Project Yamaha TTR230 - Part 4 - Dirt bike battery charging and upkeep
With new generation of electric start bikes, a whole new problem rears its head with the battery. If you don't ride the bike often and regularly, the battery will go south. And we don't just mean a discharged battery, we mean a genuinely dead battery.
If the bike sits for extended periods of time, the battery sulfates and it will not hold a full charge. Repeat this enough and the battery gets weaker and weaker, until it doesn't have enough to spin the starter motor over.
With a dead battery, you'll have to push-start the bike, which in a cold-blooded four stroke, can be a real task. The answer is a battery tender. Unlike a regular charger, this unit can stay hooked to the battery all the time the bike is parked. When the battery starts dropping low - in this case, anything below 12.6 volts - the tender automatically kicks in and charges the battery up. At 14.4 volts, the tender sees that the battery is fully charged and shuts off.
Ideally, the battery holds a "float charge" of 13.2 volts, making it ready for maximum cranking power.
Taking off the side number plate and hooking up the tender (or a battery charger) can be a real hassle. That's why we used the Deltran Battery Tender Junior. It comes with a quick disconnect set of "pigtails" the can be permanently attached to the battery. They can then be easily hooked to the Battery Tender charging unit whenever the bike is parked or stored.
WARNINGS: STUFF YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
* Have plenty of fresh water and soap nearby in case battery acid contacts skin, clothing, or eyes.
* Use complete eye protection and clothing protection. Avoid touching eyes while working near battery. If battery acid contacts skin or clothing, wash immediately with soap and water. If acid enters an eye, immediately flood eye with running cold water for at least 10 minutes and get medical attention immediately.
* Never smoke or allow a spark or flame in vicinity of battery.
* Remove personal metal items such as rings, bracelets, necklaces, and watches when working with a lead-acid battery A lead-acid battery can produce a short-circuited current high enough to weld a ring, causing a severe burn.
* Use the charger for charging a lead-acid battery only. It is not intended to supply power to an extra low-voltage electrical system or to charge dry-cell batteries. Charging dry-cell batteries may cause them to burst and cause injury.
* Never charge a frozen battery.
COMMON SENSE ADVICE
If it’s necessary to remove the battery from the bike to charge it, always remove grounded terminal from battery first.
Clean battery terminals.
Add distilled water in each cell until battery acid reaches level specified by battery manufacturer. This helps purge excessive gas from cells. Do not overfill. For a battery without cell caps, carefully follow manufacturers recharging instructions.
Determine voltage of battery by referring to owners manual and make sure it matches output rating of the battery charger.
Locate the charger as far away from battery as the DC cables permit.
Never place the charger directly above or below the battery being charged.
Gases or fluids from the battery will corrode and damage the charger.
Never allow battery acid to drip on the charger when reading gravity or filling battery.
Do not operate charger in a closed-in area or restrict ventilation in any way.
Do not set a battery on top of charger.
DC CONNECTION PRECAUTIONS
Connect and disconnect output clips only after setting any charger switches to the off position and removing the cord from the electric outlet.
Never allow clips to touch each other.
Attach clips to battery posts and twist or rock back arid forth several times to make a good connection. This tends to keep clips from slipping off terminals and helps to reduce risk of sparking
Check polarity of battery posts. A Positive (P +) battery post usually has a larger diameter than a Negative (N -) post, and normally has a red wire.
For a negative-grounded vehicle, connect the positive (RED) clip from the battery charger to the positive post of battery Connect the negative (BLACK) clip to the remaining post.
AUTOMATIC MONITORING THE BATTERY TENDER
The charger is completely automatic and may be left on whenever input power is made available to the charger. The charger output depends on the condition of the battery it is charging. When the battery is fully charged, the indicating light will turn green and the charger will switch itself to a storage charge mode and will automatically monitor and maintain the battery at full charge.
NOTE: If the charger is connected to a battery for long periods of time, check water levels every four weeks (sooner during hot weather) as directed by the battery manufacturer to ensure they remain at the proper level.
STATUS INDICATING LIGHT
GREEN - When the light is glowing green, the battery charger is in the storage mode of charge. In this mode the charger will maintain the battery at full charge. If the battery becomes partially discharged due to an external current draw or excessive internal battery losses, the charger will automatically switch itself back to the charge mode of operation.