How to:

Nine steps to a happy bat­tery

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

1Plug-in healthcheck

Your bat­tery’s health can suf­fer for many rea­sons, but pro­longed pe­ri­ods of non-use will do the most dam­age. Alarms and GPS track­ers cre­ate a drain and will of­ten has­ten a bat­tery’s demise. If you sus­pect your bat­tery has been com­pro­mised, first check the volt­age with a mul­ti­me­ter, mak­ing sure the dial is on the cor­rect scale. A healthy bat­tery should show be­tween 12.55 and 12.95 volts with the ig­ni­tion off.

2How’s the charg­ing sys­tem?

If you find your bat­tery volt­age is low, the next step is to per­form a volt­age check with the en­gine run­ning. Us­ing the same scale as be­fore the bat­tery should be mea­sur­ing 13.5-14.7v. If you dis­cover that it’s read­ing lower than when the en­gine wasn’t run­ning then you may have a charg­ing prob­lem. Check in your bike’s work­shop man­ual for de­tails of the spe­cific charg­ing out­puts.

3Get some juice back in the bat­tery

If the bat­tery is read­ing low, con­nect a charger. Make sure the bat­tery is tak­ing charge by check­ing the volt­age with a mul­ti­me­ter. If it is tak­ing charge, the volt­age should be 13.5v to 14.5v. If the bat­tery is heav­ily dis­charged it’s pos­si­ble that the charger, es­pe­cially if it’s a mi­cro­pro­ces­sor type, won’t recog­nise it – but all might not be lost as we’ll ex­plain in step four.

4Call in some re­in­force­ments

It’s pos­si­ble to boost a heav­ily dis­charged bat­tery by con­nect­ing it to one from a car or bike us­ing jump leads. Be sure to con­nect pos­i­tive to pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive to neg­a­tive. Use a me­ter to check the volt­age of your bike’s bat­tery, it should re­cover fast if the bat­tery is in good con­di­tion. Af­ter 30 mins dis­con­nect the leads and re-check the volt­age.

6Lead acid bat­tery still strug­gling?

If the volt­age is still sus­pect, use a hy­drom­e­ter to test each cell. The hy­drom­e­ter scale should read the same for each cell, any read­ing that is less than the oth­ers will in­di­cate that the cell is in de­cline. The translu­cent bat­tery case will let you see if lead sul­phate crys­tals are form­ing on the plates – in both cases the bat­tery is on the way out.

8Know your charg­ers

There’s a be­wil­der­ing range of charg­ers, each suited specif­i­cally to the needs of dif­fer­ent types of bat­ter­ies, so it’s im­por­tant to know what type of charger you are us­ing. A tra­di­tional charger will boost a bat­tery faster than a mi­cro­pro­ces­sor-con­trolled ‘smart’ charger. But th­ese older, more ba­sic charg­ers are not suit­able for be­ing left con­nected to a bat­tery 24/ 7. Al­ways check the specs and type of charger you are us­ing.

5Old-style bat­ter­ies

Most mod­ern bat­ter­ies are sealed but older bikes us­ing lead acid bat­ter­ies may need a bit of rou­tine care. The acid lev­els in this type of bat­tery go down over time so will need reg­u­lar top­ping up. Charge the bat­tery in a well ven­ti­lated area with the caps re­moved. Then, once charged, top up the lev­els to the in­di­ca­tor mark us­ing deionised wa­ter.

7Preven­tion is bet­ter than cure

In or­der to keep your bat­tery in tip-top con­di­tion, con­sider fit­ting a re­mote charg­ing lead. This eas­ily al­lows a charger to be con­nected when the bike is not in use. Most of the mi­cro­pro­ces­sor/smart type of charg­ers come with a ca­ble that semi-per­ma­nently con­nects to the bat­tery but can be dis­cretely tucked out of the way when not in use.

9Grease your ter­mi­nals

Al­ways make sure the bat­tery is clean and not con­tam­i­nated with lay­ers of road grime, so if it’s look­ing a bit worse for wear, give it a wipe down with a clean cloth. Re­fit the con­nec­tors and grease the ter­mi­nals lightly, us­ing di­elec­tric grease. Make sure the fas­ten­ers are tight and se­cure. Any ven­ti­la­tion hoses should be fit­ted, and checked for kinks and cor­rect rout­ing.

10.95 volts? That’s not enough. Time to con­nect the bat­tery charger

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.