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If you own any motor vehicle including a motorcycle, then you might have experienced the issue of dead battery at some point.
This can cause a lot of inconveniences, especially in a modern motorcycle that does not have a kick start and depends heavily on the battery power.
However, there are different solutions to mitigate the issue of a dead motorcycle battery.
We’ll go over everything you need to know to get you fully charged and back on the road.
- How long does it take to charge a motorcycle battery?
- Charge a Dead Motorcycle Battery
- Types of Motorcycle Batteries
- Does my motorcycle battery charge when I am riding it?
- What are the signs of a dead motorcycle battery?
- How long can I leave my motorcycle parked in the garage without draining the battery?
How long does it take to charge a motorcycle battery?
Depending on the type of charger used and its charging ampere, the charging time can be 4 to 14 hours or more.
You can calculate the approximate charging time using the following formula.
For doing this calculation you must know the ampere-hours of your battery and the charging current of your charger.
Charging time for the battery (T) = Ampere hours (Ah) of the battery / charging current of the charger (A) or T=Ah/A.
Let us assume Ah is 6 and A is 0.6.
So, the charging time for this battery is 10 hours. However, this happens only in ideal conditions and there will be losses in actual conditions (30 to 40 percent).
So the maximum actual charging time for the above battery can be 10 hours + 30% to 40%, which means it can take anywhere from 10 to 14 hours.
However, if the battery already had some charge, it may take less time.
Battery chargers are available with different charging amperes.
A charger with a higher ampere can charge faster, but this can be stressful for the battery and affects the life.
The expert rule of thumb is that the charging current of a battery charger should be 1/10th of the Ampere hour (Ah) rating of the battery.
Charge a Dead Motorcycle Battery
In most cases, a dead motorcycle battery can be charged.
However, if the battery is completely dead and completely lost its life, then charging it may not give a positive result and the only option is the new battery.
The different methods of charging a motorcycle dead battery are:
- Charging the battery using a battery charger.
- Jumpstart the dead battery using a jumper cable and a good battery.
- Using a portable power pack (this has a jumper cable as an accessory).
1. Using a Battery Charger
Study your owner’s manual, and understand the location of the battery in your motorcycle and the procedure for removing it.
Take out the battery from your motorcycle.
Examine the battery and find out what type of battery it is (you can also refer to the owner’s manual).
Your motorcycle battery will usually be a Lead acid battery, absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery, gel battery, or Lithium-ion battery.
Inspect the battery and ensure there is no leakage or damage. Do not proceed with the charging if you notice any damage to the battery.
Normally there are two types of battery chargers, a normal charger, and a smart charger.
You will be able to use either of these for charging most types. However, you will need a special charger for the Lithium-ion battery (please see the recommendation of the manufacturer)
Steps for Charging the Battery
- Charge the battery is an open garage or a well-ventilated place. This is important since there are chances of harmful and inflammable fumes during the charging process.
- Clean the battery and its terminals with a cloth and wipe off any dirt.
- Read the specification on the charger and ensure it is suitable for charging a motorcycle battery.
- The battery charger will have two alligator clamps, one is red (positive) and the other one is black (negative). Connect the red clamp to the positive terminal and the black clamp to the negative terminal of the battery.
- Connect the battery charger to an outlet. A normal battery charger digitally displays the voltage status of the battery, but will not stop on its own after the battery is fully charged. You need to monitor the charging manually. On the other hand, a smart battery charger will show the voltage status, percentage of charging, and automatically turns off when the charging is completed.
- Monitor the charging and do not allow overcharging of the battery. A dead/discharged battery will display much less than 12 volts and a fully charged battery should display a voltage of more than 12.7 volts.
- If your battery charger does not display the voltage, disconnect the charger from the electrical connection and then check the battery voltage using a multi-meter. If the voltage is still less than 12 volts, you can try to charge it once again. It may be time for replacing the battery.
- Fit the charged battery back in your motorcycle (as guided in your owner’s manual) and start it. You are good to go.
- If the battery gets discharged immediately, you can try to charge it once more, but it may be the time to replace the battery.
Jump Start a Motorcycle Battery
We had discussed this in our earlier article “will the motorcycle run with a dead battery”. Please refer to that article to learn more about this method.
The jumpstart method uses the working battery of another vehicle (a car or motorcycle) and draws the power from it to start your motorcycle with the dead battery.
This method is helpful if you are stranded on the road without access to a charger or time to wait.
All you need is a jumper cable set and a car or motorcycle with a good working battery to help you.
This method works for all motorcycles including those with automatic transmission.
Portable Power Packs
This method had also been explained in our earlier article “will the motorcycle run with a dead battery”. Please refer to our previous article for more details.
You will need a portable power pack with a jumper cable for using this method.
It works for all motorcycles including those with automatic transmission.
The portable jump pack typically carries enough charge for a single jump, and replaces the need to another vehicle to jump start your dead battery.
Types of Motorcycle Batteries
Your motorcycle battery can be a Lead acid battery, absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery, gel battery, or Lithium-ion battery.
The lead-acid battery needs periodic maintenance to maintain the level of acid.
This is an older style of battery, but it is still used today.
AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) is an advanced version of the Lead-acid battery and it meets the higher power requirements of today’s motorcycles.
The advantage of AGM is it is a sealed and maintenance-free battery and is resistant to vibration.
AGM batteries have better charging cycles and have minimum gassing and acid leakage compared to its earlier version/conventional lead-acid batteries.
A Gel battery is another type of sealed, and maintenance-free, lead-acid battery, and it is very robust and versatile.
The name gel is used since it uses silica or sand to convert the acid in the battery into a thick liquid gel.
Gel batteries produce very little fumes and are useful in places that lack complete ventilation.
However, the gel is not always stable and it is not advisable to use it in high amperage conditions.
Lithium-ion batteries are much more compact compared to AGM or Gel batteries, and have more Ampere hours and more lifespan.
However, they are costlier than the other two and needs a dedicated charger to charge it.
Does my motorcycle battery charge when I am riding it?
Yes, your motorcycle has an alternator (produces AC current), and this along with the rectifier/controller unit provides the necessary DC current for charging the battery.
What are the signs of a dead motorcycle battery?
The first sign is obviously that you are not able to start your motorcycle and are not able to turn on any lights.
The battery may not be dead but is completely discharged due to different reasons.
You can take out the battery from the motorcycle and put it for charging and monitor the charging.
A charged 12 V battery should display a minimum voltage of 12.7 volts or more, if the voltage reading is less, the battery may have become useless.
However, you can repeat the charging cycle and check the result again.
How long can I leave my motorcycle parked in the garage without draining the battery?
If your motorcycle battery is in good health and the battery is fully charged, you can disconnect the battery, and leave it in the motorcycle.
The battery can be good for use even after 2 to 3 weeks.
However, it helps if the motorcycle is run at least once in 15 days or if the battery is kept on an automatic trickle charger.