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How to tell if you should replace or just recharge your motorcycle battery

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  • How to tell if you should replace or just recharge your motorcycle battery

    Dead Motorcycle Battery: How do you know if you should replace it, or if you can just recharge it? There are two easy ways to find out.

    While you're there, find out how to test your charging system to make sure that isn't the problem. Here's how:

  • #2
    The easiest way : just to walk a known good car or truck battery over to your motorcycle, hook it up correctly with some jumper cables and if the bike cold starts way better then it's because your motorcycle battery is ready for recycling. Normally that's about ever 3 to 4 years ymmv.


    • #3
      and don't spend big bucks on high tech solid state battery upgrades unless your motorcycle was originally designed to charge them. It's a total waste of money when your old bikes charging system fries your nice expensive lithium battery. Buy the cheapest lead acid battery you can source and replace them often, you will get better service and save money in the long run.


      • #4
        My stock 1982 charging system gets along with my solid-state lithium battery just fine. Of course, it's only been in the bike for seven years, so maybe it's just a short-term thing.


        • #5
          "The first and most common way to damage a Lithium battery is by overcharging it – if it is subjected to a voltage of above 14.6V, rapid cell damage will occur. Excessive overcharging can cause a Li-ion battery to heat up and eventually self destruct: burning from the inside out.

          The second way to damage a Li-ion battery is to discharge it to a very low voltage. They often have a lower Ah capacity, so can flatten quickly if left connected for long periods – and once discharged they can be difficult to recover.

          The third way to damage a Li-ion battery is to attempt to re-charge it using a lead acid battery charger/optimiser. Lead acid chargers/optimisers are designed to deliver high current at low voltage and then taper off, whereas a lithium battery at low voltage needs a controlled low current charge until it reaches 12.8V. It is crucial to use a charger/optimiser specifically designed for Li-ion batteries.

          The fourth and final way to kill an Li-ion battery is by not maintaining it at all. LFP batteries are typically 1/3 or 1/4 the Amp-hour of the equivalent lead acid battery and will drain three to four times faster when connected to a bike.

          Note: A Li-ion battery cannot and must not be jump-started. This will not only damage the battery itself, but can also cause problems with the bike’s charging system and/or voltage regulator."



          • #6
            What about LiFePo batteries? I wouldn't put a Li-ion battery in a motor vehicle if I could avoid it, but LiFePo batteries see to be more compatible.

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            • #7
              Think of it this way; traditional lead acid batteries like your bike came fitted with are literally water cooled, excess heat is released by boiling which really does not hurt a lead acid battery much, they are very tolerant to varied charging rates and sources because of their liquid chemical nature and manufacturers did not need to put expensive regulator rectifier components into motorcycles to sell bikes. By comparison, excess voltage in the form of voltage spikes even very brief in duration create a spark which is a hot spot between the dry layers of a solid state lithium battery, that's what degrades dry batteries when you charge them wrong, over-voltage causes heat which reduces their capacity and life expectancy.
              LiFePo batteries contain a flammable gel so they are not dry lithium technology but they can't boil either, anything that can boil can not be completely sealed. When you spend the big bucks on expensive battery tech you need to charge them with expensive battery tech chargers. Says so right on the package in most cases.


              • #8
                You should contact some of these battery manufacturers. They seem to be under the impression that standard lead-acid chargers are safe to use and can work well.

                Q. Can I use Lead-Acid battery chargers or charger/tenders?

                A. Yes. HOWEVER, you may NOT use a charger/tender if it has an automatic "desulfation mode", "repair", "recondition", or "recovery" mode, which cannot be turned off. Lead acid charger/tenders can be used for regular maintenance charging and then be disconnected after the battery is fully charged. DO NOT leave the lead acid charger connected to store the battery, because most will NOT maintain the proper voltage for lithium batteries.


                • #9
                  Pretty sure most motorcycle batteries get charged off the motorcycles integral charging system.