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Equipping the Bike - what's the best gear? Anything to do with the bikes equipment, saddlebags, etc. Questions on repairs and maintenance of the bike itself belong in the Brand Specific Tech Forums.
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  #1  
Old 22 Oct 2004
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Replacement Battery

Hi,

My bike battery has a 12 V/ 14Ah rating. And needs replaced because it's dead.

Is a battery just a battery? Do I just need to buy a replacement of the same rating, or do I need to take heed of the battery part/model numbers?

Or, can I replace it (lead/acid) with one of those gel batteries?

cheers,
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  #2  
Old 22 Oct 2004
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You can use any bike battery that physically fits. Just make sure you are able to attach the terminals correctly. On some batteries + is on the right, others on the left. It does make a small difference!

For example, my old BMW takes an oddball size battery which is rather expensive, plus the case is almost black, so it's practically impossible to check the acid level without removing it. So, when it died, I just used a cheap Jap. battery. I was lucky in that the rubber straps holding it down fitted. Cause that's the other thing to watch out for: it needs to be secured somehow. On some bikes you may have to make spacers, e.g. out of hard foam.

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Old 22 Oct 2004
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Do check and see why your present battery is dead. I see lots of people who have a problem and immediately replace the battery only to find it goes dead and there is another problem. In the states the gel cell batt cost up to twice as much as a lead acid. I install a lot of gel cells in ATV 4 wheelers and they can last for years or die in two months. The yusa brand have a habit of unexpected expiration. Someone will leave a key on and run the battery down or let the machine sit for a month or two without running it. We charge up the battery on the super duper variable voltage charger and everything is great. The battery checks good and seems to work. But then if it gets run down just a little it totally dies. Not to scientific but I have seen probably 12 batteries in the last 2 years do this, The lead acid batteries on the other hand need replenishing once in a while but seem to go more gently into the night of darkness. Namaste.
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Old 22 Oct 2004
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Great, thanks.

The current battery has 13V charge. The lights come on (very dim), but there's not enough to turn the starter. Bike also has a kick-start, which also fails to start the bike.

Connected up another battery to the in-situ original battery (jump started) and it started first time.

Not sure how to test the current being drawn by the starter (or if it matters), but I guess the second battery proves the original is dead?
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Old 23 Oct 2004
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The fact that the lights are dim is a hint. Measure the voltage on the battery terminals with all lights on. If still good, measure the voltage while starting. Then connect ONLY the other battery and repeat. Assuming both batteries have a similar capacity this test could be revealing.

When the engine is running there should be about 14V, less at idle with the lights on. This is a good and easy test to check that the alternator works.

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Salut from Southern France, the bikers' paradise,

Peter.
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  #6  
Old 23 Oct 2004
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What would be the effect of a small amount of rain water in the battery? Removed it from the bike today and the caps on the cells are just push on, and don't look that great a seal. We've had some heavy rain over the past few days.

Just a thought?
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Old 25 Oct 2004
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All the plugs I have ever seen seal 100%. Otherwise you'd have acid leaking out when the bike is vibrating or bouncing along a bad road.

A lot of people fill tap water into the battery, and I guess it only shortens the life somewhat.

I managed to confuse two almost identical looking bottles the other day and topped up two cells of my battery with white spirits!

It still goes...

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  #8  
Old 7 Mar 2005
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A bit late in the day to reply, but, for what it's worth:

Up to a few years ago I maintained four rural telephone exchanges, they had huge banks of lead-acid batteries to provide standby power in case of mains failure and cost thousands of pounds. We always topped them up with ordinary untreated tap water. I believe there were areas in the country where this was not permitted, but I didn't know of any in our area. If it's good enough for British Telecom...

By the way, I dropped a brand new battery for the bike once and cracked two of the cells the acid leaked out. I tried to repair it and refilled it with fresh acid but it was a waste of time because the lead plates had dried out

So:
1. Do not drop your battery.
2. Do not spill your acid.
3. If you do then keep the plates wet.

It does hurt if you don't.

Cheers

J

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