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Thread: Battery Life

  1. #1

    Battery Life

    How long does a R1200RT battery normally last? I have a 2016 with 91K miles on it and the battery seems to be getting weak. The standing voltage is 11.6 volts after it sits over night. I can't blame that spelling on spell checker.

  2. #2
    I would go to the nearest auto parts or hardware store and spend 15 or 20 bucks for a decent digital multi-meter. Then I would check battery voltage standing, key off, and also when hitting the starter button.

    That will almost instantly tell you whether you have a bad battery or an installation or wiring problem.
    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/

  3. #3
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlesodle View Post
    I can't blame that spelling on spell checker.
    I got you covered! I corrected the title.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  4. #4
    Registered User patm's Avatar
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    11.6 volt is too low. A good battery should show at around 12.8 volts. I replaced mine after three years, it was showing only 12.2 volts after 24 hours.

    yoyota-motors-usa.jpg
    Pat

    Ride Safe!
    '16 RT

  5. #5
    Registered User stooie's Avatar
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    1. My experience is that batteries typically last between 3 and 8 years, depending on usage, maintenance, and dumb luck.

    2. I agree with PATM that 11.6 volts is way too low. It's just trouble waiting to happen.

    3. Before you consign the battery to the recycling pile there are a couple of things worth checking to see if it's the battery, the charing system, or something else.

    - Have you looked at the battery? There's a decent chance over three years some corrosion has accumulated on the terminals which is keeping it from getting a good charge. If the terminals are, indeed, corroded I'd suggest cleaning the up and putting the battery on a charger for a while. Take it off the charger, let it sit overnight for the battery to stabilize, and check the voltage again.

    - Check the voltage at the battery with the engine running. It should be about 13.5 to 14.7 volts. If it's lower than that, the charging system needs to be checked before you decide one way or the other about the battery.

    4. If the terminals are clean, the charging system is working properly, and the battery still won't hold a charge then I'd claim it's time for a new one.

    Good luck with it!
    Bob Stewart
    Salem, OR

    2018 RT

  6. #6
    As a general battery/starting/troubleshooting aside:

    A decent but not expensive digital multimeter is essential to motorcycle ownership. I own several. I keep one in my tool kit when traveling. They can be as cheap as a couple of bucks at Harbor Freight (and free with some deals) or maybe $15 at Autozone or about the same as Ace or True Value or Radio Shack if there is still one around.

    I would expect a "standing" battery to read between 12.4 and 12.7 volts an hour after charging or riding. I expect at least 11.5 v while the starter is cranking. When you simply turn on the key with nothing else a drop below 12v is not alarming.

    I have had more than one battery show 12.7 volts "standing" but drop to less than one volt with just a tail light bulb attached. This is a broken connector in the battery.

    If you see a given voltage, say 12.5v, and then hit the starter button and nothing clicks or groans and the voltage stays about the same it is not the battery. You have a connector or wiring issue.

    If you see a huge voltage drop but the battery tests OK at the auto parts store you might have a faulty starter with worn bushing or loose magnets.

    I hope this helps troubleshooting.
    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. #7
    Paul, I would be interested in your take on Digital Meters. I have several of both kinds from expensive to the almost free throw away kind. I always prefer an analog for my road bike. I think that you can get more info from an Analog. I have always been an airhead guy, however this new RS may change some of my electrical leanings.
    Gator

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by gator View Post
    Paul, I would be interested in your take on Digital Meters. I have several of both kinds from expensive to the almost free throw away kind. I always prefer an analog for my road bike. I think that you can get more info from an Analog. I have always been an airhead guy, however this new RS may change some of my electrical leanings.
    Gator
    I have a few digital multimeters and one analog volt meter. The only thing I can do with the analog meter that I can't do with a digital meter is count pulses like the fault code for the early ABS systems. Each pulse provides a distinct needle movement masked with a digital meter. On the other hand I can measure resistance, DC volts, and AC volts with a digital one. I can also test diodes if I happened to need to.
    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/

  9. #9
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    A DVM is a bit "tougher" than an analog meter - the sweeping needle and the little spring that supports it are easily damaged, either by physical abuse or by over-voltage (applying a voltage significantly higher than the max on that particular scale). I've dropped my freebie Harbor Fright DVM and it still seems to work, but I'd be quite upset if I dropped my Fluke/Wavetek 97...

    I've always preferred an analog meter for checking diodes - but you must be careful to NOT use either the "highest" (ex.: x100K) or "lowest" (ex.: x1) resistance range of the meter: the high range may apply way to much voltage to the diode, while the lowest range may allow way to much current to flow through it. Either case will likely destroy the diode, or at least result in a "walking wounded" that will be more difficult to troubleshoot.
    (Older Simpson analog VOMs actually had a 32-volt battery!)

    A DVM will give you a better idea of the difference in voltage between various operating conditions, and the difference between voltages that are supposed to be the same, as with a suspect wire or ground point.

    Paul S

  10. #10
    Thanks to Both Pauls for your take on Analog VS. Digital. I will take your comments under advisement. Still don't have a complete tool kit list yet for the RS and part of that is do I really need a meter on the road. What am I going to do except check battery voltage for which which I have a plug in gizmo.
    I have always been horrible about having way to much stuff when I go on a long trip. This can save your butt on an airhead but this new wethead doesn't have a lot of stuff you can do on the road.
    Gator

  11. #11

    Battery LIfe

    Good information. Thx.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by gator View Post
    Thanks to Both Pauls for your take on Analog VS. Digital. I will take your comments under advisement. Still don't have a complete tool kit list yet for the RS and part of that is do I really need a meter on the road. What am I going to do except check battery voltage for which which I have a plug in gizmo.
    I have always been horrible about having way to much stuff when I go on a long trip. This can save your butt on an airhead but this new wethead doesn't have a lot of stuff you can do on the road.
    Gator
    Most people do not carry a multimeter when on the road. You can buy one at any auto parts store or hardware store or home improvement type store. I have a very small one that is about half the size of my cell phone tucked in the tailcone usually. A small 12v test light is probably as good an option on the road.
    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/

  13. #13
    Registered User
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    If you want a small digital voltmeter to take with you, I have a small unit made by Deltran. It is about the same size as my little finger, and plugs into my SAE pigtail that I use to charge my battery. I've checked it with my in-dash voltmeter, and they read the same. Is either one really accurate? Who knows, but they do give me some peace of mind as to the health of my alternator/battery.

    Here's the info:
    Battery Tender 081-0157 Quick Disconnect Plug with LCD Voltage Display, One Size, Black

    Less than $15 from Amazon
    J Goertz
    BMW MOAL
    2015 BMW R1200RT
    2012 Triumph Bonneville SE

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlesodle View Post
    How long does a R1200RT battery normally last? I have a 2016 with 91K miles on it and the battery seems to be getting weak. The standing voltage is 11.6 volts after it sits over night. I can't blame that spelling on spell checker.
    Charles
    Do you really want to be stuck somewhere with a bad battery? Put a new battery in and be done with it
    I got mine from Rocky Mountain Motorsport for less than $100 including shipping

  15. #15
    IBA# 5819 61996's Avatar
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    Is there a date code on the BMW OEM battery?

    Joe
    “Fate whispers to the warrior, 'You can not withstand the storm.'
    The warrior whispers back, 'I am the storm.'

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