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"KRS/GT" Technical Q&A K1200RS/GT Technical Questions/Answers

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  #1  
Old 11-21-2012, 04:03 AM
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defoe defoe is offline
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Battery problem/s

I have a battery that is failing on the 05 KGT,just purchased at 18Ks,and needed charging on delivery;with a strong suspicion not holding its charge,and ridden for several hundred kms on three different occasions.
Today ,after a whisp of hesitation when started,rode for 22 kms when cruise control dropped out,,dials returned to zero,motor contiued for several minutes then started missing then stalled with obvious loss of braking support.
I ckecked battery and when starter was pressed the voltage dropped fom 11.8 to 7.3. Question is ,not that I need a new battery,but,because the draw from the battery became nil does that suggest that the alternator is not supplying enough to run the bike and accessories?
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  #2  
Old 11-21-2012, 06:24 AM
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Re: Battery problem/s

If the battery is 3 years old or more I would get a new one. These bikes are so voltage dependent - a little off and all kinds of problems. 11.8 v at idle is way too low - even not running anything below 12v is low.
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  #3  
Old 11-21-2012, 06:41 AM
voxmagna voxmagna is offline
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Re: Battery problem/s

Yes you are on the right lines. Do not condemn the battery straight away. Although your post and measured battery voltage during cranking suggests the battery is poor, we do not know what loads you are running or if the alternator is faulty, so I hope in the following checks I have covered all the angles:

WARNING: with your present battery you run a real risk of damaging the starter motor relay (welded contacts). Get the battery up to full charge with a charger and do the checks to confirm a battery, charging or current drain problem as soon as possible.

Even if the battery was failing, once the bike is running, the alternator should be giving out sufficient to keep the motor running. Of course once the motor stops you would not be able to crank start.

This is what I think you should do:

1. Get the battery up to full charge on a charger and make sure the terminal voltage on charge is around 14.5 volts. If the terminal voltage on charge never goes above 12 or lower then your battery has a faulty cell. If the battery passes the charge/terminal voltage test and is now fully charged, move on:

2. With the fully charged battery installed and your digital voltmeter across the battery terminals, crank the bike. If the battery terminal voltage drops below 9-10 volts during cranking then you have a poor battery and should consider spending a bit more on the Odyssee battery! If that test is ok then move on:

3. With the motor stopped put on some lights and re-check the battery terminal voltage which should be around 12-13 volts. Now restart the bike and run at idle. the voltage across the battery should rise to about 14.5 volts if the alternator is charging. If you see no change in voltage then the alternator is not charging. Move on:

4. Now you find out if the alternator can deliver for bigger loads. With the digital voltmeter still connected across the battery and the motor running at idle, put on the main headlight beam. If the voltage measured drops then the alternator cannot match the headlamp load at idle (and I am pretty sure it should be able to just about). Now increase idle rpm to 2K and the voltage should be making about 14.5 volts. If these checks are ok you have a battery holding charge and an alternator able to keep up with 'standard' loads. Move on:

5. Now you need to find out what happens when you turn on all the heated gear and PIAA farkles. Repeat above with everything electrical turned on. You will have to increase the idle rpm, but you must see the battery voltage going up to about 14.5 volts. the rpm that gets the battery voltage to 14.5 volts is the engine speed you need to maintain to prevent charge losss from the battery. It may be as high as 4k. Move on for final thoughts:

6. It is not unknown to have a fault causing a steady battery drain, which leaves a fully charged battery low after a day or 2. You should check what your constant current drain is. Make sure all the lights and any heated gear are turned off. Do not crank the bike! Connect the digital meter on a current range in series with the battery and preferably through a 1 or 2 amp fuse with the ignition turned off and measure how much current is coming out of the battery. Only the clock should be draining, which is a very small current. If you blow the 10 amp fuse in the meter then something is very wrong.

7. When batteries get older they may not hold their full charge condition. Even after following the checks above, it is worthwhile to recheck the voltage during cranking when a fully charged battery has been left standing a few days.

If you have mains power near where you regularly park up, consider buying a cheap battery tender with a BMW accessory plug. It means less strain on the battery and keeps the battery warm for cold weather starting. On short commutes it will appear to give your battery a much longer life but be warned that your battery is still deteriating and one day away from home for a few days off the tender, you may discover the real truth about your battery condition.
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  #4  
Old 11-21-2012, 01:30 PM
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Re: Battery problem/s

Excellent advice from Vox I will add however, the need to be careful on choice of battery charger. Some cheaper items deliver a constant charge to the battery regardless of the charged state of your battery. Left on trickle charge for too long and you risk cooking a motorcycle battery as they are comparatively small. If you do have one of these types of chargers a fix is to purchase a simple 24 hour time clock from mitre 10 etc and set it for around 2 hours at night. I use this setup and it has worked very well for years. I have only replaced my battery once, and that was over 5 years ago. I purchased an oem gel as Odyssey were not available here then. They are available now and are way more expensive than an oem unit.
I have recently purchased a smart charger that will hold the charge once full. I put this on sometimes to see how long it takes to register full charge and it's only ever a few minutes if not almost immediately
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  #5  
Old 11-21-2012, 01:39 PM
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Re: Battery problem/s

Here is a problem I had with a charger. I bought a "Battery Minder". It claims it can handle multiple batteries of the same type. I put the charger hooked up to 3 snowmobile batteries for off season. 1 battery went bad and the other batteries got sucked down the drain with it. From now on 1 charger for 1 battery.
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  #6  
Old 11-21-2012, 01:55 PM
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Re: Battery problem/s

Many thanks to you all; Vox and Kiwi,you have thoroughly covered the problem/s.Now for me to follow your advice.
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  #7  
Old 11-21-2012, 02:15 PM
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Re: Battery problem/s

I recommend an Odyssey battery. I've run them in 2 bikes and 1 motorhome. Expensive but very good. They have no current limit on charge and a shelf life of up to 3 years and a life expectancy of up to 8 years.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:40 PM
voxmagna voxmagna is offline
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Re: Battery problem/s

Quote:
Originally Posted by BKnight
Here is a problem I had with a charger. I bought a "Battery Minder". It claims it can handle multiple batteries of the same type. I put the charger hooked up to 3 snowmobile batteries for off season. 1 battery went bad and the other batteries got sucked down the drain with it. From now on 1 charger for 1 battery.

I don't exactly know how that product works, but it is generally a no no to connect most batteries in parallel and those that do it to increase battery capacity take a chance. When all the batteries are identical, new and discharging together it can work. but the moment the chemical condition of any 1 or more batteries worsens, the charge in the best is diverted to the worst. However, if the charger product has separate isolated outputs to charge more than 1 battery it should work ok.

A few years back I cut my teeth on niMh camera battery chargers. The cheaper units often charged batteries in pairs and the worst one's in 4's. I only buy the chargers that can charge each cell individually. If they charge 4 cells, then they will have 4 separate microprocessor circuits to adjust the charge and end point for each.

Flying Kiwi makes a very relevant point that you can trickle charge a battery with no more than an average charger, a stop watch or mains timer clock and some arithmetic. In fact this simple approach is often the only way to charge a fully discharged battery, Because most fancy electronic chargers see the battery as a short circuit and put on the dead battery fault led. Notice I said trickle charge and that means charging our small batteries with no more than 2-3 amps. Our batteries are rated at 20 amp hour capacity andyou should be able to roughly work out how long a fully discharged battery should be left on charge. If a part charged battery is trickle charged this way, then the best method is to check the voltage on charge with a digital multimeter, repeat after an hour taking the voltage difference, then calculate how much longer it needs charging to reach 14.5 volts. That voltage is on the low side of the over charge gassing point and we assume the charge will be linear over time. You can limit the charging current from larger chargers by connecting a headlamp or smaller bulb in series with the charger. This trick is cleverer than it seems, because the bulb will taper the charge current automatically as the battery comes up to charge. The so called 'smart chargers' can take less time to charge because they charge at high currents to start with, then ramp down the current near the end.

I think trickle charging at lower currents for a longer time is less stressful for most batteries. But consider what your bike alternator charger is doing. It is banging in a very high charging current if you start up and ride on a flat battery. Therefore, if you do not look after your battery tendering it to keep it at full charge, it will fail sooner. Those that buy the expensive Smart chargers to give their battery the best are negating the expense if their batteries are frequently low and being kept up by riding the bike.

Unless for bike maintenance reasons, I do not expect my 24/7 tendered battery to be removed from the bike and put on a charger. If that happens, I look for a discharge problem or consider the battery dead. If you do not have power socket near your bike, consider buying a small solar cell charging panel. I use one on my boat battery parked up most of the year and the battery charge is always full.
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Old 11-23-2012, 03:41 AM
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Re: Battery problem/s

I took the battery to an auto electrician and the battery failed with a 9 amp load.I replaced it with the same model and after starting and running for a short time checked the voltage and with a few revs brought the voltage up to 13.5 from 12.4.
When the headlights were switched the voltage decreased by about .2.I will test it again with an ampmeter when I visit my son-in-law.
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  #10  
Old 11-23-2012, 07:27 AM
voxmagna voxmagna is offline
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Re: Battery problem/s

If I read your voltage drop with headlights on was 13.5 down to 13.3 then that is fine, although your new battery has not reached its full charge state yet.

You should be careful connecting ampmeters. If you drop off a connection and open circuit the battery, the alternator regulator could 'pop' as well as the rest of your electrics. Most alternators have built in safety control for over voltage if the battery gets disconnected after generating. But you are relying on their safety circuit and hoping it will work.

Connecting an ampmeter to the battery needs thinking about. Let us say you have a 50-0-50 amp meter. You cannot just wire it in with low gauge wire and start the bike, because the starter will kill it and flame the wires if you pick the ground wire. If you start the bike first then disconnect the battery to put the ampmeter inline, you risk an alternator fault or electronical catastrophy. You should assume that you could get the full starter current and use heavy wire to wire in your ampmeter. Then you bridge out (short) the ammeter with the same heavy gauge wire and start the bike. When running, disconnect the ampmeter short and read the charge/discharge current.

Measuring the battery voltage with loads on and off and changing the rpm is the safest check method.
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  #11  
Old 11-23-2012, 11:36 AM
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Re: Battery problem/s

Thanks again Vox.I am afraid my experiences with ampmeters and voltmeters was in the generator days with ampmeters used for accessories on car and tractor engines where you could run every thing through the ampmeter..The modern systems are far more sophisticated.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:11 PM
voxmagna voxmagna is offline
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Re: Battery problem/s

In those days you just got a big flash on the wiring or a fuse blew and that was it. Now with these bikes and most cars, a flash or burnout risks taking out transistors and putting on hard to find expensive faults.
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Old 07-07-2018, 01:24 PM
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Re: Battery problem/s

I thought the battery doesn't get charged unless the engine is spinning at least 3200 rpm's. the battery supplies the voltage to the electrical system and the only job the gen/alt is to charge the battery.
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Old 07-07-2018, 07:24 PM
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Re: Battery problem/s

Defoe - what brand and model battery do you have??
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Old 07-08-2018, 01:20 AM
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Re: Battery problem/s

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lowndes
Defoe - what brand and model battery do you have??


Thread is 2012!
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