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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Quick question for you guys. What do you use to keep starting your bike when working on it? I got to hear my bike run after it sat a lot of years so I got a big win there, but while checking the clutch/gears in the back yard it died a few times and all the sudden my new battery is dead. I have a ways to go before I'm even road ready, what do yall recommend for while it's still in restoration mode???
 

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Good place to start here
and
 

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I suspect part of your problem may be because in order to get it running after years of storage, the starter was used a lot, without any highway riding. A starter is a huge draw on the battery and if you are not recharging it on a regular basis, it will kill a new battery quite quickly. Normally a good long ride will recharge the battery for you but it sounds like that is not happening yet.

To remedy that, until your bike is on the road, throw a 1 or 2 amp trickle charger on it and don't crank excessively without a recharge.

Of course it is also possible that you have a parasitic loads problem as outlined by Ropp's video posting above, so that should be checked out.
 

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For heavy loads like freauent starting I use my black box car battery charger. It provides plenty of oomph needed. When done for the day I'll attach the trickle charger overnight.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Might sound silly for someone that wanted to do this for fun but it's kind of a headache to take the battery out at the end of the day to trickle charge overnight just to reinstall it the next. Do you guys leave it on the bike? Or does it need to be taken off each time for safety? Also do you have a brand you swear by? I was looking at a Schumacher on Amazon for 100 bucks. It had the low trickle which I need now but also the starting power for full size vehicles and I figured if I was gonna spend the money I may as well get something for life.
 

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I wired a Battery Tender brand pigtail directly to the installed battery and use their trickle charger. The battery does not need to be removed. I got a pigtail long enough that I routed the business end up to my steering, right in the middle of my handlebars where it does multiple duty. I had to up the fuse size (don't worry, it's fine) but on any given day it's a trickle chager connection, a power port for an air compressor, and with Battery Tender brand accessories it is a USB port or a digital volt meter. Check out the site and accessories -> Deltran - Battery Tender. My local Harley dealers keep a bunch of this stuff.
 
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Deltran is my go-to brand for any trickle chargers. The pigtail that rbentnail suggested is a great idea, and I should do that someday. I don't remove my battery for trickle charging unless it is for winter storage. You can also charge through a cigarette lighter port if that port stays energized with the key off. My Deltran came with an adapter to fit a cigarette lighter port.

They say you will get longer battery life if you use a low amp charger like 1-2 amps. They take longer to charge the battery but I have used my 2 amp one to charge a car battery but it took 2 days or more to do so. On the smaller bike batteries, overnight charging does the trick for me.
 

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A word of caution from an old electronics tech.
Just about any quality charger you buy these days will be a 'smart' charger, that steps the charge voltage down to 'maintainer' levels once the battery is fully charged. But, there are still some cheap 'dumb' chargers (trickle charger or full bore) on the market, and virtually all of the really old trickle chargers are 'dumb'. If you don't monitor a 'dumb' charger's output voltage as the battery charges, it will eventually destroy the battery. Once the battery attains full charge, those cheap/old chargers' voltage will continue to rise, because the voltage is unregulated and the charged battery presents no 'load' to the charger. Voltage can rise as high as 18-20V, in some cases.

edit: Should have specified 'full charge'; an SLA in good condition is fully charged at around 12.7 volts, no load, measured a half hour or so after any charger is removed. A 'maintainer' charge will be a higher voltage than that, but well under what it takes to actually charge the battery. Lots of good info about charging here.

If you're running a typical AGM/SLA battery (like the Odyssey, etc) and you don't have any 'vampire loads' like Ropp linked above, then the battery won't need any kind of trickle charger unless you're repeatedly cranking the bike without riding (as indicated above), or you're letting it sit for literally a year or more. SLA batteries have a very low self-discharge rate. When the battery is just sitting, there's more risk of killing it from overcharging than just letting it sit.

Hope that's useful,

Charlie
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A word of caution from an old electronics tech.
Just about any quality charger you buy these days will be a 'smart' charger, that steps the charge voltage down to 'maintainer' levels once the battery is fully charged. But, there are still some cheap 'dumb' chargers (trickle charger or full bore) on the market, and virtually all of the really old trickle chargers are 'dumb'. If you don't monitor a 'dumb' charger's output voltage as the battery charges, it will eventually destroy the battery. Once the battery attains full charge, those cheap/old chargers' voltage will continue to rise, because the voltage is unregulated and the charged battery presents no 'load' to the charger. Voltage can rise as high as 18-20V, in some cases.

edit: Should have specified 'full charge'; an SLA in good condition is fully charged at around 12.7 volts, no load, measured a half hour or so after any charger is removed. A 'maintainer' charge will be a higher voltage than that, but well under what it takes to actually charge the battery. Lots of good info about charging here.

If you're running a typical AGM/SLA battery (like the Odyssey, etc) and you don't have any 'vampire loads' like Ropp linked above, then the battery won't need any kind of trickle charger unless you're repeatedly cranking the bike without riding (as indicated above), or you're letting it sit for literally a year or more. SLA batteries have a very low self-discharge rate. When the battery is just sitting, there's more risk of killing it from overcharging than just letting it sit.

Hope that's useful,

Charlie
Thanks rv7. I am currently borrowing my neighbors everstart 12v 6 Amp, but the ground clamp connection was bad so I'm going to fix that for him and get back to work. I plan to buy the 50 dollar battery tender 1.25 Amp charger off Amazon soon, it should be a "smart" one. I just found out today the rear brake line is clogged so I've got another couple things to figure out but I am sure ready to get it running right and need power to do so! Lol. Front brake is done though so that's a plus.
 

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Thanks rv7charlie. Good info.

Not too long ago I bought a brand new, cheap, no-name trickle charger that ruined my ATV battery in just one winter. Possibly the charger was defective or maybe I just got ripped off. But just wanted to add a word of caution to avoid no-name brands unless you do your due diligence first.
 
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