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Thread: How do I diagnose when a new battery is needed?

  1. #1
    Loading the Bike
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Duncansville, PA

    How do I diagnose when a new battery is needed?

    I have a 1993 K 1100 LT with 39,000 miles. I have only had it for 6 weeks, and put about 400 miles on it. Up until last week, it started immediately every time. I did notice the battery light flicker on a couple of times when I first started it, but last week, after starting it and runnig it for a couple of minutes, I turned it off. When I tried to restart, I had nothing. I jumped it from my car and it started, but after running it a couple of minutes and disconnecting the cables, it immediately shut down again. I did notice that when it was running while hooked up to the cables, the headlight wasn't working. Does this suggest a charging problem, or could it be a battery?

  2. #2
    Used bike = new battery
    Old battery = 24 hours on a trickle charger

    Check all your connections.

    Either way, start from there before you start trying to diagnose the electrical system.
    Voltmeter should tell you right away where you stand.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Do the tests in this order.

    To test the charging system:

    Put a voltmeter on the battery terminals and start the bike with a jump start or after charging the battery with a charger.

    As you rev the engine, you should see the voltage rise from ~ 12V to 12.8 - 13.5v. If the voltage does not change much, then your charging system is suspect.

    To test the battery condition:

    Charge the battery with a charger until it is fully charged. This should take no more than 6-10 hours, depending on the charger and initial battery charge.

    Disconnect the charger, wait 10 minutes and check the battery voltage. Wait a day or two, then measure the battery voltage again. It should have dropped only a few tenths of a volt. If it's more than this, your battery is not holding an charge and should be replaced.
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