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Thread: Testing Bike Batteries with Automotive Tester

  1. #1
    Still plays with trains. tinytrains's Avatar
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    Testing Bike Batteries (R1200R) with Automotive Tester

    I received a 130A automotive battery tester for X-mas. It works fine on my car batteries, but can it be used on BMW bike batteries? 130A for 10 seconds seems like a lot for a small battery.

    Thanks,
    Scott
    Last edited by TinyTrains; 12-29-2012 at 12:34 AM.
    1988 K75 Low Seat
    2009 R1200R Roadster

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    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    What do the specifications or instructions say?
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

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    Still plays with trains. tinytrains's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbrick View Post
    What do the specifications or instructions say?
    It says nothing about battery size.

    Instructions:
    Connect to battery.
    Push button 10 seconds (130 Amps).
    If needle is in the green (11volts), the battery is good.
    1988 K75 Low Seat
    2009 R1200R Roadster

  4. #4
    ABC,AMA(LIFE),MOA,RA,IBMW MANICMECHANIC's Avatar
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    The purpose of the load tester (which it sounds like you have) is to simulate a large load, such as a starter motor. You can then determine if the battery can recover sufficiently or not.
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    Still plays with trains. tinytrains's Avatar
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    Let me rephrase the question:

    What is the normal load-test current for 12 AH motorcycle batteries?

    The battery is rated at 200 Cold Cranking Amps.

    Thanks,
    Scott
    1988 K75 Low Seat
    2009 R1200R Roadster

  6. #6
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    So, the battery can put out 200 amps max, and the tester will draw 130 amps for a load test. It appears to me it is suitable but maybe one of our automotive or electrical engineers can pipe in here.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  7. #7
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Scott,

    I found this manual for a Harbor Freight load tester: http://manuals.harborfreight.com/man...1999/91129.pdf
    in a discussion of load-testing a bike battery. Step 4 under "Testing the Battery" directs the user to increase the load (it's variable) to a level one-half of the battery's CCA rating or three times the battery's amp-hour capacity, to hold that load for fifteen seconds, then read the battery's condition on the meter. So this tester's designer thinks that either of those are the load and duration.

    120 amps does look too big: if your airhead has the big 25 a/h battery, the test current under this set of instructions' rule of thumb would be be 75 amps, not 120. Is your unit adjustable?
    Last edited by dbrick; 12-29-2012 at 12:32 AM.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  8. #8
    Still plays with trains. tinytrains's Avatar
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    The battery is for an R1200R, so it is 12AH, with 200CCA. I have sent an email to Yuasa and will see what they say.

    Thanks
    1988 K75 Low Seat
    2009 R1200R Roadster

  9. #9
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Been 20 years, but what I remember was 3 times the rated capacity, so 36 amps for a 12 ah battery.
    2010 F800GS Full Ohlins package, '04 R1100S Replika
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyTrains View Post
    ..... 130A for 10 seconds seems like a lot for a small battery.

    It does to me also. I received a Yuasa BTY01 Powersports Battery Tester for Xmas. You must input the battery AH to the tester before beginning the test. So it must be important for the tester to "know" the size of the battery it's testing.
    14 R1200GSA, 93 R100R. No car is as fun to drive as any motorcycle is to ride.

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    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    After answering the original question, I had to sit back and ask why bother. Load testing just confirms what you should already know, the battery is getting weak, the bike cranks slow, of barely cranks after sitting for a few days.

    It will not ferret out a sudden catastrophic failure that frequently occurs, it will not tell you there is only a month or two left. Every battery failures are different, I have had "weak" batteries stay that way for a year, I have had new batteries suddenly fail, I have had strong batteries instantly turn weak, etc. If all failures were linear than yes it would be a guide, but lead acid batteries for the most part have no rhyme or reason to failing.
    2010 F800GS Full Ohlins package, '04 R1100S Replika
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    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    Calling Global Rider....
    Rinty

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    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Easier test:

    1. Wait five years.
    2. Replace battery.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

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    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyTrains View Post
    Let me rephrase the question:

    What is the normal load-test current for 12 AH motorcycle batteries?

    The battery is rated at 200 Cold Cranking Amps.

    A load test is normally performed at 1/2 the CCA with the voltage not dropping below a certain level during the 15 second test.

    I have seen various minimum voltage levels used for the test. Of course, the higher the voltage maintained, the tougher the test.

    The test should be performed on a fully charged battery.

    Here is a handy Battery Testing Chart. Note the CCA test on page 2.

    When a battery's internal resistance increases (a bad thing), they fail a load test sooner or later.

  15. #15
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rinty View Post
    Calling Global Rider....
    Sorry, was busy making Beru ignition cables for 993s.

    Damn cold here and that 14 year old battery of mine turned my car's motor over like a new battery.

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