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  #1  
Old 20 Mar 2012
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Lithium Ion Batteries

I'm riding a BMW 650 single and I'm now in Thailand. I have just charged my battery and it's not going to work, it's cooked. This is now going to be my 4th so maybe it's time to think of an alternative to endlessly pouring money down the drain.
In my bike's defense, it's not all her fault. When i was in London I had an attempted theft, they destroyed the ignition barrel and I replaced it with a marine switch. Sadly I left the lights on and killed my first one. I replaced it with a gel battery. That got cooked when some arsehole pulled out the wiring loom to joyride her and cooked the battery! Third one was not a perfect fit but seemed to work. It got low through lack of proper use and I had to fly back to London for 3 weeks, got back and yet another dead battery in deep-discharge.
So I see adverts for Lithium Ion. A third of the weight and more power. Ok, I'm interested even though they're quite expensive. One advert says they're not much good in the cold (not a huge issue in Thailand) but what worries me more is the fact that my laptop battery is cooked in 2 years using the same technology.
Has anyone used these? Are they worth it?
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  #2  
Old 20 Mar 2012
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Are you speaking of lithium ion or lithium iron? They are not the same thing.

Shorai is one manufacturer making lithium iron batteries. I bought the bullet and installed one in a DR-650 and one in a DR-Z400.

They are indeed *very* light and compact. Almost surprisingly so but that is in comparison with what we are used to.

I did read about the negative performance in cold weather. I can attest that I was starting the DR-Z well below freezing. Apparently they like to "warm up" -- i.e. run something with a draw for a few minutes (lights, grip heaters) and then fire it up. I was also a little surprised at how much cranking power I could get out if it when the bike was slow to start after sitting for several weeks. I suspect that the previous lead acid battery would have been drained at this point, or at least start to feel this way.

Anyways, I am definitely not trying to make a sales pitch.

That said, neither of these bikes have big adventures planned for them in their near future. *Personally* I don't feel that verdict is out yet. I have been pretty happy with the AGM battery in my KLR and its still works well after several years including a trip lasting several months.

I would love to hear feedback from others.

Adam
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  #3  
Old 20 Mar 2012
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We just used Shorai batteries on a world record altitude expedition into the Andes. Every morning the temps were -10 c or so. We never had a problem starting the bikes (even at 6200 metres), but then we knew the starting procedure. You need to create some electrical drain on the battery to warm it up.

Put it this way, warming up a shorai battery is as simple as cranking it once or twice or running the headlight for 30 seconds. Warming up a lead acid battery is a case of sleeping with it in your sleeping bag, or sticking it in a hot tub of water for half an hour.
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  #4  
Old 21 Mar 2012
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The only reason I mention the cold thing is when I search for an Li battery for my bike I find one on ebay with a warning on the advert that they won't work at lower temperatures. At this point it's not a huge problem. My issue really is that I'm now in Thailand for maybe a year and I'm using the bike infrequently and the batteries are just not lasting. I had an issue a few months ago where she just wouldn't start as the only run she was getting was a mile a day through Bangkok traffic. When she cooled down she fired up fine but two days later I had to fly and I was gone 3 weeks. I came back to a dead bike... obviously really. I just don't want it to happen again, not least because getting parts here is a pain in the arse.
I've never heard of "Lithium iron".
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  #5  
Old 21 Mar 2012
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There are a lot of threads on lithium iron on ADVrider. Some with nothing but bullshit, others with good solid info. It's easy to pick it once you do a bit of homework on it. Look for LiFePo4. This is lithium IRON phosphate. Anyone that calls these batts li ion are mistaken as they've now gone down different paths of development.
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  #6  
Old 25 Mar 2012
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I put Shorias in a KTM 950, GSA and MTS 12, live at 7000' (apprx 2100M) and have had 95" (about 2.5 m)of snow this winter, and major below freezing temps. I ride all the time and have not had a bit of trouble starting, sitting out on overnight trips. I have never had to pre-start the Shorias and they work perfect, even the GSA sat for 4 months. I have a Shoria charger but haven't used it YET. Now, they were all purchased in Nov 11 so still new. The KTM explodes when started, I barely touch the button, the GSA a couple of turns and the MTS...3! I was initially worried, as who buys all new batteries from a new mfgr. Me? so far so good.
Allen.
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  #7  
Old 31 Mar 2012
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I'm doing a super detailed Lithium ion (LiFePO4) battery testing on ADV.
test mule is my R80G/S

Motorcycle Batteries .. AGM, GEL, Wet, Lithium Iron Phosphate (Li-ion) - ADVrider

it's pretty lengthy so feel free to ask what ever questions...

it's absolutely essential learning how to start your bike in cold condition with Lithium iron phosphate batteries.

having trouble embedding videos... here's the link
Cold Starting Characteristics of LiFePO4 Batteries - YouTube
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  #8  
Old 1 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
We just used Shorai batteries on a world record altitude expedition into the Andes. Every morning the temps were -10 c or so. We never had a problem starting the bikes (even at 6200 metres), but then we knew the starting procedure. You need to create some electrical drain on the battery to warm it up.

Put it this way, warming up a shorai battery is as simple as cranking it once or twice or running the headlight for 30 seconds. Warming up a lead acid battery is a case of sleeping with it in your sleeping bag, or sticking it in a hot tub of water for half an hour.
Colebatch.. nice job on the Andes trip! which Shoria battery (LFX 36?) did you take and what bike was ridden?

doing a series of LiFePO4 battery tests. trying to gather much information as possible. especially under cold conditions.
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  #9  
Old 4 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _CY_ View Post
Colebatch.. nice job on the Andes trip! which Shoria battery (LFX 36?) did you take and what bike was ridden?

doing a series of LiFePO4 battery tests. trying to gather much information as possible. especially under cold conditions.
We took Husaberg FE570s, batteries used were Shorai LFX14L2-BS12 ... 14 AH.

More info here: Andes Moto Extreme
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  #10  
Old 6 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
We took Husaberg FE570s, batteries used were Shorai LFX14L2-BS12 ... 14 AH.

More info here: Andes Moto Extreme
NICE! .. a world record for motorcycle!!



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  #11  
Old 10 Apr 2012
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Hi Walter,

And congrat for the record!

How would you rate these batteries reliability for a longer trip. I am currently preparing to do the Stans, Mongolia, and Siberia on your tracks over 4-5 months. Would the LiFePo4 be something to consider?

Kickaha
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  #12  
Old 18 Apr 2012
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Check the charge rate

Batteries need to be charged at about 13.8vdc. Not sure what the voltage would be on your BMW, but it should be very close.
If your bike is charging the battery at too high a voltage it will easily cause the lifespan to be short.
So my advice is to when you have the battery replaced with whatever type - have the workshop check you charge voltage. Otherwise you will be back sooner than later.
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  #13  
Old 18 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kickaha View Post
Hi Walter,

And congrat for the record!

How would you rate these batteries reliability for a longer trip. I am currently preparing to do the Stans, Mongolia, and Siberia on your tracks over 4-5 months. Would the LiFePo4 be something to consider?

Kickaha
if you decide saving weight justifies expense. go with a LiFePO4 battery with enough amp hours for reserve.

Shorai LFX14 is pb eq or 1/3 actual = 4.2 amp hour. Lithium ion batteries which LiFePO4 is the safest chemistry. require learning new procedures to use. LFX 36 = 12 amp hour would be the minimum size I'd consider.

personally would never take a modern bike to remote locations with soooo many possible things to go wrong.

for instance getting a bad load of fuel in F800G/S with 12:1 compression can be a nightmare or a breeze... depending on if one knows how to handle the situation.

in these type situations extra amp hours are needed to crank engine over repeatedly to clear bad fuel and/or help diagnose problems.

then add a laundry list of other failure modes on modern bikes. diagnosing what's actually wrong will require all sorts of extended crank times. which requires extra amp hours of reserve power.

would not recommend any small LiFePO4 battery for adventuring. the larger ones with amp hour reserves approaching OEM batteries would be prudent.

if nothing goes wrong, then a smaller LiFePO4 battery with proper starting procedures can put out enough power. if something goes wrong, little to no amp hours are in reserve.
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  #14  
Old 18 Apr 2012
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We have two R1200GS's both with Shorais. Our first set of batteries gave us some cold weather problems (we knew all the tricks to get them warmed up but no go). We worked directly with Shorai and they have changed their formulation on the new batteries and I can attest that they work fine in cold weather. Just out of curiosity I went to our unheated barn where the bikes are stored on a sub-zero day and I was able to get both bikes to start with no problem. The battery got stronger the more I cranked. I tacked the voltage during cranking and the battery voltage actually went up from 13.2 when I started cranking to around 13.6 when the bike finally started - and it took quite a lot of cranking to get it to start. 20-50 oil is like glue at 15 below. I do have the Shorai charger and I like the fact that it tests each cell in the battery when it is hooked up and gives you at least a little information about the health of your battery.

Shorai was first rate to work with - I commend them for great customer service and a real interest in how their product performs for their customers in the real world.

In summary, I would buy the battery again. I am in year 2 with ours and I'll be interested to see how well they hold up over the long haul. So far I am very pleased.
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  #15  
Old 19 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurch II View Post
We have two R1200GS's both with Shorais. Our first set of batteries gave us some cold weather problems (we knew all the tricks to get them warmed up but no go). We worked directly with Shorai and they have changed their formulation on the new batteries and I can attest that they work fine in cold weather. Just out of curiosity I went to our unheated barn where the bikes are stored on a sub-zero day and I was able to get both bikes to start with no problem. The battery got stronger the more I cranked. I tacked the voltage during cranking and the battery voltage actually went up from 13.2 when I started cranking to around 13.6 when the bike finally started - and it took quite a lot of cranking to get it to start. 20-50 oil is like glue at 15 below. I do have the Shorai charger and I like the fact that it tests each cell in the battery when it is hooked up and gives you at least a little information about the health of your battery.

Shorai was first rate to work with - I commend them for great customer service and a real interest in how their product performs for their customers in the real world.

In summary, I would buy the battery again. I am in year 2 with ours and I'll be interested to see how well they hold up over the long haul. So far I am very pleased.
excellent feedback on starting your R1200 in -15(f or C?) degree weather with Shorai batteries. which model? LFX ?

HUGE advantage having an intelligent charger with balancing features with LiFePO4 batteries. 13.6v resting charge indicates a fully charged condition. LiFePO4 fully charged is 14.4v which quickly will scrub off surface volts to about 13.8v. depending on which charger was used. 14.4v to 13.6v represents about 10% of total capacity. voltage drops rapidly to 13.6 range. then voltage remains very flat until about 10% remains. only about 1/2volt drop for the working 70% of amp hour capacity. don't drop below 80% DOD or 12.86v if you want your battery to have a long life.

note just because a small LiFePO4 battery successfully starts a motorcycle at low temps with a fully charged/balanced battery. doesn't mean that same small LiFePO4 battery is recommended for adventuring. Amp hour is amp hour, there is no substitute. IMHO Shorai overates their batterie's actual amp hour capacity.
go with a larger battery than recommended.
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Last edited by _CY_; 19 Apr 2012 at 02:19.
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