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One thing I’ve never understood about batteries (in general), is why they first have be fully charged before use

“When I were a lad”, the advice from the shop was “as long as you give it a long run on the way home, you’ll be fine”

In those days of course, you only had lead acid batteries, but I never had one fail on me. The modern lead acid type have obviously improved over the last 40 years, to the point where they fail more readily. This could be down to cheaper Chinese imports – but they’re not what they used to be …..

These days we have gel acid – same problems – and now Lithium (which I understand to have a variety of cut-outs built in to prevent over and under voltage)

So why does a Lithium battery, with all its 2 pence worth of protective circuitry, still need to be fully charged before use ?

The Lithium batteries have no “memory” – no “sulk mode” – some arrive charged as low as 30%, some as high as 90%, so what’s with the “charge for 24hrs before first use” ?

Now, let’s get this back into context – if you spend 30 mins at (at least) at 4000rpm, then the TW should be pumping enough power into that thing to get it to wake up and smell the coffee. And even if it’s only half charged, does this mean that repeated attempts at starting should be regarded as a reason for a subsequent (outsourced) re-charge ?

The only reason I can see for “fully charging” before use, is to “stretch” the (Lithium) battery to its full potential, so that it will know what its full potential actually is

But, given that Lithium batteries have no memory, why can’t you “stretch” that potential at a later date ? – if the battery arrives only 30% charged, surely that implies the battery can be charged to its “full” state at a later time

Indeed, my “assumption” is largely backed up by the following article - Charging Lithium-Ion Batteries ? Battery University

So what’s all the fuss about ?

The instruction booklet that came with a recent “cordless” phone kit says, “charge for 24hrs or your phone may not work”

I can only attribute that caution necessary if the handsets arrived with less than 20% charge, whereas in fact, given the nature of Lithium, they came 85% charged

So – back to basics – a 30 minute run at over 4000rpm should see a Lithium battery off to a good start, so why the reports of failures ?

Am I missing something ? …….
 

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I'm with you Purple. I never charge a new battery and my batteries last as long as anyones. Its kind of like nobody can tighten a bolt without a torque wrench anymore. I have been a mechanic for over 30 years and there is so much bullshit out there now and everyone gobbles it up.
 

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Beyond my pay grade and my field of expertise, but...

...I think there are significant differences between lithium-ION batteries found in cellphones and the like and the lithium-IRON batteries used in motor vehicles.
 

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All I can say is...Battery technology has enhanced our lives beyond what we have ever dreamed.
 

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Purple I think what you have stated is mostly correct. Lifepo4 lithium batteries shouldn't need to be fully charged before using depending on charge state. Lifepo4 don't need the complicated algorithm for charging to be safe. But let's look at at it from this point of view. Because they have great discharge rates even when low and because they may be sized at a smaller amphr rate you mentioned what might happen too many starts on a low battery. The stock battery is @ 7 Amp hrs. Remember our bikes probably have a 4 Amp discharge due to lights on all the time so subtract that from your 30 minute at @ 9 Amps charge rate. You are probably only putting back in 2 1/2 amps back in. A new lithium might be 6 amp hrs but have better starting qualities but lower capacity. So if you leave your key on too long dead battery sooner. That's kinda the dilemma I am facing with my home build battery. I have 5.5 amp cells do I just use 4 in series for 5.5 amp hr or go ahead and use 8 2 parallel and 4s for double the capacity @ 11 amp hrs. The extra amps seem like a no brainer and they should still fit in the old battery space. Although I haven't check yet.
 

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Just from memory and the little I think I know. Li-Ion batteries are stored mostly discharged, also shipped that way. They are safer. Hence you must fully charge them to use them. Of course at this age I could be wrong.
 

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"I'm with you Purple. I never charge a new battery and my batteries last as long as anyones. Its kind of like nobody can tighten a bolt without a torque wrench anymore. I have been a mechanic for over 30 years and there is so much bullshit out there now and everyone gobbles it up."


Ok I'm going to apologize for my hasty statement. I am talking conventional lead acid batteries. One thing I do though is refill the acid to the full mark after one week of use as they are often not filled to the proper level plus a small amount of acid is absorbed into the plates. After that I top them up twice a year to the proper level with distilled water. sealed batteries are nice. Personally I won't use any battery that requires a special charger for the simple reason that should I kill the battery somehow away from home I like to be able to boost and go without worrying about ruining my battery. Am I wrong about this?
 

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I was bemoaning the state of batteries in general these days – Lead and Liposuction

But to answer your question – yes, an “old stlye” charger can wreck a new style Lithium battery – doesn’t matter which “type” of Lithium, the result will be the same

The older chargers (back when I were a lad) where built for Lead Acid only – and when you put a discharged lead battery on them, they would go into “de-sulphate” mode, a much higher rate of charge to bring the plates back to life, then fall back to a “normal” rate, and finally the “trickle charge” – the only option controls you had were switching on the mains plug, and on the really fancy ones, selecting either 6 or 12 volts

It’s this “de-sulphate” charge that will fry Lithium faster than you can make a bacon sandwich, and as the older chargers were built to last, there’s still quite a few of them around

Then we get the chargers that will handle both types of battery, with the option to disable “de-sulphate” mode – then we get the chargers that are Lithium only – the whole thing turned into a minefield

There are two solutions to this – either carry the manual that came with the battery, plus the correct charger, plus the manual that came with that charger – or carry one of these ……

Suaoki 12000mAh 400A Portable Car Jump Starter Booster Charger Battery PowerBank
 

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The battery makers like it when you buy batteries. So they engineer the batteries to fail much more easily now. the info about charging when you get it is a disclaimer that shields them form complaint when the batteries fail prematurely.
 

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I have one of the Scorpian AGM batteries and it works better than every Yuasa lead acid battery I have had. I pushed those lead acid batteries for years by using the kick starter. It is nice just to push the button now.
 
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