Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums banner

1983 kawasaki kz440 starting problem

8100 Views 110 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  saturnsc2
i got a prestige 1983 kawasaki kz440 with 900 miles on it & the bike is mint. the battery is an agm battery 2 years old. i keep it on a 1.4 watt solar panel in the off season to maintain charge. i have not started the bike in a while so i tried it today & the bike cranked for a few seconds then started to crank slow & then totally died. nothing on the bike works now the electrical system is totally dead & i tested the battery * it reads 13.00 volts. the solar panel also works & it tests at 20 volts. i kept the battery charged in the winter since the battery was new & the bile always started right up. i'm going to check the terminal connection this weekend to make sure they are clean & tight, but for now is there some kind of fuse/circuit breaker that could have been tripped to cause this issue? just wondering.

i also got a 1978 kawasaki 200 im prestige condition which fired right up & also is maintained by a solar panel.
1 - 20 of 111 Posts
What is the voltage measured at the battery when you hit the start button with solar charger disconnected?

PS- 1.4 watts is not very much when it comes to trying to charge a 12 volt motorcycle battery and 20 volts is way too high a voltage. You need to get your self a good, self regulating trickle charger like a Battery Tender.
Not to be rude, but before we move away from the battery to explore other causes, what is the battery voltage when you turn the key, turn lights on, or push the starter button.

This is important since you say the resting voltage is still 13. We need to know what happens when you load the battery.
I strongly suspect the battery. If you recharge it fully, take it to a battery shop and ask for it to be load tested. This is normally done for free and will quickly confirm if your battery is good or bad.
Kawasakian is right that specific gravity is the most accurate measurement of a traditional lead-acid battery's health but as he pointed out, this cannot be done on a sealed battery.

Your local battery vendor however can "load test" any vehicle battery even if it is sealed. But if the kid behind the counter pulls out what looks like a multimeter, walk away and try a different vendor. A proper battery load tester, will print out the results of the test on a slip of paper that you can take with you. The best test results come from a fully charged battery, so if your battery is suspect, throw it on the charger and when the charge is done, take the battery and get it load tested.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Kent, thanks for mentioning the KW208. I went searching on their site and it seems they have a newer model, the KW210. In any event it looks like a very useful tool.

For the benefit of others, here is a link and there is a good youtube vid on how it works, just search on the model number.

Probably not. No computer, no clock, no volatile memory as far as I know.
Given that your 1.4 watt solar panel output is 20 volts, this means the maximum current it can provide is 0.07 amps.

I have to wonder how it is possible for this low a current to do anything much in the way of maintaining a charge for a battery. A typical trickle charger puts out 1 to 2 amps.

Also if your panel is not equipped with a diode, you will get reverse flow at night or when the panel is in the shade and this would draw your battery down. I admire the effort to use renewable energy, but it sounds like you need a much larger solar panel and a proper charge controller.
Yes Kent, as far as I know, if it can charge the battery it can overcharge it UNLESS there is a monitoring device that knows when to interrupt the charging process.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
The other option is to buy a bigger panel and connect it to this device. Its only $19 CDN so about $15 USD.

5 amps is the maximum current. Its an intelligent charger that is designed for many different uses, ie a battery bank where 5 amps might be appropriate.

The amps will float to whatever is needed, and then will taper off as the charge level in the battery rises.

I don't think you would ever see 5 amps when hooked to a motorcycle battery. Charging technology of SMART chargers has advanced a lot over the years. It varies the amps to keep the charging voltage where it needs to be. The last little bit of charge goes in at under an amp.

That said, I do not endorse, nor have I used this particular charger. I have worked with other brands and in my experience, they work very well. This one was just an example when I searched for an inexpensive solar charger.

Personally I would spend a bit more and get a known brand name like Morningstar if you were determined to stick with solar charging.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
All of this theory aside, we shouldn't discount OP reports
another 5 year old battery maintained this same way.

So, go figure.

I'll always believe 12v batteries are half science, half voodoo.

Yes but on a different bike. The parasitic loads vary from bike to bike. And as Kawasakian points out, battery quality comes into play as well. I will often remove the battery for winter storage and either put it on a good quality battery tender, or charge it periodically.

They say a sitting car battery (totally isolated from any circuit) can lose up to 1% of its charge per day. So without any charging it can be flat dead in 100 days which is a little over 3 months.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Glad to hear it is all sorted. Best of luck and ride safe!
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Seems like the only possible explanation. Are you going to try a different brand?
Except I hope your tender puts out 1.8 amps and NOT 1.8 volts.
Maybe you need a newer battery tender and charger.

Copied with thanks from Federal Batteries website:

"Charging Considerations for AGM Batteries

Different chargers have different capabilities - Although under normal conditions most 12-volt automatic battery chargers will work on an AGM battery, the battery will only charge to about 80 percent of its full capacity. Many newer battery chargers have settings specifically for AGM batteries. Remember the technology of an AGM battery is not the same as a gel battery, which has its own charging requirements. If the charger offers different modes, select the correct one for your battery. Using the gel setting to charge an AGM battery will not fully charge and over time will actually damage your AGM battery."
Why not call Battery Tender support and ask them?
The other thing to consider is that your bike was was probably never designed to charge AGM batteries. Your bikes charging system may be what is actually killing the AGM batteries. Another reason to switch back to a flooded battery
I just ran that test on my Battery Tender and it passed. But here's the thing "compatible" might mean it won't harm the battery but the warning in my previous quote may apply. That warning was:

" Although under normal conditions most 12-volt automatic battery chargers will work on an AGM battery, the battery will only charge to about 80 percent of its full capacity"

So it would seem that without a physical AGM switch on the charger, you cannot get a full charge. I would expect the same applies to the charging system on our motorcycles.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
A lot depends on the brand of tender. I once bought a Motomaster tender that said it was automatic and would not overcharge yet over the winter it boiled my battery dry. I then spent a bit more and bought a Battery Tender brand and have used that for years without any issues including on AGM batteries.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
...my battery in my 440 is stone cold dead
& won't even light any lights on the bike. it shows 13.5 volts at the terminals.
This is just more proof that voltage is NOT an indicator of battery health.
1 - 20 of 111 Posts