How To Charge A Dead Motorcycle Battery? How Long Does It Take To Charge A Motorcycle Battery?

I. Introduction

If you are owning any motor vehicle including a motorcycle, then you might have experienced the issue of dead battery at some point in time. This can cause a lot of inconveniences, especially in the 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 and this article covers subtopics like how to charge a dead motorcycle battery, how long does it take to charge a motorcycle battery, a small brief about the types of motorcycle batteries, and answers to a few frequently asked questions on the topic.

II. How to charge a dead motorcycle battery?

In most cases, a dead motorcycle battery can be charged. However, if the battery is completely dead and 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).

Charging the battery 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 can be a Lead acid battery, absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery, gel battery, or Lithium-ion battery. The lead-acid battery is becoming obsolete. Hence, your battery can be an AGM or Gel, or a Lithium-ion battery. Inspect the battery and ensure there is no leakage. Do not proceed with the charging if you notice any leakage.

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 an AGM or Gel battery (please read the charger specification and confirm it). However, you will need a special charger for the Lithium-ion battery (please see the recommendation of the manufacturer)

Steps for charging the battery

  • The best place to do the charging of your motorcycle 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 the dirt.
  • Read the specification on the charger and ensure it is suitable for charging your 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 the AC domestic mains. 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 to decide on the battery. You may consult the battery technician and it may be the time to replace the battery.

Jumpstart the dead battery using a jumper cable and a good 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. 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.

Use a portable power pack (this has a jumper cable as an accessory)

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.

III. How long does it take to charge a motorcycle battery?

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% that means it can be 10 to 14 hours. However, if the battery already had some charge, it may take less time. Hence, it is better to monitor the battery frequently.

The battery chargers are available with different charging amperes. A charger with a higher ampere can charge faster, but it will be stressful for the battery and affects the battery life. The expert’s thumb rule is the charging current of a battery charger can be 1/10th of the Ampere hour (Ah) rating of the battery.

IV. Small brief about the types of motorcycle batteries.

Your motorcycle battery can be a Lead acid battery, absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery, gel battery, or Lithium-ion battery.

Lead-acid battery

The lead-acid battery needs periodic maintenance to maintain the level of acid. However, this type of battery is not used in modern motorcycles. So, your motorcycle battery can be one of the remaining three.

AGM battery

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 battery has better charging cycles and has minimum gassing and acid leakage compared to its earlier version/conventional lead-acid batteries.

Gel battery

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 very stable and it is not advisable to use it in high amperage conditions.

Lithium-ion battery

Lithium-ion batteries are compact compared to AGM or Gel batteries, and have more Ampere hours and more life. However, it is costlier than the other two and needs a dedicated charger to charge it.

V. Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

1Does 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.
2What are the indications of a dead motorcycle battery?
The first indication is you are not able to start your motorcycle and also 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 see the result once again.

3How long can I leave my motorcycle in the garage without affecting 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.
4How can I charge my motorcycle battery?
You have three options.

You can take out the battery from your motorcycle and charge it using a normal or smart charger, and monitor it till it gets charged, and then use it.

If you are stuck on the road with a dead motorcycle battery, you have two options the first is to jump-start your motorcycle battery using a good battery of another motorcycle or car, and the second is to jump-start using a portable power bank attached with a jumper cable.

5How 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 need to monitor the battery during charging. If you know the ampere-hours (Ah) of the battery and the charging current of the recommended battery charger you can calculate the approximate charging time.

VI. Conclusion

We have discussed the dead motorcycle battery in detail in this article and hopefully, it has made you a little wiser to take better care of your motorcycle battery. There are many critical parts in your motorcycle and battery is one among them. Please take good care of it.

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