope, 12.8 volts the next morning and it was only 30 degrees that morning. So that battery is going into my motor home for now............... Yep, that one died too, been a really bad month for batteries. The ones for my military generator also died but they came back too. So even though technically once a battery gets that low it will not come back I have had several that did. This particular one I don't expect to last because after all it is 5 years old and it only had a 2 year warranty!

pocketchange
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Re: Battery type

Post by pocketchange »

AGM batteries have an issue.. they can't be de-scaled, like a lead acid battery. pc

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AZgl1800
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Re: Battery type

Post by AZgl1800 »

pocketchange wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 7:11 pm
AGM batteries have an issue.. they can't be de-scaled, like a lead acid battery. pc
so far, never needed to do that anyway.

I have only screwed up one with the AGM on my 1800....
forgot to plug in the Battery Tender and the LED in the trunk was on for some reason, it has a push button switch is IMO is a bad thing, in the daylight, it is totally unnoticeable and once that lid is closed, it is never thought of again....

cold weather hit, and I happened out to the shop looking for something, and saw the Voltmeter down in the 6 volt range :shock: :? :? :shock:

figured it was toast for good.......... hooked up the Battery Tender, watched it a while, and it started charging.....
looked at it a week later, and it is on 14.1 which is actually about 13.8ish ( analog meter )

doubt seriously that battery gives me 6 to 8 years of use.


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