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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There have been a LOT of threads started lately, with a common theme; dead or dying batteries...
I'm hoping the Mods or Admin can make this a sticky in the technical section...Testing your lead-acid battery.

First of all, make sure that your water/electrolyte levels are within spec. If you have an Gel cell, AGM (Absorbed Glass mat) or SLA (Sealed lead-acid) battery, this is out of your control.
Secondly, even if it is a "Brand New" battery, fresh off the shelf...put it on a trickle charger (1 amp or less) for 24 hours before testing it. After FULLY charging it, connect it to a load (a car's headlight, for instance) for a few minutes to remove the "surface" charge. Ideally, you should let it sit for 12 hours after removing the surface charge, but you CAN go ahead and test it now...these tests will determine whether or not your battery IS capable of running your equipment, or whether it is the source of of your problems.

Now that it is charged, check the OCV (Open Circuit voltage)...meter across both terminals, with the battery out of the bike or totally disconnected from it.
Your meter should indicate between 12.7 and 13.2 volts - maybe more depending on the battery - but the point being that it should show MORE THAN 12...

At 12 volts, the battery is considered to be only 25% charged.

This will give you an "idea" of the health of your battery...a battery that has been on 24 hr trickle charge and still falls outside of the OCV range is of no use.
Consider it as DEAD.
However, the OCV test is not conclusive...a battery that passes this test can still be faulty!

The next test would be a load test; this will show you how well your battery performs when in use.

With your meter still reading the battery voltage (12.7 - 13.2), connect a load to the terminals (the car's headlight can serve as a load) and watch the FLV (Full Load Voltage).
The reading should drop...the exact amount it will drop will depend on the internal health of the battery. Having said this, the reading should NOT drop below 10 or 11 volts. If it does, it indicates an internal fault in the battery, a fault that cannot be fixed. The only solution is to replace the battery.
When performing a Load Test, it is also important to notice how quickly the battery recovers back to full voltage, when the load is removed.

That is battery testing in a nutshell...there is much more to be learned about batteries, but this easy procedure will help you to determine whether the battery YOU have is up to the task.
These tests do NOT address the issue of corroded connections or poor grounds....that is another subject.
 

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I am totally battery illiterate and need some help. I purchased a tw 200 in may, the guy had just put in a new battery. I rode it a few times, started it up a few times but have left it on a Black and Decker battery maintainer for the last few months. the green light indicating full battery has been on but when I tried to stat it recently the battery was completely dead. took it out and no acid in it. refilled the acid, put it back in the bike and back on the maintainer. flashing green light indicating re-charging. after about 2 days the lights worked and it almost started. left the maintainer on until the light was steady green and guess what? completely dead battery and out of acid. what did I /am I doing wrong?
 

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you can order batteries with acid and without, sounds like the guy did not put the acid in, you just might of fried the battery.
 

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airess may want to check output of the battery tender as chargers can go bad and cook (overcharge) the battery they are attempting to service. A simple test with ammeter is good idea. I try to always ask myself "what assumptions am I making?" and quickly test them before drawing a conclusion based on a chain of assumptions. I am on my third battery charger after previous ones failed and killed/ cooked trolling motor batteries.
 

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Fred how do you use the ammeter to check the tender to see if it will fry the battery or not? Doesn't that depend on the tenders ability to shutdown when the battery is fully charged?
This should help.

multimeter.png


I believe you would just replace the light bulb in this picture with your battery charger.


Tom
 

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And that tells you if the battery tender will fry your battery? Can a 1 or 2 amp battery tender somehow become an overcharging electric monster? I figured at the worst it could only stop charging or the mechanism that shuts the charger off when the battery is full could malfunction so that the charger continues putting out amps long after the battery is full. Thanks for the input but I still don't understand how the ammeter will test this possibility. If the tender is going to not stop charging when the battery is full and damage my battery I would like to know how to test this using an ammeter. I admit my knowledge of electronics is painfully limited and hope someone can clarify how to do this test.[/QUOTE


I will try my best to help. A "battery tender" type charger is considered a "trickle charger". All this means is that the output or "amps" are equal to the expected discharge rate of the battery. In truth they are very slightly higher than the discharge rate of the battery type they are designed to charge/maintain. There are no magic tricks to raise or lower the amps based on the condition of the battery. If a batter tender type charger says it has a 1 amp output then when you measure the amp output with a multimeter it should be the same number. If your tender is intended to do it's job at 1 amp output and your charger circuitry fails and it is cranking out 5 amps you will cook your battery once it reaches charge capacity. I am no expert but feel this is a decent description of what you can expect.


Tom
 

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And that tells you if the battery tender will fry your battery? Can a 1 or 2 amp battery tender somehow become an overcharging electric monster? I figured at the worst it could only stop charging or the mechanism that shuts the charger off when the battery is full could malfunction so that the charger continues putting out amps long after the battery is full. Thanks for the input but I still don't understand how the ammeter will test this possibility. If the tender is going to not stop charging when the battery is full and damage my battery I would like to know how to test this using an ammeter. I admit my knowledge of electronics is painfully limited and hope someone can clarify how to do this test.[/QUOTE


I will try my best to help. A "battery tender" type charger is considered a "trickle charger".

Tom
"Battery Tender battery chargers are designed to fully charge and maintain a wide range of styles of lead acid batteries in ways that avoid the potential damaging effects that can be caused by most trickle chargers."
 

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Found an interesting article on battery care Motorcycle Consumer News: The Care and Feeding of Your Pet Battery
Seems there's more to know about this than I'd previously thought.
This is what it had to say about charging:
Battery Charging--Easy Does It

A motorcycle battery should never receive the kind of high-rate booster charge intended for a car battery, and unfortunately that always seems to be the only type of charger a service station has on hand when your bike needs help.

Inexpensive trickle charger with pigtail connector allows easy battery charging. Do not leave these charging longer than overnight without monitoring the battery.
To learn the proper maximum charging rate for your battery, look at the alphanumeric code printed across the case of the battery and you will usually find its Amp/Hour rating. If it's not obvious, check your owners manual. The proper trickle-charging rate for a motorcycle battery is one-tenth of the A/H rating for as long as 10 hours, depending on how discharged it is. Charging faster than 2.02.5 amps causes overheating which can warp and even melt the battery case if ignored. High-rate charging also speeds up internal corrosion, and its visible sign is sediment buildup under the cells, which if it reaches high enough, will also permanently short out the battery. Too high a charging rate can also result in a battery that does not hold a charge because too-rapid transformation of the lead sulfate may actually trap sulfate under a surface coating of rejuvenated lead, producing a battery that can test okay but fails quickly. Thankfully, this last effect can be reversed with a very slow charge of no more than 1¼20 (yes, that's one-twentieth) of rated capacity for 25 to 30 hours.

Therefore, because we really don't want a powerful charger, a good battery charger for most purposes is the inexpensive low-output type. Typically selling for around $20, the so-called "trickle chargers" usually produce no more than 1.2 amps. They often incorporate a solid-state feedback circuit that will taper the charge down to even lower levels as the battery voltage comes back up, preventing overcharging. Most convenient are the quick-connect type that provide a pigtail connector that can be permanently attached to the battery. The trickle charger will also work on your car battery, but even more slowly, and produces the same battery-friendly results.

Both the taper-rate and trickle charger supply only a fixed voltage. However, the lead-antimony battery should be charged at 1415 volts, but the lead-calcium type needs l516 volts to reach full charge. What's the voltage of your charger? Does it match your battery type?

Constant current chargers like the Optimate or Battery Tender brands are called smart chargers because they can vary the charging voltage to keep current constant and charge a battery much more quickly. We'll cover their other advantages in a future article.
Nice find Revelation, This battery 101 should get us a few College Credits. ;)
 
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I ordered a Yuasa battery on Amazon Prime Sunday at 9PM. Received it today (Tuesday) at noon gotta love Amazon Prime. Prime membership is worth it to me Free 2 day shipping. I assumed it came with Acid. NOT. I rand down to Battery Warehouse and they filled it $5. Total $48. I know there are a lot of cheaper battery's out there but I have had such luck with these battery's. I had to buy another plus they are made in PA just across the Mason Dixon Line. USA. I'm on my second Yuasa battery in my 4wheeler in 21 years and I'm not BSing you all. I keep it in the barn with no battery tender. I made it a point to see what kind of battery was in it last weekend. Knowing I needed a battery in my TW. I hope I get this kind of life out of this battery.
 

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Been using Battery Tender brand chargers ever since my 10 dollar trickle charger killed three of my batteries.
Have not bought a battery since using Battery Tenders
There is a 4unit 12v charger on the garage ceiling with cords to each of the 12V bikes, three 6 volt chargers for the CT90s and Yamaha Champ. Plus there are three 12v singles for the cars that don't get used in the winter.
I cannot say enough good things about them. No, I don't work for them, and I am not getting paid to say it. I'm old and crotchety, have paid my dues, and I know what works.... For me anyway.
Now, if I could just find a nice drum brake TW200, I'd be happy... ish.
 

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+1 I've had Battery Tender Jr.s for 10 years now. I use one on the RV battery, leave it on all the time, and one for the two bikes and ATV, and I rotate it around about once a week in the winter. I replaced the RV battery once at seven years, and the bikes go about 5-6 years.....IF I don't screw up and let one get drained, which I have managed more than once.:p
 

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Originally Posted by TW2013

Having a new battery serviced up correctly, from the beginning...is an important step. In my experience...44 years of riding and over 1 million miles documented on motorcycles, I have witnessed shops handing out batteries that were serviced wrong, probably 93.14159 % of the time.

Just because the dealership service dept. does the servicing on the new battery, does NOT mean it was done right. So many of the newer batteries already come with either acid in them, or gel filled, or AGM, or Lithium Iron batteries, and when sold, only need a small trickle charge to bring them up to full charge...if needed at all.

There is NO WAY that I would allow a shop mechanic to hook the above posted charger onto a new motorcycle battery, and give it a 20 minute charge. NO WAY ! Period.

That charger most likely has a minimum charging rate of 2 amps, when all you need is a trickle charge of 1.2 amps. While I was not standing there watching the mechanic "throw" a charge into your new battery.....most likely he did what 93.14 % of all motorcycle shop mechanics do, and that is he hooked the new battery up to the BIG charger....turned the knobs until he saw the needle move to show it was putting a charge into the battery...probably at the rate of 15 amps or higher, and then turned the other knob to give it a little "time" to COOK the battery. And that is just what he did...he COOKED the battery.

The correct and proper way to charge a new battery is to first determine..."what kind of battery do you have?" Dependent upon that answer, that tells you what kind of charging needs to be done, if any charging at all. And "IF" some charging needs to be done...most likely so....then you want to use a 1.2 amp trickle charger, and charge it as slow as possible. It the new battery has lead plates, and acid inside, all you are wanting to do is gently wake up the acid, and re-introduce it to the lead plates, in a gentle manner. If you "throw" a big charger onto an acid filled battery with lead plates, and crank up the charging rate...all you are doing is MELTING the lead plates. That new battery is now good for maybe 6 months to 1 year...then it is dead.

In the OLD days.....days of yore...(your grandfathers' days)...I learned to get a new battery from a shop or store, with the acid in the box next to the battery, and take it home to "fill" the battery myself. If you allow the shop or dealership to fill the battery, then simply DUMP the acid into the new battery, as fast as they can, and 30 seconds later either hand you the battery to take home, or...they may throw a 20 minute charge onto that newly filled battery, at a high rate, and all they did was melt the lead plates.

WHY, you ask, did that happen? Because when the acid first contacts the lead plates, there is a chemical reaction that creates HEAT. That heat needs time to dissipate, and allow the lead plates to cool some, before putting it on the charger. If you throw the new battery, just filled with acid, on to a big charger, that creates MORE heat, and melts the lead plates.

The way it should be done is to take the empty battery home, along with the box of acid that it comes with. Slowly and gently fill the new battery with the acid from the box. Properly dispose of the now empty acid box. Allow the newly filled battery to sit for at least 1 hour...preferably 2 or 3 hours...to cool...and to allow the acid to become familiar with the lead plates. That means leaving the caps OFF the top of the battery, so the individual cells can breathe. Place a paper towel over the top of the battery, so that any bubbling of the cells can be caught in the paper towel.

After the battery has cooled down for at least 1 hour, preferably more, then do an initial charge test, just to see where the battery charge is...probably around 11.2 to 12.5 volts. Then, with a trickle charger, or a charge as low as 1.2 amps, connect the charger to the new battery, and slowly charge the new battery for as close to 24 hours as possible. Once done, take another static test of the battery charge, which should now be 12.5 to 13.2 volts.

With the cell caps back in place, the battery wiped down, all tools put away, the charger put away.....the new battery is now ready to be used.

So many people do not know how to properly service a new battery, that a large majority of the new batteries are ruined on day # 1, by incompetent shop employees, or owners that should know better, but don't.

Most people do not take battery servicing seriously enough...until their battery goes dead, and they wonder...WHY ?


This definitely belongs in this sticky!! I never knew that you shouldn't start charging a new battery until a few hours after filling it. Thanks Mike!
 
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