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Thread: Battery maintenance

  1. #1
    Senior Member Trail Woman's Avatar
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    Battery maintenance

    I have some knowledge of maintaining batteries from a previous job but want to confirm since I read so much contradiction online regarding motorcycle batteries.

    My motor wouldn't start and after charging and trying it again the battery metered at 10v so I checked the water levels and they range from dried enough to not see water (small holes don't want to tip it over too far), to flush with the plates. In my experience you fill with distilled water to the top of the plates (not too much or you reduce potency) and then charge it. But popular mechanics say to fill it to the spout of the chamber and others say to the minimal line marked on the side of the cell and not to over fill it...both seem inaccurate to me so I wanted to confirm with those more experienced.

    Also in other batteries once the levels started to drop the battery was on a decline and would need to be replaced in less then 6 month...what's your prognosis?

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    Senior Member scotti158's Avatar
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    I went to Lithium batteries, so much easier. No acid levels to worry about and hold a charge a lot longer.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Trail Woman's Avatar
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    I'm considering that for my next battery but want to see what I can get out of this one first.

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    Senior Member SHAG's Avatar
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    You seem to know more than most about these things !

    Fill to just above the top of the plates. Overfilling a little won't really hurt or help. Charge it and see what the voltage is. If battery more than 5 years old prepare to get a new one in the near future.

    That's my story..
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    Senior Member Smitty Blackstone's Avatar
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    Almost all lithium here.

    When I have to deal with a wet cell, I cover the plates with distilled water and trickle charge it for 24 hrs. No more than 750 milliamps.

    If it comes back to life, I consider myself lucky and never trust that battery again.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Trail Woman's Avatar
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    Thanks..that's some reassurance.

    I should have mentioned I bought it June 2015...so almost 3 years old.

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    Senior Member Dryden-Tdub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Woman View Post
    I have some knowledge of maintaining batteries from a previous job but want to confirm since I read so much contradiction online regarding motorcycle batteries.

    My motor wouldn't start and after charging and trying it again the battery metered at 10v so I checked the water levels and they range from dried enough to not see water (small holes don't want to tip it over too far), to flush with the plates. In my experience you fill with distilled water to the top of the plates (not too much or you reduce potency) and then charge it. But popular mechanics say to fill it to the spout of the chamber and others say to the minimal line marked on the side of the cell and not to over fill it...both seem inaccurate to me so I wanted to confirm with those more experienced.

    Also in other batteries once the levels started to drop the battery was on a decline and would need to be replaced in less then 6 month...what's your prognosis?
    Before you spend too much time on your old battery test each cell inside the battery with a multimeter. Fill each cell with enough distilled water to cover each plate then trickle charge the battery overnight. Let the battery stand for an hour or so then remove the fill caps. Set your meter to DC and place the black lead from your meter to the - terminal on your battery then insert the red lead into each cell chamber and make contact with the plate. You should read 3 volts or higher "assuming you have 4 cells". If all cells are working properly then your battery should be salvageable for another season. Hope this helps.



    Tom
    Last edited by Dryden-Tdub; 02-11-2018 at 08:21 PM.
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  9. #8
    Senior Member Smitty Blackstone's Avatar
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    I have worked with dry batteries that have been on the shelf since the 70's (oddball sizes needed for correct judging, where the bike needs to start), batteries taken off of my "pile-o-batteries" to test circuits, lights or run my Honda diagnostic equipment.

    Not really dependent on age, but more related to the amount of care the battery received during its life. It is a crapshoot as to whether you can revive one.

    If this is your only bike, and you need to rely on it, why not change the battery? In some bikes (I am not that familiar with the TW's charging system), having a weak or failing battery can cause issues (more expensive issues, ie Murphy's Law) with other portions of the electrical system.

    I know I sound like a broken record, but Battery Tender batteries have all but removed a large part of maintaining my bikes.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member Trail Woman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dryden-Tdub View Post
    Before you spend too much time on your old battery test each cell inside the battery with a multimeter. Fill each cell with enough distilled water to cover each cell then trickle charge the battery overnight. Let the battery stand for an hour or so then remove the fill caps. Set your meter to DC and place the black lead from your meter to the - terminal on your battery then insert the red lead into each cell chamber and make contact with the plate. You should read 3 volts or higher "assuming you have 4 cells". If all cells are working properly then your battery should be salvageable for another season. Hope this helps.




    Tom

    That is great advice Tom. It has 6 chambers I believe. Stock battery 2015.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Dryden-Tdub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Woman View Post
    That is great advice Tom. It has 6 chambers I believe. Stock battery 2015.
    2 volts or slightly more per cell then.



    Tom
    It won't be greed which destroys America. It will be envy.

    Man who runs in front of motorcycle gets tired. Man who runs behind motorcycle gets exhausted.

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