CBF1000 => Lighting, Electrical, and Wiring => Topic started by: Greenfingers on 20 February, 2020, 07:54:06 PM

Title: Flat battery?
Post by: Greenfingers 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?
Title: Re: Flat battery?
Post by: Shed 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:

Title: Re: Flat battery?
Post by: Art 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.
Title: Re: Flat battery?
Post by: Greenfingers 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!
Title: Re: Flat battery?
Post by: Art 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

Title: Re: Flat battery?
Post by: jm2 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.
Title: Re: Flat battery?
Post by: Rev Ken 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.
Title: Re: Flat battery?
Post by: Greenfingers 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?
Title: Re: Flat battery?
Post by: Shed 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:

Title: Re: Flat battery?
Post by: Art 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.


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).

Title: Re: Flat battery?
Post by: Shed on 24 February, 2020, 08:53:10 PM
Piss poor.  :025:
Title: Re: Flat battery?
Post by: ToonCBF on 25 February, 2020, 09:39:47 AM
I just plug mine in to an optimate when I am going to leave it for more than a few weeks, it always turns over and fires first time. The optimate is 8 years old and I have never had a battery die on me on any previous bikes whilst using it. A worthwhile investment!!!
Title: Re: Flat battery?
Post by: Greenfingers on 02 March, 2020, 10:24:44 PM
Well, after fully charging the battery, I left it disconnected on the bench for a good few days. I checked the voltage each day afterwards, and after a couple of days, it was down to 12.7volts. Then it seemed to lose a tiny bit each day, going to 12.69,.68,.67,.67,.66,.66 and then I got fed up with the experiment and put it back on the bike.
It still had plenty of beans left to start the bike, so now I'm just going to leave it and see what happens.
Title: Re: Flat battery?
Post by: Art on 03 March, 2020, 08:09:41 AM
Nowt wrong with that. Expect a fully charged battery to show a reading of between 12.6v and 12.8v across the terminals, rarely any more. These batteries are made up of six 2.2v cells giving a theoretical maximum voltage of 13.2v but you'll never get that, not even from a brand spanking new straight off the production line battery. If you have too much time on your hands the real battery condition tests now would be to see what the voltage drops are.

1) CCA (cold cranking amps) test - Disable the fuel system and turn the engine over on the starter motor for 15 seconds while checking the voltage across the battery terminals. Anything above 9.5v is acceptable, the nearer to 12v the better.

2) Electrical load test - With the engine running at a fast idle (1500 rpm) and all electrical equipment turned on, don't forget to beep the horn. Check the battery voltage for a minimum of a 0.5v voltage increase above the battery’s initial level of charge, that's 13.2v in your case (12.7v + 0.5v). Note if you get test results of less than 13v or more than 14.5v on this test you'll need to carry out an alternator output test.

and for completeness here it is

3) Alternator output voltage test - With the headlamp on high beam and the engine running at 5,000 RPM check the voltage across the alternator terminals (the large red cable to the battery and an engine earth point will do). An output voltage reading of between 13.2v – 14.2v is OK. If the output voltage is less than 13v suspect a stator fault, if the output voltage is more than 15.5v suspect a regulator/rectifier fault.