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Old 12-14-2012, 10:10 AM   #1
Ronin ADV OP
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Novice Battery / Charge question

I am admittedly a novice when it comes to electronics. So please help me understand better some basic things. I have been trying my best to follow some of the battery / R/R / stator discussions here and so a while back I thought a good start for me would be to at least add a voltmeter. I installed the Battery bug which not only displays volts but also % battery life.
I was running a Shorai that initially failed and I was sent the larger upgrade (model LFX21A6-BS12). Recently after a 2 week hiatus off the backup charger with no riding, the voltage had dropped into the low 11 range and the battery was listed at 2% charge. When I plugged in back into the charger, it would not take a charge or increase the voltage at all.
Frustrated that another lithium battery had failed on me, I pulled it and put the OEM battery back in, but this one had also been sitting for a while so I went to my local BMW dealer and bought the only non lithium replacement they had in stock: a Bikemaster "tru-gel" battery model MG14-BS.
I took this home and slapped it in the bike and plugged the voltmeter back on and it registered only 8% charge. The bike started and I took it out and rode about an hour but still only at 8%. So I pulled the battery and plugged it into a battery tender / charger overnight then re-installed it this morning.
The voltmeter now reads 12.6-12.9 volts while parked, engine off, and then 13.6-14.1 volts when running at idle. In both instances it registers as 21% of battery charge.
My question is this. Is the percent charge inaccurate? I was under this impression that mid 12 volts was OK.
I am trying to get my head around this and have been following the R/R discussion trying to decide if changing to a MOSFET or series R/R will prolong my battery life or am I totally misinterpreting the voltmeter in the first place?
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2010 BMW F800GS, 2011 Yamaha WR250R, 2011 Honda Ruckus, 2013 KTM 500 EXC
Up the WABDR, F800GS Stealth Bike Build, WR250R Scotts Damper Install
Red dirt, rocks and sand; Riding the southern UTBDR, WR250R vs EXC 500 - a comparison
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:35 AM   #2
ebrabaek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WW Ronin View Post
I am admittedly a novice when it comes to electronics. So please help me understand better some basic things. I have been trying my best to follow some of the battery / R/R / stator discussions here and so a while back I thought a good start for me would be to at least add a voltmeter. I installed the Battery bug which not only displays volts but also % battery life.
I was running a Shorai that initially failed and I was sent the larger upgrade (model LFX21A6-BS12). Recently after a 2 week hiatus off the backup charger with no riding, the voltage had dropped into the low 11 range and the battery was listed at 2% charge. When I plugged in back into the charger, it would not take a charge or increase the voltage at all.
Frustrated that another lithium battery had failed on me, I pulled it and put the OEM battery back in, but this one had also been sitting for a while so I went to my local BMW dealer and bought the only non lithium replacement they had in stock: a Bikemaster "tru-gel" battery model MG14-BS.
I took this home and slapped it in the bike and plugged the voltmeter back on and it registered only 8% charge. The bike started and I took it out and rode about an hour but still only at 8%. So I pulled the battery and plugged it into a battery tender / charger overnight then re-installed it this morning.
The voltmeter now reads 12.6-12.9 volts while parked, engine off, and then 13.6-14.1 volts when running at idle. In both instances it registers as 21% of battery charge.
My question is this. Is the percent charge inaccurate? I was under this impression that mid 12 volts was OK.
I am trying to get my head around this and have been following the R/R discussion trying to decide if changing to a MOSFET or series R/R will prolong my battery life or am I totally misinterpreting the voltmeter in the first place?
At 12.9, I would say you are very close to if not at100%. I am not familiar with the battery bug, and how it gets the %, but something sounds fishy. I am waiting on a few voltmeters myself, as they get here they will be installed on the bike as well. Unless you have a high quality volt meter, it then most likely reads too high, but about 0.2-0.4 volts. I know mine did, and after getting my hands on a good unit, surely it was lower. The mosfet will raise the voltage to an acceptable point. Even if only 0.4 volts.... if will keep your battery in great shape. I think it is time to make sure your whole charging system is functioning good. I posted a thread, as how to check it step by step.....
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:36 AM   #3
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Hereyago.....

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=809879
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:01 AM   #4
Ronin ADV OP
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Thanks dude. I'm trying to wrap my head around this whole subject.
I'm actually a fairly overeducated guy and reasonably mechanically inclined, but some of the topics on here make me realize what a complete idiot I am about certain things.
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2010 BMW F800GS, 2011 Yamaha WR250R, 2011 Honda Ruckus, 2013 KTM 500 EXC
Up the WABDR, F800GS Stealth Bike Build, WR250R Scotts Damper Install
Red dirt, rocks and sand; Riding the southern UTBDR, WR250R vs EXC 500 - a comparison
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:33 AM   #5
ebrabaek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WW Ronin View Post
Thanks dude. I'm trying to wrap my head around this whole subject.
I'm actually a fairly overeducated guy and reasonably mechanically inclined, but some of the topics on here make me realize what a complete idiot I am about certain things.
Yeppers...... You and me both. Two days ago my 15 year old girl asked for help in solving.... somminglike... 3 square x 5x = 4...... I was clueless, and sat and bid my nails while she painstakingly dug through it..... So yep..... you and me both....
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:23 AM   #6
Kaw4Life
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A VOM is not an effective tool to check a battery. If you want a true test you need a load tester. Also I have had no luck with battery tenders on the 800. I have had to disconnect the pos lead to get it to charge. Example as to the above is my VOM indicates 13.5 volts and the battery will not start the bike. New battery, bike fires right up. Load test on old battery indicates a failure.

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Old 02-25-2013, 01:11 PM   #7
JoelWisman
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The battery bug is a nest instrument if your an electronic engineer that understands how the battery bug arrives at it's conclusion and therefore know when it is wrong. If you understand the finites of how a battery bug works, then you don't need one as you can tell the same wing a multimeter with min/max function.

No, under many circumstances the battery bugs % charged and % life readout are completely inaccurate to the tune of indicating 100% on a battery that has failed and 2% on a battery that is perfect.

On a lead acid battery to get state of charge from a volt meter you need to disconnect the battery and let it sit for 24 hours, then measure voltage with an accurate meter. Accurate meters start at around $150 dollars, but if you have one, measure the terminal voltage after the battery has set disconnected from charge and drains for 24 hours. Fully charged will be between 12.7 and 12.9 volts depending on the precise battery chemistry for which battery manufactures list tables.

The far easier way to confirm a battery is fully charged is to connect it to a known working battery charger and let it charge till i shows finished and then a few more hours.

As to the battery failures, you are using Shorai which is about the worst battery I have ever tested. They are popular because they have the highest margin between retail and what a business has to pay for them. In other words a business that sells a Shorai will profit say $100 bucks while selling a good brand they might only make $60 of profit.

What you really need to do is test your bikes charging system and parasitic drain, then install a good brand of battery, lead/acid or lithium.


To test your bikes charging system simply hook up a volt meter. Anytime the bike is idling it should be at 13.2 volts or above, and typically 14.1 volts for the F8GS. This assumes all switchable loads are off and the cooling fan is not running. While riding the voltage should read between 13.8 and 14.7 volts, and typically 14.0 for the F8GS

To test parasytic drain you need a multimeter that shows mili amps, or mA or ma. Disconnect the negative battery lead and hook your meter between the negative battery post and negative battery lead. DO NOT switch the bike on or you will blow the fuse in or destroy your meter. Reed your meters instructions so you know you have your meter leeds in the right terminals and the switch set to the right position. ma draw will be high for almost a minute while computers on the bike talk and then should settle down to 2-3 ma. If this number remains high then your bike is destroying batteries due to something wrong with it or some accessory broken or wired wrong.


Good luck, there are threads here that show exactly how to measure such if you need more help. Quite possibly your just experiencing Shoria battery defects. There are many fine lithium batteries but Shorai is not one of them.
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:24 PM   #8
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While I do not know how the battery bug get's % full determination, i STRONGLY suspect that what ever algorithm it uses is NOT appropriate to any of the multiple Lithium battery chemistries..and associated multiple characteristics.

Lithium batteries to NOT charge like lead acid, nickel hydride etc. In fact most have circuit build into the battery to make it look more like a typical battery to the charger (and protect from thermal runaway/cumbustion aka 787).

I do not know about your other problems.

good luck
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vtbob View Post
While I do not know how the battery bug get's % full determination, i STRONGLY suspect that what ever algorithm it uses is NOT appropriate to any of the multiple Lithium battery chemistries..and associated multiple characteristics.

Lithium batteries to NOT charge like lead acid, nickel hydride etc. In fact most have circuit build into the battery to make it look more like a typical battery to the charger (and protect from thermal runaway/cumbustion aka 787).

I do not know about your other problems.

good luck
VTBOB,

I only know of a couple of LiFePO4 batteries that have any form of electronics in them whatsoever, and none that have any form of protection circuits because LiFePO4 batteries don't generally need them and are at least as stable as lead/acid batteries.

The 787 Dreamliner uses lithium/manganese batteries which are not related to and far less stable then LIthium Ferious PhOsphate batteries.

I understand the confusion cause both batteries have one of the same words in them, but trust me, that's where the similarities end :)

In the best case scenario battery bugs loose sync all the time and indicate a battery has failed when it has not or that a battery is good when it has failed, however... Lead acid is fully charged at 12.7 to 12.9 volts where as LiFePO4 batteries are only 80% full at 13.6 volts, so the nutritiously wrong battery bug isn't going to tell you crap about a LiFePO4 battery.
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I love and miss you Jeneca and I'm sorry.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:00 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by JoelWisman View Post
VTBOB,



In the best case scenario battery bugs loose sync all the time and indicate a battery has failed when it has not or that a battery is good when it has failed, however... Lead acid is fully charged at 12.7 to 12.9 volts where as LiFePO4 batteries are only 80% full at 13.6 volts, so the nutritiously wrong battery bug isn't going to tell you crap about a LiFePO4 battery.
I agree with the essence of the above statement on battery bugs. The charge parameters of lead acid and Li based batteries are quite different. While there is some loose correlation of lead acid voltage (under light to modest load) to % of charge ( % of total amp hour capacity), I would not value that info much as it changes over time, and conditions.
In any case the algorithm for the pretty crude lead acid % life calculation is not the same as Li batteries, and as you point out there are many derivative chemistries, more than 6, if my memory serves...and each performs somewhat differently.

I do not know which chemistry Boeing settled on (may be changing soon??). Lithium Manganese Oxide, Lithium nickel manganese cobalt Oxide or Lithium Nickel cobalt aluminum oxide were being considered at one time. Likely other versions too. All of these chemistries have somewhat different performance characteristics, infact manufactures patent their fab process and details chemical mix because so the same base Li chemistry performs different vendor to vendor.

What is common to all the Lithium batteries that I know of is the electrolytic is flammable, and the conduction rate (charge or discharge) within the cell is highly dependent on temperature (and some other conditions)..and increases as temp gets higher. This makes Li batteries highly susceptible to thermal run away and because the electrolytic can be flammable pretty spectacular..ie dangerous.

while small cells most often do not have protective circuit build in AAA/AA sizes mainly because of cost and because they are low total energy they are considered safe. Note that the FAA has banned commercial air freight shipping pallets of these cells for many years now. I saw a video of a pallet of these light off from a thermal run away and spread/grow from cell to cell. this was a fire event and could have taken a plane out of the air.

Larger Li batteries, evan the size used in cars or motorcycle are often ...in fact some are just bundles AA (raw cells package together in some convent form factor and AH capacity. When the individual cell get beyond the raw AA size for better performance, the need for this protective circuitry increases to allow a conventional charging system (car, motorcycle, etc) to work safly and to monitor discharge parameters for safety too.

When I last payed attention,(pre retirement) battery technology was increasing around 17%/yr. Li was the key driver.

It is great technology, but in my opinion, not ready for the casual motorcycle user. If you are a racer and want the less weight and are willing to live with some peculiarities go for the Li based battery.

this voltage bug case is just one of the peculiarities.
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