Most motorcyclists are not aware of the type of battery their motorbike has and the charge left in it. When the motorcycle battery is about to discharge completely, the rider can identify it and take it to a mechanic. But what if you do not ride your motorcycle very often, and are unaware of the battery discharge? In case you have an emergency where the battery has discharged completely, and there is no mechanic available, you’ll cut a sorry figure if you don’t know how to charge a motorcycle battery yourself.
If you do not know anything about the type of battery installed in your motorcycle, then in case of an emergency, you have no other option but to wait for a mechanic. This comprehensive guide will provide information about all possible types of motorcycle batteries and how to charge them if they drain out completely.
Types Of Motorcycle Batteries
People who are passionate motorcycle riders and buyers know a lot about the batteries. But most motorcycle riders are clueless in this regard. If you are among the clueless, then identify the type of battery your motorcycle has and then check its features from below to know how to charge the battery.
To start with, you should know that motorcycle batteries are of two simple types. The first category is the Old Lead Acid Batteries, and the second is the Valve-Regulated Lead Acid Batteries. The Valve-Regulated Lead Acid Batteries are further categorized into Gel and AGM batteries.
1. Lithium-Ion Motorcycle Batteries
Several lithium-based batteries are available in the market today. These include Lithium-Ion Batteries, Lithium Phosphate batteries, and Lithium Iron batteries. Most motorcycles use Lithium-ion batteries. Apart from motorbikes, even cars and motorboats have lithium-ion batteries today.
Advancement in Lithium battery technology has popularized its use in laptops, cameras, smartphones, etc. It is the reason why most guides that teach you how to charge a motorcycle battery focus heavily on lithium-ion batteries.
2. Lead-acid-flooded Batteries
Popularly known as Wet Cell Batteries, the lead-acid-flooded cell batteries are the traditional motorcycle batteries. The lead-acid-flooded cell batteries were among the older generation of motorcycle batteries.
They are currently in use in several models of commercial vehicles such as motorcycles, lawnmowers, ATVs, boats, trucks, cars, etc.
A typical lead-acid battery has a 12-volt system that contains six cells. Each of these cells draws 2.12 to 2.20 volts from a direct current supply. The lead-acid-flooded cell battery has a mixture of sulfuric acid and distilled water as an electrolyte.
3. Gel Batteries
Among the Valve-regulated Lead Acid Batteries, the Gel batteries are most commonly used. However, Gel batteries are high-performance batteries that cost a fortune. Gel batteries are used in racing cars, police vehicles, fire trucks, some mountain bikes, ambulances, etc.
A Gel battery is a very reliable power source for a motorcycle. It is the best type of battery if you want an aggressive acceleration. The pick up of any motorcycle depends on its battery, motorcycle oil in use, and the condition of the motorcycle chain.
Types Of Chargers
To charge the motorcycle battery, you need to have one of the following chargers:
1. Trickle Charger
A trickle charger is a manual charger for motorcycle batteries. It has a simple construction with a small transformer that converts alternating current to direct current and then feeds it to the battery.
In a manual charger, you need to check the battery regularly while it is charging to see whether the process is complete or not. There is no indicator or automatic cut-off feature in a trickle charger.
2. Float Chargers
Float chargers are ideal for charging modern motorcycle batteries. Float chargers have a mechanism that monitors the charge in the battery during the process. So, it indicates when the battery achieves its full charge.
3. Smart Chargers
Smart Chargers are modern chargers for motorcycle batteries. These chargers have an efficient desulfation mechanism. In this mechanism, the battery itself removes the sulfur from the electrode plates so that the voltage varies and a potential difference starts charging the battery instantly.
Note- For dead batteries, a smart charger or a float charger may not help. Use a manual trickle charger and monitor the charging process until it is complete.
How To Charge A Motorcycle Battery
1. Charging A Lithium-ion Motorcycle Battery
- For charging a lithium-ion motorcycle battery, it is not mandatory to remove it from the motorcycle. However, it is better to do it as a precautionary step. An exothermic reaction takes place while charging the lithium-ion battery. This process releases a lot of heat. Once the battery is heated, you cannot touch it and this heat can damage other parts of the motorcycle.
- Also, you may not know, but some wires and fuses in the battery might melt. So if you keep charging the battery without removing it, the electricity from the power source can burn parts of the bike in proximity.
- Choose any one of the chargers and start charging the motorcycle battery. If you use a trickle charger, then keep checking the battery so that it does not overcharge.
- In the case of a lithium-ion battery, you should be aware that during charging, the battery releases hydrogen sulfide gas. So, don’t charge the battery in a confined area. Instead, do it in an open space so that the hydrogen sulfide gas does not suffocate you.
- Once you finish charging the battery, reinstall the battery in the motorcycle. Fix the battery in its place and put the clamps down. Then, connect the negative and positive terminals, one-by-one.
2. Charging A Lead-Acid battery
Follow these simple steps to charge a Lead-Acid battery:
- Unlock the motorcycle’s seat to access the lead-acid battery.
- Remove the negative cable from the battery slowly, followed by the positive cable.
- Check whether the battery is in good condition or not. If there is any damage, then do not start charging as it can lead to current leakage.
- Choose a suitable charger. Start charging the battery, but ensure that the power supply does not exceed 12 volts. Monitor the charging if you use the old trickle charger.
- Reinstall the battery when charging is done.
3. Charging A Gel Battery
- Follow the same procedure as above to charge a Gel battery.
- Note that Gel batteries use special AMG chargers. Procure an AMG charger and connect it to the battery.
- Monitor the charging process and reinstall the battery once charging is over.
So, follow this simple guide to learn how to charge a motorcycle battery. Memorize the types of motorcycle batteries and identify the one installed on your motorcycle.
The selection of the motorcycle charger is consequential for the charging process. Choose a suitable charger that is readily available to you.
Follow these simple steps in the correct order and charge your motorcycle battery without needing the help of a mechanic.