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Thread: Battery Mantainer

  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by gsinnc View Post
    ... they all work
    True, as evidenced by the fact that whatever battery you have (flooded, gel, agm, LiFePO4), our bikes only have one charging system and it will keep any of them in operation if you ride the bike occasionally. Sure you can tweak the regulated voltage up or down to better suit one type or the other, but it will "work" where it is.

    just pick your poison.
    I think a better summary is "pick your duty." There are chargers, there are maintainers, and there are charger-maintainers. A "trickle-charger" is just a small charger subject to all the limitations of such. There are "smart" and I guess stupid versions of each. If you put a simple "charger" on your bike, whether large or small, and leave it there you will eventually damage the battery. That is what a "maintainer" is for. A "maintainer" can be left connected, but a "charger" cannot. The answer, of course, for a "charger" is just to use it intermittently during long storage. You can also get by with doing nothing - until the battery's self-discharge plus parasitic drain drains the battery to the point that it will not start the motorcycle - and after storage it could take a bit of cranking to wake it up. There is a special hell awaiting those with "Classic K" bikes who try to start their bikes with a weak battery and find that it welds the starter relay closed and goes into Chernobyl mode. Whether that is a week or three months depends on your particulars. Disconnect the battery during storage and parasitic drain is removed (but not self-discharge, which is different for each chemistry). Eventually at low charge levels with any lead/acid battery, sulfation will begin. Odyssey or WallyWorld, chemistry is chemistry. It is best to keep that from happening but possible to reverse it if it hasn't gone too far.

    The technology-specific chargers and maintainers are simply optimized for the particular chemistry to charge the battery as fully and safely as possible. If the goal is "as fully and safely as possible" then there are very different parameters for each. LiFePO4 being the most different from mainstream, but even between the lead/acid variants there is enough difference for a manufacturer to deliver a difference in performance by catering to the specific chemistry. I have an EarthX LiFePO4 battery in my R12GS and it lives tethered to an Optimate Lithium maintainer. It thinks all the time about stuff I don't want to be bothered with and the different lights go off and on telling me how hard it is working. Fine. It works. The battery likes it and I don't have to worry about it. If it doesn't think the battery needs anything, it will even go offline without me unplugging it (but it will still keep an eye on the voltage). I have lots of AGM's on other motorcycles and lawn equipment. They all stay tethered to their own BatteryMINDer 2012-AGM Charger-Desulfator. My farm equipment and automatic propane generator all have flooded batteries. Some of the farm equipment has big diesels that might not get started for long periods of time. The generator self-tests every Saturday morning. I'd hate to hear it go "runk-runk" and give up at 2AM in the middle of an ice storm. They all stay tethered to their own regular BatteryMINDer 2012. They are happy as well and have been for many years.

    And yep, I still keep an old cheap dumb buzz-box charger around for when someone leaves something on and drains the battery to the point that the smart charger refuses to clock in. Cars that get used regularly don't get anything, but in my most humble of opinions, all this occasional use stuff can benefit from a good battery maintenance regimen. Ignore it, do it manually, or let a bunch of smart little dedicated boxes think about it.

    I guess after all those words, @gsinnc is right... pick your poison.
    Last edited by beemerphile; 01-13-2018 at 01:01 PM.
    Lee A. Dickinson - Danielsville, GA USA
    MOA 80364 | RA 29650 | ABC 3480 | IBA 8914
    1976 R75/6 - 1992 R100RS - 1993 K1100RS - 2013 R1200GS

  2. #17
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Most riders who ask the question “what maintainer should I buy” want to keep their battery fully charged. If that’s the case, purchase one that correctly matches your battery’s charging requirement, as described by the battery manufacturer. (If you only want to be sure to have enough charge so it will start and you don’t care about battery life, pick what you like or use what you have.)

    This is a much less important decision on a Wethead because its charging system is designed for an AGM battery and riding will fully charge it (although that’s not true on an Oilhead) even if your charger/maintainer can’t.

    The other thing to consider on a stock Wethead is that it only seems to draw 1mA (as measured on mine) with the key off (about 1/3 of an Oilhead) and as a result can easily go 2 weeks without any charging (even a month in a pinch).

    If you’re buying from scratch, there’s no reason not to buy a charger that matches your bike.

  3. #18
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger 04 rt View Post
    If you’re buying from scratch, there’s no reason not to buy a charger that matches your bike.
    That CTEK I provided a link to has a "mode" button. One of the modes is a motorcycle symbol - for smaller, motorcycle batteries. The charger can handle any size battery, but it will be kind to smaller motorcycle batteries. I believe the CTEK is a "maintainer."



    Harry
    My fleet: 2015 R1200GS, 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (plug-in hybrid)

  4. #19
    Registered User easy's Avatar
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    Just for Thought...

    You should consider that when you rewire your plug directly to the battery on your in-warranty BMW in order to use an aftermarket charger, you might be giving your dealership cause to void your warranty should an electrical problem arise.

  5. #20
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger 04 rt View Post
    Yes, they do say that. Just measure the voltage at the battery after the charger is in long term maintenance mode. The BT Jr. is in the low 13s, and you want high 13s. If the BT Jr is now high 13s youíre good to go.

    Personally I have no favorite charger to recommend, just one with enough voltage. The less you ride, the more it matters since the charger is doing most of the work to keep your battery healthy.

    Here is my charger, I can set the voltage and monitor the charging current. It works on all my bikes, cars and boats (even an offshore lobster trawler once with 500 lbs. of dead batteries that limped to port). Itís cumbersome to use but always charges to 100%. It cost $44.95 on eBay and delivers up to 10 amps. On an AGM battery I start at 14.6-8 volts and reduce to 13.8 for maintenance charging.

    Attachment 65918
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    How well would this work as a "maintenance" charger for a bike parked for 2 or 3 months?
    Hi Paul, It works fine but I plug this manual power supply into a weekly timer for a 6 month layup. But this is just something that works for me in the garage not something Iíd advocate.

    On my boat with three large flooded lead acid batteries I like the MinnKota charger. It measures battery temperature and adjusts the voltages accordingly. It also disconnects after 24 hours of trickle charging and waits for the battery voltage to dip a bit before going back into charge mode.

    My Generac generator is another matter, it constantly charges the battery with a true trickle charge that boils the battery. Iím trying to figure out how to rewire the controller so I can use a MinnKota there too.

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by roger 04 rt View Post
    My Generac generator is another matter, it constantly charges the battery with a true trickle charge that boils the battery. I’m trying to figure out how to rewire the controller so I can use a MinnKota there too.
    The trickle charger killed the battery on my Generac. The trickle charger was located inside the transfer switch. I simply removed it and replaced it with a temperature compensated maintainer located inside the Generac enclosure where the battery is. I wired the 110v for the charger back into the transfer switch and powered it from the same place the trickle charger was powered from.
    Lee A. Dickinson - Danielsville, GA USA
    MOA 80364 | RA 29650 | ABC 3480 | IBA 8914
    1976 R75/6 - 1992 R100RS - 1993 K1100RS - 2013 R1200GS

  7. #22
    Registered User patm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by easy View Post
    You should consider that when you rewire your plug directly to the battery on your in-warranty BMW in order to use an aftermarket charger, you might be giving your dealership cause to void your warranty should an electrical problem arise.
    If you are worried it would void your warranty, have your dealer install it.
    Pat

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  8. #23
    Registered User easy's Avatar
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    I'm not so sure the dealer will rewire it, if it is still in warranty.

  9. #24
    Registered User LFarling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by easy View Post
    You should consider that when you rewire your plug directly to the battery on your in-warranty BMW in order to use an aftermarket charger, you might be giving your dealership cause to void your warranty should an electrical problem arise.
    My dealer installs SAE plugs on EVERY bike they sell.

    The battery circuit is fused and protected. That is why if you reach too low of a charge the bike will not sit there and grind until you destroy the starter from a brown out.

    This is not any kind of warranty issue unless for the battery it's self.

    I have used a Optimate 4 for 10 years now and no issues. Mostly on Patricia's Vulcan 650 S as she rides way less then I do for many reasons.

    For those not familiar these they shoot current into the battery at higher voltages in a verified mode as soon as you plug it in. If it sees the battery can retain these slowly rising current changes it switches over to a charge state. Once it charges it maintains it. After a set time it starts the verify mode again and these cycles continues as long as the battery is on the charger.

    It can also desulfate if you remove the battery from the bike. It will not go into desulfate mode if it senses any kind of parasitic draw so the battery needs disconnected or removed. This would be indicated it fails a verify and does not roll over to a charging state. After it fails you would remove it and let it sit for many hours to see if it will come out of verify into a charge mode.

    As far as I know the only battery it will not work on is the Li PO Shorai type battery's.

    I use a Deltran Battery Tender Solar panel all winter on my RT. It works very well and I have used it for many years also. It sits in the garden and I used speaker wire to extend it into the garage. I am not sure I will ever break even on cost but it is pretty cool and keeps the battery in full charge no issues. It is the 10 Watt model.
    Last edited by LFarling; 01-14-2018 at 03:18 AM.
    Lee
    2017.5 R 1200 GSW

  10. #25
    Registered User wetboxerrt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKsuited View Post
    That CTEK I provided a link to has a "mode" button. One of the modes is a motorcycle symbol - for smaller, motorcycle batteries. The charger can handle any size battery, but it will be kind to smaller motorcycle batteries. I believe the CTEK is a "maintainer."



    Harry
    +1 on the CTEK. I have been using them for three year now, they work great.
    2016 R1200RTW 2014 DRZ400S 2013 FJR1300A

  11. #26
    Dealer installed my pig tails on all my BMWs.
    Seek Fun. "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain--and most fools do" BF
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  12. #27
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beemerphile View Post
    The trickle charger killed the battery on my Generac. The trickle charger was located inside the transfer switch. I simply removed it and replaced it with a temperature compensated maintainer located inside the Generac enclosure where the battery is. I wired the 110v for the charger back into the transfer switch and powered it from the same place the trickle charger was powered from.
    Thanks Lee, That’s what I’m trying to do too but the charger is in the generator controller. On mine though, the charging line appears to be two way and the controller somehow detects that it is disconnected and won’t start. A diode seems to block the charging but allow the battery signal to drive the controller. I may have to find a spot on the circuit board to cut just the charger line or go with the diode.
    Last edited by roger 04 rt; 01-14-2018 at 12:56 PM.

  13. #28
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Pigtail direct to the battery- Yes......for all the reasons already stated. Very good on the dealers that do this as a matter of course

    I have found it really pays to purchase the best (intelligent-built in logic) charger you can get. The best example I can relate, while not in a bike, is my motorhome. The motorhome came with a 12V converter which is/was basically a transformer that converted 110V to 12V. Although it really did work as a battery charger, it wasn't kind to the batteries.
    Through a season, I had to constantly monitor the batteries (2- group 27's) for their electrolyte level and at the end of the season I would have consumed around 2-3/4 gallons fluid. I replaced the converter with an intelligent charger and now the fluid consumption is less than 1/2 a cup.
    I have also found that the smaller the battery, the less tolerance for abuse. Today in my charging cycle I will be charging the battery in the ATV and a 8-D.
    OM
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  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by easy View Post
    You should consider that when you rewire your plug directly to the battery on your in-warranty BMW in order to use an aftermarket charger, you might be giving your dealership cause to void your warranty should an electrical problem arise.
    iíve Bought 4 bikes from Long Beach Bmw, everyone has come wired with a SAE connector direct to battery
    There should not be a issue if you wire your connector correctly using a fused type plug

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