The battery is an essential component of a motorcycle, powering everything from the engine to the lights. Nonetheless, without proper upkeep, your battery can be completely drained and result in a drastic decrease in performance – or worse yet, complete failure. If you detect that the charge for your motorcycle isn’t lasting as long as it should, then immediately recharge it!
In this detailed guide, we are going to walk you through the process of how to charge a motorcycle battery. From preparing for charging to unplugging your charger safely, everything is covered so that you can ensure your bike runs efficiently and securely throughout its life. Follow along step-by-step and see just how easy it can be!
How to Charge Your Motorcycle Battery?
To charge a motorcycle battery, ensure that you identify the type of battery and select a charger that is compatible with it before charging. Connect the charger to your battery and adjust its settings accordingly. While it’s charging, be sure to observe the process closely until completion. Last but not least, disconnect from power once fully charged!
As every situation is entirely different, we need to delve deeper and explore each method in more detail. We’ll break down each approach step-by-step for complete clarity.
Before you start charging your motorcycle battery, it’s important to determine what type of battery you have.
Different Types of Motorcycle Battery
The most common types of motorcycle batteries are Lead-acid, Gel, Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM), Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4), and Nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH).
Lead-acid batteries have been trusted by motorcyclists for years, given their cost-effectiveness and formidable blend of power and longevity. Being the most popular battery type around, they do require more upkeep than others though.
Not only are gel batteries capable of withstanding colder climates, they can also be installed in any position due to their superior performance compared to traditional lead-acid batteries. With faster recharging times, greater capacity and longer life cycles, these reliable power sources will make a great addition to your home or business.
AGM batteries are designed to be maintenance-free and sealed units, rendering topping up with electrolyte solution unnecessary. Furthermore, these batteries provide unrivaled performance, massive capacity and long life cycles; however, they may come at a higher cost compared to other varieties of batteries.
For motorcyclists, Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are the most sought-after option on the market. LiFePO4 offers impressive performance and longevity – plus they can be charged much faster than other battery types. Better yet? These batteries are incredibly lightweight, making them perfect for electric motorcycles!
Nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries are quickly becoming a preferred choice in the motorcycle industry, as they provide unparalleled power and performance; boasting high capacity and long life cycles. While slightly more costly than other battery types, NiMH batteries offer unbeatable results that far exceed their price tag.
Once you have identified the type of battery your vehicle has, obtaining a compatible charger is key as it will ensure that your bike’s battery remains charged and maintained properly.
1. Using A Battery Charger
Experienced motorcycle owners know that the best way to charge a motorcycle battery is by using a battery charger. This not only makes it easier during the winter months but also allows them to leave while their bike’s battery recharges!
Jumpstarting may be an option for some riders, but cannot guarantee effective results every time – making a reliable and rechargeable battery essential for any rider looking to get back out onto the road quickly and safely.
So, even if you don’t choose this method right now, I highly recommend getting a charger for the future. Here’s how to use a battery charger to charge your motorbike battery.
- Find out the battery model. You can’t just use any type of charger. The charger must have the right battery terminals, voltage, etc. So, finding out what kind of battery you have is the first thing to do.
Most lead-acid batteries can be connected to any universal charger, it’s the same with gel and absorbed glass models. A lithium-based battery requires a different type though. The smartest thing to do is find out what the battery manufacturer recommends.
- Get the right type of charger. Now that you know your battery type, there are a variety of chargers you can use. The most popular are trickle chargers. These convert AC power into DC and work with most 20-amp battery types.
Another choice is a battery tender(float chargers), we have mentioned this before. A battery tender maintains a constant power flow into the battery. Or, opt for a smart charger that will monitor the voltage and decrease the flow of power when needed. If you have a lithium battery, check the manual.
- Remove the battery. Do not charge the battery while connected to the bike, I can’t stress this enough. Faults with the electrical grid can lead to damage to the battery. Many other problems can occur, so removing the battery is the way to go. Removing it can be complicated though.
First, remove the cable to the negative terminal. Then, disconnect the cable to the positive terminal. In the end, remove the battery by removing the straps that hold it. Doing it this way is the safest.
- Charging the battery. This step should be easy enough. There are a couple of dos and don’ts that you should know. The place where you’ll be charging should be ventilated. When overcharged, batteries release hydrogen gas, hydrogen sulfide exactly which is flammable.
Do this outside or in a well-ventilated area(open garage). Make sure the positive cable and the negative cable are connected to the right terminals. Allow the battery to charge. If you have a special charger for a lithium battery, read the instructions thoroughly.
- Put the battery back in. There’s a rule of thumb you should follow here too. Place the battery in its place and attach the straps. Then, connect the positive cable to the positive post first. The negative post should be second.
SHOP THE GEAR
2. Jump-Starting A Bike
This method is often a source of contention among riders. It has been observed that jump-starting newer bike models can be potentially hazardous as it may have an adverse effect on the electrical grid, due to a faulty battery.
Anyways, here’s how to jump-start a motorcycle battery using jumper cables.
Note: Jumper cables have two cables, the black clamp, and the red clamp. The black clamp is connected to the “negative (-)” terminal and the red one to the “positive(+)” terminal.
- Turn off the car you’ll be using as power. If you’re using another bike to jump-start your bike, you’ll need to keep the engine on. If you are using a car to jump-start, then turn off the car engine, as car batteries are much stronger, so turning them off ensures your battery won’t get burned out.
- Connect clamps. To avoid any trouble read this carefully. Start by connecting the red clamps to the dead motorcycle battery’s “positive (+)” terminal. Then, connect the red clamp to the working battery “positive (+)” terminal. Lastly, do the same with the black cable on the “negative (-)” terminal.
- Try starting the bike. Your bike should be able to start now. If the battery is too empty, you may need to leave the cables connected for a period of time. A dead battery won’t start anyway.
- Disconnect clamps. Removing the jumper cables should be done in a certain sequence. Start with the black clamp of the running battery first, then on the empty one. Proceed with the red cable after that.
- Let the bike run. Don’t turn off the bike right after starting it. The battery needs to be fully charged.
3. Push-Starting A Bike
This method is when you don’t have jumper cables and a battery charger. The last resort if you will. If you’re going to be starting the bike like this, make sure everything is working except the battery.
- Gather friends or find a slope. You’ll be pushing the bike so it can get some running energy. If you have people that can help you, this can be done on a flat road. You can do this by yourself if you’re on a slope, just let gravity do its work.
- Mount the bike with your feet on the ground. The full mounting will not help here, powerwalking is the way to go.
- Switch into 2nd Gear. Switching into 2nd gear will make the bike move easily.
- Hold the clutch while pushing. You’ll need to reach a certain speed so the bike can start. Hold the clutch tight until you reach that speed.
- Release the clutch to start. Once you’ve reached jogging speed, release the clutch. The bike should start with the release.
- Repeat if unsuccessful.
What causes a motorcycle battery to fail?
There are several factors that can cause a motorcycle battery to fail, including:
- Bad Battery Terminals: One reason why your battery keeps dying, or it appears like that, is a bad terminal connection. The battery posts may be damaged or corroded. In cases like this, either the bike won’t start at all, or the whole electronics will be messed up.
- Leak circuit: Another reason why you keep finding a flat battery is a leak circuit that just keeps drawing power. A piece of electrical equipment may be the source and you’re not noticing.
- Bad Rectifier: The rectifier converts power that the battery can’t otherwise store. If it’s gone wrong, the battery isn’t receiving power basically.
- Age: And, the things no one wants to hear, a battery dying because of old age. The average battery life ranges from 2-4 years. Lithium-Ion batteries should last more because they can handle a bigger amount of discharge. A gel battery for example can handle only 50% discharge. Anyways, an old battery should be replaced, the cells are probably half-dead.
- Extreme Temperatures: High temperatures can cause the battery to overheat and fail, while low temperatures can reduce its capacity and make it harder to start the motorcycle.
- Vibration: Vibration from riding can cause the battery’s internal plates to degrade over time, leading to a loss of capacity.
To extend the lifespan of your motorcycle battery, it’s important to properly maintain and care for it, including regular cleaning and charging, and avoiding extreme temperatures and overcharging.
Things You Want To Know About Motorcycle Batteries
- A battery tender, also known as a float charger is a must-have piece of battery maintainer. This device will keep your battery topped off while you’re not riding. It works on most types of batteries, and it’s the best way to ensure the battery doesn’t die during the winter.
- Get a smart charger if you’re worried about the charge rate. Charging a flat battery too fast can cause irreparable damage. Smart chargers have a slow charge option that eliminates the risk of damage, ensuring a healthy battery. Also, automatic desulfation mode is a thing with smart chargers, so you don’t need to worry about flammable gases.
- Every battery has an optimal charge level. Exceeding this charge level will damage the cells. There’s also a discharge limit before the battery goes bad.
- Having a regular trickle helps after the winter months end.
- If your batteries keep dying during the winter, lithium-Ion batteries will help.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long to charge a motorcycle battery?
It depends on the type of battery. It usually takes 6-24 hours. The last few percentages take the longest to charge. Get a smart charger to monitor the charging process.
How long should a motorcycle battery last?
Typically an AGM or Gel battery should last for about 2-4 years. Lithium-Ion batteries, on the other hand, should last you longer.
Do I need a battery tender?
Yes, if you want to keep your battery in good condition while not riding it. A battery tender will keep your battery topped off and prevent damage.
What is Trickle Charging?
Trickle charging is an efficient, low-amperage technique designed to keep a battery perpetually charged. This process works by supplying the cells with a steady current that prevents any discharge from occurring when not actively used.
By maintaining the voltage at optimal levels, you can ensure your batteries are always ready for use – no matter how long they stay idle!
How Long Can I Leave A Trickle Charger On My Motorcycle?
A battery connected to a trickle charger generates heat. That heat is not dangerous for the first 16 hours. So, you should take out the trickle after 16 hours.
Is It Safe To Leave A Trickle Charger On Overnight?
I don’t recommend leaving a trickle on overnight. The trickle is considered a manual charger, so it needs constant supervision.
What are the symptoms of a bad battery on a motorcycle?
Common signs of a bad battery on a motorcycle include slow engine start or no start, dim headlights and other electrical components, discolored terminals, and battery acid leaking from the case. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to get your battery tested and/or replaced as soon as possible.
There we have it! Hopefully, this blog post was helpful to you and can offer guidance in your attempt to charge a motorcycle battery. Keep in mind that although this post provides an overview of the different steps you need to take when charging your battery, there are still certain safety protocols you should adhere to when performing this task.
Be sure to read the owner’s manual and use protective equipment, like gloves, during the process. By following these tips and using the proper gear, you can successfully charge a motorcycle battery without any accidents–ensuring that it is safe for use. Thanks for reading!