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Motorcycle Battery Maintenance Tips

The term 12 volt battery does not actually represent the complete power of the battery. It is just a convenient term used to set one battery apart from another. A fully charged battery of 12 volts will measure about 12.8 or more volts between terminals however they all will have different Amp Hour and Cold Cranking Amp Ratings. A properly functioning battery is critical to the performance of your motorcycle, therefore battery charging should be a part of the normal maintenance cycle. Maintaining the proper charge for your motorcycle battery may extend the life of the battery as well as save you money on a possible pre-mature replacement.

These are some things you should look for when you are doing maintenance on the motorcycle battery. Because the 2008- 2011 Ninja 250R has a maintenance free battery some of these things may not be necessary to do. Here are some basic motorcycle battery maintenance tips:

- wear gloves and some protective eyewear when handling batteries

- work only in a well ventilated space. battery fumes are toxic.

- verify the level of the electrolyte in the battery. some batteries you may be able to see through the sides

- the top of the battery should be grime or corrosion free

- the cables, the clamps, terminals and the other elements must be checked for damage and tightness

- replace the battery if any terminals are cracked or broken. starting and charging problems may occur if ignored.

- clean the connectors and the terminals if you find corrosion so that the battery will work properly. a light coating of Vaseline or Di-electric grease will protect them from the elements.

- use a multi-meter to check the voltage of the battery as well as the bike's charging system

- never remove or replace a battery while the engine is running.

- if you plan to put the battery or bike in storage for a while, disconnect or remove the battery. make sure its surface is not conductive, so place it on a wood or rubber surface. do not store the battery on a metal surface or concrete if you remove it from the bike, because after a while it will discharge.

- do not let the battery run low on power. always keep it charged especially if you run any thing off of the battery (extra lights, GPS, alarm etc..)

- be careful on how you connect the cables. Ensure the + positive and - negative cables are clearly marked and connected correctly. always disconnect the positive terminal first, and when reconnecting connect the positive terminal last

- do not open the seals on a maintenance free battery and put tap water in it

- if you notice the lights are dim, recharge the battery.

- when revving the engine, and the lights dim you may need to replace the battery or the rectifier/regulator

- if activating the horn, brakes or turn signals increases the rpm speed, charge or replace the battery.

- if your lights on the Ninja 250 begin to flicker or your gauges or engine speed start to act erratically, check your battery connections

- charge to battery if the motor fails to start or the starter relay makes a clicking noise

- if the battery fails to hold a charge, and voltage drops below 12.0 volts, get a new battery.

- if after charging the battery it fails to turn the starter over but still reads 12.0 volts or more of output, the amperage of the battery may be to low. battery replacement is recommended.

- if the battery is properly maintained, it can last 36 months or longer.


Motorcycle Battery Chargers

A motorcycle battery charger should be used to charge and put energy back into our batteries . The technology that is used in the motorcycle battery will determine the charge current.

Typically on the market you will find 4 types of motorcycle battery chargers:

Basic Motorcycle Battery Chargers

A simple charger works by connecting the constant DC power source to the battery that is being charged. This type of charger doesn’t change the output of the power based on the charging time. This is why the simple charger is quite cheap but poor in quality. The fact is that it will take much more time to charge the battery with the simple charger than with another one. This is because the longer time avoids the extreme over-charging. But you should not let the battery stay too long on the charger because it may burn out due to the over charging.

Timer-based Motorcycle Battery Chargers

This kind of charger has the ability to stop after a while. These timer based chargers have been the most used kinds for the high-capacity Ni-Cd cells. Most of the times you are able to buy this timer-based charger along with a set of special batteries. If you put some other low capacity batteries in the charger it is most likely that they will be burned out. If high capacity batteries will be charged with this charger the charger would stop after a while and the batteries will remain uncharged. In the years that have gone by, the capacities of the batteries have increased constantly and these timer-based chargers have been rarely used.

Intelligent (or Automatic) Motorcycle Battery Chargers

This type of charger distinguishes itself by the fact that the output current depends on the state of the battery. The charger automatically controls the voltage of the battery and also the temperature. When the battery gets fully charged, the charger will stop feeding it power. In the case of the Ni-Cd and NiMH batteries, the voltage rises in the charging process until the battery gets fully charged. After that it slowly decreases and stops feeding power to the battery once fully charged.

Fast Motorcycle Battery Chargers

These chargers quickly charge the battery without destroying the cells elements. Most of them have a cooling fan and are more expensive.

Kawasaki recommends using a 1.5 Amp Automatic Charger. Schumacher makes a perfect charger designed for small batteries such as used on motorcycles. It can be purchased at Walmart for about $21.00

The Schumacher Model XM1-5 maintains both 6 and 12-volt batteries, keeping them at full charge using float-mode monitoring. The XM1-5 is perfect for charging small and large batteries found on motorcycles, classic cars, RVs, boats and more.
Schumacher XM1-5 Maintainer, 1.5-Amp:

* 1.5 amp charger and maintainer
* Fully automatic
* Microprocessor controlled
* Automatic voltage detection
* Automatic temperature compensation
* Thermal runaway protection
* Safety start feature
* LEDs indicate charging, charged and power
* Quick disconnect harness
* Reverse hookup protection


I had an older model charger from Schumacher, but I gave it to my dad to use on his riding mower. So I bought the newer model. It comes with set of quick disconnect battery clamps, a quick disconnect cable with terminals to mount directly to the battery and the charger. Installation is quick and easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nice write up Blue Ghost.

Whats your view on sealed gel units?

Felix
From what I understand Gel cell batteries are suppose to last longer and be easier and safer to maintain, and the price seems a little higher compared to some lead acid batteries. For powersports vehicles that are ridden on a regular basis and have lead acid batteries that are properly maintained, I think you can get as good of performance out of those as you can some gel cells. Gel cell batteries charge at a different rate and so the have special chargers to accommodate that need. I hear that some may be heavier or as heavy as a lead acid battery. I guess people will be able to see if they ever become popular and OEM equipment. There are other batteries on the market as well that are smaller, lighter and more powerful, and of course more expensive.

Shorai Lithium Motorcycle Batteries have 3 types to fit the Ninja. ShoraiUsa - EX250 Ninja /250R
These batteries contain no poisonous lead, no dangerous acid, and do not create explosive gasses during charge, as traditional Lead-Acid batteries do. Compared to lead-acid, Shorai LFX lithium are also extremely light, have much lower self-discharge rate, do not sulfate (i.e. do not degrade while sitting unattended), and are environmentally friendly. These batteries are supposed to be able to sit for long periods of time (like a year) and still maintain starting capacity. They also have a special charger.

Think I may pull the trigger on a Shorai Battery once mine completely goes.
 
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