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 Batteries are batteries right?

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Oz1200Guzzi
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PostSubject: Batteries are batteries right?   Wed Apr 15, 2015 5:58 pm

I had a search and I couldn't find a topic heading on Batteries in the forum - please accept my apologies if there is...

There has been some discussion, off and on, on batteries, in a few sections on this forum. Usually around some other issue. The time has come, the Walrus said, to give the humble battery a thread of its very own.

Generally, for powersports batteries (that's the category our batteries usually end up in) there are several options:
- Lead-acid;
- Gel;
- AGM;
- Lithium

I'll state it up front, my favourite is Lithium, so you all know where my bias comes from. Here are the reasons why:

Lead Acid - these babies have been around for more than a century (no, not the brand) and the technology has moved very slowly into two categories: Starting; and Deep Cycle. Notwithstanding, the basic principle is still pretty much the same - lead plates floating in an acid bath. Sure they are more reliable than they used to be but still have a generally accepted life of 3-5 years. You may have noticed that these are quite dense (read heavy).

Gel - not a huge amount of difference to the lead-acid except the acid (electrolyte) is stored in the gel.

AGM - again not much difference except the electrolyte is stored in glass mats (fibreglass?).

Lithium - these come in more flavours than your local candy shop. These also have the benefit of no lead (turns out it is poisonous - whoda thunk eh?) and no acid (no more holes in your strides). Having said that, this is not new technology - the US military has had it for more than 20 years and we are now just starting to reap the benefits of that. This particular technology is called LiFePO4 (Lithium/Ferrous/Phosphate/Polymer) which si a little bit different to Lion batteries commonly found in consumer electronics

The A/H rating of a lead-acid/gel/agm needs to be around 20 to reliably get our big lumps turning over fast enough and still having enough left to keep the ECU happy. Lithium typically has more CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) than the other types. Lithium weighs much less, is not as bad for the environment, and has a negative temperature co-efficient. A what you say? back to this in a minute...

A few years ago my Yuasa decided it didn't want to play battery any more (still good as a door stop though). I had been doing research on battery technology at work and this is where Lithium batteries came good. I put in a 14 A/H Lithium battery.

OK - this gives me a CCA rating of 425 Amps (Yuasa had 270) so I am up 57% and this is key to getting the V-Twin rotating nicely. Secondly, the Lithium weighs in at 1.1kg (Yuasa was 5+ kg), is half the physical size and only cost an extra $30 or so.

Temperature Co-efficient - WTF? All batteries have an internal resistance, which is the limiting factor in delivering CCA to your starting procedure. The lead-acid, AGM and Gel batteries have a positive temperature co-efficient which means that as you pull your CCA from teh battery, the battery heats up and starts to deliver less and less CCA for your start. So, the best start from one of these batteries is the best one - battery can deliver less and less if you can't start your lump quickly.

Lithium has a negative temperature co-efficient. This means the internal resistance goes down as the battery heats up. This also means that your battery can deliver more CCAs if you don't start it the first go. I have seen a video (and I will try and dig it up) on starting a big V-Twin with the sparkplugs disconnected - end result is the smoke-letting from the starter motor as it goes into meltdown - battery is good though.

More soon...
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pokeyjoe
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:20 pm

Sold on lithium! However, is the technology mature enough to provide a reliable product? It was only a couple years ago that Yuasa provided Boeing with the first batteries for the then-new 787. Boeing very politely didn't throw Yuasa under the bus. Several motorcycle suppliers have struggled with Shorai batteries (and others). Is it just us? Do we need to be re-trained?
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ghezzi
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:05 pm

Adding to the discussion from my research (and sales);

Gel was designed for the military, you can shoot it and it won't leak acid.
Gel is better for deep cycle use, not start up or auto use. Yes BMW offered a genuine Gel battery on the R1200GS, but it needed to be bigger and heavier than the AGM battery for starting loads.

AGM came into its own by allowing Yuasa to make smaller lighter batteries (only slightly) to accomodate for Sports bike manufacturers demands. The YTZ range are pretty darn good, but expensive. More importantly, sports bike manufacturers have demanded smaller lighter everything, such that most 600/1000cc 4 cylinder bikes use the YTZ10S, called a 10A/h but really rated at 8.6A/h. It works! Honda tried a YTZ7S in their CBR1000RR a few years ago with poor results, they've gone back to the YTZ10S.

1000 fours used 14A/h batteries 25 years ago. Then 12A/h batteries 15 years ago.
Ducati have used a YT12B-BS in all 600/1200cc bikes for the last 10 years.

The day I bought my Bellagio the battery died, knowing the above I replaced the 20A/h with a 14A/h YTX14-BS lead acid battery. Never had a problem!

Shorai - I'v had one for 3 years now, the smallest case size with highest possible output which has 270CCA, equal to my original YTX20-LBS. The Shorai weighs less than 1kg. The only thing you need to know about a Lithium battery is, they will hold 13.2V for ages. Don't let it get below 12.8V when you turn the key on as this is its lower limit for starting, so charge it up. Bike has to sit for a few months first but it will not start at 12.4V like an AGM.

I also saw a video of a snowy winter start up of a H/D with a Lithium, they claimed it developed more grunt as it heated up.
They would attempt to start up, nothing happened so they let it sit for a few minutes for heat soak. Three attempts later it fired up. Totally opposite to a lead acid battery.


Last edited by ghezzi on Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Oz1200Guzzi
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:08 pm

Wouldn't touch a Shorai - just saying...

Please be aware of drinking the "cool-aid" that is thrown at us for marketing/sales purposes. This is genuine good technology that is relatively new to us. There are a couple of gotchas though. More on these later when I have more time...
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ghezzi
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:17 pm

If and when mine dies, you can clue me up on its replacement. I did kill it once. Never rode it for more than 6 months, just started it occasionally to go "Brrmmm Brrrmmm" for tyre kickers to hear my crass and vulgar (loud) exhaust note. That's when I learnt about the 12.8V minimum to start.

Took it back to the shop when it was reading " ", yes dash was blank = to 0.0V, 3 days on a charger and all is good. (have my own non-disulphating charger now).


Last edited by ghezzi on Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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redtractor
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:12 am

I have just bought a new battery (Motobatt agm) as the Yuasa was registering 'weak' on the charger. I did consider a lithium but it would have cost twice as much- £140 and would also need a dedicated charger- £50. So while agm might not be state of the art, it's a lot cheaper!
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Oz1200Guzzi
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Thu Apr 16, 2015 3:25 pm

OK, shitfight has settled down to a dull war!

Lithium batteries - oh yeah, I remember where I was now:
- Charging - well you can charge these babies on anything resembling a battery charger providing they DO NOT HAVE A DE-SULPHURISING CIRCUIT fitted - this kills them, real quick. We use normal power supplies here at work (nothing special there) crank them up to 14.2 volts for a 12V Lithium battery - charging current is huge for the first 5 minutes or so, then it backs right off.

Dedicated/special Lithium battery chargers can be purchased and all these do is ensure the cells are balanced to the same voltage - while this is nice, it is not necessary. However, in our bikes, the charging voltage is only around 13.8 volts and occasionally, it doesn't hurt to put them on a higher voltage charger to top them up.

You can charge a Lithium battery to 80% of its acceptable charge in only 10 minutes - so a quicky is a goody! Lithium batteries will hold their charge for 12 months and should be good to last 10 years or more, before replacement.

BEWARE
Yes, you can kill a Lithium battery by fully discharging it, or discharging it below what is a normal voltage (around 10 volts). Lithium batteries are not deep cycle batteries and should never be put into service as one - you have been warned. They are Powersports batteries and are designed to start your engine and get recharged immediately by going for a ride of three weeks or longer (OK, I exaggerated somewhat, but see what Ghezzi says above and you will get the picture).

Like all batteries, they are susceptible to abuse and bad connections (see other threads on battery terminal maintenance and the main earth/ground point). With care they can last as long as the manufacturer says they will.

Found the video I was referring to earlier (did I do that or not - CRAFT!) Starting a V-Twin
Pay attention around the 1 minute mark as the battery starts supplying more current due to decreasing internal resistance. When he cranks over the bike the second time, you can clearly hear the starter going faster.

Look at these batteries as an improvement over the standard/as shipped batteries on our bikes - Once you lighten the load somewhat by replacing your battery with a Lithium, imagine how much faster it will go!

Anyway that is enough of my ramblings - feel free to throw brickbats at me.
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beetle
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Thu Apr 16, 2015 3:56 pm

Snore! Sleep








I mean, great thread Tony! cheers
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Oz1200Guzzi
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:05 pm

Very Happy always the charmer Mark...
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beetle
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:44 pm

Oz1200Guzzi wrote:
Very Happy  always the charmer Mark...

They say I have the gift. Cool
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ghezzi
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:11 pm

Moto Guzzi Motto
"Making mechanics out of riders since 1921".

A Lithium battery means you can fit a bigger tool pouch, really!
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Oz1200Guzzi
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:24 pm

I agree Wayne - under my battery is now some storage for fuses, some electrical tape and other small bits and bobs.
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:18 pm

Oz1200Guzzi wrote:
I agree Wayne - under my battery is now some storage for fuses, some electrical tape and other small bits and bobs.

Yes Tony, that´s the truth.

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And it´s light weight ...

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For the first 3 month it works fine. Bike is starting reliable. Time will tell.


Sven
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ghezzi
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:09 am

Careful, that's dropped the A/h rate by more than 50%
and dropped the all important CCA's by 33%.

Also appears to be the Lithium ion exploding type.
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:08 pm

Exploding type.....Please explain
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ghezzi
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:33 am

Tony's original post;
LiFePO4 (Lithium/Ferrous/Phosphate/Polymer) are different to Lion batteries.

Try to recharge a Lion battery and the rumour is, they may explode.

Tony, can you confirm?
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Oz1200Guzzi
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Sat Apr 18, 2015 1:44 am

confirmed. Lion batteries are what powers your laptop
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:41 am

How many exploding laptops or mobile phone have you ever owned?

But, that doesn´t matter. The battery is small in AH and CCA, also it starts GRiSO and neighbours Panigale pretty well. So, it´s my decision and risk to test it. Today, after 4 month and 3000 km there is no problem at all.

Everybody should use the kind of battery he likes, he knows, he can get or what ever.

Have fun, enjoy the weekend cheers


Sven
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ghezzi
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:34 am

I think the issue is due to the difference between automotive type battery chargers, and mobile ph/laptop type chargers.
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:26 am

In this battery is a balancer included. Let's wait and see what ever happens.

Sven
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:29 pm

Quote :
Try to recharge a Lion battery and the rumour is, they may explode.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:13 am

A real exploding Li-ion

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Oz1200Guzzi
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:15 pm

ghezzi wrote:
I think the issue is due to the difference between automotive type battery chargers, and mobile ph/laptop type chargers.

The only difference in the chargers would only be if the auto type has a desulphurising circuit on it. As I stated in a previous post, desulphurisers WILL KILL YOUR LITHIUM BATTERY! However saying that - a Lion charger has different characteristics to a LiFePO4 charger. As mentioned in a previous post, a LiFePO4 charger may or may not have a balancing/admin port in which the cells can by charged/matched for optimisation. Once a year is sufficient for this though - works fine in a Moto Guzzi with the aforementioned precautions.

Regarding fires and exploding batteries, I have only ever seen this in person once - in my car on an early Panasonic analogue car phone kit. I was having trouble with the battery pack (probably needed replacing but I never thought of that), thinking it was a bad connection I started fiddling with it, only to see it all go up in smoke. Luckily I could quickly disconnect it and got it out of the car before either caught on fire (the car or the battery pack).

Mal had a small fire some time back and he had a Lithium battery in it at the time. Can't say I noticed it contributing to the fire from petrol, but boy did the battery stink afterwards - no evidence of catastrophe in the battery case either, just burnt. Obviously it was beyond re-use.
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:20 pm

My battery has a first name, it's Y-U-A-S-A
My battery has a second name, it's Y-U-A-S-A
La la la, dee dee dee!

Sing a long, everybody!

My battery has a third name, it's Y-U-A-S-A.....
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Oz1200Guzzi
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PostSubject: Re: Batteries are batteries right?   Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:20 pm

sic chook - need I say more!
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