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Old 06-10-2007, 05:15 PM   #1
Emoto OP
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R12GS Battery Draining Issue

My R1200GS has been in my hands and on the road for just over 3 years. I had been having problems getting the original battery to hold a charge. (Have the software update from last year) Thought the battery was going south, so I put an Odyssey in there. Seemed to be going ok, but today I went to take it for a spin after sitting untouched for 2 weeks, and had nothing. Just over 5v in the battery. So, I threw the charger on it and took the Jeep wher eI had to go. .

Now, I hadn't left any accessories or lights turned on. I intend to completely disconnect all of the non-stock stuff, which will be easy since it all runs off of a Blue Sea fuse box, just to get that completely out of the loop.

Two questions:

1. Am I the only one whose R12 battery goes flat for no reason?

2. Have you found the culprit?
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Old 06-10-2007, 05:42 PM   #2
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Had the same issue. In the end it was one of the bikes CPU. My dealer could not clear the fault. When the CPU was replace problem was fixed.
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Old 06-10-2007, 05:49 PM   #3
Mike K.
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After a period of no dead battery issues, my R12GS redeveloped the battery drain issue. Back to the dealer this week.

I love my bike but my old BMWs and newer Ducatis were much more reliable.
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Old 06-10-2007, 06:22 PM   #4
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Batteries Are An Achilles Heel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emoto
My R1200GS has been in my hands and on the road for just over 3 years. I had been having problems getting the original battery to hold a charge. (Have the software update from last year) Thought the battery was going south, so I put an Odyssey in there. Seemed to be going ok, but today I went to take it for a spin after sitting untouched for 2 weeks, and had nothing. Just over 5v in the battery. So, I threw the charger on it and took the Jeep wher eI had to go. .

Now, I hadn't left any accessories or lights turned on. I intend to completely disconnect all of the non-stock stuff, which will be easy since it all runs off of a Blue Sea fuse box, just to get that completely out of the loop.

Two questions:

1. Am I the only one whose R12 battery goes flat for no reason?

2. Have you found the culprit?
The care and feeding of batteries in a cycle, motorhome, golf carts, whatever continues to be a vexing problem. The culprit may be the battery because of some heretofore abuses. Dropping-a battery below 80% of its charge capacity too many times (what's too many and how could that happen you ask) signiicantly affects the battery's ability to hold a future charge, but is not limited to that: incorrect alternator output voltage, etc. can do that as well. You dealer should be able to easily determine the ouput of your alternator but you have to ask, remember, they ain't all gonna volunteer and also put a 'load' test on your battery. Checking the output (voltage) of your battery NOT UNDER LOAD is worthless.

And while most will disagree with me on this, I purchased Deltran's Battery Tender and keep the battery on it whenever I'm not riding (in garage). Don't use one of the el-cheapo trickle chargers or worse yet, a high-amperage charger. If your bike is a CAN-bus model, install a direct to battery pigtail for the Battery Tender. While some may consider this a PITA a dead battery is a bigger one! Proper caring for a battery will truly extend its life and not leave you in the lurch when you most need it. Also, the pigtail, furnished with Deltran's Battery tender terminates with a 'capped' SAE plug and a set of battery clip cables. Throw those battery clip cable (with the SAE plug on the end) in your important stuff to carry. Should you ever need a jump, while not long enough to reach a car battery, you could at least reach someone's jump cable. Also, make sure if you get a jump they turn off their engine.
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Old 06-11-2007, 07:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpalamar
The care and feeding of batteries in a cycle, motorhome, golf carts, whatever continues to be a vexing problem. The culprit may be the battery because of some heretofore abuses. .
I have never had a problem with batteries in my bikes. But the 1200GS seems to eat batteries sometimes.

Good Luck Emoto, let us know what is going on.

I was just thinking, a few months ago I picked up a stranded GS rider with a dead battery. He said everything was fine; he stopped the bike and when he went to restart there was nothing. This was 50 miles from nowhere. We tried pushing it but it was useless.

Damn, I better get and carry cables. SOB
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Old 06-11-2007, 09:26 AM   #6
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I've been carrying jumper cables since kick starters and breaker points went away.
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Old 06-11-2007, 11:24 AM   #7
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I'm at 32K and the only time my bike wouldn't start is when I hung my helmet by its strap and activated the running lights and killed the battery, even down to 8.

I have seen a few like yours, and have found it to be a drain on the battery from an accessory, even though it wasn't on. One was an autocom system with a short in the wiring, and the other was a Piaa relay gone bad.

Check your battery voltage with the cables connected, everything off, and then disconnect the neg cable and check the battery voltage by connecting the meter to the pos and to the neg directly. If you have a significant difference with the battery disconnected being at least 3-4 tenths of a volt higher, you have a drain.

The above listed Piaa relay drained 1.3 volts. Replacement fixed it.

Jim

PS Then again, it could be a bad computer as listed above, but doubtfull.
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Old 06-12-2007, 07:47 PM   #8
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Thanks for the tip, Jim. I will try that. It would certainly be much faster than what I was planning which was to disconnect the wires to the blue sea fusebox and then monitor the rate of voltage loss over a week or two.
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Old 06-13-2007, 07:01 AM   #9
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I have a 2005 12GS and a 2006 HP2. Both are hard on batteries. It is not a software upgrade issue or an accessory issue. With the ignition switched off I carefully measured the current drain on the battery by putting an amp meter in series with the battery cables. Both bikes showed an off current drain of about 5 milliamps. The stock battery will lose enough capacity with this current drain to not be able to start the bike after about three weeks time (at normal temperature - less than three weeks at low temperatures). It is an unavoidable fact of life that you need a battery tender if these bikes are not used regularly (every week or so).
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Old 06-13-2007, 07:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmex
I have a 2005 12GS and a 2006 HP2. Both are hard on batteries. It is not a software upgrade issue or an accessory issue. With the ignition switched off I carefully measured the current drain on the battery by putting an amp meter in series with the battery cables. Both bikes showed an off current drain of about 5 milliamps. The stock battery will lose enough capacity with this current drain to not be able to start the bike after about three weeks time (at normal temperature - less than three weeks at low temperatures). It is an unavoidable fact of life that you need a battery tender if these bikes are not used regularly (every week or so).
Seems you have confirmed what I implicitly knew as true. Thanks. Amazon sells the Battery Tender as low as 25 bucks, and the Battery Tender Jr. as low as 19 bucks. Surely a wise investment. DON'T FORGET, can't use CAN-Bus.

BTW, I also have a 'pig-tail/SAE plug' going directly to my Jeep Wrangler. Was surprised, left Jeep with GARMIN 478 and GXM-30 on for two days without running. Dropped the starting voltage on the Jeep to below starting level.
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Old 06-13-2007, 08:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmex
I have a 2005 12GS and a 2006 HP2. Both are hard on batteries. It is not a software upgrade issue or an accessory issue. With the ignition switched off I carefully measured the current drain on the battery by putting an amp meter in series with the battery cables. Both bikes showed an off current drain of about 5 milliamps. The stock battery will lose enough capacity with this current drain to not be able to start the bike after about three weeks time (at normal temperature - less than three weeks at low temperatures). It is an unavoidable fact of life that you need a battery tender if these bikes are not used regularly (every week or so).
My bike must be special then. I have never used a tender on any bike, including my 05 R1200GS, and have left it sit for weeks, while I was out of town on travel, and never had it not start, even in sub-freezing temps. The bike is always parked outside.

While I agree the battery is marginal, I disagree you MUST use a tender on them. That is, unless you leave it parked for months.

Jim
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Old 06-13-2007, 09:55 AM   #12
jpalamar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimVonBaden
My bike must be special then. I have never used a tender on any bike, including my 05 R1200GS, and have left it sit for weeks, while I was out of town on travel, and never had it not start, even in sub-freezing temps. The bike is always parked outside.

While I agree the battery is marginal, I disagree you MUST use a tender on them. That is, unless you leave it parked for months.

Jim
What may not be readily apparent in this thread is the overall condition of the battery at any point in time. As I stated earlier, a few deep discharges could very well lessen the batteries ability to accept future full charges and thus be prone to some of the ills stated. The problem may not manifest itself immediately but over time. Chances are that you have fed and cared for your battery and perhaps others have not. That is, you have not deep discharged the battery multiple time and have avoided early sulfation. And, my earlier point about putting it on a 'managed' charger such as the Deltran Battery Tender is that it offers the highest probability of proper caring for your battery and attendant long life.
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Old 06-13-2007, 10:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimVonBaden
My bike must be special then. I have never used a tender on any bike, including my 05 R1200GS, and have left it sit for weeks, while I was out of town on travel, and never had it not start, even in sub-freezing temps. The bike is always parked outside.

While I agree the battery is marginal, I disagree you MUST use a tender on them. That is, unless you leave it parked for months.

Jim
Measure the current draw with the ignition off. I would be curious to see what you get. Why speculate? It is an easy measurement to make. Maybe I have two bikes with CPU problems - seems unlikely, but it is possible.

I would speculate that the "typical" later model GS's or HP2's would have about three weeks to a drained battery incapable of starting the motorcycle. To avoid this situation you MUST use a tender.

Please make the measurement, I am very very curious why your bike seems to be so special.
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Old 06-13-2007, 11:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmex
Measure the current draw with the ignition off. I would be curious to see what you get. Why speculate? It is an easy measurement to make. Maybe I have two bikes with CPU problems - seems unlikely, but it is possible.

I would speculate that the "typical" later model GS's or HP2's would have about three weeks to a drained battery incapable of starting the motorcycle. To avoid this situation you MUST use a tender.

Please make the measurement, I am very very curious why your bike seems to be so special.
I'm curious too. Actual measurements are good.

FWIW, two weeks drained a brand new Oddyssey battery that was definitely fully charged.
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Old 06-13-2007, 11:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmex
Measure the current draw with the ignition off. I would be curious to see what you get. Why speculate? It is an easy measurement to make. Maybe I have two bikes with CPU problems - seems unlikely, but it is possible.

I would speculate that the "typical" later model GS's or HP2's would have about three weeks to a drained battery incapable of starting the motorcycle. To avoid this situation you MUST use a tender.

Please make the measurement, I am very very curious why your bike seems to be so special.
Twice I killed my battery. Once by leaving my GPS on for 3 days, and once by leaving my parking lights on for 12 hours. Both resulted in the inability to start the bike. Both times I jump started my bike. I ride only 1.5 miles to work each day, and a similar distance for lunch each day. Long trips on the weekends. 32K miles in 18 months, 110 to 8, rain and sun and snow.

I'll be happy to test the voltage of my battery, but I see no reason why my bike, and my GF's 2 year old R1200ST with 19K miles on it, should be any different than anyone elses. I have never done any battery maintenance on it, and it wouldn't have any need for it anyhow.

I still say, as have many, that there is no need for a battery tender for the average rider. Unless you park your bikes for weeks on end, and rarely ride it, you should never have to worry about it. Hell, my car is more likely to need a jump than my bike I drive it so little.

Jim

PS Just out of curiosity, what background do you have for speculation on battery life and the apparent absolute need for a battery tender? Are you a mechanic, electrical engineer etc?
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