It is common knowledge that the more you ride your motorbike, the more you are spending the charged battery. This means that the battery life dwindles the more you put it to use. However, the way you maintain your battery will ultimately affect its lifespan.
It is important to ensure that your battery is always charged at a reasonable level since leaving it flat may result in future complications. Batteries normally take hours to recharge, depending on how discharged they were. You may find yourself charging the battery for more than 13 hours.
Experts in the field recommend against fast charging a battery. This is because you may overcharge the battery and in the process severely reduce its service life. 20-amps and above is what is considered to be fast charge.
Basics about a motorcycle battery
For starters, you will find that all the older bikes have the lead iron or wet-cell batteries. You will have to charge this battery for a couple of hours once it is delivered. You will also have to use distilled water to refill as soon as the fluid levels drop.
Other common types of the older model batteries include the Gel-filled batteries and the Absorbent Glass Mat batteries. While the recent models do not need any maintenance; checking the voltage output on a weekly basis, regular riding of the bike and using a tender when dormant would ensure that the lifespan of the battery is increased.
An important point to note while recharging your battery is that if it becomes hot, then you should immediately stop charging. Always ensure that the temperature of the battery you are charging does not exceed 125 Fahrenheit.
Determining the charge time for your motorbike battery
There are several steps you will go through in order for you to determine the charge time for your battery. The first thing you must do is determine the reserve capacity of your battery.
To find the amount of amp-hours in a battery, simply multiply the reserve capacity by 0.6.
The use of a voltmeter
You can use this device to measure the open circuit voltage of the battery. This (OCV) is the voltage of a battery which has been disconnected from the circuit.
The voltmeter would read 12.2 volts if the battery is 50% charged, implying that the battery has 30 amp-hours. You will need 36-amp hours to fully charge your battery.
This means that you will have to add 20% more to the 50%, i.e. 30 amps x 0.2 =36 amp-hours.
Note that the 12.20 volts reading is for a flooded lead acid battery. For a gel battery, a 50% charged battery would read 12.35 volts while for the AGM, the reading would be 12.30 volts.
The type of charger you will need
We shall guide you on some of the chargers that you may use in recharging your motor cycle battery.
The trickle charger
This is the simplest type of charger that you may find. It converts the AC power into DC and directs it into your battery until it turns off.
However, this charger needs constant supervision during charging, hence the reason why it is considered fully manual.
This type of charger first charges your battery and then turns on and off so that your battery’s charge level remains balanced.
It is quite cheap and you will be sure that your battery never ends up dead.
The smart charger
This type of charger charges your battery at different rates so that the damage to your battery would be minimal. This is made possible by the feature known as the desulfation mode which removes sulfur off the lead plates inside the battery.
However, these chargers cannot work with lithium batteries. This is because these types of batteries have their built-in monitoring systems which cannot handle the pulsing.
Motorcycle battery charging problems
These types of problems tend to freak out even the veteran motorbike users. For most of them, they resort to handover their motorbikes to the mechanics and in the process incur more costs or even damages since they may end up with fake mechanics.
This does not always have to be the case. You can fix these problems all by yourself by understanding the causes of these issues and eliminating them. We shall guide you on how you may trace these issues and get rid of them.
The battery itself
This should be the best place to start. The battery may be so old that it does not hold charge. You can check the battery voltage both when ignition is off and while starting up the engine.
Without any load, the voltage should be 12 volts or marginally higher. While cranking the engine, it should be 10.8 volts and above. If it drops below this level, then it may have some defects or is discharged.
The stator provides the extra power to charge the battery while it is in operation. Failure to do this would lead to power drainage by the battery.
The connector should be unplugged before you start taking the multimeter measurements at the stator connector. You need these measurements to test the stator.
Ensure that you take measurements on the stator connector half that goes into the engine. Follow the wires keenly and find out where they end up to.
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Charging issues such as failure to charge and high or low charging may be due to poor ground connection. Some models require that the ground connection should be located under the seat for efficiency.
This ensures that the voltage does not damage the battery. To test it, you should disconnect all the wires and then turn the multimeter to the diode function.
Place the positive lead into the positive diode to check the positive diode and then connect the negative lead to the stator inputs. In these tests, the meter should not read anything.
Now, interchange these connections, i.e. the negative lead to the positive diode and the the positive lead to the stator inputs. The meter should read something at this point.
Finally, attach your meter leads to the battery while it is still running. The reading should range between 13.5 volts and 14.5 volts. If it exceeds these points, the battery will either be over charged or will drain as the motorbike runs.
Change the regulator if this test fails.
This article has provided you with the basics when it comes to charging your motorbike battery. Just stick to these guidelines and your battery will surely give you maximum service.