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Offline Greenfingers

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Flat battery?
« on: 20 February, 2020, 07:54:06 PM »
Bought my 31k miles biffer a couple of weeks ago and noticed at the time that the starter motor didn't seem to spin the engine up very enthusiastically. The previous owner was using the bike daily, doing around 75 miles per day, so I would expect the battery was fully charged. Service history notes refer to a replaced alternator @ 26k miles in December 2018 and also a new Yuasa YTZ10S battery about a month before then.

Going by comments on here about battery life, I would expect a 15 month old battery having done 5,000 miles to be in good condition unless it had been traumatised. My bike has been in regular use and garaged overnight, so I am now wondering if there might be a parasitic drain. I note the comments by Art and given time will do some tests, but at the moment my battery is charging on the bench, because it wouldn't start the bike today when I tried to fire it up for my last check before it's MOT tomorrow!

I hardly ever needed to use 240v to charge my bikes before. My Countax ride on mower goes all winter without a charge and starts without any fuss in the spring. I had an old JCB digger for around 10 years, that was only used occasionally and never needed charging or a new battery.

Coming back to biking as an oldie, it is clear that batteries take more of a pounding these days, partly due to all the accessories available:- heated grips, alarm systems, phone chargers/bluetooth, high power lights and so on; but also fuel injection systems, on board computers and on these bikes HISS.

In theory when the bike is asleep, the only active consumption should be the HISS/alarm systems, but surely this is minimal and that amount of drainage on a standard battery shouldn't be noticeable for months? I could probably do the maths, but would prefer to hear from others with real life experience.

The so called battery optimisers are an obvious remedy, but rather than have to plug in your bike if you don't use it for a couple of weeks, surely it makes more sense to just fit an isolation switch to save the battery from draining.

Anyway, do you think I need a new battery?

Offline Shed

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Re: Flat battery?
« Reply #1 on: 20 February, 2020, 08:47:04 PM »
*Originally Posted by Greenfingers [+]
it is clear that batteries take more of a pounding these days, partly due to all the accessories available:- heated grips, alarm systems, phone chargers/bluetooth, high power lights and so on; but also fuel injection systems, on board computers and on these bikes HISS.

Spot on. And bear in mind how tiny the Biffer battery is - woefully undersized really. Age & storage often have little bearing whatsoever on the battery life, they just 'go'. Sheer pot luck. One day they work, next day they're toast  :127:

Load testing the battery will illustrate the condition of the battery. If all is well with the battery, then start looking elsewhere.

Start with the easy first  :028:




Offline Art

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Re: Flat battery?
« Reply #2 on: 21 February, 2020, 12:14:00 PM »
As Shed says do the tests and prove the battery one way or another. A good time for testing is the morning after the night before when the battery appears to be sluggish or failing but has had a full charge and has been rested overnight. Batteries don't like extremes of temperature and this is where one battery could out last another battery of the same brand and model. Note multimeters are only as good as the battery powering them, if you get unexpectedly poor results fit a fresh battery to your multimeter and try again.

My 2006 A-6 has an ageing Varta TTZ19S some 6+ years old, its kept in a cold damp garage and has had little use of late. Having been parked up from the MOT on 5th November to the Dragon Rally of 6th February without any battery maintenance. I got a multimeter reading of 12.6v the night before and thought that'll do. However, in the morning it was reluctant to start and cranking slow, it failed to start with three 5 second cranks, pausing for 10 seconds between cranking, after a fourth 5 second crank on full throttle it jumped into life on the fifth cranking. My point here is its the load test that proves a battery. The morning after the weekend 700 mile sortie into North Welsh Wales and Storm Ciara I got 12.7v at rest and 11v on a cranking load test, proving the battery and stator.

I disagree that its the battery that takes the pounding of all the accessories its more likely to be the stator, assuming you get out and about on open roads from time to time for the stator to put back any of what the urban stop start city riding has taken out.

Do the tests, happy days.

Offline Greenfingers

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Re: Flat battery?
« Reply #3 on: 22 February, 2020, 08:45:02 PM »
I've been through the 'is it a bad battery' thing many times before with other machines.

The most recent was an ex police Mercedes Vito van that I bought at auction. It had been used as a surveillance vehicle and had all sorts of electrical mods, including radio and comms, Eberspacher heater, power inverter, alarm, special lighting, and so on. The mods were mostly factory spec and even with wiring diagrams, it was near impossible to get to the route of the problem. There were three of four fuses related to the 'special modules' which I tried pulling one by one, but it still wasn't clear which one(s) caused the battery to drain. The battery would die after about five days if the van hadn't been run. I did embark on a mission to find the cause, but whichever fuses I pulled there always seemed to be a residual parasitic drain of about 20 mA even after waiting 30 mins or so for it to go into 'sleep mode'.

In the end, I bought a new battery and didn't have the starting issue again, but I wouldn't have been comfortable leaving that van at the airport for a week if I went on holiday.

My feeling is that battery optimisers may be useful if your bike has accessories that need constant power. However, my bike is in a locked garage unless it is being used, so I don't care about working HISS or alarm functions. Surely therefore, it makes more sense to fit an isolating switch that prevents anything from draining the battery while the bike is in slumber?

Anyway, after charging the Biffer's battery overnight, I got a reading of around 2.7v. After switching the ignition on and waiting for a while, it dropped to around 12.7v. Then when I pressed the start switch, the digital voltmeter dropped to 11ish. After leaving the battery connected to the bike for the next 24 hours, the reading had dropped to 12.5v and when I pressed the start button, it started fine and the reading again dropped to around 11v. I reckon that shows that the 15month old battery is okay, but maybe just needs a couple of full recharges - any thoughts?

Before buying a battery conditioner, it would be great to hear your thoughts about isolating the battery instead.

PS: I don't give a damn about having to reset the clock!

Offline Art

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Re: Flat battery?
« Reply #4 on: 23 February, 2020, 10:51:23 AM »
Did you check for standby current drain? My CBF can go for weeks and still start on the button. All my accessories are wired in via an accessory loom that takes its power via a 40A SPDT changeover relay triggered by a switched live such as the number plate wiring. It includes a battery jumper cable, a 12v always live circuit and four switched live circuits but you can have more or less of each as you prefer.

Take a look at my crude idiots guide image here

https://www.cbf1000.com/index.php/topic,21736.msg255541.html#msg255541
« Last Edit: 23 February, 2020, 10:55:25 AM by Art »

Offline jm2

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Re: Flat battery?
« Reply #5 on: 23 February, 2020, 12:26:13 PM »
Without any extra add-ons you do not need to isolate the battery over winter.
Hiss takes next to nothing after 24hrs (led) and forget anything else.

My own add-on alarm is rather thirsty, over winter it is disconnected (bike on house alarm!).  With a new battery (9/2019) and untouched for 3 months mine started without issue; I might have expected a slow turn-over or even failed start with my old battery (if uncharged that long).

It almost certainly is an 'old battery issue'.  You can check your charging (easily with a meter) and even parasitic drain but once that is done you are left with the battery itself.  For the peace of mind/proof it'll be bite the bullet.
Only do it right - no bodging please.   Keeper of the failed stator list.   John.

Offline Rev Ken

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Re: Flat battery?
« Reply #6 on: 23 February, 2020, 04:18:46 PM »
I found that the battery had to be 100% to give any confidence when pushing the starter button as the battery is woefully inadequate for the bike. I found that just after a couple weeks it was touch and go whether it would start. Admittedly it was an 'old' battery and my some bought a new one when I 'sold' it to him (still waiting four years later!).

If it was the stator it would fail completely, not just deteriorate. Several Mk1 owners know!

Hope you find the cause as it is a great bike.
Never ride faster than your Angel can fly.

Offline Greenfingers

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Re: Flat battery?
« Reply #7 on: 23 February, 2020, 04:21:09 PM »
The 2.7v in my last post was a typo, sorry (can't see how to edit a post on here).

Anyway, testing for parasitic drain I get a reading of 1 microamps, which is negligable and obviously not going to drain a decent battery for ages. The bike does have quite a lot of aftermarket kit though and to be honest I haven't traced the wiring of each item, but I do like your switched system, Art. I have twin led switched spotlights, high power horn, front and rear camera with an onboard SD card type recorder, which activates when the ignition is on, heated grips and a phone cradle with integral USB charger. However, I now agree that an isolation switch is not the answer.

Yes, it probably does now look like a battery issue, because the charging system is working within parameters. I have resisted recharging the battery for a couple of days now, and each day the charge seems to drop fractionally - it's now showing 12.39v with no load and stabilises at about 11.9 with the ignition on. However, when I push the starter button, it generally seems to still hold at above 10.3v and sparks into life quite readily.

Probably clutching at straws here, but over coming days I plan to see if a little 'reconditioning' helps the battery, by putting it on a trickle charge a few times. If it doesn't then hold a steady charge above 12.5 or so, it'll have to be a new battery. I'm slightly disgruntled though, because it's a Yuasa that is only 15 months old and been used regularly - a premium product should perform just so. My next question will probably be has anyone tried a Lucas battery like the one I can buy for £30 of Ebay?

Offline Shed

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Re: Flat battery?
« Reply #8 on: 23 February, 2020, 08:01:20 PM »
I've got a £30 Numax from Tayna in at the moment, it's been spot on, no complaints.

Prior to the Numax, there was a Yuasa in the bike, which lasted 2 years and gave up.  :127:


https://www.tayna.co.uk/motorcycle-batteries/types/ytz10s/
« Last Edit: 23 February, 2020, 08:01:54 PM by Shed »

Offline Art

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Re: Flat battery?
« Reply #9 on: 24 February, 2020, 12:35:29 AM »
Its that long since I replaced a motorcycle battery, I'm sure they used to carry 3 year guarantees but no longer.

https://www.yuasa.co.uk/info/quality-assurance/warranty-explained/

This warranty information relates to Yuasa automotive, commercial vehicle, motorcycle and powersport, leisure, marine and garden batteries only. For industrial batteries please click here

Yuasa batteries (including Motorcycle & Powersport types) sold as replacement product to direct customers are guaranteed against premature failure due to manufacturing or material defects for a period of 12 months (from the date of purchase of the battery by the end-user).

Shocking