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Thread: K1300GT Dead battery condition?

  1. #16
    Registered User 58058D's Avatar
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    Once you get the current (sorry for the pun) solved, add a dedicated pigtail if you don't already have one. It does not seem to be addressed in the prior advice, but for the K1300 series, the accessory plug shuts off after a few minutes after turning off the bike. For my K13, the dealer already had a pigtail installed (they did it on all at the time), and, it was advised to keep the bike on a smart charger whenever it was shut off and stored for more than a day or so.....I followed that advice and never had an issue. There are many discussions both here and on the I-BMW site regarding the need for adding this pigtail direct to the battery and the need to keep a maintenance charge going.
    Good Luck!
    Jim Douglas '00 K1200RS >138,000 miles -- Black, 01/10/2000 to present
    Gone: White '09 K1300S sold @ 22k mi, Black '93 K1100RS traded @ 78k mi, Red '85 K100RS sold @ 44k mi, '06 Kaw 650R chrome yellow track bike sold http://www.seagullbb.com/

  2. #17
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Use the Battery Tender Plus High Efficiency charger and your battery will thank you by giving a long service life. BTDT, can't remember when I changed the battery last.

    The kit includes an external connector, making the charger-battery connection permanent. No seat pulling, no clip leads, just plug the charger in.

    DISCLAIMER: I have no connection Battery Tender, etc., etc. except as a customer.

    I do not, not, not recommend any sort of "shutoff while stored" setup. Dropping power to the bike means at least resetting the clock every time (<- accidental humor?). More importantly... charged batteries survive cold temperatures that will damage a partially charged battery. If you live where it gets so cold you have go indoors to thaw out a conversation to hear it, OK, bring the battery indoors. But still keep it trickle charged!
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post
    I do not, not, not recommend any sort of "shutoff while stored" setup. Dropping power to the bike means at least resetting the clock every time (<- accidental humor?). More importantly... charged batteries survive cold temperatures that will damage a partially charged battery. If you live where it gets so cold you have go indoors to thaw out a conversation to hear it, OK, bring the battery indoors. But still keep it trickle charged!
    When we lived in Iowa and Kansas which had what resembled winter we had several bikes and did not have several battery chargers. So the first of each month I would charge one battery (in a bike) for 24 hours, then the next, then the next, until they all had been charged. Wait until the first of the next month and start over. This 24 hours every month worked just fine.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  4. #19
    What kind of battery is in there now? How old is it? Get an Odyssey PC680 and all should be good. I just went through a weird round with battery, a failing cell in one battery gave all the results of a good battery and it took a few days before I actually caught it dropping to like 7 volts when cranking


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    Brian Hinton
    2007 R1200R
    2007 K1200GT
    2016 R1200GS

  5. #20
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    When we lived in Iowa and Kansas which had what resembled winter we had several bikes and did not have several battery chargers. So the first of each month I would charge one battery (in a bike) for 24 hours, then the next, then the next, until they all had been charged. Wait until the first of the next month and start over. This 24 hours every month worked just fine.
    From my experience with marine lead-acid batteries, I'd call this "less than optimal" but still OK. Lead-acid batteries, particularly "wet" batteries, self-discharge at a relatively high rate (voltage across the battery's internal resistance). Being idle for a month isn't the end of the world by any means. By the time the next round of charging started, my guess is the batteries were probably down to 90-ish%. It's the last few percent that are the hardest to get into a battery (or... lead-acid batteries will accept lots of current when heavily discharged, significantly less when close to full charge). But I doubt the last bit of charging took a day. The question is how much current was being presented to the battery - the greater the state of charge, the more current dissipated as heat. Heat cooks off electrolyte and warps the plates. The point here being, the regular schedule kept the batteries from going flat, but they probably weren't getting ideal care, either. Of course, as you infer, a lot of batteries means a lot of chargers. Ya pays yer money, ya takes yer choice...

    For someone with only one or two bikes, I still strongly recommend some sort of trickle charger for each. In trickle charging, the battery receives approximately what's lost through self-discharge. The current supplied is low enough to avoid any significant heating.

    For the record: "lead-acid" refers to "wet", maintenance-free, AGM, and gel batteries. Each handles its electrolyte differently, has different construction and electrical characteristics but, in the end, they're closely related. As opposed to, for example, Li-ion batteries.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post
    Of course, as you infer, a lot of batteries means a lot of chargers. Ya pays yer money, ya takes yer choice...
    I don't disagree. Now the issue is the 7 bikes we "store" or "park" for 3 or 4 months while we tour away from home each summer. I think that at last count I had nine smart chargers in the .75 amp to 1.5 amp range. Sufficient to keep everything on a charger. But I do need to caution that I have had a couple of cases of electrolyte boil-off in wet cell batteries - which I never had with my 24 hours once a month routine. I know it isn't supposed to happen, but it does.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  7. #22
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianhinton View Post
    What kind of battery is in there now? How old is it? Get an Odyssey PC680 and all should be good. I just went through a weird round with battery, a failing cell in one battery gave all the results of a good battery and it took a few days before I actually caught it dropping to like 7 volts when cranking
    Um, if your battery dropped to 7V while cranking, I'm amazed it cranked at all. Further, I wonder about the damage done to the starter. The starter needs X amounts of energy (watts) to operate. As voltage drops, the current must go up to get the required wattage. Increased current means starter motor coils being heated beyond what's normal for cranking with in-spec voltage. With electrical stuff, heat is the villain.

    If there was a dead cell and the battery seemed otherwise OK, I have no idea how that happened. Each cell supplies (in very round numbers) 2V - 6 cells, 12V. Lose a cell and the battery can only produce 10V, and probably less depending on the cell's exact failure mode.

    A Walmart battery would fix the dead cell problem as well as an Odyssey battery, and for far less cost. OTOH, the Wally-world battery might not last as long. But maybe not. Generally, if a battery isn't trash, good care (proper charging, in-spec storage and use) will keep it going for easily 5 years but 7 or more isn't unreasonable.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  8. #23
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    I don't disagree. Now the issue is the 7 bikes we "store" or "park" for 3 or 4 months while we tour away from home each summer. I think that at last count I had nine smart chargers in the .75 amp to 1.5 amp range. Sufficient to keep everything on a charger. But I do need to caution that I have had a couple of cases of electrolyte boil-off in wet cell batteries - which I never had with my 24 hours once a month routine. I know it isn't supposed to happen, but it does.
    Ah, well, this argues for a fully climate controlled storage facility, doesn't it? [/ROFLASTC]

    Even 750 mA strikes me as a bit much for trickle charging. Around 300 mA is a better bet. It may be the failed batteries weren't happy campers to begin with. One or more cells started to get too warm, the electrolyte evaporated appreciably and... buh-bye!

    Something AFAIK rarely discussed in the bike world is "equalizing". The technique and voltages vary from one type of L-A battery to another but the idea is the same: recover sulfates that have accumulated on the plates, and out of the muck at the bottom of the cell. For a "wet" battery, the cell caps come off, and something like 15-16V is thrown at the battery for up to 12(!) hours. Using a hydrometer, logging, over time, each cell's electrolyte specific gravity will a) show up weaker cells and b) tell when equalizing is done (the specific gravity hits a certain value - I don't have the number at hand). Don't do it more than twice a year. The high voltage will definitely heat up the battery and "heat is the villain". But done right, much of the crud on the plates returns to the electrolyte. There's no hope for removing all of the crud on the plates or at the bottom of the cells, save good care keeps the deposits to a minimum. If there's too much crud, plates begin to short out and the cell is dead.

    WARNING: Guard against acid spatters. Equalizing gives off large amounts of hydrogen and oxygen, an explosive mix - work with excellent ventilation. Disconnect the battery - 15V or more can damage or destroy on-board electronics and electrics.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  9. #24
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    Hi everyone. So I bought a set of Denali DM lights and was working on the install tonight. In the process I discovered that the previous owner had lots and lots of accessories wired in. The one thing specifically that I didn't like was a gerbings controller was wired directly to the alternator. The controller was gone and the wires were cut and left exposed.

    Is this wiring directly to the alternator normal or acceptable?

    I think this is the root of my battery problem. If the PO was running full gerbings for himself and pillion right from the alternator then it's likely the battery was just not getting charged and maybe this is why a relatively new battery failed on me.

    Any thoughts on this?
    I've been around since 2008. I moved away for a while and now that I'm back you all changed the forum on me!

  10. #25
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    It's sloppy wiring, certainly, but I don't think it's the root of the problem. You weren't running a full heated-gear setup while you were riding it, and even if the controller were taking some power, it would take very little compared to having a jacket liner and gloves and who-knows-what-else plugged in.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  11. #26
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Accessory wiring tied directly to the alternator? Three words: no no no!

    I understand the thinking - minimizing voltage loss to the controller. NTL this isn't sloppy wiring, it's scary wiring.

    As long as the alternator wiring to the battery is solid, there's very little electrical difference between tying to the alternator and battery. But... the odds of a) doing it really right, and b) fusing it correctly, given the location, are somewhere between slim and none. The wires left behind need to be removed or at least reliably capped to avoid shorts among other ugly things. Such as loss of waterproofing where needed. It'd be a pity to lose the alternator because it's been compromised.

    What sorts of accessory wiring is in use? The more you can dispose of, the less is waiting to surprise you. Once that's done, install a fuse block to distribute power if there are still a lot of powered farkles. If you're only adding the lights and something else, fuse them right next to the battery and call it OK. The fuse holders should be watertight, of course.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  12. #27
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    A few nights ago I went for a ride. All was well until I arrived home. I figured in the garage is the best place to test for the hot start/no start/battery thingy... I shut the bike off and then attempted to restart it. Nope, voltage at the battery dropped and no start.

    So at long last I pulled the trigger and bought a new odyssey. Installed it and fired the bike up. Short ride around the neighborhood (stayin close just in case you know?!!!?!), back home then off and immediate re-start with positive results. Back around the block again but this time with all of the heaters on. Shut off and restarted as it should. Last night ran a few errands so multiple stops and starts... Seems to be ok right now.

    I suppose I may have made a bigger deal than needed and should have just bought the new battery but... These batteries are not cheap and I was really concerned that I may have had an alternator problem. Btw, have you seen how buried the alternators are on this bike??!!? Wow... and I didn't even check on the price of them.

    Hopefully after a few more rides this no-start thing will be in the past.
    I've been around since 2008. I moved away for a while and now that I'm back you all changed the forum on me!

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post
    Accessory wiring tied directly to the alternator? Three words: no no no!


    What sorts of accessory wiring is in use? The more you can dispose of, the less is waiting to surprise you. Once that's done, install a fuse block to distribute power if there are still a lot of powered farkles. If you're only adding the lights and something else, fuse them right next to the battery and call it OK. The fuse holders should be watertight, of course.

    RBE - I forgot to answer your questions.
    -It had PIAA fog/driving lights.
    -Gerbings (already mentioned this)
    - Rear top case illuminated (not sure is wired to brake lights)
    - Two additional outlets near the dash
    -Had a fuse block
    -both seats have jumper wires installed for the heater wires. Not sure if they just wanted longer wires or what?


    As I was installing my new lights (which I thought would be way more complicated than it actually was...) I did a down-town inspection. I don't really have a problem with all of the farkles the PO had but mostly with the condition of the bike once removed - specifically hot wires left exposed. I capped off the wires connected directly to the alternator and removed all others at their source.


    As for all of my farkles - the extra lights, a Battery Tender and a Garmin is all that I intend to add.
    I've been around since 2008. I moved away for a while and now that I'm back you all changed the forum on me!

  14. #29
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    The big take-away here is KISS.Troubleshooting or use, KISS.

    Assuming you got to the alternator and replaced it, you'd still have the problem: failing battery.

    IMHO, you're still complicated with the battery. A simple AGM will serve just as well, and doesn't cost... well, you know how much. Very quickly, the only time a battery works hard is starting the motor. Otherwise, it's the alternator that does the work. The battery evens out the output and bridges over the load when idling (lower alternator output). Unless you spend a lot of time idling with radios going, blue lights and other lights flashing... meh.

    I think you've got a lot of excess wire wandering around the bike. All of the excess wire consumes power (voltage drop due to to poor connections, undersized wire - all common bike wiring errors). My guess is at least some of this collection of spaghetti isn't properly fused. That's not just a "oh, for dumb" mistake, it's a safety issue. Always, always, always put the fuse for anything immediately next to the point where power is taken off for any use. I can think of at least two, possibly three wiring-caused bike fires reported this year in KRS forums. A proper fuse, not staples of chewing gum wrappers (found that in a rental car!), would have prevented the fire.

    KISS - short, heavy wiring, fused correctly means little chance of a wiring meltdown, and more electrons for the lights, Gerbing gear, whatever. BTW, proper wiring isn't just the hot lead to an outlet or wherever, it must include the return or ground wire. This is, after all, wiring for a circuit - as in "goes out, does something, comes back" - a circuit.

    Congrats on having a running bike! Now clean up the spaghetti bowl! ;)
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  15. #30
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    I cleaned up ALL of the spaghetti mess before I added the lights
    I've been around since 2008. I moved away for a while and now that I'm back you all changed the forum on me!

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