TW200 Forum banner

1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,544 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We've had a good thread (and this isn't the first on this topic) about how to pick a good battery for your TW and how to best care for it. Shelling out $40-50 each season for a new battery shouldn't be necessary if we share information. Follow the link below to share your information and we can all learn what works best.



> > TAKE OUR BATTERY SURVEY < <
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
652 Posts
I haven't bought a new battery in 4 years and it's still strong. I have several CT hondas, with notorious battery death issues and as long as I remove them for the winter, keep the fluid topped up with distilled water, and ensure they are charged then they survive. It they lose their charge (can't tell you the lowest voltage) they will never recover. I use a CTEK Multi 3300 charger, which is the best you can find.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,664 Posts
Truelight, you're beating this battery thing to death.



Batteries die from:

Extreme temperature.

Low electrolyte level.

Excessive discharge level.

Excessive charge cycles.

Excessive charge rate or time.



Deal with those variables. Nothing else matters as far as maintenance. This goes for any lead-acid technology: wet-cell, gell, AGM, etc.



I'm switching to Chinese AGMs on every application as the lead-acid batteries die. Get your new TW battery here.



Get an appropriate charger here. Sad thing is, other than the high-dollar programmables, it's very difficult to actually find a charger with a low enough current capacity that a TW battery isn't at risk of damage from excessive current. I've done that difficult work for you. If you don't want to do business with Tower Hobbies, just google HCAP0210. I apologize for not taking the time to find an appropriate charger already equipped with alligator clips. You do it.



Finally, you'll need a timer to do your daily charge session.



Okay, I've sent you to a battery with which you don't have to dork with filling the electrolyte, a charger that has an output 17% of the battery's amp/hour rating, and a timer to turn the charger off and on autonatically. What more could you possibly want?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
464 Posts
I haven't bought a new battery in 4 years and it's still strong. I have several CT hondas, with notorious battery death issues and as long as I remove them for the winter, keep the fluid topped up with distilled water, and ensure they are charged then they survive. It they lose their charge (can't tell you the lowest voltage) they will never recover. I use a CTEK Multi 3300 charger, which is the best you can find.




I have had similar experiences (same song second verse).



Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,334 Posts
Speaking of chargers, I use a Float Charger from Harbor Freight that was on sale at the local outlet for $4.99.



http://www.harborfre...rger-42292.html



Now I know I should be beaten severely about the head and neck and sent to bed without supper for asking such a stupid question, but what if anything is wrong with it?



I did modify the positive wire on the charger by removing the alligator clip and replacing it with one of those male/female plugs one finds on computers and running a wire to the positive battery terminal. I painted the plug red so all would know it was positive. I have a second male plug to fill the hole when riding.



 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,664 Posts
A "float" charge is just a reduced charge rate. The idea is to replace the charge at the same rate a battery self-discharges. Most chargers will give the output in volts and amps or volts and milliamps, such as "13.7 volts, 5 amps". Sometimes the advertisinf will state the charger is for a 12 volt battery and just give the amps or milliamps, For instance, the charger I keep linking to lists its output as "120mAh", which means 120 milliamps/hour, in this case the "per hour" is extraneous. A float charger will sometimes give the output in volts, then a range for the amps and milliamps, such as "13.7 volts, "0.5-15 amps", which means the float charge rate is still too high for a TW battery to be charged, and the dead battery charge rate is enough to cause the battery to literally boil inside. This is not unusual--float chargers and trickle chargers sold for cars are often excessively powerful for small batteries. Just because the advertising copy claims a charger is sized for motosport or motorcycle use doesn't mean it fits the needs of a TW-size battery, though it may be fine for a bigger bike.



All chargers in the U. S. of A. are required by law to have their output marked on them. Find the ouput ratings marked on the charger. If any are above 14 volts or 0.4 amps, they are too powerful for a TW battery. Output ratings are the only way to properly size a charger of any type.



Tony, I'll make no comment on your charger because not even the manual gives the output amps or milliamps. Perhaps the label on the charger itself will provide the ouput amperage. If it's more than 0.4 amps or 400 milliamps, it's too hot for a TW battery.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,500 Posts
Here's the battery that replaced the stock flooded cell lead-acid battery. It's an AGM (absorbed glass mat) no name clone of a Yuasa YTZ7S.



I purchased it about a year after I acquired my TW. The stock battery was still good. I replaced it because I wanted a battery that would not leak in a tip over, and that I did not need to worry about checking the electrolyte level.







Here's the same battery 4+ years after purchase (purchase date 2/22/07)

It has been sitting on the shelf (no charger) since I removed it from the TW about 2 weeks ago when I put in the Shorai battery.







The AGM has been kept alive by this 800ma Waterproof Battery Tender charger during the ~5 months it sits in winter hibernation each year.







The old AGM will go in my Honda generator, and kept on the 800ma Battery Tender until needed.



Here's the Shorai lithium-iron battery that replaced the old AGM.

I have decided not to keep it on a charger during storage to see if it lives up to the manufacturer's claims.







jb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
I installed a Yuasa knock-off AGM the beginning of this season. Not quite the amp*hours, but more cranking amps than the flooded battery it replaced. The TW cranks very nice and shelf life is much improved.



A couple pieces of stiff foam (cut from water pipe insulation) to make up the space difference. IIRC I shimmed it upwards with a piece of styrofoam as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,544 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Tons of good information here. What I've still not seen (but could have missed it with a thread this extensive), is how much and how long to leave a battery on the charger? In my case, I used the Harbor Freight Float charger and left it plugged into the battery (which was in the bike and in a cold garage) 24/7 during the past 3 winter months. A couple of times over the winter I started the bike (which always started just fine). I'd then plug 'er back in and let it go.



This spring, it was the long ride across town (lot's of stop and go riding, idling at traffic lights, blinkers frequently running) that seemed too much for the system. Given that my system seems to output less than 12v at idle (though over that at higher revs), my guess is that more drain than charge is happening in that kind of riding. Maybe a longer high rev ride would be different ?



Anyway... my question is this... If I do use a lower amp "proper" charger, when is the right time to use it and for how long each time? I would think that a properly running TW ridden fairly often ought to be able to keep the battery happy w/o a charger at all, no? So... assmung my bike charging system is working (which I'm not sure of), do I need a charger at all? If so, when and how much?



Oh yeah Qwerty... your "tone" in your replies seems a bit condescending. When I finally "get it" on this subject, I'll stop asking questions. Others seem to be finding this thread useful. I bow to your knowledge of TWs, but play nice or don't reply. You may think I'm "beating this topic to death," but I'm still learning.

<Rant Mode off>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,544 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Here's the battery that replaced the stock flooded cell lead-acid battery. It's an AGM (absorbed glass mat) no name clone of a Yuasa YTZ7S.



I purchased it about a year after I acquired my TW. The stock battery was still good. I replaced it because I wanted a battery that would not leak in a tip over, and that I did not need to worry about checking the electrolyte level.







Here's the same battery 4+ years after purchase (purchase date 2/22/07)

It has been sitting on the shelf (no charger) since I removed it from the TW about 2 weeks ago when I put in the Shorai battery.







The AGM has been kept alive by this 800ma Waterproof Battery Tender charger during the ~5 months it sits in winter hibernation each year.







The old AGM will go in my Honda generator, and kept on the 800ma Battery Tender until needed.



Here's the Shorai lithium-iron battery that replaced the old AGM.

I have decided not to keep it on a charger during storage to see if it lives up to the manufacturer's claims.







jb


During the ~5 months your battery was connected to the Battery Tender, did you leave it conected and running 24/7 ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,334 Posts
A friend, who has about 10 float chargers on various ATVs and motorcycles going right now as I type this, told me that once a battery is fully charged the float charger stops charging. If the battery loses a little charge it starts up again until fully charged then shuts down again. It is not a trickle charger.



He is also the person that told me to wait for the sale of the Harbor Freight Float Charger. He said at $4.99 each it is a deal hard to beat and that he hasn't had any trouble with the 6 he has bought.



I do check the water in the battery occasionally and have had to add some from time to time though it doesn't seem to be using more than before.



Qwerty -- The only output rating I could find on the float charger was on the AC adapter. It says 15V AC, 600mA. Would converting the current from AC to DC cut the mA in half to 300mA? I found no other marking anywhere regarding output, or much anything else for that matter.





 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,500 Posts
During the ~5 months your battery was connected to the Battery Tender, did you leave it connected and running 24/7 ?
Yes, the Battery Tender is left on the whole time.



However, when the battery reaches its peak programmed voltage, the charger goes into a "maintenance mode", which means it stops charging until the battery self discharges to the pre-programmed voltage, then charges again to the peak voltage. The charger repeats the cycle as needed.



This is different from a "trickle" charger which provides a continuous small charge. This type of charger will kill a battery that is left on for extended times.



I have the Waterproof 800ma Battery Tender charger for each of my bikes and have pigtails installed so the seat doesn't need to be removed to connect to the charger. No failures yet of any of the chargers or the batteries they are connected to (all are AGM's).



On the other hand, I used to use the Deltran 1.25 amp Battery Tenders. I had 3 of the 4 fail. The cost of repair was as much as buying a new 800ma charger.



Here's some info on battery charging:



http://batterytender.com/resources/battery-basics.htm



There are many other motorcycle chargers on the market. This one has worked for me. There are certainly others that work as well (and at a lower cost).



I also have the more expensive Optimate chargers (now on version 4) that go on the batteries in the boat, tractor, and golf cart. No failures with the Optimates either.



Many of the riders in the BMW group I ride with put their bikes on a charger whenever they are not riding them.



jb
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,664 Posts
Truelight,



I and several others have already answered each of your questions several times in different threads, responding directly to your posts. If you don't "get it" by now, maybe you might try going back and reading the responses again. I'll save you the embarrassment of quoting every time you asked and every time someone answered your question, and you still didn't "get it". If you feel condenscended, you surely deserve it. Now that I have your emotional attention, take a deep breath, because here are the answers. Again.




Batteries die from neglect. (Improper electrolyte level resulting in sulfation, allowed to excessively self-discharge resulting in sulfation, failure to keep connections clean resulting in heat build-up due to increased electrical resistance, etc.)

Batteries die from heat. (>85*F is tough on batteries, whether ambient temperature >85*F, or the battery temp exceeds 85*F from exothermic chemical reactions due too excessive charge or discharge rates and/or electrical resistance due to excessive charge or discharge rates.}

Batteries die from freezing. (<32*F is tough on batteries.)



A lead-acid battery self-discharges at a rate of 8-40% per month, depending on how much antimony is alloyed with lead in the plates. Alimony is alloyed with lead to provide tougher plates less prone to vibration and impact damage. Motorcycle batteries are subject to severe vibration and impact loads, so their plates contain high antimony levelos, so their self-discharge rate is closer to the 40% than the 8%.



Lead-acid batteries loose capacity as temperature drops below 32*F. For example, the battery in my Olds is rated at 750 cold cranking amps at 32*F. At 0*F, the same battery is rated at 600 cold cranking amps. That's a 20% drop in capacity. So, a battery that sits uncharged and self-discharges 40%, plus is freezing at 0*F and looses another 20% of capacity, only has 40% of capacity remaining. Not even a deep cycle battery should be discharged below 40% of its capacity. Starting batteries should never be discharged below 10% of their rated capacity.



Now, a battery discharged to 60% of its capacity, and someone hits the starter, and is surprised when the battery is damaged by being asked to work at 250% of its practical capacity?




In your case, with the charger attached, if stored much under 20*F, your battery was being maintained at 90% of its capacity after it was charged. Leaving the charger on all the time probably slowly sulfated the battery, which results in degradation called "surface charge", which will often start a vehicle if it starts right up, but lacks depth if starting requires any significant cranking. Funny thing is, a surface charge will test normal voltage when the battery is not being used, but the battery voltage can drop below 10 volts within seconds under a load. No voltage, no amps. I expect the constant charging, at too high a rate, and cold storage, combined to cause your battery to sulfate. I wouldn't be surprised if your charging circuit is just fine, it just doesn't put out enough voltage to power through the sulfation to force a surface charge on your battery.



Tony, you're output is 15 volts and 600 milliamps. DC. I expect the AC claim is bogus. If not, your charger will not charger your battery, except the little square box between the wall wart and clips is packed with diodes that convert AC to pulsed DC. Also, the voltage is reduced to 13.2 volts due to resistance in the wires and electronics, which is a 12% voltage drop, which would likely provide a 12% drop in the rated 600 milliamps, resulting in a practical output of 528 milliamps, which is a bit high. I think you get away with leaving it hooked up because the pulsed DC voltage is relatively low, at 13.2 volts. A fully charged 12 volt battery in good condition will actually measure between 13 and 14 volts. As the battery voltage approaches the charger voltage, the current (milliamps) slows, and when there is no difference in volts, there is no current flow. In essence, it is the low output volt that prevents battery sulfation.



Also, heat is the enemy of a battery. Your slightly high milliamp rating would easily overheat the battery if used to charge in ambient temps close to 85*F. I expect you don't let the battery become excessively discharged where the charger would take several hours to restore the charge, so even though the charger is hooked up and plugged in, the actual charge time is too short to heat the battery very much. If you use this charger in the summer, it might be a good idea to use a lamp timer with 15-minute switches, so the charger cycles on 15 minutes, then off 15 minutes, which provides time for the battery to cool between charge cycles. In fact, a 40% self-discharge rate would easily be restored by about 12 hours use of your charger per month, assuming the typical 50% efficiency, with 50% lost to internal resistance and heat. Your battery would stay fully charge if you ran the charger 30 minutes a day. During the summer, use a timer to due a charge cycle about 6:00AM, when ambient temps are coolest. Unless you store the battery in an air conditioned structure--then it doesn't matter.



Note that the instructions state that your charger is not to be used to charge a battery. Well, considering the 125 amp battery maximum would take about 600 hours to charge, that might be good advice. More than likely the charge rate would be lower than the self-discharge rate of such a large battery. A 125 amp battery would be a starter battery of about 1250 cold cranking amps, which would be about right for a diesel pickup. Be careful using it in the summer, all well be well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,500 Posts
Truelight,



Keep asking questions and gathering information until you feel comfortable about making your own decision.



Maybe, we should have a thread about battery chargers.



Using a home made battery charger from a standard wall wart transformer ignores everything that has been learned about modern battery charging.



A charger needs to be able to vary current and voltage to provide bulk, absorption, and maintenance modes.



Modern intelligent battery chargers have a microprocessor in them that provides a charging algorithm (program).



Different types of batteries need different programs. An AGM uses a different one than one for flooded cells.



Some chargers even have a de-sulfation mode that can extend the life of a neglected battery.



Don't take my word for it, or anyone else's. Do your own research. There is plenty of good info available.



jb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,334 Posts
Qwerty -- Unless I plan on riding the TW in the next day or two after getting back from a ride, I plug in the float charger. Or another way of saying it is when I do use the float charger the battery should already have a pretty good charge on it. The battery is tired but the $4.99 float charger has extended its useful life and postponed the inevitable reality that I should get a new battery. Maybe my logic is flawed, but I am cheap!!!!



Also, as you noted, there is a black box between the alligator clips and the wall "wart". I figured there was a diode in this box. If 600mA were coming out of the wall wart with AC current and if half of the AC current was eliminated by the diode wouldn't that leave 300mA flowing in one direction? Or looking at it another way, since it is a pulse DC current, it is only flowing electricity half the time. Full time flow equals 600mA, half time flow equals 300mA.



The black box does get warm.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
866 Posts
I think Truelight "gets it", but he's looking for different angles, ideas, and experiences. That's what this forum is all about.



I've seen guys with a whole shelf dedicated to batteries and chargers, with all kinds of complex routines for keeping them up and running while their bikes sit and collect dust. In my experience, the best thing for your battery, your bike, and you is to get out and JUST RIDE. I owned a DRZ400s for 10 years, and it still had the original battery when I sold it. It was hooked up to a charger one time when one of my connectors failed during a ride, and the battery ran down because of it. Not once did I ever put seafoam or other mystery chemical in the tank, or clean gunk out of the carburetor. The bike ran perfect the whole time. I ran whatever gas was at the gas station, whether E0 or E10, and didn't worry about it. Now I'm sure I had a little luck somewhere along the way, but I think the main thing that kept me away from problems was that I rode the bike on a regular basis.



Of course, if you're not able to do that, go ahead and setup a shelf, or add a pigtail to your bike, or do whatever it is you need to do. As long a you're fairly diligent, you should get several years out of each battery.



On the other side, I bought a Yamaha Waverunner in the summer of 2009, and, other than putting Sta-Bil in the fuel, I completely let it sit neglected for the entire winter. Guess what? I had to but a new battery the next summer, as the original was complete toast. I can't ride it all the time, so I use some of the methods qwerty and others have suggested, and my current battery is still in good shape after one winter.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,664 Posts
Qwerty -- Unless I plan on riding the TW in the next day or two after getting back from a ride, I plug in the float charger. Or another way of saying it is when I do use the float charger the battery should already have a pretty good charge on it. The battery is tired but the $4.99 float charger has extended its useful life and postponed the inevitable reality that I should get a new battery. Maybe my logic is flawed, but I am cheap!!!!



Also, as you noted, there is a black box between the alligator clips and the wall "wart". I figured there was a diode in this box. If 600mA were coming out of the wall wart with AC current and if half of the AC current was eliminated by the diode wouldn't that leave 300mA flowing in one direction? Or looking at it another way, since it is a pulse DC current, it is only flowing electricity half the time. Full time flow equals 600mA, half time flow equals 300mA.



The black box does get warm.
Output of the box depends on what's in the box. AC current isn't full time flow, either. Current flows one direction, stops, flows the other direction, stops, 60 times per second. The pulsed DC coming out of the square box is probably 120 pulses per second. A regulated power supply would provide a steady flow of DC current.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,334 Posts
Output of the box depends on what's in the box. AC current isn't full time flow, either. Current flows one direction, stops, flows the other direction, stops, 60 times per second. The pulsed DC coming out of the square box is probably 120 pulses per second. A regulated power supply would provide a steady flow of DC current.


OK. I figured it being a cheap POS float charger that it just eliminated all the peaks and left the valleys. Doesn't matter.....as long as it works for me and it does I am happy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,105 Posts
I installed a TrueGel and do nothing for years, no charger, no float charger, no Battery Tender, no trickle charger.



Ronnydog
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
553 Posts
With the kickstarter backup, when the battery doesn't start it, I just kick start it. After a ride to work and back it will start on electric for another week or so.



Never checked the levels, but will do shortly.



I'm terrible with battery maint, but as I ride year round, I don't seem to have trouble anyway. Battery is about 3 years old.
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top